Monday, October 31, 2011

Sword of the Atom map!

How to celebrate Halloween at the Absorbascon, I wondered? Then it occurred to me to do something inspired by DC Comic's most terrifying character: Jean Loring.

I was going to make a Heroclix map of Ray Palmer's driveway, with a parked car within which one of my Jean Loring custom figures could suck face with her lawyer/lover Paul. Or a map of Queen Jean's throne room. Or of the brain-sucking lab in the ancient undersea kingdom of Lemuria, from which Jean almost destroyed earth. Or just a giant map of nothing but the inside of Sue Dibny's brain; finally, a reason for me to field the Elongated Man.

But the brain of Sue Dibny got put on hold when I thought of making of the miniature kingdom of Morlaidh featured in the "Sword of the Atom" miniseries, where the horror of Jean Loring made being trapped at minute size in the Amazon surrounded by hostile vermin and aliens seem like a vacation for Ray Palmer by comparison.

You can actually play either half of the map entirely by itself (the adobe settlement features lots of elevated terrain and the jungle lots of hindering terrain). Or you can play the whole map as a run-of-the mill walled village in a jungle. Or...

you can play it as designed, with the jungle being "normal sized" terrain and the village being "miniature terrain" or Morlaidh. If you'll look carefully the center of the jungle, you'll see that (thanks the power of vector graphics) the entire village is right there in the center at its "normal" size". Only when a figure is adjacent to that square can it absorb the white dwarf radiation that allows it to "shrink down" and be placed in the Morlaidh. You can allow any character with shrinking powers (e.g., the Atom, Shrinking Violet, Rita Farr, or the Martian Manhunter, who can have any power he wants) to transition between the two halves of the map at will. There are scores of ways to customize play with such a map, and I leave it to you to experiment.

This isn't by any means the first "miniature scale" map anyone has made, but I think this is the first one designed with a transition become normal-sized and miniature terrain, which is really what you need to have the most fun with shrinking characters.