RPG Blog Carnival: Fantastic Locations

The old man watched the small but temporary city rose around his pavilion.  He had traveled many lands before coming here, spending a few weeks at each place before moving on.  He looked around at the motley assortment of tents and wagons, horses and stranger mounts.  He saw many folk he had met before, some new faces, and noted the sorry absence of others.

That night, around a communal fire, he welcomed all who came.  “I see old friends here, and some I hope to be new friends.  We are all travelers, in one place for a time, and I hope we all enjoy our stay together.

“So tell me, where have you been and what sights have you seen?”

I have found that many adventures take place in fairly generic locations.  A village, a forest, caves under an abandoned ruin.  It seems that often the differences in the places get overlooked or under-appreciated.  Whether it is a well-maintained hall of a castle, the musty shaft of an abandoned mine, or the twisting tunnel of an unknown cave system, it seems that beyond the description when entering the place, these are all treated as a simple ten foot wide tunnel.

Some of the most memorable adventures I have taken part in have had very evocative locations, with enough detail to make them stand out as some place different, some place I had never been.  In some cases I wish I really could be there, in many others I wished I was not… but the best of these, I can still picture in my mind.

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is focused on fantastic locations, places that stand out for some reason.  They might be relatively normal places with small differences that set them apart from most, they might be very strange places with only enough normalcy to give them context so they can be understood at all.  There may also be posts about fantastic locations as a group, such as how to describe them, how to generate them (perhaps some tools to help when you’re stuck for ideas), or what characteristics are shared by fantastic locations.

Please, enjoy the carnival.

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  1. Pingback: Fantastic locations & the fantastic things that happen there « Casting Shadows

    • They look great, Dariel, and the addition of ‘attraction’ when describing them is valuable. I tend to use the guidelines I described less as a template and more to decide if I have written something fantastic, or if I need to crank up the awesome.

      Lately I’ve tended to write things up in using the Entity definition template I devised a while ago — incidentally based in part on your old ‘Challenge and Response’ article. It’s still evolving a bit, but I’m becoming pretty satisfied with it. In the next few weeks I hope to provide some examples here, some new ones and some older ones revised.

  2. Pingback: RPG Blog Carnival: Fantastic Locations « The Black Campbell

    • Another article that goes in a direction I hadn’t really considered — take an otherwise mundane place and make it fantastic. Don’t just describe it evocatively, raid Chekhov’s armoury and give the participants lots of things to work with. There are times simple, straightforward sets are appropriate, but it can be much more fun to make them complex enough to be interesting, especially if they can be dynamic and change during the scene.

      Give the PCs a place that’s interesting and the tools needed to make the scene awesome, and they can provide the ‘fantastic’. I like it.

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  11. Hi Everyone,

    I haven’t been ignoring your posts (they’re all in the roundups), I’ve just been extremely busy this last couple of weeks. Hopefully things are slowing down again.

    Thanks for contributing, there have been some very good articles posted, and way wider variety to them than I expected.


  12. Pingback: Fantastic Locations: January 19, 2011 Roundup | Keith Davies — In My Campaign - Keith's thoughts on RPG design and play.

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