Monday, January 24, 2011

Hungarian RPG now in English!

Good news! Gabor has published a rules light translation of his Hungarian role playing game Kard és Mágia which I blogged about here. Now I can take that long standing backburner project off the stove entirely. You can get Gabor's translation from here. I am sure Gabor did a much better job than I could, after all he actually speaks Hungarian ;)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Henrich's Barony and the World

Some more stuff from the first Campaign She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed played in so long ago. First is the wilderness map surrounding Henrich's castle. Henrich's  castle is the crown near the eastern edge. Numbers are villages and mines. One of the numbers is Montgomery the Mage's tower (I'll have to ask She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed which one some time. You''ll see more about Mongomery's Tower in a future post).

Next is the Map of the entire Continent stitched together from several maps of different scales. She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed informs me that since she had to draw the maps by borrowing Jerry's Ref maps while they were playing the area they played the most (the NW quadrant) has the least detail. Luckiy she had some detail maps of the area near Henrich's castle. She also points out that the islands NW of Henrich's castle weren't there originally. However, when one of the players complained that there were no islands left for him to put a castle on, Jerry the DM said "I can fix that that!" pulled out his pens and then there were islands NW of Henrich's castle. **Note: Revised Map posted 2/1/2011***

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mapping the World with Hexes

****** Warning this post contains mathematics and computer science ******
Working on my old world maps has raised some interesting questions once again, long neglected by real world cartographers like:
How wide are the Rocky Mountains?
How many real world cities fit in a 5 mile hex?
The first step to answering these questions is to lay out the real world on a hex grid. Since the world is really big we need hex which really small, which is the first step.

Pixelating the Hex
After scanning my current 10 hex to inch hex paper into the computer and wasting two hours trying to clean the smudges by repainting the image pixel by pixel I concluded there had to be a better way. I started to work on laying out the smallest pixel pattern I could create which would preserve a hex shape. The hex shape can be build from a 30 60 right triangle. The geometry of this triangle such that if longest side is 1 the shortest side is 0.5 which is quite nice. However, the other side is the square root of 3 over 2 an inconvenient irrational number about 0.866 to three decimal places. All computer scientist know an irrational number is very hard to draw in pixels because one can only use an integral number of pixels per drawing Luckily for me I discovered that the ratio 6/7 (0.857 to three decimal places) is very close (99% of 0.866). I therefore proceeded to lay out a pixel patten for a grid based on the 6/7 ratio. Here is the result
 A  pixel pattern 12 squares high by 20 squares wide. Note: the bottom line is part of the next pattern I just left it in so I could see the hex. A little jagged you may say but take a look at in the next picture (Original is at 140 ppi, your ppi may vary depending on your screen). It really looks like hexes.

Here's an 8.5" by 11" sheet gridded at 20 hexes to the inch. Use with caution! To quote She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed "I wanted to look, but I wish I hadn't". Perhaps it is less headache inducing in a different color. Feel free to experiment yourselves. I am going to use it mostly as a digital overlay for other things. 

Finally as the penultimate goal of our project, here the grid superimposed over a nice Dymaxion world map in public domain. I like Dymaxion maps because they are based on mapping the world to a d20 and are composed of equilateral triangles which fit nicely with hexes. You can read more about them here and here. The map is 2008 pixels wide which for a d20 is half the circumference of the earth or roughly 12,450 miles. This works out to 6.2 per pixel, or at our 12 pixels per hex, 74 miles per hex. Enjoy!

P.S. Future projects may include reworking the map to 50 miles per hex; getting height and vegetation maps to more accurately find mountains, forests, and deserts; scaling portions up to a 5 mile per hex resolution. However this is about all the math I take for now.
Errata: When I posted this morning I had claimed 7 pixels per hex or 43 miles, My pixel grid is actually 7 pixels per side and 12 pixels across or 74 miles per hex.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Henrich's Fortress

My posting of my River kingdoms maps brought some memories back from She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed. She has the following to say about Castles and wilderness campaigns:

The first campaign I was in was under the original D& D rules. Wilderness was new then and our ref had bought nine pieces of heavy weight hex paper, each measuring two feet by three feet.

When we met to play he would lay them out on the carpet and we would sit on the floor to play. It was an impressive graphic which added a lot to the atmosphere of the game. But we liked the map so much we did not go into any dungeon. “We found another treasure map? I sell it to the npc.” Our ref despaired. So once one of my characters made fifth level he persuaded me to found a barony. The thinking here was that it would make me poor and force me to go adventuring in the dungeons to keep solvent. He also had some untried roll-up charts about finding mines in your barony. Long story short the mines made me wealthy and I never did set foot in a dungeon while in his campaign.

I remember asking about trade. I had to include an existing road and buy a company. My notes include comments about making and selling carts at 100 gold each and buying cart horses for 30 gold each from another player. I had seven villages, five of humans, one of elves, but the one village on the road was composed of dwarfs. After that every cart driver we encountered was a dwarf.

This campaign is the only one I have played in where I created a stronghold. I had to not only draw up the fortress but also compose a coat of arms for my character and keep the monthly books. My mage decided to work a deal with my fighter so he could put up a tower within the patrolled land and not need to go through the agony of clearing land, keeping troops or making me keep more books. I also had a cleric and he settled next to my friend who played the dwarf king up on Frog Island. The king (and his army) graciously accompanied my cleric while land clearing. When the ref rolled up the races in my villages his bemused look attracted our attention. “They are ALL dwarfs.” He told us.
And here's a picture of  the fortress her fighter Henrich build with the money from the mines:

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