Thursday, 16 August 2018

Mapping a Giant Tree Trunk

I've had some preliminary thoughts on mapping a giant tree, beginning with the trunk. Have a look at the following diagram, which is a section of a trunk:


The main concept here is the wraparound. This is a cylinder stretched out flat into two-dimensional space. The line in the centre marks the notional mid-point. Somebody could climb horizontally from square C5 all the way through D5, E5, F5 etc. right to T5, then round the "back" to A5 and B5 and to C5 again.

Locations on the trunk are marked with different colours. Black spaces are entrances to tunnel networks which are burrowed or dug into the tree itself. Red spaces are lairs for monsters. Green blotches are patches of lichen or moss. Grey ones contain a building or other construction created on the side of the trunk itself (usually on a platform of some type). 

Brown squares indicate places where branches emerge from the trunk. Mapping branches is the next stage to figure out: it will have to involve an iterative process for determining branchings.

There is also the potential to hand draw other features such as cracks. 


10 comments:

  1. I've been struggling to think of a way to map a dungeon with vertical climbing. And, holy cow, this will work perfectly for it. Thanks for the post!

    Very interested on your next ideas for roots/branches/extraneous stuff.

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    1. Thanks. A hex map would be a better way of doing it - though it should be quite easy to implement.

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  2. How are you envisioning travel on the side of the trunk most of the time? Is the texture of the bark so vast that you are walking along ledges? Are you climbing across the open face of the trunk? Do you need special mounts/vehicles?

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    1. Good questions. The short answer is that climbing is relatively easy. Climbing the open face of the trunk shouldn't be hard for a competent climber, especially with equipment - and assuming the surface of the tree is "blown up" to scale. The dangers come from wind and other environmental factors.

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  3. you could do a wrap around hexmap if you really wanted to be old school... but yeah this could work, it only takes a few moments to understand the principle and then it's clear as day.

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    1. Yeah, in the finished version I expect to go hex map.

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  4. Branches would be another wrap around map, but with less letters than the trunk (being thinner). Cross out the square on the trunk where the branch starts and link the neighbouring trunk-squares to one end of the branch map.

    For instance, if you would like to branch off from E4, put a cross in that square and E3,F4,E5,D4 do not link to E4 anymore, but rather to branch-A1,B1,C1,D1.

    For thicker branches you need to cross-out multiple trunk-squares and link all the neighbouring trunk-squares to the first row of the branch.

    Does this make sense?

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    1. Yes, it does. I like it. There would still need to a process for determining how long and thick the branch is, how many sub-branches it has, and so on. That can be done, but would need quite a bit of book-keeping for the DM.

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    2. Well, I don't know. If you have a dungeon with multiple levels, all interconnected, I presume you would not call this book-keeping. So, when viewed as such, the tree is also a set of interconnected maps.

      That said, if the branches become to small (twigs?), you could replace them by an entry on their parent branch in the right square.

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  5. Ah, and you are correct that branches of branches requires nested maps. If branches become too thin/small, I would replace them with a single location on their 'parent'-map.

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