I’ve been toying with the idea of Fantasy RPG survival guide for a while – and here’s the first post in the series. What I’m trying to achieve is a comprehensive guide for players and GMs who’d like to solve those matters in a more involved way than just “roll Survival (DC 15)”. In this series we’ll be covering all topics from assembling the party, sharing the loot, small unit tactics, wilderness survival, fighting different types of enemies, surviving a siege, building fortifications, to establishing your own kingdom. Basically, everything your character/party/NPC might need to be successful in the weird worlds of fantasy.
You’ve just left the fighter’s collage. Your mentor has just told you to go find your own path. You’ve just been kicked out of the circus. Your village has just been raided by goblins. You’ve just picked up your trusty sword, bow, dagger, or spellbook, and made your first step on the path to glory.
You’re a novice adventurer with little to no adventuring experience. Based on your background, you probably know a bit about combat, can chat up an innkeeper, can read and write, and have some more minor skills and a major destiny in front of you. In short, there’s hundreds of people just like you in this part of the kingdom alone, and in a year, half of them will be dead or retired.
At least for a historian. Seriously, those guys will raid your garbage bin and steal your receipts. And the humanity will be grateful. After a while. I’ve just put my hands on the last (well, fourth out of five, they weren’t delivered in the right order) volume of History of Private Life. It’s probably one of the best series about history ever written, especially if you’re interested in social changes, not the fates of battles and wars. And if there’s some study area I’d love more than social and cultural history, I haven’t found it yet.
If you love the Victorian era and feel disappointed you haven’t lived a century ago, don’t despair – many things did not change anyway. Might be useful for your steampunk and Victorian-era RPG worldbuilding!
Sure you want to draw a map for your campaign. Or your universe. I won’t be surprised if creating a map is where you actually want to start creating your world. Thankfully, there’s a book for that.
Well, theoretically there’s also an app for that (kind of), but first, let me tell you about this amazing book I’ve got. It’s called How to Draw Fantasy Art & RPG Maps by Jared Blando (published in 2015 by Impact Books), and its contents are pretty much what the cover says. As the publisher was so nice as to supply us with trailer for the book, take a look:
Inside this 128-page book you’ll find tips and tricks that will help you with hand-drawing your map – even if you’ve never tried it before. The entry level for this tutorial is fairly low; the whole process is split into small, easy to understand parts. The most complicated things – like border ornamentation, compasses, and heraldry are discussed in highly-detailed step-by-step tutorial. And after spending some time with the book, following the instructions, you’ll actually winish with a good map drawn all by yourself! It could, for example look like this:
I know the Internet is overflowing with free and paid tutorials for mapmaking; but there is a reason to give this book a chance. If not for the sake of having a book about fantasy cartography, then for the sake of having a complete, well-written, aesthetically-pleasing manual covering all of the important topics in the field. Just look at the table of contents:
Building Your World
Mountains, Forests, Rivers and Water
Town and City Icons
Heraldry and Shields
Putting It All Together
It’s the only complete manual for hand-drawn cartography, fantasy or not, that doesn’t give you this kind of meme-worthy instruction:
But what if I don’t want to draw my map with crayons?
So, you’re looking for an app. Sure, there are some.We’ll get to it next week, shall we?