View Full Version : My "small" project about designing inns

01-08-2009, 04:40 PM
Maybe some of you have read my introduction post, and heard I am trying to write some "guide" to designing an inn for fantasy games (http://forum.enerla.net/blog.php?tag=inn&u=1350), and in earlier stages I was stuck (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/93-about-slowdown-our-inn-projects.html) in the design the surroundings (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/95-how-design-inn-outside.html) phase of the project. Why this phase was important? Mostly to see how big the inn is, what kind of people visits it, and various other questions (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/62-how-design-inn-part-1.html). If we speak about world building and not only mapping the surrounding area can get more important. Also it delivers plot hooks for the adventures you can run with the inn as base of operation for your party.

So I reached to a point where some of the data is available and the surroundings are mapped at acceptable quality. Right now, I started to map the surrouding buildings, and the first version for first building seems to be ready.


You can get the source file (CC3 .fcw format) for this floorplan from the blog entry at Cartographer's Corner. (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/96-how-design-inn-where-staff-lives.html)

Who uses the building? Some of the people who work at the inn.

01-09-2009, 04:20 PM
As you perhaps remember I started with the surrounding area (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/95-how-design-inn-outside.html), then with the places where the staff of the inn lives (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/96-how-design-inn-where-staff-lives.html). Now we are at 2nd of the 3 such buildings (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/99-where-staff-lives-ii.html).

Sorry for low quality JPG export, but CC3 crashed when i tried to export. If you would have any advice about the project feel free to post it either here or on the blog (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/).

Steel General
01-09-2009, 06:10 PM
On the second floor map I would suggest mixing up the rotation of the piles of bags a bit so they don't look so uniform, but these are pretty darn nice overall.

01-09-2009, 06:24 PM
Thank you for the feedback. Will work on rotation, etc.

Have you checked the related project and our goals? Since some feedback about the project itself would be good. I know it is more difficult than commenting on individual maps, but it could make me very very happy.

01-14-2009, 10:07 PM
Sorry for being a bit slow, but trying to work on the inn itself, and it seems to be a bit difficult.

Well, I made it difficult for myself :)

01-15-2009, 04:02 PM
These are really cute, TheElf! Is it me or are they missing stairs?

01-15-2009, 11:12 PM
As you see they are rural houses. For the first house designed there is a single floor.

For the 2nd house, there is the ground floor, and the attic. There is no stairs inside, as you see the attic is accessible from the outside, and there is a ladder for that. I seen quite a few such rural houses.

Why they are built this way? If you know how the ceilings are built in those houses, you will see: They have a set of beams to support the ceiling. Both ends of the beams should reach a supporting wall, and the distance between beams were often limited and wouldn't allow for stairs. Or so I heard.

Since I wanted to use this simple design, without too many supporting walls inside, and decided to reserve "dwarven craftmanship" and other explanations for a fantasy building for the inn itself (need it for the tower, and the size), I used ladders.

When I added basement for the 3rd building, I asked myself: How would it work? But luckily for a trapdoor you don't need too much place, and it would be much simpler that way, this is why it has a ladder.

And of course if you see how the basement is used, you could add: A trapdoor can be hidden easily.

This is why I have choosen the ladder way. And this way is easy to present when you describe the village, easy to draw it, and the realistic explanation doesn't hurt the mood. And such buildings can be nice, and if people seen such buildings before, showing them can help to build the mood of the adventures.

If you see my latest blog post about the project itself, you can see with the inn, I decided to go in a different direction. Why?

If you have seen the old posts, you know that building should be a relatively tall building, with a tower... For sights.

At first: it is a complex building. But the problem with tower: The supporting walls could look odd, or would make it pretty hard to design the building. The later isn't good when the goal for the series is to explain some concepts: People would see it is too difficult to follow the guide. And one such incident was enough (about mapping the surrounding area). And the first is nasty, since when your players wonder why the walls are there and you give them a realistic explanation for a such huge inn (where I don't care much about beam lenghts, etc. anyway).

And most people wouldn't notice the missing supporting walls, and even if they do you can use a plausible fantasy explanation. Which can add to the mood.

Also: if you would want, you can describe this difference in the begining if you want to compare the simplicity of nearby houses to glory of the inn itself, to speak about its prosperity.

01-17-2009, 02:38 PM
Oh I beg your pardon! I thought that they were different floors of the same building! Makes sense now, thanks!

01-17-2009, 03:19 PM
Some of the info about the buildings and the project is on the linked blog, it might worth reading them, and downloading the other related maps.

01-21-2009, 12:47 PM
There are 2 new images ready, this time about the top 2 floors, I hope you will like them :) As usual: more info in the related blog post :)

01-21-2009, 02:16 PM
Some other things to keep in mind with Inn/Taverns:

If the place severs food, you'll need a kitchen
If the place severs ale/wine, you'll need storage
Consider the Inn as meeting hall too, do you need banquet rooms
Does the help live there too? Do they have better lodgings?
Are these "rich" and "poor" quality rooms?

Just some thoughts. Good work though. Looking forward to seeing more!

01-21-2009, 02:23 PM
For the attic one, you might want to consider some type of hoist system also to be able to move large items (such as those crates) far more easily... its generally pretty hard for one person to walk up a ladder with a 100+ pounds of dead weight in his arms over his head.... Lot's old hay barns used to have a simple hand pulley winch type system over the door way on the upper levels for bringing up hay bails and other feed supplies.

01-21-2009, 02:48 PM
Would consider it, but not sure how to get a good symbol for it :(

01-23-2009, 07:15 AM
Some other things to keep in mind with Inn/Taverns:

If the place severs food, you'll need a kitchen
If the place severs ale/wine, you'll need storage
Consider the Inn as meeting hall too, do you need banquet rooms
Does the help live there too? Do they have better lodgings?
Are these "rich" and "poor" quality rooms?
Just some thoughts. Good work though. Looking forward to seeing more!

As you see, right now we have floorplans for the residences of the staff, so we know where "The help" lives. If you have followed the series on the blog, you might remember the first post where we discuss what is server. For the main inn building, we have several levels, both underground and aboveground with dedicated purposes.

I started to map them from the top levels. You can see some progress in the blog post called: How to design an inn: Top levels of the tower (http://forum.enerla.net/blogs/cartographer/105-how-design-inn-top-levels-tower.html). If you remember the maps of the outside you see that the building has some small tower and how it works was discussed before. Mostly because I decided against adding its supporting walls to lower levels.

As you see, the images for the top 2 levels aren't included here (only on the blog), since they aren't that good, mostly because the size of the tower and the size of the map made it hard to add too much good details, but with this area you can see one luxury suite for the rich, with short explanation about why it looks like this. Which can be a bit of "tutorial" for the newbies.

02-02-2009, 08:27 PM
I have two excellent resources for designing inns. My cartography skills are exceptionally weak (my major projects were in my youth with graph paper and pencil, computer would have meant designing it in ascii :P)
The resources themselves will also give you an idea of that, BUT these are EXCELLENT.
1. The Compleat Tavern by Gamelords (used on amazon for $20) is 24 pages and is chalk full of things about different size fantasy taverns, games, drinking, wenching, etc. But it really gives a lively idea of a tavern and things that a good tavern should include at different levels.
2. Cities by Midkemia Press ($26 Amazon) had 2 pages on Taverns but it was also pretty good and did an excellent job of telling what was usually around different size inns and cities. I would recommend it for any fantasy community cartographer actually. I think Chaosium reissued this later, but I'm not sure it included the tavern table. (I can't find my copy).
3. Any of the Citybook series by Flying Buffalo.
I think if you picked up the Compleat Tavern you would really feel your taverns come more "alive", just like I did back in the day. The reason is that I would roll up a tavern with all the people, services, patrons, amenities, etc, then I would try to figure out how all these people would fit in, then 2-3 more times I would roll up different patrons and see if they still all fit 80% of the time. Inns might actually be bigger than you might think. The reason is that for a small one you might have to think of it like a small town restaurant. In the morning everyone is sitting at "the bar" but at night more people use tables, then slowly, back to the bar. If people play games, will there be room for them? Just things to think about.
I wish I had your cartographic talent, as you can tell I'm more analytic myself.