In my opinion, maps and layouts are the linchpin of RPG’s and adventures. While you could argue that form follows narrative, it is possible, and perhaps easier to build a story around a map than it is to come up with a story first. Peter touched upon this with his decahedron blog post: how many of you thought to use this great 3d layout?
I am a poor artist, mapmaker and layout illustrator–that’s fine when my group never sees the source doc, but a horrible handicap when creating products for print! My perfect solution would be to find an artist that can create awesome maps and layouts and I can fill in the content. What I call the “Elton/Bernie” solution. Unfortunately, I have yet to find my art muse…
What if there is a better solution for our map woes? What if there were a way to create “Fenlon” style maps on demand, quickly, that can provide filler for a GM’s campaign?
I present to you, the “Uncharted Atlas” per Atlas Obscura: “a Twitter bot made to produce a new map every hour, each with its own array of mountains and rivers, fjords, island archipelagoes, and deserts.
The landscapes are rendered in the pen-and-ink style of maps printed at the front of certain fantasy novels à la Tolkien, complete with alien names: “The Pez-mes-Lüch Coast,” “The Confederation of nos-Us,” “Outer Háukwuénoé.” (the designer built a language generator, too).”
Tell me this isn’t the future? I recall talking to Matt about the future of Rolemaster/Shadow World years ago. The solution, above all else, is maps. Terry writes amazing content but the most useful material is campaign and tactical level maps. Check out the original Loremaster series or Court of Ardor. Those Fenlon maps marked roads, trails, terrain, cities, forts, ruins and other useful markers. As a GM that’s all I really need to create an adventure (plus my random encounter tables). Campaign Cartographer already has a “Fenlon Style Pack“: how about combining the style of Fenlon with the instant computer generation of Uncharted Atlas?
Fairly soon, cool maps will become a computer generated solution. Personally, I can’t wait!