Thanks for the URL, Allan! I think this is a great way to give GMs more differentiated information about a module without the danger of giving away parts of the story to potential players. I was in fact thinking about a way to realise this for our Scenario Ideas -- and this seems like a neat concept to "borrow" :). Actually, I think we will come up with something very similar. Thanks again!
A similar idea is being produced by LPJ design, a weekly adventure, stand alone but linkable. I just got the first two to see about converting to Harn, as they sounded like they might work at Golotha, a location my Players will be at soon. They are designed for D20 with all the attending hassel of converting high fantasy. But it might be a idea Kelestia could look at. One good addition they have is a group of rating systems that allow you to look at the module and get a feel for its content (difficulty, reward, location, NPC interaction etc).
I'm glad you took the time to read my thoughts and make a comment.
At times Harn does use something similar to FASERIP style solution. When weapon crafting you compare a skill index rating to the quality of a result. What I'm suggesting would make the entire system more homogeneous. At least in my humble opinion.
Here is an example of some spell casting charts. Regular on-the-fly casting and in the wizards laboratory.
The only time a spellcaster can get Full Finesse or Partial Finesse is when he's in his laboratory. Which leads into another area where Harn has some room for growth. The way Ars Magica requires "Vis" to make a spell permanent adds another layer of economy beyond fatigue levels for spell casting. In general you want to avoid spell use requiring "Vis" unless you have maximized you're spell casting bonus (i.e. Full Finesse or Partial Finesse). "Vis" is too precious to be wasted. As great as the "normal world" aspects of Harn are, Ars Magica has a leg up on "Harn magic". The good news is all Harn needs to do is add something like "Vis". It would certainly add a lot of adventure possibilities with the need to go hunting of "Vis" sources. Chantries being built in area's that have natural a "Vis" source and the Wizards fiercely protecting that domain. Or say a great big "Vis" source in the middle of Gargun territory, and some unsrupulous wizards making deals with the Gargun in exchange to harvest it.
I'm thinking Partial Finesse you get to choose which d10 is the high dice after you rolled.
While Full Finesse you get to choose which is the high dice after you rolled, but in addition, on a roll ending in either "5" or "0" you get to shift that quality result to the next highest level. For example, you roll a "5" and a "4". Although the "5" is higher, choosing the "4" as the high dice for a roll of "45", will allow for you to shift the quality result to the next level.
Here is a Weapons Combat Table with "Full Finesse" and "Partial Finesse" included.
As Peter has said, the old 1” to 1 mile (1:63360 scale) maps were replaced by the new (metric) 1:50000 series. The 6” to 1 mile (1:10560 scale) maps were replaced by 1:10000 scale maps. In the past 10 years these maps have been digitised and are regularly updated by the O.S. using satellite surveys. The map I’m looking at (at work) shows a housing development which was only approved 3 years ago and shows the partially finished roads and completed dwellings.
- "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."
- NO-ONE GETS PARDONED FOR LIVING.
The text is certainly nice and I'm really looking forward to the completion of Chelemby (and I'd love to learn more about Hurisea), but I'd buy the V&R maps as stand-alone products. I can make details up as I go along, but despite my love of cartography, I can't make a decent map to save my life . . .
More releases along the lines of the Atlas Kelestia Folio 1 (E5 and 6 through H5 and 6) would be great!
Auran createda fairly low res 256 greyscale elevation map (from which they rendered those nice landscape postcards... although there was a substantial exageration on their mountains... several miles high and whatnot).
Greg had a 1 metre / pixel (and probably more than 256 level) map planned... but, sadly, never actually got it done.
I have experimented with 'shading/elevation' software packages, but, frankly, when working from scratch, I have never found a 'usable' interface.
One possibility, to which you allude, is some clever kind of scanner that can read my V&R (vegetation and relief) maps *as if* they were satellite photos and produce shaded gradient maps (and eventually full 3D renders and topographic maps).
Another possibility is software that could read the pixel density on my various layers and calculte an approximation of elevation from that.
But, these seem like dreams for a future that is growing shorter.
Here's the good news. I have completed the V&R mapping for all of Hârn all of Shôrkýne, about half of Ivínia and a sixth of Tríerzòn. If I push hard enough I might get a few more regions at least mapped out as far as I can...
I can't imagine anyone drawing such a map from scratch either, Robin. Terran cartographers have the advantage of a physical planet to work from, which makes the task possible, but even then I wonder how some pre-computer topo maps ever got drawn.
I have, however, toyed with the idea of writing some sort of algorithm to generate digital elevation models given a set of spot heights and certain things like watersheds to work from. In fact, didn't Auran have something of the sort in the works at one time?
To actually draw a map with 300 contours would be a task of such horror that I would not consider it, not even for obscenely huge piles of cash. To undertake such a task 'by hand' even using one's computer to do all the 'work' would take thousands of man hours... and I'm quite good at drawing contours when I want to be. For someone who is not as 'familiar' with the concept, the task could well be fatal (to him or, more likely to the map).
And this is why, in the end, together with the other reasons, I'm not including contours on these maps.
Yes, the OS maps are all redone in metres/KM now...I agree, a monumental task but no doubt computers made it...well possible if not easy!
My OS map of the plymouth area (UK) is 1:50 000; which is 2cm per kilometre, about 1.2 inches per mile. It opens out to about the size of a broad sheet newspaper and covers an area of about 24 miles by 30 miles.
This means it covers about half the area of the maps you presented I guess...
The contours on this scale work very well, even on my welsh maps (on which they laugh at 300 contours being too much!!!!) which cram them in as you would expect. I am of the opinion that to double the area covered would not create a folly of presentation (one could use 20m increments and it would solve any further cramming); but it would present a folly of endeavour!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In essence I dispute that relief maps show more than contour maps on the scales presented.
However, on much larger scales I think relief maps are the only way to present things; much like in the much loved world atlasses of my youth. To put contours on 'nation' or continent depictions would be folly...
I grew up on OS maps... I loved them as a child growing up...
There were 1":mile and 6":mile. Wonderfully detailed.
Yes, at these scales you use much tighter contour intervals. Hmmm... 10 metres sounds a lot like 33' ?
Did they redo all the OS maps in metric measurements? That must have been a task and a half.
Let me think... the grid map of the Aleath district is um... 62.5 miles across and um the square (at full atlas scale) would be 9.8 inches across... that's 0.1568 inches to the mile?
I'm beginning to forget where I'm going with this, but it seems like you couldn't really do a meaningful OS map at these scales?
So we have to look elsewhere for contoured maps at this scale... (and, frankly, they are hard to find).
The assumption I made about contours is this: that for mapping all of Harn at this scale you first consider how high you have to go... that's about 10,000'. Then you think about how many contours you can cram into the mountainous bits (the only bits where you'll need to use all the contours in close proximity). So it's pretty hard to have more than 10 or twenty contours so show a few mountains (in fact even at 10 or 20, you could end up with solid brown bits).
In order to show a hill in the 'flatlands' you need to add contours. The problem is that every time you add a contour to the flat bits, you also have to add it to the mountainous bits too. (Although some maps have taken to using a different contour interval in the mountainous bits than the flat bits... these tend to be overwhelmingly confusing, since the 'moderately' flat bits may have more contours than the mountains.)
In other words, if you want a 33' contour (for example) in the flat areas (like around Aleath), that means you need to have more than 300 contours in the mountains (well, the biggest mountains anyway)... and that won't work at all.
Even with a 33' contour interval, I can *still* show more detail with relief!
And BTW, while it is theoretically possible to demonstrate the sheer folly of this many contours, it's a lot less work to leave it to your imagination ;)
Sorry, I was being 'clever'. The map on the left is has very little relief and no contours.
The reason for this is that the contour interval is either 500 or 1000 feet, and there is no land above 500 feet anywhere on the map.
I was trying to illustrate the point that, if you select a 'reasonable' contour interval for the whole island, then you can barely show any topographical detail at all, whereas, with relief mapping you can show a great deal of detail regardless of the local elevation.
Sorry about the confusion :)
I suppose part of the problem is that I have designed several completely different mapping systems now, and only one or two of my maps (local maps) have ever shown any contours ;)
It is clear from reading this that I do not know what a contour map is! I thought a contour map was a map with contour lines on it!
The two maps you provide as comparisons look very similiar to me at first glance; but on closer inspec there are subtle differences as you say. What exactly is a contour map and a relief map..I have already paraded my ignorance on contour maps, so here goes with relief...is it where there is shading to indicate height?
It's a sprawling city with narrow alleyways and broad boulevards. The engineering is impressive with sweetwater and underground drains and sewers (all properly separated). The place 'feels' old, older maybe than it actually is (although who knows how old that is?).
There are lots of impressive buildings, but hardly anyone knows what they are.
First of all thanks for this very interesting presentation of a classical RPG rules mechanism. Personally, I wasn't aware of column shift systems in general and the FASERIP games in particular.
I absolutely agree with your view on fate/hero/karma points in role-playing games; for several reasons, a fate point system is the best concept to distinguish player characters (the "heroes" in the sense of "leading characters") from non-player characters. Fate points increase player characters' survival chances without -- and that's the important aspect for me -- making them physically stronger or giving them "special powers". In my gaming groups, we have introduced fate points even where the official rules don't mention them. A pretty good alternative for HârnMaster Gold are the "Luck Coupons" we offer as a free gaiming aid under Downloads. They don't allow re-rolls but the increase/decrease of test results by a fixed amount.
I don't agree however, that more result types or an expanded resolution chart would do HârnMaster too much good. They would probably add abstract complexity instead of making things more believable or exciting. What I would like to see in a possible future version of HârnMaster is in fact a reduction of tables and charts to a minimum as well as a resolution system that simply calculates the difference between the score and the die roll, i.e. where each single point can mean a different (positive or negative) quality.
Example: A skill test against a score of 54 where a 62 is rolled has a test quality of -8 (a negative quality).
In a skill contest (e.g. a combat situation), the opponents' test qualities could be compared to see what happens.