Sunday, July 30, 2017

Making a Cul de sac Ruin With Google Earth and Other Dust

I've been enjoying the RPG mapping community lately.  There are a lot of helpful, generous, creative people making all kinds of fun, free maps for RPG's that I got a little excited and decided to try my hand at mapping, something I haven't done for years.

To create the ruin I wanted to map, I used the ruin generator from Other Dust.  This is about as good a generator as you can find, and it gives just enough detail to spur the mind to new and interesting avenues.  I rolled on the Ruin Origins table and got Suburban Wreckage.  I thought immediately of Sanctuary Hills in Fallout 4, the first settlement the vault dweller encounters in the game.  Sanctuary Hills is a ruined cul de sac, full of interesting back story and useful items and work stations.

I then rolled on the Ruin Destruction table and got Decay.  Ruin destruction tells what put the ruin in its current state. Basically, the place was quickly abandoned and then went to seed.  So I've got an abandoned cul de sac with buildings that are in various states of dilapidation.  Hm.

Next came the Ruin Inhabitants table, on which I rolled Beasts. The first thing that came to mind was an insect infestation: heritor bugs (the Other Dust version of PostApoc cockroaches), maybe an ankheg or rhemoraz (because D&D monsters are great for Post Apoc monsters as well in OSR games).  Things are coming together.  I have an abandoned residential area in a state of deep decay populated by monstrous bugs.  Nice.

Last came the Ruin Tags. Tags are one of Kevin Crawford's genius inventions, and basically are an evocative word or phrase combined with a number of variables like Friend, Enemy, Secret and Complication.  The tags I rolled up were Mad Scientist and Doomsday Countdown.  Things are about to get funky in the cul de sac.

I decided that the Mad Scientist is a recently thawed-out military officer who has been mutated into an insectile creature with the ability to control and summon bugs. Think Immortan Joe meets The Fly.  His mutation has driven him mad and he wants to overrun the world with insects.  He has to finish brewing a pheromone bomb which he intends to detonate under the cul de sac, sending the massive colony of bugs that live there into a killing frenzy, cleansing the world once and for all of the evil influence of man. The Mad Science tag led me to decide that he has been experimenting with human subjects, in order to make the pheromones trigger only a certain type of murderous behavior on the part of the insects.

The story elements were in place.  Now I needed stats for the Mad Scientist (that's next week's post) and a map.

I googled Post Apoc RPG maps, and found a few neat things (random ruins,random wasteland) but nothing really fit the bill for a pre-fab housing developmet. Then, it hit me: Google Earth was loaded with top down views of all kinds of places from residential areas to industrial and military complexes.  I started looking around my location and sure enough I found a cul de sac with several large homes perfect for the lair of the mad military scientist and his insect horde.

I took a marker, graph paper, and copied the layout.  Then I added details, including some random elements for exploration because you should be able to use and reuse a cul de sac map; they're all over the place and they're all similar. Here it is:

Not quite Sanctuary Hills

It's not the prettiest, but it's done and I can re-use it.  Random rolls can tell me which buildings are explorable and I can populate them with critters and loot via the Other Dust random tables as well.

How do you find make or find maps for your post-apoc games? Leave a comment below!