Week 3: Atlas of the Inner Sea

Inner Sea Map (hand drawn) header

In a couple weeks I’ll be running a Dungeons & Dragons game for a group of my friends, for the first time in many (many) years. I’ve really missed the thrill of creating my own world and guiding a group of unsuspecting suckers intrepid adventurers through it, so, as my third Weekly Project, I’ve written a few pages about the campaign setting we’ll be playing in.

(To my players: there are no spoilers here, so it’s safe to read, but you’re under no obligation to do so! I’m just posting it for fun.)

Atlas of the Inner Sea v0.1 (PDF)

Map of the Inner Sea (PNG)

As usual for my weekly projects, this is all very rough–even more than usual in this case, since I don’t write much these days! Rather than creating a huge world, I focused on putting a lot of details into a relatively small region, and making every single point of interest unique and worth visiting. I tried to consider the history and languages of the various settlements–language in particular is something that largely gets ignored in D&D games, so I think it might be interesting to take it a little more seriously. All that said, I’m sure there are all manner of typos, internal inconsistencies, and other issues here. (And the hand-drawn map is pretty embarassing!)

It’s entirely possible that this new D&D game will just end up being a one-off, but I’m hoping it becomes a recurring campaign, so that we can all get to know the Inner Sea and its diverse and eccentric peoples together.

A couple side notes:

  • I picked up a bunch of the new Reaper Bones plastic miniatures for this game. I am in love with them. They’re every bit as detailed as traditional pewter minis but much cheaper and easier to work with. They even look better unpainted, to my eye–it’s a lot easier to see detail on the solid, matte white surface. This is nice because it’s highly unlikely I’ll have the time to paint any of them (although who knows; maybe I’ll make it a weekly project). I also bought some of the new official pre-painted D&D figures, but I wouldn’t recommend them. They’re ridiculously expensive and of mediocre quality.
  • I’m still reading through the new 5th edition D&D rules, but I’m pretty pleased with them so far. They seem to have entirely backed off from trying to emulate MMO conventions (one of the many unfortunate decisions they made in 4E), and seem to be emphasizing role-playing a lot more in this edition. There’s also a two-paragraph section on gender, encouraging players to experiment with their characters’ gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Unexpected and very cool. I may post more about my impressions of 5E once we’ve had a chance to play.