Welcome to the fourth installment of the Realm Works Spotlight Series. This is Liz, and I’ll again be your host. If you’re just joining us now, I recommend first reading the initial three entries or watch the videos on our YouTube channel.
This week, we’re going to dive deeper into maps and plots, which I introduced briefly last week. With Realm Works, you can use both to explore the adventure and your world – something not possible in traditional published content.
Google Maps for Your Campaign
Campaign settings and adventures are often known for their beautiful maps, detailing cities and other adventuring areas. GMs rely on these maps to get the lay of the land when initially reading the material, but with traditional published content, it can frequently be difficult to use them at the table.
Realm Works makes these maps a focal point for navigation, allowing users to find locations and access further details similarly to GoogleMaps. To see this in action, let’s head to the city of Sandpoint in the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path from Paizo.
The Sandpoint map is incredibly detailed, with dozens of locations the party may visit. With traditional published content, I’d have to find the descriptions in the book or compile my own notes. In Realm Works, it’s all at my fingertips. How? Maps in Realm Works can have pins linked to a topic. This crucial connection can be used to find content, making exploration a simple point and click.
So if the players are exploring Raven Street and ask what they see, I simply pause the mouse over the pin and can announce the sign out front reads “Bottled Solutions”. When they walk into the shop, I click the same pin to open the topic, either in the same window or a separate tab, or I can use the map for navigation. Rather than flipping through the pages of an adventure to find the details of the shop, all the information is right at my fingertips.
As the party continues to explore the city, I don’t need to halt play while I match a letter on the map to an entry on a separate page, nor do I have to memorize it all. I can simply hover the mouse over pins and travel along with them, clicking the pins as necessary. This is incredibly useful for navigating cities like Sandpoint, as well as regions like Varisia. It’s similarly invaluable for dungeon areas, since I can pause the mouse over pins to review the details of traps and click on rooms to quickly view their contents.
Because players are often exploring locations in RPGs, this powerful option is one of my favorite features in Realm Works.
Expanding Your World
Using maps for navigation is a game-changer for many GMs, but the Content Market will make them even more valuable. When the Content Market launches in early 2016, you’ll be able to weave material from multiple books into a single, unified world . Let’s say that I begin with the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path and weave in a few modules or additional campaign setting resources, like We Be Goblins, Dawn of the Scarlet Sun, the Inner Sea World Guide, and Varisia, Birthplace of Legends.
As the books are added, I’ll have even more information about Varisia at my beck and call. Just as I did in Sandpoint, I’m able to explore the region with the map. Instead of topics from one adventure or module, info about Varisia from multiple campaign settings and modules are at my fingertips.
If you prefer creating your own setting and augmenting it with the occasional module, we’ve got you covered! You can just as easily start with your own adventure or world and integrate published content into it. Let’s say I need a cool dungeon for my players to go to. The Emerald Spire fits the bill, so I’ll pick it up in the Content Market and drop it into my world. I have this fantastic map from AAW Games for an island in my world, so I’ll add a pin for the dungeon and link it to the Emerald Spire topic. Now I can navigate to the superdungeon just like any other location on the map.
Regardless of what published content you choose, you can always customize it and make it your own. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making simple edits or building your own adventure on the foundation of a campaign setting. To add a side quest in a nearby village, just create a new topic and add the pin to the map. It’s easy.
If you’re eager to learn more about tailoring published content, hang tight. I’ll delve into more details in an upcoming episode.
Plot a Course
The storyboard works a lot like maps. To see how this works, let’s head to the “Fury in Freeport” adventure from Pirate’s Guide to Freeport by Green Ronin Publishing. As I explained last week, plots points can be associated with content, including topics and subplots. This connection allows me to use the storyboard to open topics or even use it to navigate the adventure. If this adventure had a subplot, as I created for Scene 3: The Missing Case, I could also use the storyboard to open the subplot when my players reach that point in the story.
As a visual GM, I like to have the storyboard for the adventure open in a tab throughout the game. This allows me to see where the players are headed, and it’s trivial to switch to another tab if I need to find something in a particular scene or event.
Let’s Reveal a Bit More…
Before I wrap up this episode, let’s circle back to revealing maps and plots. Last week, I mentioned that it was possible to reveal map pins separately from their associated content. Why do we make that distinction? Glad you asked!
Sometimes, players hear about a location before knowing where it is. Let’s say that my players arrive in Sandpoint and hear stories about the Sunken Queen. However, they have no idea where the Sunken Queen is yet. As they listen to the stories, they learn details about the Sunken Queen, so I can reveal the topic. However, the pin stays concealed on the map, because they don’t yet know where it is in on the map.
Similarly, the players might intercept a courier and find a sketched map with an “X” on it. They can tell where it must be on the map, but they don’t yet know that the “X” indicates an old barrow mound where an important item is entombed. In this case, the pin gets revealed, and the associated topic remains unknown for a while.
This concept carries over to the storyboard. Like map pins, you can reveal plot points independently from any associated topic. There will often be times when the PCs encounter an NPC or location without yet knowing that it’s linked to an upcoming plot in the campaign. On the other hand, the plot point might require the PCs to travel somewhere, with the associated topic only becoming revealed once they arrive. As with maps, Realm Works provides the flexibility to handle whatever situation you come up with.
Roll the Credits!
Thanks for joining me in the fourth installment of the Realm Works Spotlight Series! As you’ve now seen, Realm Works makes running a game a breeze, saving you prep time and enhancing the actual play experience. Now, you can focus your energies on telling the story and having fun.
At this point, you’re probably starting to wonder how to get oriented to published content once you’ve imported it into your realm. You’ll find out in next week’s episode!
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If you have questions that you want us to answer in future entries, let us know! If your question is already answered on our Frequently Asked Questions, then it’s already on our radar. If not, we encourage you to ask it on our forums.
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