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Author Topic: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?  (Read 1425 times)

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Offline Wolfhound

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No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« on: July 24, 2013, 11:08:40 AM »
I recently imported into the No Quarter document the maps for the second castle (one of several large locations covered by the module) and started working on the descriptions for this.  However I'm a bit puzzled as to how best to handle this.  I emailed Nicholas about it and he suggested that I post in the forums to get the opinions of others on the subject...

So here is the problem:  For the first large castle (>100 rooms/areas) I have 7 area maps/floorplans and I detailed each area using a letter-number designation, with the letter indicating which map (level of the castle/dungeon/etc.) and the number indicating the specific location on that "level" which worked well.  This type of designation is used quite frequently in modules, so is a tried and true method.  However the second castle is much larger (several hundred rooms/areas).  It not only has more levels, but each level is large enough that the floor plan needs to be split into sections (there is a single "Grounds" map that shows how the parts fit together while also showing the wall structure and topography of the large hill that it sits on and its surroundings, then there is a central structure, each of four different "wings" that extend of of the central structure, the gatehouse and towers, the many wall towers, as well as the dungeon levels beneath, all with multiple levels).  And the maps for each level of each section are such that combining all the sections into a single level map the map scale would be such that the detail would be too small (would not even be able to fit numbers into many of the smaller rooms that would be readable).  Thus the letter-number designation will not work for this as there are not enough letters in the alphabet (even if both upper and lower case were used) for each area-level map.  And if I switched to a number-letter designation, then there are not enough letters for the number of rooms that are in some of the area-level maps. 

I started detailing it using the technique explained in the next paragraph, however after thinking about it is different than what is normal for such descriptions, so I'm wondering if it is such a good idea.  I also don't want to give away too much of the plot/story-line, but the way things play out, some of the locations will be entered by the characters more than once (in fact this particular castle, there is a good chance that the characters will be in it at least three different times under three very different conditions, and thus there will be (in many cases in this particular castle, as well as in another large location (a huge cavern/mine/dwarven-city complex) later in the module). 

What I'm currently doing is simply writing up a description of each area-level map.  Trying to describe it such that it is obvious which rooms are set up how and only the things that will be the same regardless of which "situation" or "state" it is in.  Then my plan is to then include 3 or more paragraphs covering the changes from one "situation" or "state" to another. 

As such this is a little different than the typical way of laying out descriptions for modules.  It seems to me that is should work for those GM's who read things over thoroughly so that they fully understand each larger area before the characters ever enter that area.  However I wanted to find out if others feel that such a way of handling things might be too complicated or not easy to follow. 

So please provide feedback as to your thoughts on this subject here.  I'll also be posting links to this thread in other threads that discuss layout and such. 
Wolfhound (aka Aaron Smalley)
RM fan since the early 80s
www.Guild Companion.com (Writer/Spacemaster Editor)
World of Aernth/Channel Cities setting: www.ChannelCities.com
City of Archendurn & Dun Cru author (for RM/HARP)
Cur. proj: No Quarter Under the Crown

Offline Ironmaul

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 04:02:55 PM »
Have you considered colour code for the maps?
What about a ref code such as ET0302=East tower, level 3, room 2.
Is the module intended for print or PDF?
Is it a hand drawn, digital/software or vector map?

I think a reference code is your best bet. Hope that helps.

Offline Wolfhound

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 04:22:52 PM »
Nope, had not thought about something like that.  But that might work, although there are 14 towers in all (8 wall towers and 6 that are part of the castle structure itself). 

If the general consensus (hopefully others will let me know their thoughts as well on the subject) is to use that type of a format then I'll try to work out how to make such an idea work.  Thanks
Wolfhound (aka Aaron Smalley)
RM fan since the early 80s
www.Guild Companion.com (Writer/Spacemaster Editor)
World of Aernth/Channel Cities setting: www.ChannelCities.com
City of Archendurn & Dun Cru author (for RM/HARP)
Cur. proj: No Quarter Under the Crown

Offline Cory Magel

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 06:20:44 PM »
How I would likely go at it... (a few possible ways depending).


1. Number things by section or wing.  For example "West Living Quarters Wing, Rooms 1-XXX" and "East Barracks, Rooms 1-XXX"
2. Just number everything in progression. That could get excessive, but it's the only SURE way for someone to never get confused about which room they are looking at in the documentation.
3. Number everything 1-XXX for each level.   So you have "Level 1, Rooms 1-XXX." and "Level 2, Rooms 1-XXX."
4. Only number rooms that are of any real importance.  So, you could have numbered rooms that are relevant, then have a set of letters that refer back to a generic description of a common room.  So, "A" could be a typical bedroom, "B" could be a privy, "C" could be generic storage (for whatever is nearby), "D" could be a guard room, "E" could be a kitchen, etc.
- Cory Magel

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Offline Grinnen Baeritt

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 07:00:35 PM »
If the map is that large, then, surely a overview map, could identify  the key areas and code those as prefixes?.

Then use the same prefix code on the smaller scale maps. Where a map element interlinks with another keyed area, (normally happens at the extremities of a map) then simply put a link e.g. go to map #02 area 023 (which could be written 02023.

The room codes would then be numbered 1-999, with a 2 digit prefix (allowing for up to 99 mapped key areas)

Offline markc

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 12:12:09 AM »
 I like what Cory Magel has proposed above.
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Offline markc

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 12:24:59 AM »
 After reading the forums some more I was thinking how did a classic like the old Ravenloft module do it? If I remember right it was done by structure or structure and level.
 IIRC the old Judges Guild area products had either a 1 or 2 letter code followed by 3 numbers. But I could be wrong as it has been a long time since I looked at one of those products. Maybe I should go dig and see if I can find one of my old ones.
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Offline Wolfhound

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 07:20:20 AM »
Thanks for all the responses.  It sounds like people would generally prefer that I do include some sort of numbering system for at least the important rooms.  Got some very good suggestions and I'm thinking that I'll use an expanded method of the system that I used in the first smaller castle.  Several people suggested using this type of solution and it does make sense to me.  Thus I'm currently planing on using a combination of letters to designate each section-map and level, then a number to designate each room. 

Another suggestion I got was to use the same number for multiple rooms that are very similar and to use tables to help randomize details/contents of each such room, which also sounds like a good idea.  So I will likely use this type of a technique as well. 

Again thanks for all the suggestions.  A couple of others had good suggestions that would take longer and more work to implement, such as the color coding idea or creating much larger maps and using a coordinate system (I do use a technique similar to this for the Channel Cities maps in things that I write for that portion of the setting, which results in a regional grid of "districts" that I then map out individually for each district).  While these ideas are good, it would involve re-doing the maps that already have hundreds of hours into their design, so I'd rather avoid going that route.  But otherwise I did like those suggestions and may try to keep them in mind for possible future use.   
Wolfhound (aka Aaron Smalley)
RM fan since the early 80s
www.Guild Companion.com (Writer/Spacemaster Editor)
World of Aernth/Channel Cities setting: www.ChannelCities.com
City of Archendurn & Dun Cru author (for RM/HARP)
Cur. proj: No Quarter Under the Crown

Offline Cory Magel

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 12:05:15 PM »
Yeah, a grid layout (like in the Thomas Guides) works for an area map (world, kingdom, city, etc), but no really for actual floor plans.

I personally just number everything from one on and have separate lettering for generic rooms ... but then, I haven't designed a single structure with multiples of hundreds of rooms.  I'd probably start splitting up sections of it then somehow too.
- Cory Magel

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Offline Wolfhound

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2013, 08:15:35 PM »
Okay, I've come up with a system that I think will work except for one problem...  I want to minimize the letters & numbers used (so it isn't too long of a string of letters and numbers), so I've developed the following format (based on suggestions from many of you) XX#-##, where the first two digits are letters to indicate the section of the castle, the first number (before the dash) indicates the level of that section, and the last two numbers designate individual rooms or locations of special interest within larger rooms.

Thus:
Central Structure- CS
Royal Wing (north-west)- RW
Chapel Wing (north-east)- CW
Stable Wing (south-west)- SW
Library/Barracks Wing (south-east)- LW
Gate House- GH
East Wall Tower- EW
West Wall Tower- WW
North-East Wall Tower- NE
North-West Wall Tower- NW
South-East Wall Tower- SE
South-West Wall Tower- SW

But the problem is the fact that there are two "SW"s.  So I need suggestions for alternatives to "S" for "Stable" (as in a place to house horses and other animals) or "W" for "Wing" (as in a large extension off of an even larger building). 

Either that or I need to change all of the N-North and S-South designations (throughout the entire module, including dozens of other maps and floor-plan diagrams) to T-That'a'way and D-Da'other'way... (yes, I know, a very poor attempt at humor there)...

Suggestions?  Ideas?
Wolfhound (aka Aaron Smalley)
RM fan since the early 80s
www.Guild Companion.com (Writer/Spacemaster Editor)
World of Aernth/Channel Cities setting: www.ChannelCities.com
City of Archendurn & Dun Cru author (for RM/HARP)
Cur. proj: No Quarter Under the Crown

Offline Cory Magel

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2013, 11:18:42 AM »
I just wouldn't designate it as a 'wing' and just call it the 'stable' using ST as the indicator.  Or maybe "The Stable" with a TS?
- Cory Magel

Game design priority: Fun > Balance > Realism (> = greater than).
(Channeling Companion, RMQ 1 & 2, and various Guild Companion articles author).

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Offline kickingbottom

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2013, 07:38:42 PM »
How about as there are 4, instead of calling them Wings,  call them quarters.

So
SQ - Stable Quarter
LQ - Library Quarter
RQ - Royal Quarter
CQ - Chapel Quarter

Offline Wolfhound

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2013, 09:16:58 PM »
I like both of those ideas also, while the ST idea kind of messes with the location designation at least it would work to solve the problem and keep it at two letters versus three, and the changing to "quarter" vs "wing" designation (especially with, as you put it kickingbottom, there being four such extensions) being an interesting idea. 

And welcome to the forums kickingbottom
Wolfhound (aka Aaron Smalley)
RM fan since the early 80s
www.Guild Companion.com (Writer/Spacemaster Editor)
World of Aernth/Channel Cities setting: www.ChannelCities.com
City of Archendurn & Dun Cru author (for RM/HARP)
Cur. proj: No Quarter Under the Crown

Offline markc

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Re: No Quarter Layout/Descriptions question?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2013, 06:52:37 AM »
Yes I will 2nd that, welcome to the ICE Forums.
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Use a System to tell the story do not let the system play you.

 

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