Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Map of Averoigne

Here is the map I've been fiddling around with. Those of you who are acquainted with the works of Clark Ashton Smith will note that I have changed most of the place names. This, of course, is done on purpose. While I am quite inspired by Smith's work (obviously), I have little desire to traipse about the original version of Averoigne. Whether or not I like it, whether or not it is existentially true, I feel restricted by trying to stay true to someone else's creation. As I have noted before, running any RPG requires letting go of creative control. The truly rewarding part of play is the surprise of letting players do their thing. 

In order to permit myself the freedom to let go and just allow play to naturally develop as the creativity of various people affect the campaign world, I mentally need to divorce a world from its source material. Changing the name of Ximes to Ximera is a small and easy way to do this. This version of Averoigne stops being Smith's and becomes mine. In doing an homage, rather than a simulation, I have complete creative control and therefore the freedom to completely let go of that control. With a simulation, I never can get over the fact that though I play at having complete control, this world doesn't entirely belong to me.

Intriguingly, James over at Grognardia today tries to make the case that it is possible to play around in another's creation. The example he gives is a Judge's Guild module (The Nightmare Maze of Jigrésh) created for EPT. He argues that its relative banality proves that it is possible to run a campaign in Tékumel without getting bogged down in the minutia of Barker's creation.

I don't doubt that this is true. The number of successful Greyhawk campaigns through the years demonstrate its inherent truth. Despite the relative ease we all have with understanding the assumed culture of Greyhawk vs. the complexity of Tékumel they are both someone else's creation

I, for one, however, prefer the freedom of doing an homage rather than a simulation.


Miranda said...

Love the look of the map. I assume it's supposed to resemble the one for Divine Right. What program did you use to create it?

I've been thinking of using a similar style for my own homebrew setting which is at least partly inspired by the Averoigne stories. While I love all of CAS's big settings, Averoigne is my favorite.

ERIC! said...

I share you view here in developing the campaign world,allowing the players to share in and develop their own stories helps create a more living breathing world in my opinion.

I'm a old Forgotten Realms player and one of the big things we always did in our games is remove the big NPCs from the world. No Eliminsters' or Drizzts'.

My own campaign world is a hodge podge of old games and player ideas along with favorite novels and movies.


FrDave said...

Thanks. I love the look of the Divine Right map and do indeed ape its style. I use an old copy of Adobe Illustrator from my days as a graphic designer.

My own campaign world is a hodge podge of old games and player ideas along with favorite novels and movies.
In my humble opinion, this usually describes some of the best FRPG campaigns out there.

Alex Osias said...

Wow, the font used (heck, the whole map except for the hexes) reminds me of the Ravenloft setting maps. That's a good thing, by the way -- always loved how the map set some of the mood.

I empathize with the name changes; did the same thing for my take on Mystara.

Scott said...

Averoigne isn't my favorite CAS setting - that'd be Zothique or Hyperborea - but it's the only cycle I'm planning to use as inspiration for the current thing I'm working on. I need to sit down some time with the stories and do a quick note-taking skim.

(Maybe I should do an "Appendix N" post re: the current campaign.)

Legion said...

Can you recommend a good multi-story book for Averoigne? I'd like to check it out.

FrDave said...

If you don't mind reading your computer screen (or have something like an ipad), you can find a treasure trove of CAS material at:

Legion said...

Thanks much.