I’m going to copy over and modify the little box I made in my last entry because I want to talk about one of its parts. I said I was going to write about something else, but I clicked through a couple pages on Wikipedia about cartography, and I stumbled across an article called “Sense of Place.”

Defining Locations

Origin Where did it come from?
Form What is it shaped like?
* Presence — How does it feel? (allow for “nothing”)
* Purpose — What does it do? (allow for “nothing”)
* Position — Where is it? (allow for “nowhere”)

“Sense of place” comes from the perception that people have for a place, though because we’re talking about a fantasy setting, it could well have a fantastic reason for feeling one way or another. This I’ve defined as “Presence” in my little box above. Places generate a presence, even if the presence described feels like “nothing.”

Presence for a place, then, I’ll fill in with class types (knight, cleric, …) or skills (discipline, athletics, …), under the assumption that a place is affiliated with a type of creature, since it’s given that a place has been granted its presence from the creatures that inhabit it. That makes sense, right?

I realized earlier today, while working on this problem, that places can actually have just as many facets and personalities as creatures, and that it should be possible for the same place (like some creatures) to be represented by multiple cards. One shrine might be represented by a card that defines its divine link, by another that defines its cultural significance, and a third as a place of sacrifice.

Purpose, then, defines how the location is used, which is probably how it modifies player powers (Divination, Forfeiture, …). Shrines and temples are locations probably conducive to Divination, while farmlands and construction sites are conducive to Development. Just for a couple straightforward examples.

Position is a pretty reasonable assumption one can make for a place, and could be several of these at once — interior/exterior, aquatic, or underground. I don’t know if it makes sense to use more qualifiers like highland or lowland, coastal, mountain, or marsh. I want to use outposts, settlements, and cities, but those need definitions.

On the whole, I’m feeling very satisfied with my work here today, and I’m looking forward to defining some places using these guidelines. I’m sure I’ll figure out right away what works and what doesn’t, and I’ll no doubt find myself pulling out my hair whilst trying to find abilities to define a “coastal marsh.”