Three decks of random fantasy locations, also usable as standard playing cards. Quickly generate new ideas for your stories or games. Read more
This project was successfully funded on November 24, 2013.
Campaigning - Hexcrawls and Major Arcana
Using the cards for hex crawls
Hex crawling can be a fun way to run a campaign - it's very open and freeform, without being totally devoid of structure. It often involves a lot of up-front work for the GM though, in drawing maps and working out what is where in directions the PCs may not even bother to go - you can guarantee that if you plan for your players to choose a, b, or c, they will instead pick 7! This is where our cards come in - they can simplify lot of the work of planning.
The Simple Way
You could draw a card whenever the characters enter a new hex and play with practically no preparation (assuming you can build any encounters on the fly, of course - otherwise you would do well to pre-prepare a few of those.) In this case you could just copy the card value in question into the hex (e.g. 4 of clubs ot 7 of spades), or you could try to draw a little map of it, thus creating a map of the region being explored on the fly. When you reach a foreign town or city you simply switch to the urban deck and a hex- (or maybe square-) grid that represents the city rather than the landscape in general.
This would work, but may become a little disjointed when you try to figure out why no-one knows what's right next to them. It may be worth having a reason for that. Perhaps the worlds have recently been shattered and rejoined in a random order. What was once a single landscape is a mishmash of many slammed together by magic so powerful none could weild it and live. The king could ask a band of brave adventurers to trek through the wilderness and map the land that is now his kingdom, and to determine who his new neighbours are. Maybe he gives them writ to contact neighbouring kings and negotiate with them. It may be good to determine who the various key NPCs (possibly using the Character Cards deck) are and which nations are in which directions, for example, but other than that and character creation, next to no pre-planning would be required.
The Middle Ground
We could take a slightly more structured approach, where before each session you draw a few cards and figure out which cards apply to which nearby hexes. This is similar to the above, but you have more time to rationalise what is happening. and why. Maybe you can draw a few cards for each hex and combine them to create a unique landcape that is truly your own - if you draw five cards and select one suit from each and a secret from the remaining one you can create literally hundreds of millions of viable locations from each deck - more than enough for all but the longest campaigns!
Perhaps in this case the characters have been thrust into a foreign land, not to merely map the world, but to find the source of the magic and make sure it cannot be used again (or maybe to use it themselves, I don't know what kind of games you play - in fact I once played in a game [run by Ste] in which we opted to combine three worlds together to stop some other people doing a worse job of it!). In this case I would work out who used the magic in the first place and why. I imagine they are probably a lich or powerful vampire if they are still active. Maybe their magic didn't shatter the worlds, maybe it just changed them, or it released an army of dameons, or maybe it was even worse, threatenng to destroy the entire universe only to be stopped at the last minuite by a brave hero and his noble sacrifice! Will the PCs have to make the same sacrifice, and will they want to?
The Most Spadework
Then we come to the most pre-planned version - you use the cards to help you design the entire map up front. This will take a while, but will allow you to build a coherent structure to the world relatively easily. It allows you to hand the players a map and let them decide which way to explore. There could be all sorts of points of interest and plot hooks scattered across the map and connections between them pre-determined. This does have the benefit that very little work is needed once the campaign is underway, but it will take more work up front.
The map could be a treasure map, showing the location of untold riches, Or maybe it's handed to them by the king and they are told to seek a route for his invasion of a foreign power. Perhaps it shows the location of the five mcguffins needed to save the world (or destroy it. Either to prevent someone else doing so or because the players want to do so themselves). There are so many posibilities here, I'd need another entire deck of adventure seeds to list them all! [hmmm, a possible future project... :-)]
Spreading the word - The Major Arcana
We have been trying to work out how to create the major arcana. On the one hand for the last deck they increased the costs dramatically, and we can't really afford to do that again, but on ther other it opens up large amounts of design space and we have some really interesting ideas. The concept we are currently working with is to creat a seperate, smaller set of cards (26 in total) that would contain the major arcana and the four knights, These cards would fit into either deck and would represent features which could define a city or an entire region. We would have to charge for these, but it would be less than another full deck, and neither of the decks would presuppose their exitence. Here is an example - The Tower:
Note: The card has been made up using the Urban background simply because we haven't finalised the Major Arcana background yet. They will be getting a unique one.
The thing is we don't know if this is the best way to go about doing this, or whether we should look to do something else. So we decided to let you decide - if enough people like this this idea enough to post about it here and on social media (facebook, twitter) then we will do it. If not then we will reconsider and try to work out another way to do this, or perhaps hold off entirely and fold some of those ideas into a later deck. Posting about it on social media also has the added bonus of hopefully geting us more backers and thus reaching stretch goals quicker!
How many is enough people? Well... we currently have 206 hundred backers as I write this, and there are 26 cards being proposed, so lets say 26 people - that's one in eight of you. Does that sound reasonable? Is the proposed idea a good one? Let us know what you think.