Session Zero Mapping

We recently did a session zero for our forthcoming OSE campaign set in a fantasy world loosely inspired by the feel of Colonial America, the heroes are the first of a group of pioneers who have arrived on boats in a recently revealed landmass once shrouded in great glaciers. As they adventure they’ll also be trying to help their village prosper and survive.

I love a session zero because it gives everyone a chance to get involved and invest in creating the campaign setting, of course you need to make sure your players are comfortable with that, but I’ve gamed with all of our players before and was sure they’d be up for it. Taking a tip out of the Perilous Wilds (a book designed for Dungeon World) I basically laid down the coastline, a river and the location of their village, we then alternated between us adding in areas and creating rumours related to them.

We did this using the drawing tools in Roll20 to get a very crude (not to scale) map (as shown below):

As we were chatting about rumours i jotted them down on the map using Roll20’s text function, Roll20 isn’t really ideal for actual map-making in my opinion and the drawing tools are pretty basic but they sufficed for this.

Once this has been done I printed out a hex-grid and then drew a neat version of the map by hand before scanning it, adding some colour in Photoshop and dropping it back into Roll20 to get the map we have below:

As we were chatting we also developed a bit of the background for the campaign world and arrived at the decision that originally humans had lived on this landmass and were more magically and technologically advanced than they are now. At some point a great disaster occurred and the glacier surged southward forcing them to flee, magic-users were blamed for this and magic has since been viewed with suspicion.

Many hundreds of years later mankind had clawed its way back to a blackpowder level of technology and has discovered that the glaciers have retreated from their ancestral home, leading to ships full of pioneers attempting to resettle the ancient coontinent of Valkonen.

After the session zero I wrote-up a brief background, added the rumours and a glossary of terms, you can see them here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HxpYd1pxbQGvWvCGZ7QmdIh0W8gF1nL6d5-ADbwXRbM/edit?usp=sharing

I very much enjoyed the session zero and am looking forward to the first game in a couple of weeks.

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