The Northern Strata: Gygax 75 Challenge Week 2

This is my second week working on the Gygax 75 Challenge. In the first week, I focused on a pitch for the setting details.

This week, the task was to make a regional hex map with some basic features and then to develop and encounter table. Both of these took longer than expected, and I’m not sure I could keep up this pace week by week.

To review, the Northern Strata is a wilderness region that is mostly unexplored. It’s haunted by eldritch-type horrors, the gods have been killed by philosophers, and everyone is biologically human. Elves and dwarves exist, but are more akin to rigid lifestyle choices. Elves are an insular culture obsessed with mental trees and hereditary lineage (they treat Linneaus as a saint), whereas Dwarves are obsessed with project management and (in a traditional fantasy sense) mining incessantly deeper.

Rather than think of the strata as surrounded by water, I thought it would be interesting to have it connected by land, with a climate and ecology similar to parts of Alaska.

The Northern Strata Hex Map

Some rough ideas for locations are as follows

09.07 – The main keep and base of operations, a sort of military outpost meant to maintain watch on the road to the port

05.08 – A port settlement used to transport goods across the sea to the West

01.06 – A philosophers’ tower

05.04 A mostly abandoned forward camp, built on the edge of 05.03

05.03 – A former dwarven dungeon built into the mountain

08.02 Ancient destroyed city of some former (possibly non-human) civilization

13.02 – Cathedral to a dead god, now home to the elves

The Northern Strata Encounters

The next part was to develop an encounter table. This could have been just a 2d6 table, but I decided to have a table for night encounters as well as more specific encounters detailing human, elven, and dwarven personalities. Many of the encounters here reference monsters described in the upcoming Dangerous Dungeons work for OSRIC. Others, such as the Hounds of Tindalos, are detailed in Swords of Cthulhu.

Day and Night Encounters

Human Encounters

For these tables and the ones below, you can roll once and read across, or roll separately for each column.

Elven Encounters

Dwarven Encounters

Rare Encounters

Note on Reversion

Reversion is the effect of constant exposure, causing one’s bodily organs to become separated from their regular functions, For example, a mouth may close and function as an ear, lungs may start to metabolize, the skin may overtake thinking from the brain. Details on this process will be provided at a later date.

Final Thoughts

Overall the process has been working ok, and I’m interested in working more on the setting, especially as things get more granular. With the hex map, there’s an urge to keep adding more to the edges, but I’m trying to focus on just this specific region for now.

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