Tuesday, June 6, 2017

D&D Subway Maps

So this guy made a map of the old Roman Roads in the style of a modern subway map:
Click to enlarge obviously
This includes a lot of ancient trade routes and well-traveled paths, the details of which roads were formal "roads" with names (a lot of them) and which were sort of simplified or combined are on the page.

Some things about this style of map for D&D:

-Well it definitely makes things easier for players

-If overlaid onto a standard hex map, you get a difference between "traveling on the roads" and "wilderness" which should probably be reflected in terms of speed.

-The original idea of D&D hex-maps is the area was mostly untrammeled wilderness and you were exploring it. So if you wanted, you could draw a wide gameological difference between traveling on the road and not--so if you're not actually into the travel-slog and doing a political campaign and PCs are on the road you could declare that moving along a known trade route was like "2 encounter checks per populated area then you're there" or "2 encounter checks period" or even "if you use the main roads, you just get there, period, going off-road is for wilderness adventures".

-Each road can have its own encounter chart, based on geography (like the Via Claudia has all these amphibious encounters) or what the landmarks on the route are (like people on the Via Suicinaria are more likely to be amber traders).

-It's also just fun to describe a town as "Along the Via Aquitania just past Reims" or whatever.

-Routes also suggest plot hooks, like why isn't there a major road between Florence and Pisa? Impassable terrain? Are they at war? A monster lives where the road should be? Anyway someone should handle that.

-You could totally have a fantasy setting where things are called "The Blue Road", "The Grey Road" etc. or even do other visually identifiable things like "The Snaking Road", "The Straight Road" etc. to make it even easier for players to get what's going on. It's always fun when players start using the language inside the setting.

-Unless I'm mistaken, Yoon-Suin doesn't have a map like this, despite trade being a big deal in the way David describes the setting. Maybe surveying the land to lay down a trade road is a campaign.

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  1. Also... There is milestones along the roads every mile (miles come from "one thousand paces" in latin). At the center of the Empire there is a Golden Milestone marking the start of all roads. The milestones are usually numbered but some have only a name of some important guy.

  2. Maybe surveying the land to lay down a trade road is a campaign.

    One of my many "this would make for a great RPG campaign" unfinished (actually untouched) projects was to adapt Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon having the party being attached to an engineering project (either tracing a border, like in the novel or scouting/planning a road).

  3. @structured answer

    your comment's been deleted--

    you're banned for not addressing questions last time you commented--

    you need to have the conversation you started there before being allowed to comment again