View Full Version : May 2014 Entry - The Lost Coast (in Real3D!)

05-24-2014, 06:56 PM
Edit: If you want to skip this narrative, it's not essential. I explain the map more clearly in posts #2 and #4.

Definitely a late entry, but I'll get it done. I've been doing some work already, but it's not really the kind of map that lends itself to work-in-progress posts. In the meantime, here's a bit of the story.

"It was on this day fifty years ago that we drove the green skins into the sea and crushed their barbaric tribes. The few that fled in their primitive boats were lost in a storm over the Inner Sea or wrecked on the Lost Coast. Our expeditions there have found no sign that any great numbers survived. If there are any orcs left on the Lost Coast they are scattered, weak, and without resources in that wilderness of rock cliffs and barren peaks. Fifty years ago we fought our last battle against the green horde and we may now safely conclude that the threat is ended for all time. Long may reign the Empire of Man!"
-Princeps Bellum Stultus, addressing the Commanders of the Imperial Army and Navy

The cave mouth was hidden behind a curtain of roots hanging from the cliff above, impossible to see through the mists until they were only a few paces away. Yatar snarled and bared his fangs as he sensed a presence within the hollow, putting a cautionary hand out to the shoulder of the elder who guided him.

“Jhadra, wait,” he growled.

A growling chuckle rose from the old one’s throat. “That is Yod’he, the guardian of this place. If you were not expected you would already be dead, young one.”

Jhadra reached out a gnarled paw, so dark the green of his skin was almost black in the gloom, and parted the hanging roots, gesturing for the youth to enter. Yatar’s eyes narrowed as a heavy-jowled face thrust in front of him from the shadows, but Yod’he, the biggest warrior Yatar had ever seen, merely snorted, and retreated back into the shadows. Two dozen strides along a slightly rising narrow passage brought Yatar and Jhadra to a small chamber. The elder warrior pointed to the walls where numerous holes had been bored into the stone and intoned in a voice heavy with ritual.

“These, young warrior, are now yours. You have been chosen to receive these gifts, along with the rights and responsibilities they bear. Forget the name of the tribe to which you were born, for you are now a Messenger.”

Yatar allowed himself a broad grin of pride and thumped his chest with a clawed fist. “I will serve the Hundred Tribes without fail!” he responded.

Jhadra nodded. “You will learn the secrets of the maps stored here and use them to find the hiding places of the Hundred Tribes. You will travel always, bringing news from tribe to tribe. And when the time is right it will be you who will tell the Hundred Tribes to prepare themselves for war, and our return to the lands of the east.” He gestured to the row of small holes on the south wall. “Now take these maps, guard them always, and use them to keep the Hundred Tribes together.”

Yatar nodded, still grinning, looking eagerly at the hiding places and their contents, but then frowned. “What about those?” he asked, gesturing to the opposite wall where other holes held more of the maps.

Jhadra’s lips curled back in a mirthless smile. “Those are copies of the ones you will take. We will need them when you get yourself killed.” He gave Yatar a solid slap on the back, and stalked out of the cave, chuckling slowly.

05-25-2014, 07:17 PM
About three generations ago the orcs were mostly driven from the human lands, and the Empire claimed supremacy. However, many more orcs escaped the slaughter than the humans guessed and now they are rebuilding their strength in a number of scattered settlements hidden along a forbidding stretch of coastline. A small group of elite orcish travelers keeps the communities connected, making several trips a year to the various villages and settlements. But all these places are well hidden, and the Messengers need to be sure they never miss any, so they have developed maps that can be used from their canoes a short distance from land, to precisely figure out their position relative to local settlements.

### Latest WIP ###


Clockwise from upper left:
1. An approximation of the map in use but with, you know, real mountains and ocean instead of a creek.
2. More high-contrast lighting to show some of the details. And more of my fingers.
3. Map data. These maps are meant to connect together, there are more than two dozen total, so symbols at each end show what map comes next. In the centre is the information that helps the Messenger to find settlements. The settlement on the left will be found at the top of a peak, in a cave, after two moons travel inland. The second settlement will be found in a valley, after a night of travel, hidden in a forested area.
4. Close-up showing the shoreline and my hat.

Let me know if I haven't explained something very well. Or missed something, etc. This is my first foray into wood-gouging (I'm not going to call what I do anything like carving for awhile yet). Also, credit where credit is due. I asked my five year-old son what orcs would make a map out of and he said wood and rocks. We're still deciding what to do with rocks. Also the technique of carving a coastline in wood as a map has been done before (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammassalik_wooden_maps) by the Inuit people. Also while researching these maps I came across a reference to the Marshall Islands stick charts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Islands_stick_chart), proving that maps can be all kinds of different things.

A fun and enlightening challenge!


- Max -
05-26-2014, 05:18 AM
Looks great, hope you'll be able to finish it!

05-26-2014, 11:07 AM
Looks great, hope you'll be able to finish it!
Ah, yes... so... well... actually I kind of had considered it finished. First I will explain the map more succinctly and then invite ideas for finishing.

This is a coastal map, depicting a coastline. It is not intended to be read top-down. Rather the map reader will hold up the map (probably while floating in a canoe out from shore a bit) with the actual mountainous coastline looming in the background, and compare the map to what she sees. She can then flip the map over to look at the bottom and find out if there are any hidden settlements nearby. If there are, she'll beach the canoe and head inland, which the map does not depict.

I have only produced one carving as an example, but there would be as many pieces as required to map the entire coastal territory of the Hidden Tribes. The pieces are carved into chunks of bark that are readily available. They are intended to be used by a map reader while on the water and so the fact that they float is a bonus!

Now, I would definitely be interested in hearing ideas for what would make this map more finished. Like I said, this is a totally new medium for me and I would appreciate any ideas for bettering it!


05-26-2014, 03:16 PM
I think your whole idea is great. Based on your Orcish Authority's advice :-) if rocks would also be involved, how about if these only slightly-sensitive coastal charts float, while something more sensitive would go on rocks that would safely sink? Maybe guardposts at settlement approaches, or conversely the location of UNguarded outposts might be considered more dangerous.

05-26-2014, 03:33 PM
Very cool Meshon. Very cool

05-26-2014, 05:13 PM
Wow, that month subject is really a good inspiration for cartographers;) A non digital map is always a pleasure to see and yours is really cool!

05-31-2014, 09:58 PM
Thanks for the positive comments! I think that in the future I might consider the role of rocks in the mapping, I think jbgibson's suggestion would be fun, but the map is as finished as I intended it to be, so I will leave it at that.

Next carving I might think about incorporating rocks. After all, my Orcish Culture Advisor did say they would use rocks in a map.

Also, wood gouging? It's a lot of fun!


Shall Teclex
05-31-2014, 11:31 PM
Eh, now I wish I could be a Messenger of the Hundred Tribes just to get my hands on one (or all) of your maps...