Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tex-Crawl/Gorgon Trail Backgrounds & Vocations

One of the first things I like to do these days when I’m contemplating Settings is to start with player facing materials.

For the Tex-Crawl project, Gorgon Trail (a Mystara-sytle Gazetteer for fantasy Texas) I went ahead and created an updated “Backgrounds & Vocations” list that tries to do some of the heavy lifting to communicate setting during Character Generation:

Ideally, as with the previous Backgrounds, these should create more questions than they answer and telegraph more of the entire world more quickly than a huge setting dump. It is also interesting to see which Backgrounds/Vocations are broadly applicable despite the setting, and how a simple tweak can completely change the tone.

The actual Gazetteer is going on 36 pages so far, and the sections on some of the really intriguing things (like how Clerics are handled, Rune-Branding, Barbed-Wire Wizards, and Hooch Magic) have been completed in their draft forms. It’s all very tongue and cheek, and the authorial voice/heavy use of idiomatic expressions is having the strange side-effect of my latent accent creep out in conversation :). I’m having to resist the urge to just go full on TROIKA! with these Backgrounds instead of something broadly compatible with B/X.


  1. Oh, wow. I've been plodding along similar headspace (a mythic texas-flavored kitchen sink for my B/X-plus-house-rules hack). I've got a Texas-based hex map that the guy that does Crowbar and Brick put together for me from GIS data (coast has been moved inland just a bit as I flooded the world to 60 m), with and without (most) towns marked with fantasy city/castle icons if that might be useful to your project.

    1. Great Minds! :)
      That does sound extremely relevant to my interests and right up my alley. I'm not positively committed to a "real world" overlay, but I'm definitely curious about how that came out. Cartography is generally something I save for last and sketch lightly at most (once something is thoroughly mapped, it can sometimes cease to be as fantastical), but that could have just been me taking the easy way out :). I think my initial inkling was to go with some general Hex-Keying of some key regional areas, but it's still early days for that part.
      If you're interested in seeing the "in progress/draft" document, let me know!

  2. Anyplace that features a town called "Cut and Shoot" has one foot firmly grounded in fantasy.

    Totally interested in seeing that draft! The professions chart is totally yoinked already - it's also super useful for NPCs.

    Link to a slice of the map close to where I live IRL: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dYz-9RGSmTFjGSOASc-jEvUqPbsNQ01c

    The map isn't totally grounded in reality - I've made some changes to suit my idiosyncratic world building, but the little numbers by the hex are real latitude and longitude, which is helpful in locating the right topo map from the University of Texas' online set of texas topographical maps, in case I need to zoom in closer than 1 hex = 6 miles.

    1. That looks brilliant! Some of the names around these parts definitely lend themselves to a fantasy imagining :). I haven't been down that far south in a spell for sure :).

      Here's a recent "in-progress" draft for you to take a gander at: Gorgon Trail - Draft

      I'm really just spitting things out as I think of them, and as you'll see am firmly in need of a second pass or so and am procrastinating with any editing at this stage :). As I've mentioned, it's pretty tongue-in-cheek (with a distinctive authorial voice and everything), and there's a fair amount of humor that probably is only decipherable to natives :). By saddling myself with this project, I kind of wanted to embrace the things that make Texas so distinctive while still keeping things relatively portable and consumable.

      I've had a lot of fun "translating" the Texan idiomatic expressions and trying to stretch things to fit in places and subvert some tropes. Right now it's a bit of a mish-mash of subsystems that are broadly compatible with B/X etc. I haven't really settled on a favorite obviously, and I tend to prefer things to have a different feel via system (as in the different types of Magic, etc).

      I'm always down for more collaboration on projects like these. Definitely value any feedback and would love to hear what parts of this might be useful for you or if there are any items you'd like to see me turn my attentions to :).

  3. Said distinctive voice being Gabby Hayes.

    I really like the three magic systems. Despite the magnitude of the setting investment required, I've been working out how to integrate devil wire into my campaign plan. It fits so beautifully I wish I had thought of it.

    Thanks for the peek.

  4. This is really imaginative and just the experience I'm craving. It reminds me of the Anomalous Subsurface Environment B/X books! Link: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/PatW

    I'm looking to run some interesting things for an upcoming small game convention. I'm tempted to run a b/x or Troika one-shot based on this. Thanks for sharing! I'll let you know if I do run something with it :)



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