View Full Version : Which are your favorite maps in fantasy fiction?

07-29-2009, 11:38 PM
I can still remember looking at the map from the Lord of Rings as I read the books for the first time. I've always had an affinity for maps, especially in fantasy fiction. In fact, I have struggled to make it through some books which have left them out.

As to my question, which maps from fantasy novels are your favorites?

Very simple, but I really liked the maps from the Shannara series. Feist's Midkemia had a good one as well. More recently, Kick Caldwell drew the maps for Greg Keyes' Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone trilogy and I think he did a great job.

Here is Caldwell's map:


07-29-2009, 11:43 PM
The maps in the Belgariad were the ones that always worked best for me.

They really took me there and made it more real for me.

Man I should reread that series again :)

07-29-2009, 11:54 PM
The maps in the Belgariad were the ones that always worked best for me.

Wasn't a fan of the books, but did enjoy those maps as well.

Here is a map for Midkemia from Feist's novels:


07-30-2009, 05:39 AM
Harry Potter ;)

No, the maps I guess I am most fond of are Tolkien's. They ooze atmosphere...

07-30-2009, 06:12 AM
I guess I really like the one from 'The Steel Remains' (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4741)....but then I would ! :)

Seriously though I'd go for the one in 'The Hobbit'.

Steel General
07-30-2009, 07:34 AM
I'd have to say the Hobbit/LoTR maps are my all time favorites. I also like the ones in the Song of Ice & Fire novels and the Erikson novels as well.

...oh and certainly can't forget Ravs map in 'The Steel Remains'

07-30-2009, 05:45 PM
My all time fave was the cloth map from Ultima IV on the Commodore 64 back in 1984 (I think). Shelly Shapiro's maps in the Eddings books back in high school are also up there. Never read The Hobbit so I never saw that map (until the movies came out and there are maps everywhere) but by then I was starting down my own road of map-making so they don't do anything for me now. I'm also keen on amusement park maps :) You are here --> O

07-30-2009, 06:07 PM
Hmm, its a hard call. How about top five, in no particular order?

1. Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past - mmm, psuedo-isometric goodness
2. Cloth map form Ultima Online - just good stuff
3. Hobbit - I agree with what others said, I studied that map to no end
4. Can't remember the name - but it was this insane city map from Warhammer RPG some industrial city by the river. It was posted around here once. Mind blowing the amount of detail and scale.
5. The Freeport map - brilliantly done.

07-30-2009, 10:10 PM
Back around 1980 I bought J.B. Post's The Atlas of Fantasy, and that really kicked off my life-long love for these sorts of maps. My list of favorites is way too lengthy, but it includes all of Shapiro's maps for Eddings' works, the Tolkien maps, the Pern map (http://www.agriphoto.nl/pma/Maps%20and%20Charts/Maps%20from%20the%20Books/index.html), and the Haff and Martin Oz maps (http://www.bookwormlibrary.us/backgrounds/oz_maps.html).

Top of my list, however, would probably have to be Geoffrey Mandel's Star Trek atlas (http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Charts-Complete-Atlas/dp/0743437705/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1249005286&sr=8-1) and Karen Wynn Fonstad's atlases (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Karen+Wynn+Fonstad&x=11&y=17); I've got Pern and Middle Earth, both of which are great, and I'd like to get her Forgotten Realms and The Land books.

07-30-2009, 10:25 PM
I've noticed a lot of people mentioning tolkien's maps..

As much as I'm not one for following the crowd, I have to admit that I got my inspiration from there way back when. My first ever map was a hex grid interpretation of Middle Earth (i mentioned the stoy behind that somewhere in the forum here, it involved hand-drawing all 24 sheets of hex paper by hand, lol)

After reading the Hobbit, I got *totally* interested in maps, and while I stopped creating them about 20 years ago (life changes, boo/yay) that's what still inspires me, and i've come full circle...

07-30-2009, 10:28 PM
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeleiver by Donaldson. Especially the city maps with the small elevation view that was provided.

-Rob A>

07-30-2009, 10:54 PM
My all time fave was the cloth map from Ultima IV on the Commodore 64 back in 1984 (I think).

This the one? (http://www.dengler.net/xedragon/hrump/u4-100.jpg)

07-30-2009, 11:19 PM
Nope, that's some fan art. The one I have is much much darker in color, probably why my stuff is dark. Never thought about that until now...interesting. I'll have to dig it out from my mom's house soon.

07-30-2009, 11:23 PM
This looks like a photo of it :) (http://www.elderscrolls.com/images/team/maps/ultima_map_lg.jpg)

07-30-2009, 11:26 PM
I do believe you have found it...ah the memories :)

07-30-2009, 11:27 PM
This the one? (http://www.dengler.net/xedragon/hrump/u4-100.jpg)

Speaking of an old classic. Anyone remember the map board for QUEST FOR THE RINGS an Odyssey˛ game?


The map was very good.

07-30-2009, 11:31 PM
Yeah it is very dark Ascension... but I like.

vgunn that map looks cool! Is there a better pic of it out there?

07-30-2009, 11:59 PM
vgunn that map looks cool! Is there a better pic of it out there?

I will try to make a scan of my copy this weekend and post it.

07-31-2009, 12:42 AM
The map that got me interested in mapping (http://cartophilia.com/blog/images2009/sporclerisk.jpg)

07-31-2009, 12:44 AM
The map that got me interested in mapping (http://cartophilia.com/blog/images2009/sporclerisk.jpg)

I bow to you sir! Well played indeed. :D

I must confess I always wanted to remake that damn thing and join Australia to South America via seaway!

07-31-2009, 04:13 AM
The Board for the Runequest boardgame 'Dragonpass' was pretty cool too. Can't find it online though.

08-02-2009, 06:31 AM
D'oh, how could I forget the city map for Sanctuary, from the Thieves World books :)

I **LOVED** those books, and the map really helped picture the locations, it really made sense. (in most books i look at the map, sure, but then my mind sets up it's own geography as I read, heh)

08-03-2009, 12:45 AM
For me it has to be the maps in the Lone Wolf series:

Greason Wolfe
08-03-2009, 09:13 AM
Seems to me that I remember this question being asked once before, then again, maybe I'm just imagining it. In any event, a couple of my favorites have already been mentioned (Sanctuary from the Thieves World Books and The Land from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant), but I thought I'd mention a few others that have been inspirational for me.

The Pliocene Exile Series by Julian May
The Mythgar Series by Denis L. McKiernan
The Shanara Series by Terry Brooks

Countless other maps have also been inspirational, but these three did something special for me.


08-03-2009, 09:21 AM
Well, oddly enough, for me, it is the Original World of Greyhawk maps by Darlene. Course, I was 14 when they first came out.

08-03-2009, 02:14 PM
Okay here hopefully a couple better pics of the map from Quest for the Rings.

http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/5969/qftr1.th.jpg (http://img44.imageshack.us/my.php?image=qftr1.jpg)

http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/5696/qftr2.th.jpg (http://img193.imageshack.us/my.php?image=qftr2.jpg)

08-07-2009, 01:01 AM
Like many others here, I was inspired by the maps in Tolkein's books, but my all-time favorites are:

--the world map from Janny Wurts' Mistwraith books

--the maps from The Lightbringer Trilogy by Oliver Johnson

--the Lone Wolf maps (good call, Syt)

--and the world map in the Elric of Melnibone books

08-09-2009, 07:41 PM
Just remembered another excellent map: the ones from Ian Irvine's 'The View from the Mirror' series.

Also, Holly Lisle's hand drawn maps are gorgeous: http://hollylisle.com/tm/matrinmap.html

08-11-2009, 02:22 PM
Ok, if we're talking videogames as well, I have to go with the map that comes in the box with the elderscrolls III: Morrowind.

For being a drawn map, it has a huge amount of detail. Just looking at it inspired me to explore all of the random locations hinted at on the map. If you look, you'll see a few X's placed around the map that demand attention.

Also the map can act as a rosetta stone for learning the ingame daedric writing, since a couple of the daedric temples on the map have their names in both english and daedric. The daedric "language" ended up being just a different alphabet for english language, so if you had the secret code you could read some pretty interesting stuff hidden away in game.

08-11-2009, 02:46 PM
Oh yeah, I remember that map. Nice.

Here is another great computer map, because it's the first paper map I ever received with a purchased game (incidentally the first PC game I purchased).
It's from the Magic Candle.

Grabbed the map from this place:

08-11-2009, 04:53 PM
I remember that Morrowind map, I should dig that out of my stack. Good stuff, thanks for reminding me.

Greason Wolfe
08-11-2009, 04:57 PM
Ah, I didn't even think about maps from computer games. Bearing that in mind, then I'd have to include the map from The Witcher Boxed Set. Poster sized and beautifully done.


08-11-2009, 05:47 PM
Tolkien for me again, I was hooked the minute I picked up the hobbit in my local library, i think I was about 8 or 9, never looked back.

My other faves have to be:
Conan Chronicles: Robert E Howard
The Dragonbone Chair: Tad Williams
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Stephen Donaldson - Especially the ones from the One tree (I think), there was a great City Map included
The Narnia Books. C S Lewis
There are so many others that I'll probably remember later...

Myth, the fallen lords, this one came up when you started a new battle..
Morrowind & Oblivion
Dungeon Siege had quite a nice map as I remember.

and some oldschool ones...
Sid Mieres Pirates - C64
Tir Na Nog - C64

ahhh... good times...

12-31-2009, 10:28 PM
I found this thread while searching for something else and this is why I am now here.

I have to say that my favorite maps are the ones from George R. R. Martin's series "A Song of Ice and Fire" ... 4 books so far along with 3 games.

http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/760/immapnorth.gif http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/7508/immapsouth.gif http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/5151/immapsummer.gif

But then again, I like the books better than most of the others mentioned here.

dog :D

01-02-2010, 03:00 PM
Never noticed this thread.

For me, the Tolkien maps (first The Hobbit and later LotR) kicked it off. I reproduced the LotR map with a nib pen on parchment when I was in 7th or 8th grade. The maps and diagrams in Niven's Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring were also big on my list.

In the computer games world the maps and other things in the Infocom games were inspirational as was the map from Below the Root...which I remade on 1/4" graph paper and filled in the missing pieces.

In RPGs, my first inspiration was Tomb of Horrors and, I think, the Hommlet adventure. The stuff in MERP was pretty amazing too. Later, the 2E Planescape stuff (maps and illustrations) just blew me away. I've also been a fan of post-apocalyptic stuff, so the map of Pittsburk in Gamma World (one of the middle editions) was awesome to me.

01-03-2010, 07:32 PM
Without a doubt The Prydain Chronicles by Loydd Alexander. Funny thing is the map changes every book, even though it is the same area pretty much.

Glad to see the Shanara series got mentioned :D

LOTR of course

also, pretty much every fantasy video game has had a noteworthy map, but in my favorite would have to be Guild Wars (http://forums.gamesforwindows.com/cfs-filesystemfile.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Discussions.Components.Files/9/3666.Tyria.jpg).

01-03-2010, 11:52 PM
I think the very first map I fell in love with was from the Dragonlance module where the characters are on the ice boats. There was a DM and a Player version of the regional map. It was unlike everything else because it did not (as I recall) have hexes and it was on a sort of parchment looking background. I regret losing those modules years and years ago.

The second map I fell for was the original Forgotten Realms map. It was sold separately from the Forgotten Realms box set and it was huge. My friend bought it and laminated it onto a poster board. Just gorgeous.

But neither of those maps got me into mapping directly. I had decided to build my own campaign world and I decided to draw a map. Not having the faintest clue what I could use, I loaded up Microsoft Paint for Windows 95 and used an advertisement for Might and Magic 3 as my inspiration. Lost that map in a computer mishap not long after I made it. I remember that the mountains were a thing of beauty but I was frustrated by the forests. I digress however. I just wish I could find a copy of that old advertisement to try out that style again; this time with Gimp and layers and all that.

01-07-2010, 02:54 PM
middle earth (tolkien), majipoor (silverberg), ringworld (niven) are the most memorable for me.

06-20-2012, 06:29 PM
while middle-earth is always good, my favorite has to be belgariad/mallorean by eddings.

06-21-2012, 12:03 PM
Middle Earth is number 1 for me too.

Second though is the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Didn't see anyone mention that, but I love the way all the different ecological niches where she sets the different books are bound together so neatly...

Third, the world of the Pellinor books... though I never read them all, and barely remember them... there's something to do over the Summer, read teenage girls' fiction. :P