January 12, 2017

Exploring Minaria

I'm still in awe of this map.  Not only is it beautifully drawn by David A. Tampier, but all the labeled areas are evocative and inspire my imagination.  Honestly, my imagination can use the help.  It's gotten a bit sluggish after years of neglect.  Just having this map out on the table while we are gaming seems to give me occasional flashes of inspiration.

Minaria is pretty big.  At 50 miles per hex it's going to take a few weeks to get from one end to another.  Heck, a 50 mile hex is a lot of hex just on it's own.  I could run a whole campaign in an area that size.  In the past year, the PCs have only left their hex of origin 2 or 3 times.

The PCs don't know it yet, but I think they are about to take a long journey.  Wingard the Wizard died recently (runes with Frost Trap) and his corpscicle was taken to Pennol on the Lake in the hopes that someone from the Church of the Gold Dragon would be willing to revive him.  I rolled reaction rolls as Wingard's petition for revival traveled up the church hierarchy, and everything was going well until the reaction roll for the Dragon Pope came up as "Immediate Attack" (yikes).  I couldn't think of a reason why the pope would want to block Wingard's revival (especially since it had such broad support otherwise), so I interpreted the pope's reaction roll to mean "Use Wingard to Attack Enemies".  Wingard was revived in a huge ceremony open to the public (and it only cost the PCs 3,000gp), but the Dragon Pope cast a quest spell on Wingard immediately afterward in the recuperation room while he was still at 1hp.  So far, Wingard's player is the only who knows about it (unless they read this).  We'll see what happens next at the game later tonight.

Anyhow, this got me thinking about how I want to encourage the group to explore more of the world, but at the same time I'm not going to use Quest spells and the like to railroad them into traveling to specific places (well... not often).  Then I remembered this post on Jeff's Gameblog about eXPloration, and I think it'll be perfect.  I'm going to simplify the hell out of it though.

New House Rule
Each character receives a 500xp bonus for their first encounter in each labeled area.

Nations, cities, anything with a label.  Ideally, I'd give different bonuses to different areas and write up flavor text for each one and switch up the requirements a bit as detailed in Jeff's post.  In reality though, I've got a game tonight and time is a factor.  I still have to figure out which quest the Dragon Pope tasked to Wingard.

Next I want to fill each of these labels with adventures by assigning/adapting the D&D modules I have sitting on my shelves.  I have about 15 or 20 in mind already, but I'm going to need to come up with a lot more.  I'm open to suggestions if anyone feels like helping out, especially free stuff as I am not a wealthy DM.  In the days ahead I'll be posting about each label and hex as I fill them.

Below is a list of all the labels on the map.  First are the nations and their cities.  Then the others are arranged by terrain type.

The Black Hand
*Tower of Zards

*Mines of Rosengg
*The Stone Face
Aws Noir
The Craig
The Gathering
The Shunned Vale
Kazadrad Thurahthume (Fondle Rock)

*Port Lork
Tadafat on the River
Castle Lapspell

Unseen University

*Castle Altarr
Lone Wirzor
The Gap Castle

*The Pits

*Ider Bolis

Addat at Surf’s End
The Shining Isle Boliske
Borak on the Moor

*Pennol on the Lake
Plibba on the Plain
Beolon on the Downs

*Fortress Marzarbol
Crow’s Nest
Heap in the Hills

*The Gulkus
Thores on the Rock
The Sunken City of Parros

*Walled City of Adeese
Zefnar on the Sea

Shards of Lor
Nithmere Mountains
Winter Rest
Ozerg Mountaineers
Choked in Snow Pass
The Mouth Pass
Shaker Mts.
Spires of the Eternal
Split Rock Pass
Mountains of Ice
Dry Mountains
Barriorr Mts.

High Marches
Frosted Downs
Wind Swept Downs
The Breaking
Waterless Downs
Worn Downs

Field of the Laughing Dead
Field of White Bones
The Unknown Army
The Wasted Dead
Lost City of Khos

Bad Axe
Wild Wood
The Cursed Forest
Tangle Root
The Great Forest Neuth
Border Forest
Shadow Wood
The Creeping Forest
Forest of the Lurking
Gorpin Woodsmen

Yando Rivermen
Mires of the Sinking Kind

Scrub Forest
Shrieker’s Scrub
The Scab
Thorn Flats

Wild Reaches
The Banished Lands
Blasted Heath
Waste of Vah-Ka-Ka
The Withering

The Ebbing
Flood Water
Well of Lered*
The River Sullen
The Deep River
Lake Carth*
The Wanderer
Melting Star*
River Rapid

Farnot Seafolk
Serpent Bay
The Sea of Drowning Men
Faces to the Sea
Sea of Zett

Stump Hole
Crater of the Punishing Star
Sacred Stones
The Temple of Kings
Witches’ Kitchen
Huts of the Scum
Isle of Fright
Tombs of Olde
Haunts of the Lepers
Stubstaff Keep
Forbidden Oasis
Spires of the Sun
Altars of Grey Staff

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