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Merl
07-18-2009, 07:20 AM
I will try to make it short. Hello, I'm Merl and I don't have much time (later I may make a proper introduction). I wanted to say how great this site is. great works, great tutorials.

I'm in desperate need of help concerning mapmaking: I have to make this world. We have the continents and countries already set, but they are terribly displaced (a desert land is on top, moreso close to a polar region). I don't have any maps right now (they on another PC), and got no good results at the search function. I'd like to ask if anyone knows good articles, tutorials or any valuable advice for defining the positions of continents while keeping a certain degree of realism.

Steel General
07-18-2009, 07:24 AM
What I generally do is use the gold ole big blue marble as a base, unless of course you are shooting for a more specific type of climate (arctic, arid, lush, etc.).

I think the first thing you need to do is decide on the overall climate you want your world to have, then work from there.

Oh, and Welcome Aboard! :)

NeonKnight
07-18-2009, 09:05 AM
Welcome to the Guild.

First, remember the primary definition of a desert is:

1. A barren or desolate area, especially:
a. A dry, often sandy region of little rainfall, extreme temperatures, and sparse vegetation.
b. A region of permanent cold that is largely or entirely devoid of life.
c. An apparently lifeless area of water.

So, unless the desert is supposed to be a Sahara type place, don;t worry too much.

waldronate
07-19-2009, 07:02 AM
The key search term you're after here is Physical Geography.

One of the driest deserts on earth is called Antarctica. No palm trees or camels, but effectively no rainfall and no life.

Merl
07-20-2009, 11:37 AM
Thank you everybody. Those advices realy came in handy.

About the desert, yes, I was talking about the classic, Saara/Atacama/whatever-like desert. Thankfully I developed a "damage control" rule for fixing such drastic nuisances. Something I called "catastrofic magic", which happens spontenously as much as any natural disaster, but is totally unpredictable. It conveniently served for explaining how the PCs could leave the artic-like country and reach a desert land so quickly in a ship travel. Pretty good tool, I could even build our current campaign centered on this weird phenomena. But nobody cares about it, right?

Something else I'd like to ask is that if anyone knows a program for simulating the tectonic plaques' movements (and, by extension, definining a large amount of important aspects of a planet's lands) and, if so, where can I get it.

Immolate
07-20-2009, 08:42 PM
I have to tell you that I'm not a big fan of using arbitrary and capricious, omnipotent forces to explain why things don't make sense. Players don't tend to buy it either, but every group is different and YMMV.

Deserts are not a function of temperature, but rather of percipitation. I spent a year of my life living in a place that had almost no annual percipitation but rarely broke above freezing during the summer. When the snow that blew down off the ice cap melted off during the ninety days of sunlight, the ground below was as dry and dusty as the mohave.

I think the important thing is that, a desert way up north doesn't look like a desert down south. Glacial action, along with heavy freezing/thawing cycles have a much different impact on the land than wind and the occasional flood.

I don't want to discourage you from expressing yourself in a way that you find enjoyable and entertaining. I just want to say that geography by fiat is probably best done judiciously, and understanding the way things are and why is a better approach.

I don't pretend the understand geotechtonics in any meaningful way. If you spend an hour researching the subject on the internet you'll know more than me. I do know that the most significant fault line in the United States is in the west Tennessee area, if that revs your motor.

Midgardsormr
07-20-2009, 09:29 PM
A handy resource for getting your worldbuilding started is Expeditious Retreat Press' A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping. Find it here: http://xrp.yourgamesnow.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=5

Merl
07-21-2009, 11:35 AM
A handy resource for getting your worldbuilding started is Expeditious Retreat Press' A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping. Find it here: http://xrp.yourgamesnow.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=5

I don't get it. Do I have to create an account and "purchase" the book or there's a link I'm not noticing?

@Immolate

No, no. We have been used this rule way long ago. The best of all is that it not only serves for fixing mistakes but also is a great hook for adventures. The player's "epic ascencion" quest actualy is about questioning those events and investigating it's true origins. What they don't know is that actualy it's work of the campaign's gods. Here, they're neither good or evil. They're just crazy, bored imortal beings which actualy created the world for "playing a game" (that's a very brief version, actualy). If everything goes according to the plan, the players eventualy may ascend to deityhood and put an end at this madness.

Midgardsormr
07-21-2009, 04:05 PM
I don't get it. Do I have to create an account and "purchase" the book or there's a link I'm not noticing?

Yeah, you'll have to register and treat it as though you're purchasing it through their shopping cart.

Immolate
07-21-2009, 09:52 PM
Ah epic ascension. You need say no more. Once you go epic, you don't need to pretend that they're magic about that can warp the world. You've got some in your morning cereal.