Until I get a chance to polish up that post, I want to present an idea that occurred to me just a day ago. As I mentioned Monday, I plan on using geomorphs to mimic the impermeability of dreams in constructing the initial city. It has since occurred to me that a similar method might work well for the lands outside the city gates.
Drawing on a mechanic from an old board game I once owned, Survive!, I’m tempted to draw the initial wilderness map using an oversized hex grid. On that map, certain locations will be indelibly marked - places like cities, coastlines, some mountain ranges, etc. In other areas of the map, the hexes would be left blank and perhaps tinted a generic grey. These areas would represent territories in the dreamlands that are in constant flux.
Using cardstock cut to the appropriate size and hexagonal shape, I’d create numerous tiles marked with symbols and/or colors representing forests, fields, swamps, lakes, deserts, hills, etc. These tiles would then be placed in an opaque container. As the party moves overland and approaches these areas, I’d draw from the container and lay down a tile or three on the map to determine what terrain is currently encountered there. The party would then have to determine if they wish to continue through that area or search for a more desirable area through which to travel.
As with the city system, familiarity would eventually cause the terrain to stabilize in areas regularly visited, but to remain in flux on the outskirts of the “known lands.” Through careful note keeping, I could make each such section of the map unique to the party that explores it and two adventuring groups might have a different mental map of the dreamlands.
I suppose I could produce the same effect with random tables and a dry erase marker, but the tactile mechanical device of using tiles appeals to me greatly, even if it results in a greater initial workload. I’m a sucker for board game elements in role-playing games and I do like widgets and gadgets to a certain extent.
This idea of nebulous territory also brings to mind the possibility that some or all of these areas may be growing in size, which could indicate that there’s something wrong with the dreamlands. Perhaps something or someone is causing the dreamlands to erode and seeking out and stopping that force could become a major campaign goal for the adventurers.
I’m just turning ideas around in my head here. Would this sound like something you would find fun and unique to such a setting or would it just piss you the hell off?