Creating a fantasy world from scratch is a difficult task. Building in such a way that the cultures interact with the terrain (which is itself realistic) and the logic behind monster placement and trade dynamics fits snugly into the history is complex. And, in my mind, really exceptionally boring. That map of the continent that you spent so much time on becomes a burden rather than a pleasure - a catalog of places and things to look up rather than vast territories to explore.
What I'm going to attempt to do with Eradu (what I'm calling this setting) is not create an exhaustive map and list of everything in the world, but capture some flavor and theme and create tools for building an area for adventure. I've been inspired by the OSR movement in general, the resurgence of Hex Crawling, Vornheim, Torchbearer, and even things like a game of Settlers of Catan where discovery of the terrain is half the fun.
I want to build all of this based around the new HackMaster rules. But even those I want to streamline. They are awesome, don't get me wrong, but I want them to be less about the min-max and more about the hard choices that the game espouses. I'll include my house rules as well.
Map as Inspiration
|While above I just called out large scale maps as a problem, I'll also be the first to admit they can be completely inspiring. So, to get things rolling, I popped over to donjon.bin.sh and kicked out a world map. I'll zoom in and add some details while creating and using the Worldkit Tools.
Just glancing at this pile of pixels I've got a few ideas brewing. Of course, without some explicit direction, Eradu might just become another cookie cutter environment. I don't think I can let that happen. The map is inspiration for sweeping features. No need to detail everything (or anything for that matter) at this point.