Kids RPG Journal – #43 Yrlashof Maps

Over the weekend, I’ve been working on preparing maps for the local area to occupy the party, Yrlashof, the stead of Momma Yrla. The plan is to keep the party in this area for a couple of sessions, so I feel like doing a good map is worthy use of my time. I’ve got a few of the buildings down and I’ll be working on some more of the natural features later in the week. The mapped places are currently the main hall, Arg’s bakery, the blacksmith’s forge, a well and some haystacks.

the main hall and Arg's bakery/hut on Yrlashof

Not 100% sure how I’m going to assemble the whole as I’ll be reusing a few of these in different sizes in the next couple of sessions. The next adventure will take place on the grounds outside the main hall, so I’m thinking of putting together  a battle mat setup.

blacksmiths, wells, and haystacks, oh my

Kids RPG Journal – #32 Printables & Handouts

With the game only days from now, I’ve been plugging at getting the printouts and handouts all ready to go. First I proofread and printed out the character sheets and any maps for the first adventure.

player character sheets and Saksaland map

Then it was time for me to write up the Dungeon World basic moves I will be using, keeping the language as concise and simple as I could. I added the icons in and realized that I never drew one for the Defend move, so I threw down a basic shield (though in hindsight, I should have had a round shield to match the Viking flavor of the campaign) with Eihwaz, the rune of defense.

Dungeon World basic moves with simplified language and custom icons

We’ll see how well the basic moves work for the boys. I’m a little concerned it will be overwhelming at first to have so many, but I think we can get through them in play.

Finally, I started printing out item cards for the first quest. These will fit nicely in the Equipment Packs from r-n-w.net. The cool products Rose and Niels (https://www.patreon.com/rpgtoons/) put out are a big inspiration for what I want to do with the boys.

item cards and paper equipment chests

I’m getting a little close to the wire on the remaining items. I have to finish writing and designing two more handouts (a quest sheet and an acceptance letter to Kraghall Academy), design and build one more table piece, and write the backstory scenario for my wife’s character. Then all that will be left is to flesh out how I want to role-play the initial NPCs.

Getting excited to roll this out to the boys and start exploring the world with the characters they’ve made.

Kids RPG Journal – #23 Map Making

Today, I explore the process for making maps for the kids lands in the game. 

First, I started through a bunch of my resources on Scandinavian history and legends, including a bunch of books by old historians and story scholars, like A Description of the Northern Peoples by Olaus Magnus, Danish Histories by Saxo Grammaticus, Germania by Tacitus, and Teutonic Mythology by Jacob Grimm. I copied names and brief notes about major land features and countries.

I want to keep some real-world locales in the setting, but don’t want to be a slave to actual physical geography. I more want to honor the stories and legends of places, versus historical accuracy.

Midgard post-it notes

Step two, I wrote out some of the names on post-it notes to get a general placement for all of the countries and land masses. Then I took a picture and drew a map over the image. 

Midgard Map first paint

Here is a first pass at a Midgard map. I’ve already chosen to add/change/remove some place names since making this, but it got enough of the world in my head that I figured I could move on to where the adventures will begin, Saksaland.

In the first adventures, the players will be traveling North in Saksaland to get to their future school, the Kraghall Academy. Think of it like any of the various ways Harry Potter had to take to get to Hogwarts. I already had some local flavor in place for the adventure and now needed a map.

Saksaland map sketch

I did a number of sketches on paper until I liked the layout and had everything I wanted to include. Once I had a final sketch, I took a photo and set it as a background in Clip Studio Paint.

Beech tree process shot in Clip Studio Paint

I started with the trees first, as I knew they’d be the most time consuming. Saksaland has three major forest types: spruce, beech, and birch. I made 3 or 4 individual trees of each the beech and birch and then copy and pasted them in varied clusters to give them a random appearance.

Saksaland map detail: trees

After lots of copying, I had the forests in place.

The spruce trees were all drawn individually, but I may go back and make some spruce tree materials for future use.

The rest of the map was done in the same ink and dirty wash as the rest of the art for the game.

I am adhering to one of the major tenants of Dungeon World: draw maps, leave blanks. It’ll be fun to see if we can go back to any of these things later on in the campaign.