Design Dungeons & Dragons

DnD Kingdom Part 1 Mapping

Dungeons and Dragons – Mystara

Kingdom Building Part 1 – Mapping

Taking advantage of Legendary Games new product called Ultimate Kingdom, I am going to map out the D&D world that I am running such that it can be incorporated into the ongoing narrative of the storyline. This is my development of an existing setting for my home campaign.

Where to Start?

The first stage of any kingdom building is having a settlement where you will be starting the story around. The heroes will need a place to rest, recover, and spend all that hard won adventuring treasures (some worlds this might be part of the story to find such a place).

As I am intending on using the world of Mystara as my playground for many years to come, I will pick countries from there as my examples of implementing the world.

For this example I am intending on Specularum being the core settlement in the building of the first kingdom. As I am starting with the iconic Gazetteer 1 – Grand Duchy of Karameikos this is a good central city.

Mapping and Hex’s

Each nation will have its own hex numbers, and trying to keep that straight has been a bit of an issue with other styles of it so I have come up with a new system to begin again with this iteration of mapping the kingdoms.

The capital city of each nation will be listed as Nation00, so for Glantri that would place Glantri City in hex Glantri-0-0. Look for Glantri City as the red location in the centre of the map where two rivers meet.

Each of the hex grid around the starting grid will be numbered as follows. First set of numbers are distance from the capital city. The second set of numbers are counting clockwise around the capital city. North is always 1, then going clockwise around the starting hex we have them numbered 1 to 6. So in Glantri, Taterhill is Glantri-3-1, Westhealth is Glantri-4-19. This is good for small nations but it becomes unmanageable for larger nations.

Now another approach is to count Glantri City as Glantri-0-0 and to count north as each hex being +1 and each hex going south as -1. Then to determine East and West positioning the line of hex’s that are pointing northeast add +1 to the second number and the line of hexes going southwest take -1 from the second number. So looking at the same positioning I would get Taterhill at Glantri+3-0 and Westheath as Glantri+2-4.

Another approach is to pick the top left corner of the country count that as hex 0-0 and then first number is going left, then second number is doing down. Now this is problematic when nations are not square.

A further approach is to have a single hex for all the nations be considered as hex 0-0 and all other hex’s are relative to that one. The question with that is what hex is good to use and the centre of the region. Thyatis City suits that more than any other, but then you end up with large negative numbers.

So for the purposes on working out the nations I am working with each nation having its own origin hex, but noting down its relative position to other national origin points.

Working Example: Karameikos AC 1000

The basic terrain types have some difference on this map so here is the list of what I am using to represent Karameikos. The other terrain types are not in evidence in this region and will be discussed in other examples.

  • Plains (as per book for plains)
  • Forest, Light (as per book for forest)
  • Forest, Heavy (pop 25, danger 10)
  • Forest with Hills (pop 25, danger 10)
  • Forest with Mountains (pop 25, danger 10)
  • Hills (as per book for hills)
  • Moor (pop 25, danger 10)
  • Mountains (as per book for mountains)
  • Swamp (as per book for swamps)
  • Cavern (as per book for caverns)
  • River (as per book for river)
  • Coastline (as per book for coastline, plus terrain equals number of side of hex fully land terrain divided by 6)
Starting with the Capital

This Estate of Marilenev in the Grand Duchy of Karameikis manages 22 hex’s (each hex is 8 miles). It contains the national capital of Specularum which has three highways coming in as well as being on the river, and being a major shipping port of the region.

Later this city will change its name, but that is in the future storyline.

How do i keep track of this?

The basics on building and tracking using the rules of Ultimate Kingdoms is a lot of numbers and modifiers. As not everyone is good with that I will walk through how I have set up my Nation and Estate of Marilenev in a spreadsheet.

I have created a blank book for the nation called Karameikos, this will be my kindgom template for the nation. It has the following columns.
Hex: This is when I list all the hex’s
Settlement: If a hex holds a settlement, here is where you will find it. It also holds a calculation field for how many settlements in a region.
Hexes: a calculation field for keeping track of how many hexes in a region.
Terrain type columns: This shows all the terrain types available in the nation.
Terrain Calc Fields: Here I have a base population, a mulitplier and a danger rating field to capture what the terrain types give me.
Terrain improvement columns: This shows all the terrain improvements that occur in that hex.
Hex Calc Field: Lastly I have two fields for total population in the hex and total danger.

Each region is totalled, and all the regions are added together to give a national rating. This will give me the ability to have a few mini nations organising themselves as vessel states and freeing up the larger nation to sort out the overall details.

Next steps – Claimed Hex’s

I then add in all the other regions. Then the settlements, ruins, waterways and roads. Lastly the unexplored wilderness areas as this nation is not fully explored will be noted for future expansions. So all the regions came out like this:

  • Estate of Marileven (2 settlements, 22 hexes)
  • Barony of Kelvin (1 settlement, 10 hexes)
  • Barony of Vorloi (1 settlement, 22 hexes)
  • Black Eagle Barony (1 settlement, 15 hexes)
  • Estate of Dmitrov (1 settlement, 9 hexes)
  • Estate of Penhaligon (1 settlement, 6 hexes)
  • Kingdom of Highforge – Gnomes (1 settlement, 9 hexes)
  • Dymrak Forest – Callarii Elves (5 hexes)
  • Radlebb Woods – Callarii Elves (1 settlement, 29 hexes)
  • Duke’s Road (2 settlements, 18 hexes)
  • Eastron Road (2 settlements, 16 hexes)
  • Westron Road (3 settlements, 20 hexes)
  • Windrush Road (2 settlements, 8 hexes)
  • Castellan River (1 settlement, 14 hexes)
  • Highreach River (10 hexes)
  • Two stand alone settlements
  • Ruins
  • Dymrak Forest – Vyalia elves (37 hexes)
  • Dymrak Forest – Goblins (29 hexes)

The last three are areas which don’t add to the community of Karameikos and include a nation of goblins and elves.

Making better use of excel

Having a background in computing I realised I was not making the most of the spreadsheet I had put together so I made a couple of powerful changes that will make tweaking the numbers a lot easier as I go.

Source data tables are used on a tables tab to represent the variables I can tweak to make the numbers work better for my version of the game. While the numbers represented in the book are good generic ones, they might not suit the world in which I run my 5th Edition game.

Terrain Types Table: This is the table where I included the various terrains features in the map, I have combined a couple of base population levels and danger ratings.

Terrain Features Table: This is the table that determines a multiplier on the population as well as danger ratings for area’s where there should not be populations of people.

Terrain Special Table: This is a table that indicated special aspects of the terrain hex that can influence things like the economy, the stability of the lands and loyalty.

Terrain Improvements Table: This table represents the improvements that a kingdom can make to the land itself.

So that brings me back to the Estate of Marilenev

What I have done differently here is make the Terrain type a drop down value referencing the Terrain Type table. Then I added in a % usable trait to represent hexes that are not completely liveable due to things like coastlines. So the values is calculated by how many facings are inside the usable area divided by 6 which is the number of facings.

Then the Base Population references the Terrain Types table using an index and a Match to determine the correct row to get the data from.

=INDEX(TerrainTypes, MATCH(D6,TerrainTypes[Terrain Types]), 2)*E6

I use the same index function to calculate the Multiplier, Danger rating Consumption, Defence, Economy, Loyalty, Stability and Tax increase.

Concluding Thoughts

For a first part of the country, I now have a basic cut of the nation, with many areas that can be expanded into as part of the ongoing story and helps showcase how little of the nation is actually tamed.

My next instalment should go into the basics of describing the 22 settlements of the region.

Content Updates

  • 2021-08-05 – Update to the menu.
  • 2020-09-10 – Content Cleanup.
WRATH Design

Setting Design:
Part 1 – Five Elements,
Part 2 – Five Spheres,
Part 3 – Pantheons,
Part 4 – Divine Features,
Part 5 – Reference Material,
Part 6 – Races,
Part 7 – Secret Crafts,
Part 8 – Weapons Mastery,
Part 9 – Setting,
Part 10 – Timeline,
Part 11 – Magical Item,
Part 12 – Classes,
Part 13 – Downtime,
Part 14 – Immortality,
Part 15 – Elemental Aspects,
Part 16 – Immortal Patrons,
Part 17 – New Directions,
Part 18 – Symbols

Kingdom Building:
Part 1 – Mapping

D&D 5E in Mystara

D&D MenuAdventures, Artefacts, Backgrounds, Classes, Dominions, Downtime, Feats, Gazetteers, Gods, Magical Items, Monsters, Organisations, Pantheons, Races, Ranks & Titles, Rune Magic, Secret Crafts, Settlements, Spells, Timeline, Weapons Mastery

WRATH: Campaign, Design

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Wizard – Bladesinger (Nerye),
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By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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