Friday, 28 August 2020

[STUFF] Gloomywood: One-Afternoon Micro-Setting

Fearful Pesunts Fantasy
How much of a micro-setting can you do under an afternoon and evening? About this much. After getting myself worked up about the remarkably vacuous Vallakia zine, I decided on an experiment to see if I could make a playable, coherent mini-setting in a minimum amount of time. Thus is born Gloomywood, land of Ruritanian monster movie clichés. In truth, it could be longer, if not for some procrastination – I could have thrown in a dungeon or two. It is not the best thing I could do, but not bad for a day’s creative work either. There are ideas, springboards for action, agendas and connections, a rumours chart (most of it to inspire both GM and players). It is sandboxy. And it begs the real question: why isn’t something like this the minimum barrier for publishing something? Consider it.

Gloomywood 1.1 – PDF (3.8 MB PDF)

Hexmap

13 comments:

  1. I definitely get a Hammer House of Horror vibe here. It's rich in personalities (a specialty of yours) and it achieves a level of gloom lacking in something official like Ravenloft. Truth is, I don't know how you and Bryce have the patience to read so much bad stuff. If I don't like something after one paragraph, I stop. Anyway, well done.

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    1. Thanks! I have a lot less patience than Bryce - his reviews cover a wide range; mine only focus on things I picked up, and at least wanted to like.

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  2. The original 1990 Ravenloft has plenty (and even levels of) gloom, though the later supplements at the end of the TSR era couldn't all escape the shortcomings of the period.

    Anyway, the above goes to show that a decent GM can hack together a setting that works reasonably well in a couple of hours, and that's for published materials, where one needs to put down the content in writing in some way. What about in-house stuff existing mostly in the GM's head, extrapolated from a handful of notes when needed? That brings up the age-old question, how much of a setting you really need?

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  3. Quick note: I have updated the map and PDF to correct a few elementary editing mistakes (missing place labels and a misplaced title). The content remains what it was.

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  4. Nicely done for one afternoon.

    "why isn’t something like this the minimum barrier for publishing something?"

    Because some people simply don't care about quality.
    Though part of me wants to believe that such people honestly don'T know any better.
    I once had a eye-opening conversation with a dude on some small, local convention. He went on and on about is homebrew and how he had spent the last 6 years carefully writing a setting book about it and how he would publish it in the next few months and yada, yada, yada.
    Only problem? His setting was quite literally Lord of the Rings with a flipped map. Not one ounce of originality or creativity in there.
    Still the dude though he had just written the best setting ever.

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  5. This is just a wonderful demonstration of someone who cares v.s. dreck...
    And cynical me thinks it is less "self absorption" (as in Grutzi's example), but more cash grab.

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  6. Even in this shape I'm more excited to run this than the 5e Ravenloft book (which I did end up running and being bored by).

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    1. Same here, after reading Curse if Strahd, I gave the book away for free.
      Noe THIS here just begs me to fill in the blanks.

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  7. This might just inspire me to fully develope the threads presented into something more solidified, and build a full conspiracy. I gather that's the intention. Well done!

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  8. Thank you so much for Gloomywood! I would like to ask if you just have a black and white map instead of the color may as it is almost impossible to read when printed on a black and white printer, thanks.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words! Unfortunately, I made the map with the free version of Hexographer, which only has this one tileset. The best I could do is turn the map into greyscale and crank up the contrast: https://64.media.tumblr.com/6648cf463fc08a2e83d1fa2de96807ea/406f555faa0b83cc-b2/s2048x3072/fdca53acd6aeec341de97ff52928df5466ee3105.png
      This should print better, even though the mountains/forests contrast is off. The original Hexographer file is here if someone wants to play around with it: https://mega.nz/file/4wp1FYAJ#D6l2bE9PNS0upP045Ef2zc3z7BxKEXrD_ND_TcNODJw

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    2. Thank you so much for the grayscale version! It should work out much better for me then the color version.

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  9. It's strange, opening an RPG product and seeing Slovak names in it. I appreciate that. :) Just wanted to post a shout-out to all the Central European gamers around (I'm Czech).

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