I couldn't agree more, damonjynx!
Originally Posted by damonjynx
My only point is that the desire to make the most visually appealing map should not overrule decisions about how best to construct a world, or a planetary system, for game-play. Like any illustrator, the commissioned RPG cartographer's job, as I see it, is to make clear, understandable, and attractive the physical design of a place (or solar system) created by the publisher or game designers.
Beyond this map, I'm involved in helping to craft this planetary system for The Torn World. This is the hortatory language at the beginning of my lunar-structure proposal to the publisher:
There are three principal objectives when designing a two-moon planetary system for a PFRPG campaign setting. First, the system has to be flexible enough to allow a GM to do with it what she wants. If the GM needs a solar eclipse (or two at once), she should be able to produce one without “breaking” the players’ understanding of how and when things occur. If she needs an exceptional high tide, or a moment when the tides stop utterly, the system should make that available to her.
Second, the system should be reasonably founded in science. The goal is not to survive intense scrutiny from that anally retentive Ph.D. physicist player whose main joy in gaming is highlighting with outrage minute errors. This is Pathfinder, not GURPs Space. Rather, the objective is to ensure that the system passes basic scientific muster so that players with a fundamental understanding of astronomy don’t find themselves jerked out of game immersion by a clearly absurd occurrence. Let physics do the bulk of the heavy lifting and reserve magic for occasions when an adventure’s narrative or the setting’s inherently magical characteristics makes altering physics both justifiable and necessary.
Finally, and most importantly by far, the world the planetary system creates has to be thrilling. Readers should want to play there. Players should want to go there. And stay there. This means the world should be visually stunning. The dual moons’ effects on everything from illumination to tides should create a sense of wonder and surprise. The dual moons should alter culture, religion, and day-to-day life in obvious ways but also in subtle ways that take innumerable gaming sessions of play to discover. The system should be another world, a more exciting world than ours, full of more brilliant light, deeper darkness, and endless wonder.