1.7 Mind Maps for Social/Villages Rewrite: 1


i fucking hate writing ...
Staff member
also stick something in about empty pirate ships, etc. Maybe that's another topic? Different key formats for different types of adventures.

Mind maps for social/villages
Different types of adventures require different ways for the DM to interact with them and that needs to be a consideration when you are developing the adventure. Thanks to D&D, everything in RPG's starts with the standard dungeon map, so let's talk about that first.

The typical old school D&D adventure is about exploring a dungeon. A map comes with the dungeon and it contains numbers on the different rooms. When the players enter that room then the DM looks it up from the map key text and relates the information to the players. Perfect. The Map and key text work together for the style of game: exploration.

Next let's consider a village or small town. There's a small map of the village, say a main street with rows of buildings on either side, and they are numbered and as the party goes down the street and looks in each building then the DM looks it up and reads the key text. Perfect! Wait, no?!? That's NOT how villages and towns are interacted with. Do your players walk down the street and visit every shop, in order? Or pick them out at random and walk up to them? Or do they instead to the inn, or the tavern, or the armorer? Yeah, that's it, it's more of a goal oriented objective. typical map key makes no sense.

Likewise, imagine a "bug hunt" in a small ship with three decks and a dozen rooms, total. In this sort of situation it doesn't really make sense to have a traditional room/key either. You might have one, to give the room a title/use, or common objects, but the goal is to hunt/be hunted and the adventure text should concentrate on that. You don't embed the axe murderer information in the room descriptions. Instead you describe the axe murderer and how they operate and then just give a quite brief description of the locations.

Social situations can be brought to life by giving people little personality quirks and, even more so, given them relationships to others in their social environment. Not only does Pa chew & spit tobacco, but he’s in love with the Widow Sally and trying to keep it secret. The widow loves the baked goods at the bakers, and the baker can’t stand her. The relationships BETWEEN people is what makes a social setting come to life. These are trivial to add and provide so much more for a DM to work with. It brings the folks to life. Mechanically listing details about villagers is boring. 46. 5’11, 190#, brown hair” does nothing for the DM. Telling us he speaks with a lisp, chews tobacco, and is in secret love with the widow? That’s thirteen words that just communicated WAY more to the DM and provided them with significantly more experience both in running the NPC and in running village encounters. Now there’s someone else for the party to see out late at night while they are own watch for the vampire …

Over on RG.NET, user Daniel presents a nice little Java program that helps create and track relationships in games. This is a great little tool to help get the creative juices flowing. https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.ph...-Campaign-Relationship-Generator-(new-thread)
Back in 2012 Jim at the Carjacked Seraphim blog had another nice little example of how they create and document relationships. http://carjackedseraphim.blogspot.com/2012/05/polyhedral-npc-matrix-part-2.html
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