Friday, April 15, 2011

an idea for the geomorphers

One of the latest, greatest developments in the Old School Ruckus has been in the field of dungeon geomorphs.

That cover art looks oddly familiar...
Good geomorphs used to be hard to find. The original TSR geomorphs are functional, but I always found them way more cramped than I liked. Back in the day Erol Otus put out a set that was crazy intricate, but I've never even seen a copy for sale. Kellri adapted them into one of his many ultracool free PDFs, which you can download here.  Seriously, that dude is awesome. If you run AD&D1 or OSRIC you absolutely need to get Kellri's CDD #4 Encounters Reference. It's one of the most useful things ever made for AD&D. Others running with similar systems should check it out as well.

Goodman Game's Dungeon Crawl Classic #9: Dungeon Geomorphs made a honest effort to revitalize the field, but that product had two flaws.  First, many of the geomorphs lack personality.  That's obviously a judgement call and you're welcome to disagree with me.  But secondly and more importantly, they weren't done in the same scale as the TSR originals it was obviously imitating.  Argh!  Years later that still pisses me off when I think about it.  Every time I wanted to mix and max the two sets I'd have to resize one of the PDFs before printing and the results never lined up quite right.

But recently the geomorphic field has exploded into a glittering sea of pure awesomeness.  New contributors to the field include Risus Monkey, Dyson Logos of A Character for Every Game, Stonewerks, John over at The 9 and 30 Kingdoms, Brutus of This is Dice Country, Paul at Quickly, Quietly, Carefully, Coopdevil the FightingFantasist, Stuart of Strange Magic, Shane of Fictious Entry, Lapsus Calumni, Glenn at The Seeking Wing, the Rorschachhamster, 1nfinite zer0 of Reflections of a Forest in a Concrete Puddle and others that I am undoubtedly missing.  All these righteous folks combine forces Voltron-style over at David Millar's awesome online Mapper, which is one of the bestest softwares ever made for roleplaying.  Seriously, Dave's Mapper ranks right up there with HeroMachine or Inkwell Ideas' Hexographer and Coat of Arms Design Studio.

Speaking of Inkwell Ideas and geomorphs, has everybody heard of the DungeonMorph Dice project?  For the longest time I didn't realize that Joe Wetzel, the dude behind that project, was the Inkwell Ideas guy.  Since I didn't know Joe Wetzel from Adam, I had been silent about his kickass plan to put dungeon geomorphs on dice.  I was kinda afraid to encourage people to check out his kickstarter funding project, for fear that they would be donating money to vaporware.  But Inkwell Ideas has a proven track record of coming through with radical gaming stuff.

Alright, now that I've told everyone more than they probably ever wanted to know about dungeon geomorphs I can finally get to the point of today's post.  I have a challenge for all you geomorph makers out their: vertical dungeon geomorphs.  Rotate the field of view 90 degrees and put the emphasis on pits, ledges, slides, shafts, stairs, balconies, vast open caverns, deep chasms covered by bridges, waterfalls, pools with underwater accessways, etc., etc.  What I want is the ability to run a crunchy dungeon adventure with only a cross-section view.

Here's some visual inspiration:
I really need to update this.