A week or so ago, after a break of about forty days, I started working on D&D projects again. As my game will be starting up again soon, with a party partially or entirely composed of all-new players, I decided it was finally time to set my game in the real world.
I've decided to start the players off in Moravia, a land which is now part of the Czech Republic, and I've chosen 1650 as the starting year (because it will allow me to make use of resources Alexis at Tao of D&D has created, especially his detailed maps.) And even though I've only been researching for a short while now, to my delight I've found no end of details on tnis area which are immediately gameable.
For example, look at the Wikipedia page for Castle Bludov. It was destroyed about 200 years before my game takes place, leaving only cellars and moats.
What do you suppose might have moved in during the intervening two centuries?
This example may seem a little pat, since "abandoned structure which has been recolonized by monsters, bandits, etc" is a trope. But to me, this feels different because I am not making the castle up out of thin air. Because the ruined castle is real, the rest of it will seem more real as well -- or so I hope.
Finally, let me update you on my other projects.
I've begun rebuilding the economy program, not only because the data will have to be changed from that of my made-up world to that which I am scouring from my 1921 Colliers Almanac and from material Alexis has provided on the matter, but also because the current program has many dead parts baked into it which are leftovers from previous iterations (such as, for example, placing cities randomly on the map and assigning them goods and services based on their hex's climate, then connecting them by semi-random networks of roads. None of this panned out in practice.)
The "character GUI" program has been placed on hold. I've made no headway there. I am, however, planning to dabble in computer graphics, to see if I can make an interactive version of the kind of world maps I've posted here before.
Finally, I've been working with a game designer friend on some prototypes for different kinds of game logic. Nothing has borne fruit so far, but some of our material has gone along directions related to the "spellpower points" magic categorization system I talked about here, so I thought I'd at least mention it.