I have been digging deep into the works of Clark Ashton Smith recently, especially his Hyperborean Cycle stories that have strong connections to the mythos of Lovecraft. They are darkly humorous stories of baroque lands and flawed heroes getting their comeuppance.

While Lovecraft came up with names for locations that emphasized their alien and weird natures, Smith was a poet by nature and so he found names for his doomed cities that had a lyrical style to them.

Anyway, the 1971 Ballantine collection has a rather nice map of this lost land that seemed worth scanning and cleaning up a bit, to have on hand when reading the stories.


Milton, NM

The Netflix show Stranger Things was pretty inspirational, so I went and created this fictitious small town called Milton New Mexico as a setting for a similar style game. To create the town I used a modified version of the Microscope collaborative setting rules, and all the players were able to contribute ideas to the town's history and various mysteries. I then designed a map to tie everything together and give a common sense of geography. (For the actual game the players all rolled up 9th graders in 1986. I used the Bubblegumshoe RPG rules set.)

The campaign is on haitus but the players have enjoyed putting the clues together about the "strange doings down by the Circle K", and are keen to come back to it in a few months.

TRANSCAUTO - Trans-Caucasian Theater of Operations Map

So the classic cold war military game Twilight:2000 by GDW gave the tools to referees to run a very deep sandbox type game in central Poland as the world slides into anarchy. (I did a pretty involved fan project around that specific sandbox already.)

But thinking about it more, I got interested in exploring other locations in this fictitious war... especially after looking at the RDF Sourcebook about the situation in Iran happening concurrently to the game's main sandbox in Europe. In particular, I got interested in the Trans-Caucasian region, which is the mountainous area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. This is a very ancient and diverse mountainous region, which also would have been a key front in WWIII... a bottleneck that holds a major oil pipeline and also non-Russians under the soviet rule for over 60 years.

Close up of map

Close up of map

So I designed a map of the region using cold war era CIA maps for reference and made it in the style of the other GDW campaign maps. It was a fun bit of cartographic fun for me and could be used by a referee looking to run a campaign in Asia Minor with a whole different set of issues to confront his or her players.

The map is available as a high quality print-on-demand poster via Zazzle, and as a digital download or more affordable mini-poster via RPG Now. 


Please note: In real-world history, the withdrawal of the Soviets led to a number of ethnic clashes with a significant loss of life to the region. My intent is not to make light of those events, nor am I expressing an opinion this history. I have just sought to learn more about a part of the world I previously knew little about, and make a fun game aid in the process.


Wilderness Hexplore (Revised)

This is a repost of my original post on the NY Redbox forum from August 2011, when I published Wilderness Hexplore for the first time.

Stargate by Paul Lehr

Stargate by Paul Lehr

So I got interested in generating hex maps after reading these posts by Green Goat, and also these posts over at Welsh Piper. But I am basically a lazy DM who doesn't want to do any prep work at all. So I have been futzing around with the Judges Guild Tables to make a set of rules to generate a hex map on the fly as the players stomp around the map. As par tof this I ended up transcribing/rewriting a bunch of the JG tables into the document, mostly just to collect them all into one place. So it is definitely for personal use only.

I welcome feedback from anyone who wants to test it out, especially any of the parts that are confusing unclear.

Wilderness Hexploration Document (1.4MB PDF)

It is formatted to be printed out double sided, and 3-hole punched to put into a binder.
Also here is a Hex Map sheet to be filled out by the party:

Regional Hex Map (87KB PDF)


Heraldry Book ( 630KB PDF)

An interpretation of the random heraldry tables from the Village Book II.