Spotlight on Design 2 – Ruins
The use of ruins in a map go a long way towards setting the mood in a scenario. They are instantly mysterious, leading the player to wonder at their cause: are they the legacy of an ancient civilization, do they reflect a tragic loss of life from war, or do they indicate a people now struggling through hardships?
Ruins can be achieved through several methods. The map editor offers some that are already complete – just be careful not to use them in vast quantities by themselves, as the result will be less than natural looking. The method that uses a spearman to attack a wall or tower until it crumbles gives great opportunities for variety. You can start with a single tower or build an entire castle… once it has been converted to ruins you have set the stage for action. A selection of pebbles, stones and/or boulders can nicely finish the effect of a crumbled and decaying stronghold.
Ruins can be either small or complex, but they’re always best when supported by the story. In
Mystery Lake, ladyjane uses a ruined tower in the center of a small lake as the focal point for her map. This map is a splendid example of one where a single ruin, backed by a wonderful story, can evoke a feeling of mystery and loss.
In The Dungeon Master, hasit incorporates ruins into the working castle. Given the starting popularity of zero, and the corresponding moniker “Opulent and Loathed”, it appears that the peasants aren’t too happy living in the midst of decay.
The free build Scarlet Leap by Sulis gives you the opportunity to construct your castle near the ruins of a previous stronghold. When playing this map, note how the waterfalls lead to the plain, resulting in very believable flooded ruins.
Finally, in Castaways, Sir Prise combines the preset ruins, created ruins, and stones. The result is very realistic, with the different elements blending together seamlessly and creating a perfect setting for the castaways to build around.