Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Building Campaign Maps 5

Having mapped the information known to the players, the next step is to flesh out the map with minor towns, villages and connecting roads.

First I create a new Layer "Minor_Features" to contain the information.  The next decision to make is how many minor towns and villages will there be?  First I'll draw a distinction between small towns and villages; small towns for this exercise are independent communities, while villages are dependent on a larger urban area for a market.  I'll site small towns, such as Claudina and Masio Scampa on the route of the Via Egnatia the same way I sited the large towns and cities. 

For villages, I'll steal an idea from Warhammer FRP, and generate a random number of villages around each of the cities and towns.  Warhammer FRP  used the rule 4d6 villages around a city, but they were looking at population centers over 10,000, whereas Apollonia and Epidamnus are in the 5,000 - 10,000 population range.  So I'll use 2d6 for them and 1d6 for Lissus and Lychnidus.

Siting the villages will be done with some random rolls, one to determine the direction on the hex grid, the next to give an approximate distance.  Then I'll look for a natural feature, such as a river or valley and choose a hex in that area.

Another random number gives me the first letter of the village name, from there I'll choose one from lists of Greek and Illyrian place names available online.

After plotting them on the Minor_Features layer, I'll use the Path tool in GIMP to draw dashed lines for trails between the villages and towns.  The final effort looks like this.

If you compare this map to the version in the previous post in this series, you'll notice that the major roads have been redrawn in black. I liked the effect of the Path tool, better than the hand drawn ones I had done earlier. Good thing I had the foresight to put them on a different level than the terrain, it made deleting them a breeze with no terrain to carefully rebuild like I did when I removed the modern infrastructure.

I still have all the villages in the southern part of the map to add and some more trails to this layer, but that's just finishing it off.  If I come up with a new technique I'll post about it.


  1. This is really cool. Google Maps has done a lot of the work for you. Though I do enjoy drawing up my maps by hand, I'll have to try this out someday.

  2. Thanks, the techniques will work with any background image. And congratulations on getting to the end of your story, although finishing the book I suspect is a ways away still.