dimanche 19 mai 2013

[Making a Fantasy Sandbox] D3 - Vault of the Drow

There is no need to brag for the umpteenth time the module D3 : those who read this blog are as much aware of this fact as me.
However, one can see a lot of people asking : "What the characters are supposed to do in this module?". Asking this question amounts to miss the main interest of Vault of the Drow. Why ?
Although this isn't an earth-shaking revelation, it's worth repeating.
So, what's the purpose of this post?
Vault of the Drow is in the top 5 of my favorite modules, and thereby I am toying with the idea of finally playing it.

Yet it is clear that D3 is not a ready-to-play module. It needs to be expanded and reworked with love by the referee, and this is even more the case if one wishes to play it as a sandbox. So this message began a series of posts in which I will try to extend D3 to make it playable without prior preparation by the DM, while still maintaining a minimalist style leaving any latitude to the environment to be changed during play. 

I will try to follow the 34 steps of the method created by the brilliant Rob Conley on his Bat in the Attic blog. 
  1. Using one page sketch a world or continent map
  2. Label important regions
  3. Write one page of background giving no more than a handful of sentences to each region.
  4. Pick an area roughly 200 miles by 150 miles
  5. Grab a 8.5 by 11 sheet of hex paper.
  6. The scale should be so that it represents a 200 by 150 mile region
  7. Draw in mountains
  8. Draw in rivers
  9. Draw in hills using them to divide the region into distinct river valley
  10. Draw in vegetation (swamps, forests, desert, etc)
  11. Decide to place Population Locales note their race this includes social monsters
  12. Decide to place Lairs (locales tht revolves around a home of monsters)
  13. Decide to place Ruins (locales that revolves around a site)
  14. Decide to place miscellaneous locales. (anything that doesn't fit a above.
  15. Name your geography (don't forget islands)
  16. Write a Half Page background describing the region and it's history.
  17. Write a paragraph describing each named geography
  18. Write a paragraph describing each Population Locale
  19. Write a paragraph describing each Lair (you could get away with a stat block)
  20. Write a paragraph describing each Ruin
  21. Look at your notes and come up with two to four plots that ties one or more locales together. Write a paragraph or two on each.
  22. For each population locale come up with three to five encounters. They should be a sentence each.
  23. Come up with 6 to 12 general encounter for the region as a whole. Should usable in any area of the region. They are a sentence or two each.
  24. Pick the 4 or 6 most important Population locales and draw a quarter page sketch map of the settlement.
  25. Pick the starting population locale and draw a full page map of the settlement. This is the "Home Base"
  26. Use Medieval Demographics to get an a idea of how many shops are in the town.
  27. Pick or create 6 or 12 important buildings. Write a paragraph each.
  28. Scan your descriptions for NPCs or noted monsters. Write a two sentence about each. The first a one line with minimal stats the second one sentence. This is your roster.
  29. Pick the 12 most important NPC or Monsters
  30. Write a paragraph describing each and fully stat them.
  31. Pick the most six common encounter type. (City Guard, Border Warders, Bloody Hand, Orcs) Write a paragraph and fully stat them.
  32. Scan your description for any regional organization and write a paragraph on them. Fully stat the most common encounters involved with them.
  33. Make up a rumor chart with 10 to 20 items that feeds the players into the encounter and plots you created in above.
  34. Identify major regions and create a random encounter chart for each (monsters, wildlife and NPCs).

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