Monday, July 10, 2017

Under Portown: A Map of Portown

When looking at the description of Portown as presented in Holmes, there are only a couple of features that are explicitly known:

  • The ruins of the Tower of Zenopus are west of town sitting on top of a hill overlooking some sea cliffs and next to a graveyard.
  • Other Magic-users have moved to town.
  • Portown is a small city, but busy being a hub where caravans deliver goods to ships that venture into hostile, pirate-infested waters to the north.
  • Portown is cosmopolitan with both human and non-human inhabitants from all over the world.
  • The Green Dragon Inn is popular enough that adventurers gather there to organize expeditions.

In trying to take this information and turn it into a usable map, I have found that the urban hex-crawl style of map has several really nice features.

  • Placing specific details, like the tower ruins and the Green Dragon Inn are a breeze because those are abstracted into an existing hex with the proper theme. I need only make sure that the “Necropolis” hex (where the Sample Dungeon will be found) is on the west end of town and nest to the sea.
  • Less specific details, such as magic-users moving to the area are also a breeze to incorporate. I just need a hex that is appropriately scholarly, such as a “University District” hex.
  • Larger concepts, such as the trade route, are also easy to portray with hexes that have to do with such trade such as “Port” and “Bazaar.”
  • Lastly, if one wants to either enlarge or further detail a city later on, it is as easy as adding a few more hexes. For example, here is what could be termed a “Small but busy City:”

I know the numbering is off, it will make sense below

Hexes include: Port, Olde Town, Bazaar,Burgher’s District, Palace District,University District, Necropolis, The Ancient City, Inn Way, Tent City and Tavern Row.

I, however, want even more city to explore and I also want more potential for political intrigue. Therefore, I decided to add the following:

Hexes include: Monastery District, Barracks Row, Guildhalls and Business District

I then remembered I didn’t have slums or place where a Thieves’ Guild might find home so I added some more:

Hexes include: Lower Guildhalls, Upper Slums, Thieves’ Quarter and Lower Slums.

Here is the final key for the map:
  1. Port
  2. Olde Town
  3. Bazaar
  4. Burgher’s District
  5. Palace District
  6. University District
  7. Necropolis
  8. The Ancient City
  9. Inn Way
  10. Monastery District
  11. Barracks Row
  12. Upper Guildhalls (so called because of its relative elevation)
  13. Business District
  14. Tent City (so called because this is where caravans make camp while transferring their goods)
  15. Tavern Row
  16. Lower Guildhalls (so called because of its relative elevation and the fact that its takes are not as high class as the Upper Guildhalls)
  17. Upper Slums (so called because of its relative elevation and due to the influence of the monasteries)
  18. Thieves’ Quarter
  19. Lower Slums (so called because of its relative elevation and due to the influence of the Thieves' Guild).

Overall, this method of city mapping/city building is really user friendly.

Please note: as I proceed with this particular project, I will be assuming that the larger picture within which Portown is placed will correspond with my earlier work of trying to piece together Holmes' Sample Dungeon and Cook's map of the Known World.

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