Campaign Constructions

I have a few questions regarding the guidelines for setting design. According to them, each type of realm can occupy a certain range of territory. In the first example provided, the campaign map has a 1130 24-mile hexes, so I would think that since almost all the map is covered, the wilderness and borderlands (“adventuring regions”) are considered among this 1130 hexes. But then, next, the regional map has a principalty that only occupies 600 6-mile hexes (half the map); so I would think that those 600 hexes contain only civilized and perhaps some borderland zones, but wilderness zones are among the other half of the map.

I think the question would be something like this: do the standard realm sizes consider that there can be major “wilderness-adventuring zones” inside their boundaries (big chunks of their land occupied by impenetrable forests, cloud-touching mountains, bone-chilling swamps) or are those zones to be considered separated and without jurisdiction? Or, another way of putting it: when I design my maps, should I leave half the map for “The Wilderness” (like the regional map in the example) or should I divide the whole map into realms and consider those places as parts owned (or shared) by those realms (like the campaign map in the example)?

Nordico, that’s a great question! The answer is “it’s up to you”. It very much depends on the nature of your campaign world, and the population density you assume for your civilized realms.

In my own campaign world, the province of Tirenea consists almost entirely of civilized realms, and the baronies are densely packed. In contrast, the province of Southern Argolle is a realm that is at best half-civilized, with large swathes of borderlands wilderness encompassed within the realm, adjacent to a huge portion of pure wilderness. The province of Opelenea is densely populated in its northern (coastal) half, and then largely wilderness in its southern half, but with pockets of densely-populated civilization clustered in oases.

If you are relatively new to world-construction and ACKS, I recommend leaving half the map for wilderness. The easiest way to do so is to split your map in half with a diagonal line running from the north-east corner to the south-west corner. Find the center-point of that line, and then place your largest city 8-12 hexes north-west of the line.

Thanks for the reply alex! And the advice.

Being part of the creative process that is world-building, I imagined that it might be a subjective matter and ultimately “up to the dm”. However, since ACKS has such a detailed/systematic/mechanical method for creating the campaign setting, I wondered if perhaps there was an intended way of approaching this that I was not understanding from the rules.

Yeah no, the Wilderness guideline doesn’t really tie into the acksonomics at all, it’s purely a DMing suggestion to make sure that you have some WILD UNCLAIMED FRONTIER(C) for the players to venture forth into, and traditionally the easiest way to do that is to say that the game takes place on the edge of civilization expanding into the unknown.

Now that the idea of less traditional setups has been raised, I’m kinda tempted to base a campaign around some kind of WIZARD CHERNOBYL(C) and have a regional map where there’s a circle of civilized land with a wilderness center.

WIZARD CHERNOBYL is basically the premise of the campaign setting I’m designing. Except Chernobyl wouldn’t have caused nearly as much devastation as the Terrible Events >.> (An apocalyptic description and history which I have unapologetically stolen from Anathem.)

The coastlines remain civilized, but when you get more than 50-100 miles from the ocean you start entering wilderness. (Or, in some cases, significantly less than that, but generally being near a large body of water means safety. Not always, of course.)

I’m placing my civilized areas right down the middle of the map along a Nileish/Amazonian/Mississippian river; that civilization becoming smaller, tighter, and more fraught the further you go south downriver. It’s a recivilization effort; staying along river because that’s the trade route south to an old empire.

All of these ideas sound excellent.

Suddenly I am struck with an idea. What if we published a collection of regional maps/sandbox gazeteers (similar to those by Rob Conley) designed by our leading forum contributors?!

That’d be fun. Something like Conley’s Blackmarsh in scope?:

It’d certainly be an interesting product to go alongside Lairs & Encounters.

“What if we published a collection of regional maps/sandbox gazeteers (similar to those by Rob Conley) designed by our leading forum contributors?!”

The answer is: I will have less money than I did previous to their publication :slight_smile:

I’ve been toying with doing something similar myself, actually. Sort of OSR-aimed hex maps and dungeons.

I would buy that!

I would buy this even though my maps are already done and established with my players and I will probably not run another ACKS campaign for years.