Monday, April 23, 2018

Grab Some City And State Flags To Add To Your Campaign's Lore

If you're a gamer on the Internet, chances are good you've noticed the slew of fantasy maps based on real places in the U.S. The Laughing Squid featured a fun set of them, giving us images of Ohio, the city of Boston, and the "domain" of Washington D.C. While no one has covered all the nation's major cities and states just yet, it goes to show how there's inspiration all around you. All you have to do is re-name some key locations, and add a sepia tone that would be at home in the inside cover of a Tolkien novel.

Like this piece from MBingCrosby on Reddit.
However, while maps are one source of inspiration, there is another one just sitting around you can add whole cloth into your game. It's something most of us are cognizant of, but we've never really paid it any attention, or thought to put this particular peg in this tabletop hole.

Using our city and state flags (and the heraldry they provide) for our games.

Heraldry Adds A Lot To World Lore

You're probably aware that every state in the U.S. has its own flag. A lot of cities also have their own flags, both for big cities and small towns. And not only are there pre-made designs you can just gank for your game (provided you're just running for fun and not publishing for a profit, anyway), but every design comes with its own explanation, symbolism, and history.

Or, as we call it in fantasy settings, lore.

Seriously, though, Michigan's flag sounds like it belongs in a nation of rangers.
While some flags might be too easily recognized by your players (California comes to mind), you've got a slew of them to choose from. A little photoshop to erase a state name here, and a little editing of the official description and history there, and you've got quite a pool of resources to draw on.

It's important to remember that these flags don't have to be used just for cities and nations in your game, either. You can use them as personal heraldry for important NPCs, you could attach them to certain families, or you could even make them the banners for mercenary companies or other organizations to make them feel more organic. After all, it's one thing to find yourself surrounded by mounted hussars... it's another to see the setting sun on a black field on their banner, and know exactly how big of a threat you're facing from the cavaliers of the Dusk Watch.

If you're looking for more fun lore to add to your game, might I also suggest A Baker's Dozen of Rumours (And The Truth Behind Them) and A Baker's Dozen of Pieces of Lore from Azukail Games?

For more fun DM resources, check out the list over on Dungeon Hacks:

That's all for this week's installment of Moon Pope Monday. Hopefully it gives all the hard-working DMs out there a little inspiration. For more content from yours truly, check out my Vocal archive, or head over to the YouTube channel Dungeon Keeper Radio where I work with fellow gamers to put together skits, advice, and other videos. To keep up on all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, to support Improved Initiative, either head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, or Buy Me A Ko-Fi! Either way, my eternal gratitude (and some sweet gaming swag) are yours.

1 comment:

  1. For heraldry, this is a powerful resource.

    This is a sister website for flags, but it's still in development.