Sketching a Region

I’ve spent this week working on maps. I finished coloring the regional map and started on the compound. When I finish that one, I’ll draw the main floor of the tavern itself.

(C) 2020, JJ Shaun
Region surrounding the Happy Harpy.

Drawing the region and the outpost helps me put the area in perspective. I have ideas where the action can occur and what types of adversaries to put in those areas. All of this gives me a better picture of what the place looks like.

I’ll need room for the merchant caravans that use the trade road. There isn’t enough room inside the compound for large wagon trains, but the trees around the outer walls have been cleared for several hundred paces. Merchants use this area as a caravansary of sorts. The caravans will have their own guards to protect them, so they won’t need the resources of the outpost.

I still have to research how big to make the enclave. How many wagons and outriders would typical caravan have? How much space would be necessary for the animals and wagons? What kind of water source would be required and available? Where would the waste be disposed of and how? The more questions I have, the more I come up with.

(C) 2020, JJ Shaun
The Happy Harpy compound.

I’ve also fleshed out more characters, but still have more to complete. I doubt I’ll sketch them, I’m not that much of an artist. I’m working on the relationships and interactions that will occur. With so many different personalities, I’m sure there will be clashes. I’ve already gotten a hint of some volatility that could happen.

That doesn’t include some of the drama that can happen when a caravan arrives. What happens when a drover or caravan guard gets too rowdy at the tavern? Should the outpost have a jail or brig? Or should troublemakers be unceremoniously ejected from the gates? So many questions that I don’t have answers to yet.

This is the closest I’ve come to outlining a story. I’m usually a “pantser,” all this advance research is a new experience for me. So, welcome aboard as I feel my way into creating my world.

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