Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Sample of Lost Eria

So here is a quick sample page that is representative of the level of detail I'm considering for the Lost Eria™ Gazetteer. This example just happens to be about a full page in length; some will be longer, and some will be shorter, depending on how important the nation is in the setting. But this hopefully serves to give the general gist of the level of detail I'm looking at (click to embiggen):


There is a "general" section that a GM can read, no more than a sentence or two, to give a mile-high view of the place. Then sections on history (with more detail as one approaches the current date), politics/society, economics, military, religion, and wrapping up with a handful of notable personages (again just the roughest possible thumbnail - a name, class and level, and what makes them notable).

The finished product will of course have art (including heraldry, naturally), and some ab-so-fragging-lutely incredible maps, but I wanted to get a gauge of what folks think about the level of detail. I'm trying to put in little tidbits that can be tied into adventures (in the above, things like the attempted Imperial Restoration, the war against the sahuagin, and current tensions with the free city of Traven). The idea is to leave those sorts of things not fleshed out in the gazetteer, but leave them as tantalizing nuggets that could be turned into adventures at some point (the tombs of the Imperial family on the island of Andermere, for example). 

I also want to set things up to support campaigns that involve more involved economic and military aspects (which in turn will be covered in-depth by the Adventures Great and Glorious™ rules supplement, coming out in late 2014 if I'm lucky).

My question is, does that seem like a reasonable amount of detail? Too much? Too little? Some glaring omission? Please let me know in the comments.

4 comments:

Joe Bardales said...

I like it - very reminiscent of the amount of detail in the early Greyhawk folio and box and even the original Forgotten Realms grey box. If you are considering suggestions, perhaps a section on a few of the more notable locations in the city - a particular temple, tavern, or guild house, for example, and maybe drop the names of notable NPCs at those locations and services provided.

jdh417 said...

I hesitate to make a suggestion, but you might want to concentrate your descriptions (on whatever level of setting detail) on the parts of the area that you find the most interesting and just expand on that.

This would likely produce some very unbalanced entries, maybe even to the point of breaking the format. The point would be to produce passionate, inspirational descriptions and leave less detailed areas to the reader's imagination.

Hamlet said...

I think that, for the most part, the level of detail is fine. It gives you enough to get going with the falvor and idea of the place, but leaves you plenty of room to make it your own, to hang your own decorations on the place. I see lots of ideas in that page that I can play around with and have a good time with.

Personally, I'd love to see descriptions of about this length and depth for all the major population centers, the big important ones at least. Everything else should get, maybe, a paragraph. And, depending on how the maps are to be, I'd say that there should be lots of little towns throughout that get nothing more than, perhaps, a population figure.

The only two changes that I'd add are:

1) I'd say that adding a section for "Underworld" and then "Sages and Mages" would be a good idea, the first to give a quick hint at some of the criminal elements that inhabit the area and the second to provide a bit more about the local casters if there are prominent names or clubs that need to be mentioned.

2) Other than the names and maybe the class, I'd give not any more detail on the big NPC's. Having such can quickly lead to "Forgotten Realms Syndrome," one of the symptoms of which is high level NPC's lurking all over the place. I understand that, according to the rules, there are going to be some in the woodwork, but I've always been a fan of what some companies did and just name the NPC's, but provide no other details. It was up to the DM to decide if these folks were high powered or just hacks.

Also, bonus points for using the word Manumission.

Tony said...

Very nice - quick, succinct, and easy to digest.

One additional entry I'd like to see in any Gazetteer-style resource is a CONFLICTS entry: a quick paragraph or short list of bullet points giving a high-level overview of areas of tension within the city/region.

These Conflict Points should be a variety of types:
1) Non-violent, but passionate trading house competitions.
2) Social issues - slavery, prohibitions against booze or drugs, "no horses within city walls" bans and the like.
3) Montague & Capulet hostilities that occasionally break into open brawls or murder. Preferably with no levels listed for NPCs to allow PCs of any level to get involved.
4) Sometimes violent outbreaks at sporting/gladiatorial events between mob factions.

The Conflicts entry should have less "adventure hooks" and more "news of the city" feel. Let the DM create adventure hooks based on the high-level city/region Conflicts. This also allows a DM to change/update Conflicts based on the PC's adventures.