Monday, August 2, 2021

RPGaDAY 2021 Day 2 Map



As a young Dungeon Master, I started planning my first Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition game by drawing a map of a continent named Talanta. It was a fusion of the words Atlantis and Talislanta which I'm sure I'd seen an ad for in Dragon Magazine. The setting was heavily inspired by Tarzan which I watched a ton of on Sunday morning on a local TV station. Humans had become shipwrecked centuries before and their society was similar to what we saw of Tarzan -- loincloths, no armor, complex homes in trees, etc. The other primary race were humanoid rats, which I'm guessing was inspired by Warhammer's Skaven, known as the Rath. I was pretty proud of myself and kept that map for many, many years. I never did anything with it though because I was kind of scared of how the setting would be received by my group. While I loved Tarzan I didn't know if anyone else did and that scared me.

I like drawing maps but I often get caught up in setting up various types of terrain and locales which in turn raises my anxiety. Thirty years later I'm just as nervous now as I was then.


I try to describe other sensory inputs besides sight and hearing as a DM and I've found smell and taste are often good options to set the tone of a scene. Telling someone that the skeletons in front of them smell like a dead skunk or that the mutant right in front of you makes your taste buds experience maple syrup can be a surprising tool to bring mood to the game.


I'm a terrible planner, probably too lazy, I like cooking ideas up but am not very good at writing them down, except for this blog. As a DM, I'm more comfortable having an outline and rely heavily on improvisation and letting the players pick the direction of the game.


I've always liked doing voices as a DM but have been fairly reticent about it as a player until this most recent Avernus campaign. My Sorcerer, Clete, has a very distinct voice and after months of playing him, I get into the mindset once I start doing the voice. Clete is an asshole with a lot of problems and for a period of time, he had a separate personality, Chauncey, whose voice was very distinct from Clete.

Our Avernus game has seen Clete evolve from a Neutral Flaming Fist to a Lawful Good worshipper of Lathander and its been a fun ride.

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