Finding the Devil

A week or so ago I posted the small scale map for my current hex-crawl campaign, The Borderwilds.  A few days laterYellowDingo (over on his own blog) made a blanket offer to create a detailed hex-map in the classic style for anyone who wanted one, and I was lucky enough to hit the front of the queue.  He turned this:

Into this:
Big difference, eh?  He was worried that he wouldn’t be able to do the Borderwilds justice.  Needlessly, as you can see.  Look at all those details – we can stash all sorts of metaphorical and literal devils in there.

His map is different from mine in a number of ways, but each one opens up new opportunities for my campaign.  Where my hexmap is limited to a hundred or so hexes, this one has…well, just look at them all.  This new and improved map has a lot more granularity, and a lot more variation, especially along the margins.  The break between swamp and grassland isn’t nearly as sharp, and there are all sorts of little ‘islands’ of terrain within other terrains – perfect places to hide dungeon entrances.

The little details YellowDingo provided are going to help sell this as a living place, that long valley in the south, that high desert, the ruins clinging to a cliff way up in the upper-left hand corner.  Good stuff, people.  Wish I had the patience to produce this sort of thing myself.

Here’s the thing – if a guy goes to this much trouble to add to my campaign, I’m not about to cherry pick.  So this map now represents the ‘ground truth’ of my campaign.  Which is really nice, because it means that I get to have those moments of discovery that my players do every week.  I didn’t know there was a high desert vale in the north, but there is.  I didn’t know Ogrefell was situated at the mouth of two valleys – but it is.  I didn’t even realize there’s a big ruined city on the bluffs up north – but there is now.  Can’t wait to stock it with monsters.

Now I’m gonna have to pay that favor forward by converting YellowDingo’s Dragon Realms into something a little more my speed.  Let’s see if I can do his map justice.