Strategic Primer: “Artistic Verisimilitude” and Encounter Tables

I’ve written here before about the challenges imposed by the size and desired detail of the world of Strategic Primer, my strategy game. And in the current campaign I am not going to simulate every actual detail down to a precision of ten or even dozens of feet, or even just on every tile. (Yet.)

But to satisfy player curiosity, and to “give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative” (W. S. Gilbert, The Mikado), I’ve come up with this system (described in two previous posts) to tell me what an explorer might find on any given tile.

Because I try to be thorough, and I have time while I’m waiting for players to get me their strategies for the current turn, I’ve been collecting items to put on these “encounter tables.” And collecting more. And more.

As of this writing, by my count, I have:

  • 18 kinds of rock (including clay and sand),
  • 24 different minerals, not all of which actually exist in our world,
  • 30 kinds of gems,
  • 20 fruit trees,
  • 34 other trees,
  • 9 kinds of grass,
  • 20 kinds of grain,
  • 24 kinds of berries or similar fruits,
  • 27 kinds of vegetables,
  • 4 kinds of cacti,
  • 14 kinds of shrubs,
  • 10 kinds of vines or similar plants,
  • 7 aquatic “tree-equivalents” (mostly varieties of kelp),
  • 19 other aquatic plants,
  • 69 “minor animals,”
  • 32 “major animals,” and
  • 13 “nonhuman intelligent beings” (dragons being the first on that list).

That may seem like a lot, but I can still use more in every category, and there are a few where I need more. (And there are still a couple of categories I haven’t gotten to: aquatic animals are the first that leap to mind, but I also need to do something about villages and other human-being encounters.) If you have ideas, let me know; I’ll show you my list so we don’t duplicate effort.

I intend to start adding the few bits of new persistent data (primary kinds of rock and, in forest, trees) to the map in a day or two at the latest.


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