Sunday, April 13, 2008

Playing with Mud

Despite its abundant veins of bloodstone, the Galena Mountains in Vaasa don't attract as many miners as it could have. Besides the dangerous and hostile creatures that make their home in these mountains, the bone-gnawing cold keeps away all but the most foolhardy prospectors. Fortunately, the Forgotten Realms are never lacking in foolhardy people of any sort, and many of them seek their fortune in the Coldlands.

One of the challenges that I faced in constructing "Faithless" was building the mining camp that the player characters will find themselves in. I've never seen a mining camp, much less set foot in one, but that didn't stop me from rising to the challenge.

First, I had to do some research, which is not at all difficult in this age of the Internet. To this end, Google Image was my friend. Looking specifically for old photos of mining camps in the mountains, I downloaded as many images as I felt I needed. I also downloaded several images of mountain trails, which served as my bases for making the paths to and from the camp.

What struck me about these images was how muddy some of the early camps appeared. I decided that this was the kind of look I wanted to go for. It seems reasonable to assume that when the snow in the mountains melt and the miners clear the land to set their camp, the ground that they churn is going to be terribly muddy.

In the story of "Faithless," the camp at which the PCs arrive has been newly set up. Hence, not everyone in camp has a house yet. Most of the miners still live in tents.

Aside from living facilities, the mining camp will have a merchant store where adventurers may buy and sell goods. There will also be crafting stations for those with the appropriate skills and feats to create their own items.

I started creating the mining camp three days ago. Being a novice at making outdoor areas, I didn't realize it would take me so long. Even after having worked on this area for three days, I still feel that the mining camp has plenty of room for improvement. Nevertheless, I have probably reached the point where further improvement will result in diminishing returns. Hence, I have no qualms about presenting screenshots of the mining camp as it stands now.


Liso said...

looking good Frank! And thank you for all the write ups about each area. Can't wait to see more! :)


Frank Perez said...

Thanks, Liso. :) There'll be more to come each week.

Ladyelvenstar said...

This is excellent to see you write about your progress and the processes you have used when building and designing. I know what you mean about always thinking there is room for improvement - I've spent months on my Red Larch area and I am never quite satisfied! :)

Frank Perez said...

Hey, LadyElvenStar, nice of you to drop by. :) I'm really impressed with the areas that you've done for your module, and I'm looking forward to playing it. The Unicorn Run alone is worth the price of admission.