Normally, I'd be asleep by now, snoring like a freight-train. But my stomach's irritated and I'm waiting for a chicken to finish roasting so my girlfriend can rip the flesh from its bones and turn the bones into soup stock tomorrow, so here I am on the couch waiting for the incessant beep of the timer. My brain is foggy and tired, so let's see what sort of gaming material I can draw from it while my conscious mind isn't all there.
I played through part of a session of 5E today, confirming the streamlinedness of the rules to me. I also ordered my own personal copy of the 5E PHB.
No scanner handy, so I don't have a scan of this preliminary map just yet, but I'm really pleased with it. Much of the terrain of Vadhyislavia is hilly and at least moderately forested, which fits with my conceptions of what the area *should* be like, and I got a few nice bonuses as well - the north-west corner of the map ended up densely-forested mountains, limiting travel between Vadhyislavia and its neighbor on that side, the Holy Empire of the Iron Crown - specifically, the principality of Schwartzadlerberg.
It is from Schwartzadlerberg that the colonizing "pseudo-Germans" that make up the new aristocracy of
Renegade Crowns also gave me some unexpected surprises - three rivers, three waterfalls, a fair amount of cliff, a ton of caves and a massive, densely-forested swamp. So what does this turn into?
[NOTE: Everything before this point was written between 11:00 and 11:45 at night on September 13th. Then I got called to help eviscerate a chicken, then handle clean-up and going to bed. The following was written around noon on September 14th.]
A spot on the map where part of the Underdark has collapsed in on itself, opening a giant sinkhole into which three rivers flow, pouring over the edge in spectacular waterfalls, the sides of the hole riddled with cave entrances and the center of which is a huge, mist-shrouded bog thick with gnarled, sickly-looking trees, Underdark and surface flora growing side by side.
Also a surprise was a small patch of "Barren Badlands" that I decided not to treat as lightly forested - because I couldn't imagine what "lightly forested badlands" would look like. I stuck that patch of land in the extreme southeast corner of the map and started thinking about monstrous humanoids.
This led me into thinking about Vadhyislavia in terms of being divided into cultural "bands." There's certainly precedence for this kind of thinking -- if you look at old Chinese maps, they're divided into zones, with the innermost being China itself, then things like "zone of the allied foreigners," "zone of the non-allied foreigners," "zone of the cultureless barbarians" in increasing concentric circles around China.
Instead of concentric circles, I'm thinking going from northwest to southeast, Vadhyislavia is divided up into the Settled Zone (90% of the pseudo-German settlers are here, the King's Law is upheld, basically no monsters), the Native Zone (not as many of the settlers, mostly the native people, the King's Law is upheld when it suits people or when an overzealous tax collector is watching but most people still live and settle disputes as they did before the coming of the colonists, some monsters but mostly it's a pretty peaceful place to live), the Wild Zone (orc tribes, trolls, hill giants, ruined castles and dungeon crawls abound) and the Forbidden Zone (forests give way to desert, savage tribes of brutal, "eat you then kill you" humanoids roam, Ape Law is upheld - kidding!).
I want to run Vadhyislavia as at least a semi-sandbox game and give the players the freedom to go where they will and do as they please, and I think starting the campaign in or around a "frontier" settlement near the edges of the Native Zone and the Wild Zone gives them plenty of options for monster-slaying, dungeon-delving, or social interaction, then pepper the map around them with, in essence, toy dinosaurs and clues to where those dinosaurs are buried in the sand.