Odds and Ends (Suggestions)
Short suggestions submitted to Angel Bluecollarheaven via e-mail. Feel free to submit any suggestions or tips you might have.
A note of stereotypes:
After the first couple of skeleton-filled crypts, players get bored. It is important to have Good units, as well as Evil ones, in explorable locations. Players don't usually expect to raid an Elven prison and find out that the Elves are torturing a Hero who is part of a non-aligned race that the Elves are supposedly at peace with. Or, say, Astra and Valkyries protect a noble warrior's crypt from grave robbers. Make the players feel remorseful for looting treasure spots and taking over peaceful independent towns to convert them for war. Pop-ups such as "Before you lies the tomb of Richard Lightbringer, a noble warrior who layed down his life battling the Undead hordes. You can't help feeling that entering this holy place would desecrate it" are especially good for this feeling of "Though-I'm-A-Good-Guy,-I'm-Not-Sure-I'm-Doing-The-Right-Thing". Shades of grey make people think.
Creating a theme:
Sometimes a Crypt, Pyramid, etc. can greatly benefit from manually setting the defenders/items. This feature is best when used to create theme. For example, an ancient Pyramid guarded by followers of Yaka, containing fire-resistant armor; or a "Monster Lair" filled with a few Orc Assassins (with a few more roaming about the contryside), plotting to kill a king or other important leader, and the reward being a poisoned dagger, just like what they use. After all, it is better than going to a castle surrounded by ice and finding the random generated artifact to be a Fire Axe.
If the map is a place where people have been fighting for a long time, start it off with some razed structures, marauding independents, and other stuff to reflect this. Scarring the terrain within range of an Altar of Ice, Death, etc., for example, and setting some Reapers, Valkyries, and other supernatural beings associated with Death and Battle to walk the land (not too many, or else the players will get killed) adds to the "I'm-Not-The-First-One- To-Lead-My-Troops-Into-Battle".
Ash clouds and fire work really, really well with volcanoes. Say you have a mountain pass between some volcanically active land. Plop down a coupleof those clouds, and you get two wonderful effects: first, more realism; and, second, a little bit more strategy (you can't see very far in front of you).
Land Forms and AoW:
I have found (and this is very useful) that by considering the way land forms in real life a CMM can make some wonderful maps; for example, Imight start off a map by thinking to myself, "I'll put a continental divide along here." That area will have water all along it, and most likely a large body of water surrounding. Continental drift will cause land formations on one side to bunch up into mountains and hundreds of small islands, whereas on the other side the land will be stretched out into large plains or mesas, as well as some spots where the ground sinks down causing things like swamps. Areas that have lots of "fresh water" will have more vegetation, whereas the more "salt water" there is, the less growth. 'Shrooms grow where there is less light, like in a really mountainous area =) Snow catches in drifts, so if you have a snowy area with a non-snowy area next to it, but that non-snowy has a line of mountains perpendicular to snow drifts, then some snow is going to catch in those mountains.
- submitted by CarrotTorg (14 Nov 2000)