Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jadepunk Playmat, Pt. I - Cityside

Last week, we ordered the Jadepunk RPG playmat from the Reroll Store. It cost $10 plus $6 for shipping. It arrived in three days, remarkably fast when you consider how long some gaming vendors make you wait before they even take your parcel to the post office!

The playmat has two sides. One side is a map of Kausao City, the default setting of the Jadepunk RPG. That's what I am looking at today.

The playmat is laminated so that you can use dry erase markers with it. The city map has a few key locations that are labelled, but most of the map is designed for on-the-fly specification of locations used in the scenario. So we have a city resource that is closer to Vornheim than to Ptolus. This works well with Fate's collaborative and on-the-fly approach to setting creation, although there is nothing to prevent a GM from specifying setting details by fiat, as I have done in the photo above.

On the top left side of the map we filled-in two Scenario Aspects:
  • Find the Meteor Hammer
  • Pursued by the Red Jade Swallowers

Boom! We have a scenario!

Now we link the scenario to the map! You can click on the photo above to enlarge the map. For the scenario, I have marked three locations on the Kausao City map:

  • The primary location is the Nighthammer District (circled in blue), a borrowing from the city of Nexus in Exalted. This district is where the city's iron and steel are made. On the left side of the playmat, Nighthammer's aspects are listed:
    • Many forges
    • Smoke
    • The sound of hammers
  • A discoverable clue location, "Ling last seen here" is circled in rust colored ink on the lower end of the map. The location is known as The Red Garden. It's aspects are:
    • Smugglers trade here
    • Rough trade (it's close to the docks and people so inclined come here to pick up stevedores)
    • Pickpockets
  • A discoverable clue location, RJS haven? noted at the top of the map in red. The Red Jade Swallowers are a secret society which is trying to steal a Red Jade artifact, the Red Blood Cloud Meteor Hammer.
Now we link back to some important Faces (NPCs) of Kausao City that will be featured in the scenario.

Apprentice Ling
  • Portrayal: Apprentice Smith
  • Need: Sell the Hammer
  • Secret: On the Run
Master Chen
  • Portrayal: Master Smith
  • Need: Recover the Hammer
  • Secret: Promised the Hammer to two different customers
Mao Yang
  • Portrayal: Ling's Lover
  • Need: Find Ling
  • Secret: I have the money to start a new life with Ling
Debt Collector Yao
  • Portrayal: Collect what is owed
  • Need: Wants Yang for Himself
  • Secret: The Red Jade Society have my daughter

So, a macguffin, a love triangle, and a man who made too many promises.

Then we have our mysterious villain:

Mystery Vang
  • Portrayal: Boss of the Red Jade Swallowers
  • Need: The Meteor Hammer
  • Secret: ?

Conclusions: If you are playing Jadepunk, the city-side alone is worth $10. It is easy to use it to create adventures on the fly. The map is color-coded to show the major nations' turf in Kausao city, but there is plenty of neutral territory that the GM can use as they see fit. In fact most of the map works that way.  

My only critical feedback is that I would have been willing to pay even more to get the map without folds, rolled-up in a tube. I just prefer maps that lay perfectly flat. I might not have bought the product if I had known it was folded, but in practice that turned out not to bother me too much when I used it.

We are doing the second half of our Pilgrims of the Flying Temple playtest tonight, so we'll see if the GM wants to use the other side of the map, which offers a Zone Map.   

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