With the Nefarious Nine poised right on the edge
of exploring for the first time the big kahuna adventure site of the
Feral Shore, the city ruins of the Rusevin, my head is back in the
game around how to actually run such a beast.
Longtime readers will remember my attempts to untwist my head
around all the cognitive leaps one has to
take to do this effectively. The awkward scale problem—city ruins
teeter between the micro-exploration of the dungeon and the
macro-scale of wilderness crawls—was a major impediment and
naturally my mind when back to the pointcrawling model
that has been
a longstanding theme here.
Taking off from my last installment on
that subject (with a bit of restatement to remind both myself and
readers where this was going) here is the first part of the system I
will be using. A sanitized (and modified just enough to screw with
expectations) system for randomly stocking structures, encounters,
thematic elements, and other elements will be thrown out in a second
part of this series (and maybe a third if it goes overly long).
Point Scale and Types
Each Point Size represents an area of
the ruins roughly 100 yards by 100 yard squares. It is the top-level
representation of space in the ruins.
Each point, in theory, corresponds to a
nestled maps of standard four square/inch graph paper with 10-foot to
a square. In reality many Type 1-3 points will lack them altogether
or have geomorph stand-ins unless there is a significant adventure
site in the point. Some special sites with a high adventure site
density will have two nestled maps.
Types of Ruins Points (Color-Coded):
Type 1 (Red). Completely ruined
or razed area, walls and other structures indistinguishable and now
Type 2 (Orange). Completely
ruined areas. Surface areas nearly identical to Type 1 above (with
occasional free-standing walls), but underground areas (cellars,
dungeons and the like) may still be intact if rubble is cleared away.
Type 3 (Yellow). Mostly ruined
area. Some may walls exist and structures may be distinct but nearly
always lack roofs and upper stories. Underground areas may be
Type 4 (Green). Semi-ruined
area. A number of structures are relatively intact with roofs and
walls (though there may be holes in both). The relatively intact
structures will be interspersed with rubble or partially ruined
buildings. Underground areas are often existent.
Type 5 (Blue) Barely ruined
area. Most structures in the area are intact with minor neglect. Will
often be inhabited with recent repairs done by sentient locals.
With an unblocked line of sight,
characters can make out significant details up to 3 point
locations and general details (what type of ruin it is, large
structures, large-scale movement) up to 10 points away before being
Clear unruined points and Type 1-2
ruins do not obstruct line of sight. Type 3-5 obstruct it and the
line of sight will stop at that square. Large or high structures may
block line of sight, but will themselves be readily seen (naturally)
at the GM's discretion.
Climbing a roof or other elevated spot
will add a point of visibility for each 10 foot floor equivalent
Example: Gurgi, Master of Tables, is in
a Type 1 rubble field point. He can see through two points of the surrounding Type
1 squares (200 yards in each direction) but his line of sight after that is blocked by a ring of Type 4
buildings. The hirsute hireling climbs a ruined 30-foot bulbed tower and from that high point can see past the ring into two-points (or a further 200 yards) of Type 4 and 5 buildings in all directions.
Movement is assumed to be “exploration
speed” (cautious movement watching for critters and structure
details with mapping). Normal movement should be at twice speed and
running like hell at triple. Wandering monster checks will be at
“dungeon” levels (once per turn) in dangerous areas of the ruins
and once per three turns in “safer” areas (partially inhabited by
non-hostiles or mostly empty Type 1-2).
Dotted Line. Movement is
relatively free and often over a field of rubble. One turn to
Single Line. Small streets that
may have an occasional obstruction. One turn to traverse.
Double Line. Open avenues,
boulevards or obstruction-free roads. Half turn to traverse.
Broken Line. Movement is
difficult, perhaps only through thickly-rubbled and ruined roads. Two
turns to traverse.