The scope for the current version of the Black City is taking shape. Right now it sits as a long series of text files in a directory, along with a mix of map graphics and hand-drawn maps in a plain folder; I pasted about 2/3rds of the text files into a word document a few weeks ago when we started running it at the table, and it was around 100 pages. I was estimating this first installment to come in around 160 pages; now that I'm abandoning many of the random tables for actual pre-generated content, who knows what that will do to the size (and everything will change when it gets laid out). Some serious editing should shrink it all down.
The scope is turning out to be fairly expansive - it includes the islands of the Thule archipelago as a hex crawl; 320 detailed hexes for the ruined surface of the city; 15 or so detailed surface areas within the ruins (many of them are multi-level mini dungeons, such as large towers that still stand); the first 2 dungeon levels beneath the city, the Transit Tunnels and Warrens of Decay; Trade Town, a small but detailed home base; tons of NPC's and opposing explorers; an alien bestiary and guide to artifacts in the city. The dungeons tend to be small and modular; for example, the sprawling subway tunnels of level 1 lead to 6 mini-dungeons (20 rooms or so each) and a handful of junctions and smaller room complexes, making level 1 around 150 rooms, but geographically dispersed. My notes cover another 5 dungeon levels below 2 (levels 3-8) but I'll save those for a second installment if I ever get this first one out the door.
Play testing is invaluable! I have a bunch of trips coming up in July, but I really want to get more groups involved. I may run a neighborhood kids game on Thule to get more of it opened up, and may even join the G+ hangout crowd later in July (assuming I can swing another gaming night while maintaining the whole work-family-writing balance thing). I'm trying to put a late event on the schedule for Gencon, to allow a group of strangers into one of the remote sections of the first level. I'll drop a note here when it's confirmed in case any readers want to get in. I just remembered though, that I posted it for running Lamentations - wasn't there some bad blood between Gencon and LOTFP? Let's see if it gets kicked out by the machinery.
Meanwhile - expect to start seeing posts on Harrow Home Manor trickling out. I've discovered a thing about my creative cycle; I like to get those inspirational posts out early, lots of blah blah blah, and then let the ideas percolate and marinate for a while. It's important to write things down and keep a good notebook, and look at old ideas with a fresh set of eyes later. Inspirational posts for the Black City have been floating around the blog for well over a year before it kicked into high gear a few months ago. I'm going to start Harrow Home Manor simmering in a similar way, with the expectation that it will be properly seasoned and ready for cooking sometime early next year. And now all this talk of flavoring food is making me a bit hungry. I had just gotten back from a hike with the kids when I started writing this one - I needed to get some lunch! See you later.