Borderwilds: DM Map

As promised, here’s the full map of the Borderwilds.

This one is for clarity.

All of the major land forms are represented on this map, grassland, swamp, forest, mountain, desert, broken hills, rivers and coastline.  This lets us throw anything we want at the players.

Risk management is a big part of the philosophy of sandbox games.  Players need to know when to exercise caution and when to retreat.  You can take that idea too far, though, by dumping a purple worm nest an hour’s march from base camp for example.

This map helps the players out a bit in that regard – the three monster habitats closest to base will be stocked with low level monsters like goblins, lizardmen, and basic undead.  The troll tribes, giants, and big monsters live north in the hills and across the mountains in the wastelands.

This is for inspiration.

While not hard and fast barriers, the northern river and the mountains help constrain the players until they are ready for the heavy hitters. A determined party will find a way into the wastes without having to fight the demon guarding demon pass, which has that name for a reason.  They’d be fools to do so, and in that respect, they’d be ignoring all the warning signs and would deserve to be eaten by the wyverns and sphinxes to the west.  Likewise with that one old stone bridge that crosses the northern river.

Is that meta-gaming?  It is in a design sense, but not in a ‘playing the game’ sense.  No more so than listening to the rumors of great winged beasts sometimes seen in the skies past the mountain tops.  Which brings us to another ‘design’ way of steering players – rumors.

But we’ll talk more about that tomorrow some other time.