Real World Inspirations for Fantasy Locales

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,183
This thread makes me begin to think maybe fantasy games sometimes just aren't as fantastic as the real world's wonders.
The problem I always have is how to translate pictures like are posted here into anything meaningful in game.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
28,337
Reaction score
78,318
The problem I always have is how to translate pictures like are posted here into anything meaningful in game.

I literally just use the pictures - sometimes with minor photoshopping to remove any trace of the modern world

I do wish more fantasy RPGs did focus on landscape art to evoke their worlds than constant "character poses" shots
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
7,563
Reaction score
18,170
iu
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,183
I literally just use the pictures - sometimes with minor photoshopping to remove any trace of the modern world

I do wish more fantasy RPGs did focus on landscape art to evoke their worlds than constant "character poses" shots
How do you find and collect the pictures? And then find them when you need them in play?

And how do they actually work in play? That's really the challenge I would have. You have a single picture from a specific vantage point. If you move into the scene what can you now see or no longer see? What is relevant but you can't see from the picture?

And maybe for a specific question, we have seen a number of forest pictures in this thread. How do we gamify the differences observed? There are different densities of trees, different types of undergrowth, different forest floors, etc.

Or do you just use a picture or two to convey some mood and general idea of what the terrain looks like?

Now that said, I DID use a picture in my Cold Iron Samurai Adventures scenario that I'm currently running, but it was just a picture of entry steps to a Shinto shrine. The rest I'm relying on a map of a shrine. But that was for a play by post campaign where I could spend a couple hours looking for pictures and stuff without delaying a live game. Actually I think I spent way more than a couple hours. And ultimately that's a problem... I can't keep spending hours looking for a handful of images to support game play.

One way I did have some success with real world images was when I tried to run a Yoon Suin campaign that I set in the Anapurna region of Nepal. I used OpenStreetMap to get a map of the city that I could mark up and I used Google Street View to show some various spots in the city. Another time, for my Traveller play by post, I picked a real world city (based on someone's suggestion), and found a good place in the city for the building the PCs wanted to infiltrate. Street views and stuff let me give them an idea of what they were up against. But again, that took hours of time to pull together.
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
28,337
Reaction score
78,318
How do you find and collect the pictures? And then find them when you need them in play?

A lot of social media groups devoted just to these kinds of pictures, and then I collect them in one of my Flickr folders:


When I run a game, I'll make folders for different areas of the map, and usually have them prepped before a game session.


And how do they actually work in play? That's really the challenge I would have. You have a single picture from a specific vantage point. If you move into the scene what can you now see or no longer see? What is relevant but you can't see from the picture?

Well, I don't use them as maps, instead as visual cues to "set the scene" and convey the mood of an area. It's an aid to an imagination, but not a replacement for it.

Like illustrations in a novel.

Or do you just use a picture or two to convey some mood and general idea of what the terrain looks like?

Yeah, pretty much

And maybe for a specific question, we have seen a number of forest pictures in this thread. How do we gamify the differences observed? There are different densities of trees, different types of undergrowth, different forest floors, etc.

I'm not sure about "gamify" beyond descriptions. It would affect travel time, level of light/visibility, etc
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,183
A lot of social media groups devoted just to these kinds of pictures, and then I collect them in one of my Flickr folders:


When I run a game, I'll make folders for different areas of the map, and usually have them prepped before a game session.

Yea obviously that kind of organization is needed. A big issue for me though would be the amount of time one can spend collecting pictures, and then finding the right ones when you want to use them, where the "find the right ones" can be a prep step or done just in time.

Well, I don't use them as maps, instead as visual cues to "set the scene" and convey the mood of an area. It's an aid to an imagination, but not a replacement for it.

Like illustrations in a novel.

Yeah, pretty much
OK, still, it's not always clear to me how to translate the feelings I have when I look at a picture into anything meaningful in a game.

And I guess that's part of why the horror genre doesn't much appeal to me, it's too dependent on conveying mood...

I'm not sure about "gamify" beyond descriptions. It would affect travel time, level of light/visibility, etc
Yea, those are the big ones. Also of course type of forest should impact the encounter table.
 

Godfather Punk

Oh dear, how sad, nevermind.
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
422
Reaction score
1,494
But basically 'Real World Inspirations for Fantasy Locales' means fog, rocks, trees and lichen? :wink:
 

Acmegamer

Legendary Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
1,521
Reaction score
3,617
Hell, I love my motorcycles and I'd love to live in Giethoorn village. I'd rent a storage garage for my motorcycle and car outside of town and be happy about it. :smile:
 

ffilz

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,183
Hell, I love my motorcycles and I'd love to live in Giethoorn village. I'd rent a storage garage for my motorcycle and car outside of town and be happy about it. :smile:
If you look on Google Maps (I just did), there ARE some roads so there are plenty of properties on the canal system that DO have road access. But there ARE also properties that do not have road access. Interesting place.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top