Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A moment for practical review:

Some of the benefits of the detailed write-up and the planetary mechanics have been unexpected,the latitude lines for example.  Following on the Earth model, each degree of latitude is roughly = 69.8 miles and the lines are drawn for every 5 degrees.  They are embedded onto the map, so when I enlarge it to clip and copy for a smaller game map: I have a consistent scale for distance.  It was 4 months of research and drawing well spent.  Incidentally, for any who may be curious: my reasons for choosing an axial tilt of 27.5 degrees are many, but mostly it was needed to allow the Biomes drawn on the map to align with where they should be on a real globe.  It’s the old “form follows function & function dictates form” theory of design.  Most of the choices for orbital mechanics and such were also set down to support the features of the map.  The bottom line is that my version of Áereth is a world of savannas, jungles, archipelagos, and icy wastes; with very thin temperate zones.  

 As a result of the axial tilt the high & low-pressure systems that help to drive the winds are shifted; so the sub-tropical high pressure zones are at 35 degrees N & S latitudes; the sub-polar lows are at 65 degrees N & S latitudes…  I’m no meteorologist, but I believe that this should act to drive especially fierce polar winds due to compressing the bands of moving air.  Which lends more support to the fierceness of the storms idea.

One of the most handy features of the Ecology & Culture guide are the details on understanding and modeling weather & winds; as well as the break downs on the different biomes and where they are to be found.  For me, a lot of this stuff is review (I’ve always been good at biology & natural sciences) but this resource is written from the FRPG point of view, which provides some excellent ideas for making the natural world a more interesting and challenging place for the players.  I’ve not gone to the trouble of building detailed “it’s going to rain at X time and at Y intensity” charts, because I can look at the latitude on the map and know what the weather should be based on the season and the prevailing wind patterns.

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