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(TFT) Jay keeps writing...


I'm gonna have to explain some basics of my mapping / measurement system.

The first step from real-world into game-world lies in defining the real-world tools used to describe the game-world. The real-world tool I use for mapping the game-world is the 10" x 8" sheet of quarter inch graph paper. I use a pattern of 80 imperfect hexes (Square-hexes) one inch wide from the north side to the south side and one and a quarter inch from the east vertex to the west vertex.
I call this real-world object and game-world format a Page.

I've talked about this format before and I've got a couple of images I can supply on request. What I'm pointing out here is that the Page format has to be representing some game-world location to have any game-world meaning. The bigger the overall campaign area a GM considers the larger a game-world area represented by each Square-hex. Because of this flexibility of scale, and because Pages are drawn to a geomorphic standard a Page can be considered a unit of game-world measure in the same manner that a hex or a square on the Page would be.
An example here relates to another real-world consideration of the Page.

Owing to its dimensions and format it's only practical to extend the geomorphic thing so far into the real-world. At 10 inches by 8 inches a Page a "Map" 4 Pages (10") by 5 Pages (8") in dimension is about three and a half feet per side. Anything bigger isn't going to fit on most tabletops and if I'm trying to write for a general audience then I'll just leave larger Maps to those who have the space.
So 5 columns of 4 Pages each equal an area of 20 total Pages.
This brings us to the next part of the example.

The way it's drawn a Square-hex has two sides across from each other running parallel with the top and bottom of the page (the 10" length).
These hex-sides are three quarters of an inch in length.
Because these hexes are imperfect the lengths of the remaining 4 sides are a bit under three quarters of an inch. Each of these sides run from the ending vertices of the top and bottom sides to a vertex half an inch up/down and one quarter inch out, making a hex of area equal to the square with a side of length equal to the distance across the hex from top to bottom, thus a Square-hex 16 quarter inch graph squares in area. However, because the Square-hex is 5 quarter inch squares "wide" between its right and left vertices it actually takes 5 columns of 4 quarter inch squares each to describe the 8 partial-squares of the hex area as well as the 12 full-squares of hex area. That's 20 squares in the same configuration as that given for the practical limit for a real-world Map size. If I make the correlation of Page to square then a real-world advantage is gained by noting that the 40 inches per side of the real-world Map limit (i.e. 40 1" hexes per side) means I could use this Map size to represent a Map 400 Pages to the side, albeit more abstractly. That's an order of magnitude in difference, compacting 33.3 real-world feet into 3.3 real-world feet.

There's other real-world stuff going on here but let's move on toward a game-world example and point out additional features as they pop up.

As I mentioned above, this mapping / measurement format is a game tool that is just a piece of graph paper with some extra lines scribbled on it without a game-world to represent.
First, you determine where your adventure / campaign is located.
Next, you figure out the scales you need to focus on.

I use a three tiered scale system when considering adventure writing for an audience.
The top scale level I consider is the campaign "area".
The middle scale level I think of as the campaign Map.
The bottom scale level is the set of "battle" Maps.
It's usually easiest to set the top and bottom scales and use these to help determine an effective middle scale. It is worth pointing out that there are always (barring extreme examples) levels of scale above the top scale level as well as levels of scale below the bottom scale level as described here. I think of the three tiered system as more of a tool to focus on what detail is required to produce the kind of "stories" I want to tell.

The top scale is largely a concise description of the campaign area, mainly for the GM's use. The actual location of the area is given in relation to the game-world and is mapped on a single page. Significant information pertaining to the area, such as might be found in an Atlas or Encyclopedia, should also be included (in the places Folder). The idea is that this Page is approaching the smallest area required to encompass the whole of the area required for the adventure / campaign the GM is running, and I call this choice the Frame.

As a concrete example of a top scale Frame;

"First, you determine where your adventure / campaign is located."

Because I want the first few adventures to be simple examples of a few of my ideas, and I want the examples to be as objective as possible, I use the planet Earth as my overall example game-world. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I picked Easter Island as my first example location. This meets the simple side in being both small and one of Earths most isolated, habitable islands, and meets the objective side by being Easter Island on Earth that anyone reading can look up for themselves rather than relying on ME for basic information.

So, having determined that the location is Easter Island;

"Next, you figure out the scales you need to focus on."

Okay, I know that it's Easter Island on game-world planet Earth.
For my top level scale I want to describe Easter Island in relation to my game-world Earth. I've already posted a basic system for drawing the same kind of Square-hexes I describe above on real-world maps and globes of Earth using the longitude and latitude grid in hexes that are 15 degrees in latitude north to south (top to bottom) across. I call these "square degree" hexes (SD-hexes) and using the numbering system described previously Easter Island lies in SD-hex H23. If this were the top level scale Frame I could simply write something like Earth; H23 and that'd basically be it. However, this Page should be as small a representative area as possible while still encompassing the whole island and still fitting the SD-hex system (thus "relating" to my game-world). As a SD-hex is roughly 1000 miles across n/s and Easter Island is no more than 16 miles at it largest length across I'll look at the smaller squares composing the hex to see if there is a smaller Frame I can use. Because I'm using an SD-hex drawn like a Square-hex I should be able to use the same principals of a Square-hex to apply in a more or less general way to an SD-hex. As mentioned in the example of the correlation between Pages and quarter inch squares it takes 20 quarter inch squares to fully describe the 16 quarter inch squares of area in a Square-hex; 5 columns of 4 squares each. Applying this principal to SD-hex H23 and numbering each of the 20 squares from top to bottom and left to right with the top most left hand square being number 1, Easter Island lies in square number 9.
Now we have Earth; H23,9
Okay. but I can get smaller than that.

We currently have square #9 with sides about 250 miles in length.
That's about 62,500 square miles of area, while Easter Island has an area less than 63 square miles, or about a 1000 times more ocean than land.
If I quarter the length of a side of square #9 I get 16 smaller squares.
If I number these sub-squares in the same fashion used to get square #9 and compare this to a map of Earth then I find that Easter Island fits easily into the 13 sub-square with sides 62.5 miles across and an area of almost 4000 square miles.
This could be written Earth; H23,9,13

Oddly enough, this doesn't seem to be the end of said process.
By fortuitous happenstance I can quarter the sides of the sub-square again to get 16 sub-sub-squares with sides roughly 15 and a half miles in length and an area a little under 250 square miles. A quick look at google Earth suggest that sub-sub-square number 13 just encompasses the whole island.
This would be written Earth; H23,9,13,13
As Earth; H23,9,13,13 describes a sub-sub-square of SD-hex H23 that just encompasses the whole area I use for my examples inside an SD-hex directly related to the surface of the Earth I can set my top level scale Frame here.

The bottom level scale Frame is a bit easier as the choice is more arbitrary. What I'm most concerned with here is at what scale level do I intend to run most of my "encounters" in this area? As a main purpose of all this is to culminate the example adventures on Easter Island with a couple of simple mass combat scenarios I'm gonna go with a bottom scale level frame of 1 hex = 20m sts. This fits the scale of Bendwyn and is just half of the scale of Squad Leader, letting me do simple conversions of aspects that I've mimicked from that system (squads MA8 instead of 4 and officers MA12 instead of 6) while giving melee squads with pre-black powder missile weapons more hexes of range than they would be limited to compared to the typical ranges of WWII infantry weapons. If this were a group of simple dungeon crawls I'd probably dial it down to 1.3m hexes and if the players Figures were all generals and kings more concerned with ordering Units with their Actions than their individual pov I'd likely dial the scale up a few notches so to speak.
Described as 20m hexes, this makes a Page of hexes represent 200m by 160m.
I call a Page at the bottom Frame a battle-Map and the "set" of all battle-Maps composing the Easter Island adventure / campaign area are contained within Earth; H23,9,13,13

So now I've got a top Frame that is described by a sub-sub-square of SD-hex H23 that has sides about 15.625 miles long and a bottom Frame that is described by a hex 20m sts.
Now I'm looking for a middle level scale Frame.

I mentioned above that I think of the middle scale as being strongly tied to the "campaign map". At this scale, I'm mainly trying to provide a game tool that players can affect via their longer term Actions outside of the more immediate bottom Frame. The idea is a landscape that players can change over time, largely through Actions like "build" or "pillage" in much the same way that a player improves their "kingdom" in the Sid Meier's Civilization games. As such I'm not concerned with the overall area of the campaign area at this scale, nor am I concerned with the Action-list that the players will be most frequently using, but rather the middle ground between the two other scales. Often it can be helpful to start looking for the middle by splitting the difference betwixt the two extremes.

If each hex represents 20m sts at the bottom Frame and there are 10, 20m hexes per Page, then it would take about 62.5 Pages of this bottom scale to span the roughly 25km (~15.625 miles) of a side of the top Frame square. Half of those 62.5 bottom Frame Pages are 31.25 of the same scale Pages with a total distance n/s, across of 3125m or just a bit under 4 miles total in length. Halving 31.25 of the same Pages is the same as quartering 62.5 of them and results in 15.625 Pages at roughly 2 miles across. This is a pretty good scale for things like travel around the island and whatnot and the roughly 4 square miles of area only represent a tad over 2500 acres (2560). To give a real-world example of the area we are talking about, the average farm area of Nebraska in 2008 could be around 1280 acres.
(first google result)

So, to sum this all up I'm talking a top Frame of a square roughly 25km per side, a middle Frame of about 2 miles per page going north to south, and a bottom Frame of 20m across per hex n/s. In Jay shorthand I can write all this as - Earth; H23,9,13,13 (25km-square, 3.2km-page, 20m-hex)

Also of note;

A quarter inch square on the bottom Frame of the20m hex is 5m per side encompassing a Melee-hex scale mega-hex of almost 4m with an alignment error under 1 Melee-hex, giving a rough approximation of where on the 200m bottom Page does the players Figure stand in relation to a Melee map layout of the same area. It's certainly not perfect, but it'll do for my purposes as a bottom level scale for what I'm focusing on.

If we're a little clear on the area of the planet Earth that I'm focusing on then I can move on to.

"Kill The Humans
And Their Culture
Kill The Humans
Kill Them All

Kill The Humans
Watch Them Perish
Kill The Humans
In The Millions

Kill! The! Humans!
Henderson, Die
We Kill His Eyes

Kill! The! Humans!
We Give Old Boy
A Nice Surprise

Encourage Children
To Kill The Humans
So The Young Ones
They May Learn

And Tradition
Shall Be Passed On
Through The Slaughter
Of The Humans

Kill! The! Humans!
Gobble Their Hearts
And Other Parts

Kill! The! Humans!
Then We'll All Laugh
And Share A Bath

Rap In The Middle, Rap In The Middle
This Is My Rap, My Rap In The Middle
I'm A -- Scratcher Than Anyone -- Rap In The Middle
Females Like Me Because Of My Material Wealth
Now I've Nearly Finished Rap In The Middle
And Freeze

Kill! The! Humans!
Their Annihilation
Gives Me Elation

Kill! The! Humans!
Take This Gun
And Join The Fun

Kill! The! Humans!
Repeat Till Fade
Repeat Till Fade

Kill! The! Humans!
Repeat Till Fade
Repeat Till Fade

Kill! The! Humans!
Repeat Till Fade
Repeat Till Fade

Kill! The! Humans!
Repeat Till Fade
Repeat Till [Abrupt Cutoff]"

Carl-isle Jay-fers is NOT your "work-bitch!"

To tell you the gods honest truth, I'm more like Tommy Saxondale than Carl Jeffers, but that's just wishful thinkin isn't it? =====
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