View Full Version : April Entry: Roan and the Sea Worg

04-10-2008, 03:16 AM
Based on a campaign world I am building over at the Campaign Builder's Guild, called the Isles of Caillech, and in pursuit of their April challenge - create an Undersea Menace, I am creating this map for use in that world and contest.

Below, is just the media that the map will be placed along with a illustration riddle built into the legend of the map.

Quick background so you can understand why I chose a dire wolf skin as the map's surface... the Isles of Caillech is set in a world that's a mixture of pre-celtic northern Europe and the end of the Ice Age. In the seas to the north west of the main continent of Cer, above the arctic circle lies a chain of islands inhabited by giants, ogres and plieostecene beasts and ruled by a primal goddess of winter, the Caillech Bheur or winter hag.

She has summoned a Worg Spirit and bound it to the largest Seawolf roaming the northern seas around the isles, thus has created the Sea Worg. This intelligent and diabolical possessed monster controls a pack of highly organized seawolves attempting to wipeout the Roan (a type of Selkie) then aid in the destruction of men on the isles.

If the site and ritual object where the spirit was bound to the seawolf can be found, then binding can be broken and the immediate threat removed. That's where the secret location on the map will result in.

WIP so far... just the "paper" (er, dire wolf skin) 8)

04-10-2008, 10:08 AM
It looks really good so far. Its very nicely showcased with some world background beside it.

Are you going to have a post with just the skin? Need room in the frame for the map!


04-10-2008, 10:36 AM
That was just for quick display and showing some this region's backstory.

Future posts will feature the skin or just the map image, eventually to be composited to the skin.

I plan to create custom Celtic knotwork iconography as part of the border, titling and the legend of the map along with Celtic animal/icon art - the legend will contain the riddle in graphic form... directions, etc. I'll do all the artwork first in pencil, inked, then painted in Xara Xtreme and compostied to skin.

Actually the bottom triangular area of the skin will be where the legend is placed and the map will mostly be in rectangular format in the upper portion of the skin.

I'm trying to make this look ancient in style, but contemporary for the culture of this gaming world.

04-11-2008, 01:11 AM
After some thought, I realized this was really going to be a challenge for me.

Here's the issue - the People who use and read this map are Picts, illiterate peoples with no concept of longitudes and latitudes, runes perhaps, but no words or numbers on the map.

For the reader to be able to understand the graphic code to finding the secret location - I need some kind of longitude/latitude apparatus.

Thinking about longitudes. The number 13 is significant to their calendar year which is counted in lunar months. I'm thinking of having 13 "longitudes" with phases of the moon icons at the top of the map coinciding with vertices of the vertical grid.

Latitudes might be based on the 9 greater spirits of their pantheon - the four seasons, the four elements and time, with icons representing each.

The scale represented in a grid square (?): a day's flight as the crow flies, a rowing crew's speed in a day without wind, or 100 miles... not sure yet.

Sidenote: creating authentic looking and quality Celtic knotwork is a tough prospect! 8)

04-12-2008, 12:07 AM
After several hours pulling out my hair trying to create authentic celtic knotwork - I finally went on a search online and found a Celtic Knotwork font to accomplish much of what I need. I still plan to include some hand-drawn knotwork and iconography to better fit my needs than what the font provides.

Anyway, this is not a free font, actually its the most I've paid for a font recently. However, its extremely useful for creating custom knotwork. Rather than a complete knotwork design for each character typed - these are pieces of knots, in related groups around related keys. Unlike other fonts this one contains a knot character for all upper and lower case keys, all numbers, and many alt-key coded knots.

To show you what I mean, the top line consists of "a - j" and Alt 0033. Thus all the complex knot designs below consist of selected knots.

I've found I've had to search around for the right combinations as many do not connect with every key. Its a combination thing. There is a key chart, but lots to get used to.

Anyway, the attached aren't final elements, just getting a feel for what I want or really need.

WIP of example Celtic Knotwork font: 8)

04-12-2008, 05:56 AM
I've got some patterns I can scan in if you need or want .... I had this same trouble a few years back...

04-12-2008, 10:32 AM
Thanks, Del, but I don't want just any Celtic Knotwork design, rather I am looking for specific designs that may or may not truly exist complete. So with this Celtic Knotwork font and a little ingenuity, I should be able to achieve my goals.

Thank you for the offer. ;)

04-13-2008, 05:08 PM
In retrospect, I think I plan to rotate the "Dire Wolf map skin" 180 degrees, so that the triangular portion is at the top. Within the triangle, I plan to place the "map riddle" that guides users to the map to the location of the "secret place."

I have a rough layout of the islands/sea/continent, but now have to adjust to fit the "riddle."

Just to let you know what the "secret" is... the Caillech Bheur, the ice queen goddess bound a Worg Spirit to seawolf. The binding artifact is located at the secret place - if heroes can find the object they can unbind it, and break the possession of the seawolf and end this part of the Winter Hag's war on men.

Anyway, here's the riddle (it was a whole lot of work, so this part's done!) 8)

Oh, in case you can't figure out the riddle - since the map isn't there yet... the goddess's left hand is held upwards, meaning move five "moon longitudes from the east side of the map." Her right hand holds three fingers out in front of her - meaning move three "spirit latitudes down".

Then cross entire grids "as the crow flies" in the direction the each crow takes you from left to right. In the grid of the last crow will be the isle where the spirit binding object can be found...

04-13-2008, 07:33 PM
Sounds good. I'm curious to how you work out. I'd cut yourself some slack on what the picts knew and didn't know. They might have copied the map and they were smart enough to believe they did it precisely - though they might not have understood it.

The other possibility might be a navigator among the picts. I wish we had his journal today :).

Anyway good luck with it.


04-14-2008, 01:40 AM
I'm about 2/3rds done with this project. I placed some of 3 map borders, missing half of bottom border, the "god spirits" in the latitude markers on right side of map.

Work yet to do some type of navigational tool center of map, some celtic animal sea figures to place on map, longitude/latitude lines and left side border. I plan to place some hand-drawn land features and lines deliniating the sea at edge of lands. A few more details.

I composited to the dire wolf skin... WIP so far... 8)

04-14-2008, 05:55 PM
Although I might post a couple of other versions with different "paper", instead of animal skin. But for all intents and purposes - this map challenge is complete! Instead of god-spirit icons, I went for runes to represent them. Oh and that's a seal or Roan swimming in the center of the map.

WIP... 8)

###Latest WIP###

04-14-2008, 07:00 PM
This is looking well cool as usual - going for a 3rd gold ???

If you put a mention of WIP at the posts, why not put :-

*Censored* - heh well no but it would have gotten in the way of the script grabber. Should work just fine with yor tag above now :)

just before the image instead and then the auto WIP scraper will put your image into the thumbnail list (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/ChallengeTN/Challengers_Apr08.htm).

I'll edit my tag above out and then update it...

04-14-2008, 11:19 PM
OK, Redrobes, next time I post I'll do it that way.

Just came up with an idea, for some improvement and/or identification of the islands and continent. I'll place some heraldric device shields identifying which islands belong to Pictish Clans vs. the ogre islands, as well something to denote the southeast landform is the continent.

04-15-2008, 12:52 PM
I decided to keep the Dire Wolf Skin - as far as the challenge goes.

I added Clan Shields on the two islands - "Tree of Life" and "Whirl of Time".
And a shield of the continent clans - "Salmon"

Map is complete!

###Latest WIP###

04-16-2008, 02:04 AM
To help you understand this map, the setting it describes, and the secret place, here's a brief overview:

The setting is a pre-celtic world set in a late bronze age/early iron age culture, I call the "Picts" mixed with the very end of the last ice age. On the continent of Cer, to the south east, an iron age culture of Celtic peoples are expanding from the mountainous center outwards to every shore. The Picts who inhabited the northern reaches of Cer are gradually being pushed out.

Two great clans of Picts relocated to the Isles of Caillech 2 centuries ago, just after the end of the Ice Age. The Picts still on Cer travel back in forth between the continent and the isles - thus called the "Salmon" people by the Picts of the Isles. This is a before the viking era, so no long ships. Their boats are corracles (skin covered frames of bone and wood, bowl shaped with a single masted sail, about 30' in diameter, aided by long oars.)

As already mentioned, the Picts have no written language, though use runes to describe their god-spirits, mostly a druid's cant. Everything is told in song and saga by the bards and skalds.

The sea is called the Sea of Roan - depicted by the blue seal at map center. A Roan is type of "selkie" or sealwere (listed in original Monster Manual II 1983), as seals are common in these northern seas. In fact by following the seal herds for hunting is how the Picts discovered the Isles of Caillech.

The isles are historically ruled by the Caillech Bheur, ancient name for the Winter Hag - a queen and goddess over the ogres and giants that also inhabit the larger isles. She may even be the first god, as she ruled the world of the Ice Age now passed. Her continuing goal is through magic, war with other Spirits, to eventually cause the return of the Ice Age. Each century during the worst winters, the Caillech Bheur summons a host of mastadon-riding ogres and giants afoot to invade the southern reaches and war with the men, dwarves and roan trying to wipe them out. Has fought and lost two such wars over the last 246 years.

The secret place is the site of a "spirit binding" the Caillech Bheur summoned a "Worg Spirit" (a god-like spirit wolf that can possess a living "wolf", even a humanoid to create a "werewolf"). It has been bound to the largest seawolf that roams with its pack in the same waters as the roan, hunting them. Thus creating the Sea Worg - a malevolent and intelligent seawolf of great size. Unless "unbound" it cannot be killed.

If a band of heroes can locate the secret location, discover the hidden binding object (a blessed rock with sample of hair or skin of the being to be possessed, and a symbol representing the the Worg Spirit are bound in cloth) and unbind its wraps, the possession is removed and the Worg Spirit nolonger inhabits/controsls its host, or the large normal seawolf. Thus ending that threat.

As part of her plans to bring the ice age, the Winter Hag must expell the humans and roan from the isles. The Sea Worg is her tool to devour the roan.

Understanding this helps to explain what and why of this map. 8)