The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Two

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Two

This challenge, popularized by the amazing Ray Otis, is drawn from an article written for Europa, a wargaming newsletter, in April of 1975 by Gary Gygax. You can download Ray’s challenge which includes the text of the original article here:

Ray has put this up as pay what you want, I hope you can donate at least a dollar to him but even if you are not able to please download the PDF as I am not going to reproduce his work here. My weekly entries will make more sense if you read the pamphlet. 

Now, only a week late, it is time to do the second week of the challenge.

Week Two: Surrounding Area

The tasks Ray sets forth this week are:

“Get a sheet of hex paper. Draw the following items on it. Name anything worthy of a name. If you don’t feel comfortable drawing, lots of hex-mapping programs are available!

One large settlement (define large however you like)

Two other settlements (camps, larger or smaller towns, a keep, the home base of a fantasy race, etc.)

One major terrain feature (covering at least three hexes)

One mysterious site for exploration 

One dungeon entrance – at least!

Key your map. The easiest way to do this is probably to number the hex rows and letter the columns. This will give you coordinates to reference. Note down the names of places and terrain types using these coordinates or write them directly on the map. “

Gygax discusses hexes of one mile each and Ray tells us that we should keep the hexes no greater than six miles per hex. 

Extra Credit:

Make your map feel used, spill something on it, burn the ends, wrinkle it up.  

Create a random encounters table. Ray recommends a 2d6 table. 

Hex Map

Can I be honest? I do not consider myself a creative person. I love maps but not making them. I tend to just use existing maps in my games, often modified. So I really struggled with the assignment this week. Do I put up a juvenile looking map instead of my usual practice? This was quite the dilemma for me. In the end I spent a lot longer looking for maps to repurpose than it took me to draw the one below. Anyhow if you look at the map and feel a small child could have done better you are probably correct.

So we have a kingdom that butts against the sea, forest to the north and mountains to the east. There is a river that runs from the sea through the capital city and southward through the center of the map. There is also a haunted island off the coast. 

The floating dungeon moves between the ten settlements on the map (towns, cities, and castles to include the ruined city and castle on the island) once every 24 hours at sunrise.

Here are the major features of the map:

B 03 Seaside town

D 09 Forest edge town

E 30 entrance to northern mountain pass

G 20 Small City with wood mill

I 03 Capital City

K 33 Mountain lake 

S 29 Castle in the Mountains

U 03 Coastal City

Z 19 Small City on river

AD 31 entrance to southern mountain pass

AE 04 Ruins of Coastal City

AH 06 Ruined Castle

AI 07 Caves

AI 25 Castle on river

AJ 14 Caves

Random Encounter Table

2. 2-8 Werewolves on the hunt but what form are they in?

3. 1-13 Fairies looking to be entertained.

4. 1-11 Pilgrims led by a priest. Friendly? Looking for a sacrifice?

5. 3-14 Goblin Raiders on Wargs!

6. 2-9 Travelers. A family? A dignitary? Another adventuring party? 

7. 7-12 Armed Warriors. Bandits? King’s men looking to impress men into service? 

8. 2-5 Traders. May have information, may have goods, may be looking to trick & rob others.

9. 1-4 Trolls, grumpy and hungry.

10. An old man and his servant. Is he a wizard? A master of the martial arts? Easily offended? 

11. 1-6 Anhkhegs looking for dinner.

12. 3-9 Gnolls with prisoners from a raid.

Once the characters enter the dungeon for the first time some of the other team, see last week’s blog, will start to attack them and the random encounters table will get rewritten to include them. As the players continue to explore the dungeon the encounter table will continue to be updated so their new admirers show up with increasing frequency.

That is all for this week, next week it will be time to draw and stock the dungeon. Until that time please be excellent to each other!

2 thoughts on “The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Two

  1. I like your map and don’t think a small child could’ve done better. Looks like a fun world in which to play!

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