Pandion Letters - Cartographer's Update
Let's refine how the hex map works in Banda's Grove to build a legacy that changes and grows over time.
Why a Cartographer's Update?
After a lot of play testing and feedback, the original hex map system in Banda's Grove was cumbersome, time-consuming to set up, and didn't bring much to the actual gameplay. That needed to change.
The new map and rules needed to fulfil a few requirements:
Simplify gameplay setup and administration.
Implement more directly with other game mechanics.
Prepare for the upcoming Solo Rules.
Be robust enough to bring the Grove to life.
Create a sense of legacy and change over time.
Allow players to explore detailed community building within each Fragment.
And I think we fulfilled all of them with this update.
The New Maps - Grove and Fragment Details
We reduced the number of hex tiles from 50+ to a 5x5 hex grid and added a note's section built right into the map. The main function is to facilitate drawing and writing at the table by a group of people. But we also created 30 new illustrated hex tiles and transparent background hex map for those who play online to use in their favorite VTT.
We built Plane-specific feature tables. When a Clutharian fragment appears at the grove, you can roll for a unique feature just for Cluthar. These features are the kind you can sketch and build upon.
Our play testing went very well for these changes. But we added in a twist that was loved at our table: The Fragment Detail Maps.
For each Fragment at the Grove (you start the game with 7) you have the option to pull out a Fragment Detail Map. This zooms you into one Fragment to present a 3x3 hex grid to really detail that Fragment.
For instance, on Fragment 01, perhaps Banda's Home is there, and the Ranger's Residence and Community Campground. Later on, maybe it's decided there's a storage shed full of canoes there too. The Fragment Detail Map gives you the space to not only draw each of these in detail, but label and define them.
Our players absolutely loved doing this.
Tables Tables Tables
Everyone loves a random table. We originally didn't include many because we wanted to keep the game 'diceless'. But it was decided that keeping the players roleplaying diceless, while using dice for random tables, was acceptable.
This has opened up many uses for the Grove Map. When someone passes through a Quantum Woods fragment - roll on the Quantum Woods Event Table. A new fragment appears? Roll for its Plane and unique feature!
We have even added in rumors and random events tables to help spur action at the Grove. Expect some of these tables to be expanded in future updates as well.
Here's some of what we are working on for our next update:
A Quantum Event Generator tool!
4 Additional Quantum Events
The remaining creatures for Nature Watching (We've released 47 of 100 so far)
Expanding the unique feature, rumor and random event tables
Writing a free creator's guide
A Review and Actual Play!
Almost Bedtime Theater is a wonderful Dad / Daughter duo that reviews and plays games together. They recently released a review and actual play of Banda's Grove and is an absolute must-listen.
You can find the podcast here or on your favorite podcast streaming service.
We want to share some recommendations of games we've been enjoying because the list is long, and the games are delightful. In no particular order:
Refill by Armanda Haller - This is a wonderful GMless duet that has you take on the role of old friends meeting again for the first time since high school at a coffee shop. There's some good existential crisis material here as you explore once-friends meeting after 20 years.
Distilled & Focused Vol 1.1 - A fantastic zine collection from 8 creators compiled by Travis D. Hill. The theme for this first volume was Rituals, and I think the creators did a fantastic job of representing that theme.
Breathless by Fari RPGs - From a pure mechanics perspective, this game is brilliant. The degradation of your skills after each use, the complications of resting. It's fantastic. Pick it up to play (because it's great) or to study solid design.
Tannic: A Point Crawl Forest Adventure by Amanda P. - Self proclaimed as a love letter to the pine barrens and youthful adventures, I wholeheartedly agree. Even if you don't plan to run an OSE or Carin game, I'd pick this up just for the sheer delight of a campfire story-like adventures, and it can easily be implemented into whatever game you are playing.
Ghost + Heist = Geist by Orpheus Press - This game is just FUN. Reading it is fun, looking at it is fun, running it is fun. Play as a ghost in the Ghost Processing Bureau attempting to lie, cheat and steal your way back to life.
Finally, thank you for all your support. It means the world to me.