Monday, 2 January 2012

Tiles Of The Unknown

Got a copy of Geoffrey McKinneys 'Isle Of The Unknown' for Christmas. It's very pretty and very interesting and it's mainly data that gives you no hint as how to use it.

That's all well and good for me. There are some kinds of thinking you want done for you and some you want to do yourself. This can differ quite considerably from person to person, which I think is also a good thing. It's natural that interesting people should differ in their talents and attractions. It also means we can learn from each other and help fill the gaps in each others natures.

'Isle' gives you a lot of creative data and then leaves you alone to work out how to use it. This is apparently utterly different to the desires of other people.

This is my first attempt to work out how to use the Isle. 

I did a bit of data-serf grunt work and wrote down a list of all the hexes in the book. The link is on the right if anyone wants to use it. I hope this doesn't break copyright, if it does, let me know and I will take it down.

My first idea about potential use is sort of stolen from roles, rules and rolls and his one-page tables used to connect themed ideas. I considered just importing his list of action verbs but in the end I thought that considering the enormous variety of things on the isle, it would be too limiting.

Instead I did this. I took the list of hexes, went to and used their list randomiser to scramble the hexes. I then pasted the scrambled list back into the document.

This forms a list of connections between every hex in the map. For instance, in my first attempt I found the Bi-Located cleric in hex 0114 is connected to the crystal statue in 1709. Maybe that's where he got his bi location power? The statue used to be a person whose soul was taken by the poisonous giant woodpecker in hex 2410. The woodpecker is connected to the weird island in 2415. Is that where it lost it's original soul? Is it still waiting for it to re-appear?

And so on. My only difficulty is that this pretty locks down the whole island from the beginning. I prefer it when things are generated randomly at the table. It provokes a more interesting state of mind. But to do that I need a dice method that can randomise 343 hexes.

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