So, I had this idea for creating a sort of solo/coop Dungeons & Dragons game, and I figured we would need some way of determining how the world was created and where the danger was (in what you might call a Dwarf Fortress sort of way). I have a copy of The Settlers of Catan, so I figured I might start there. Terrain in Catan is basically divided into fields, hills, mountains, woods, and swamps/clay pits.

I figured I had some flexibility in how I referred to clay — it could alternately be stone, as from quarries, since metal can really come from most any of the other terrain features. I might as well go with something that works from other gaming examples, right? I also divided my Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures into groups that roughly correspond with hills, plains, mountains, swamps, and woods.

With the hills, I have lightly armed and armored humans, nicknamed “locals” or “villagers,” and with plains, more heavily-armored humans, nicknamed “invaders,” ’cause of a pretty arbitrary decision on my part. It seemed to work, and those are how the minis grouped thematically. With woods, we went with “elves and natural beasties.” With marshes, we have “reptile-folk.” Mountains have dwarves and goblins.

I think the thing that finally “worked” for me, was when I dropped a couple of gate markers on the Catan board. I realized that there “might be something” to this bizarre hybrid that I’ve been working on. There might actually be something to the … well, to everything. I have this PSD file I’ve been working from, which I’m using to compare the scales the characters operate on … it’s interesting stuff.

Imagine, one space on a Risk board, representing a baker’s dozen Catan boards. A game of Arkham Horror determines the fate of one of those Catan boards. There are twenty-seven locations in the classic Arkham Horror, twenty-seven possible locations for settlements and cities in Catan. Then, you have a D&D adventure, let’s say 5-8 encounters, which amounts to one gate. You want scale? How about that for scale!