Ok, let’s do this thing.
I already have the high-level concept for my wilderness / megadungeon campaign. Basically: it’s a hexcrawl on a medieval plague island, meaning that cities and towns are treated like dungeons because roughly 30% of buildings are boarded-up under quarantine and the plague is transforming the infected people inside those buildings into strange and unwholesome things.
“If you wanted to be really weird with it, you could say the disease starts seeping its way into architecture and changing the internal layout of buildings as well. Give yourself an excuse to make all those crazy dungeon layouts that are so fun to play.”
I really love this suggestion. So, over time, I’m going to have the disease cause weird organic growths to sprout up everywhere, transforming the internal architecture of each town’s plague quarter into fleshy meat-dungeons (probably using some of the tables put together for Xor).
If the PCs don’t fight back the infestation, then the meat-dungeons will slowly spread and link up across the island. There will also be a cult worshipping the plague, encouraging the infection to grow across the hexmap. So, basically, add Abomination: The Nemesis Project to my list of influences.
Anyway, I have some strong themes I hope will tie everything in the hexcrawl together (i.e. plague, disease, and mutation). I’ve selected my wilderness (Isle of the Unknown) and my megadungeon (Castle Gargantua). I’ve also decided to populate the map with a bunch of published LotFP adventures (luckily, I have a healthy collection at hand).
It’s time to start pencilling in some basic details. I’m not going to prep the entire hexcrawl (that way lies madness). Instead, I’ll start the players in a dungeon near the city of Vyones (Hex 2409) and work outwards from there.
Still, I think it would be helpful to at least have names for the most prominent features on the map: towns, rivers, and mountain ranges. That way I have the broad features of the island sketched out, and can go back later and add more details.
– Les Hiboux, pop. 1,500, hex 0410
– Ximes, pop. 5,500, hex 0416
– Flèches, pop. 1,900, hex 0506
– Coeur-sur-Mer, pop. 1,700, hex 0516
– Marais, pop. 5,300, hex 0603
– Sainte Crapauld, pop. 1,800, hex 0712
– Morraine, pop. 1,500, hex 0812
– La Frênaie, pop. 2,800, hex 0903
– Sainte Azédarac, pop. 2,600, hex 0907
– Blois, pop. 1,600, hex 1211
– Émaux, pop. 1,700, hex 1809
– Touraine, pop. 4,100, hex 1814
– Erlette, pop. 2,200, hex 2002
– Sainte Thierry, pop. 1,600, hex 2012
– Sainte Zenobie, pop. 1,800, hex 2103
– Vyones, pop. 19,100, hex 2409
In terms of mountains, the Isle of the Unknown is dominated by a single chain of mountains in the centre, very much like the real-world island it was based on: Corsica (the so-called “mountain in the sea”).
Again, I turned to the gazetteer of Averoigne, which mentions the “Collines d’Est”. That didn’t seem to fit an island, so I adapted it to the “Collines d’Averoigne” (I’ll be deliberately mixing up French, Occitan, and English words and placenames throughout, in order to carve out as much flexibility for myself when I need to make up names on the fly. Oh, and I do realise my French is appallingly bad).
Finally, for the rivers I did a quick Google for “rivers of Auvergne” (the region of France which Clark Ashton Smith may have based Averoigne on). I borrowed names from the smallest, most obscure rivers I could find (as well as throwing in the “Isoile” from the Averoigne gazetteer):
– River Isoile, hex 2105 to hex 2115
– River Jordanne, hex 2004 to hex 1412
– River Ambène, hex 1704 to hex 1411, then back to hex 1704
– River Tiretaine, hex 0703 to hex 1715
– River Ance, hex 1007 to hex 1140
– River Pavin, hex 0908 to hex 1116
– River Acolin, hex 0914 to hex 0916
– River Dolore, hex 1110 to hex 1316
– River Veyre, hex 0709 to hex 0716
That’s enough for now. Next I’ll be pondering Jeff Rients’ twenty quick questions for your campaign setting.