Monday, January 7, 2013

Fantasy sandbox

Somewhere this weekend I got into my head to create a sandbox for a fantasy campaign. I'm thinking a city-state is the right size. My old-old C&S campaign map has a continent that is not well-defined where I can put it. The last time I ran fantasy I ran in on that continent.

My bullet list so far:
  • city-state
  • seaport
  • King-mayor died suddenly of dysentery
  • Queen-mayor-regent rules until 4 year old son comes of age
  • 3 shell keeps in the frontier
I feel the need to do a little research on city-states. If someone has a good resource, let me know.

In this sandbox, I want to try out new (to me) digital map-making with GIMP or some mapping software. I also haven't decided on which rules to use. My inclination is to continue my conversion of C&S to GURPS, but I might go another route. Basically, use the tools and techniques I've read about online and elsewhere to get the job done.


  1. It's been a while since I've read them but Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia might have some inspiration fodder.

  2. I'm ashamed to say that nothing comes to mind off of the top of my head titlewise; my Masters is in history but I concentrated on early modern Europe. But look for a good book on the Peloponnesian War. A good text will give the background and setting of an archetypal Greek city state and its environs.

  3. I'm undecided about the level of technology. I'm definitely leaning away from medieval, because it has just been done to death. But I can't decide if I should go toward Renaissance technology or Greco-Roman. Adding in primitive firearms and the competition between technology and magic seems to add interesting tensions. Greco-Roman is a natural time period for the city-state.


  4. "Greco-Roman is a natural time period for the city-state."

    Yes and no. :) The Italian City-states existed through the Medieval Era through the Renaissance and Early Modern period and finally ended with Garibaldi in the 19th C. In fact there are even modern European states that are the equivalent of city-states in many respects: Luxembourg, Monaco, Lichenstein.

    Your point about medieval "done to death" is spot on. Classical period is also done quite a bit as well. Maybe I'm influenced by early Wilderlands (which has more of a classical feel despite the armor and weapon types) and RuneQuest in that belief.

    Renaissance and primiative firearms has the advantage of have a mix of armnor types. Armor is going away due to firearms, but there are still heavy "bullet-proved" plate armors produced and there are still heavy lancers in limited use, even as infantry begins to come into its own again. There are even units like Hasselrigg's Lobsters in the ECW that wear plate, carry pistols, and ride horses and are used as shock troops.

  5. What Renaissance-level fantasy RPGs are out there? Clockwork and Chivalry is the only one I can think of, except for The Fantasy Trip, which had grenades, the arquebus, and fencing.

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