View Full Version : Zothique

07-05-2007, 07:45 PM
Hey all,

Great stuff lately, sorry I have been out but duty called (a commercial map deadline and finals happened at the same time). I read Clark Ashton's Smith's Zothique the other day and figured that while I was working off some steam from all that frantic activity I could maybe put together a Zothique map.

For those of you who may not have heard of Zothique, CAS was a contemptorary and collegue of HP Lovecraft. I know the style is not everyone's cup of tea, but I have always enjoyed it myself. You can get the Zothique stories online (http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/bibliography/publications/books/92/tales-of-zothique) which is also rather cool.

As for the map, there wasn't one from the author himself. Zothique kind of grew into being much like Howard's Conan stories, and built on top of one another. There was a map that Lin Carter did (and CAS "edited and approved") but it is a rather sorry looking creature (not entirely unusual for its day of course). The following map used that sketch as a base, then adjusted for my take on the stories and their locales. I tried to sdtay true to the tales where possible, which was an interesting exercise in and of itself. All of the placenames used are directly from the stories...

07-05-2007, 08:54 PM
Cool! What's the story behind the Black River, that is first thing that caught my attention.

07-05-2007, 09:21 PM
From Necromancers in Naat:

...After two days the wind fell from its ravening fury and was soon no more than a vague whisper; and the skies cleared, leaving a bright azure vault from horizon to horizon. But nowhere was there any land visible, only a waste of waters that still roared and tossed turbulently without wind, pouring ever westward in a tide too swift and strong for the galley to stem. And the galley was borne on irresistibly by that strange current, even as by the hurricane.

Yadar, who was the sole passenger, marveled much at this thing; and he was struck by the pale terror on the faces of the captain and crew. And, looking again at the sea, he remarked a singular darkening of its waters, which assumed from moment to moment a hue as of old blood commingled with more and more of blackness: though above it the sun shone untarnished. So he made inquiry of the captain, a graybeard from Yoros, named Agor, who had sailed the ocean for forty summers; and the captain answered:

'This I had apprehended when the storm bore us westward: for we have fallen into the grip of that terrible ocean-stream which mariners call the Black River. Evermore the stream surges and swiftens toward the place of the sun's outermost setting, till it pours at last from the world's rim. Between us now and that final verge there is no land saving the evil land of Naat, which is called also the Isle of Necromancers. I know not which were the worse fate, to be wrecked on that infamous isle or hurled into space with the waters falling from earth's edge. From either place there is no return for living men such as we. And from the Isle of Naat none go forth except the ill sorcerers who people it, and the dead who are raised up and controlled by their sorcery. In magical ships that breast the Black River, the sorcerers sail at will to other strands; and beneath their necromancy. to fulfill their wicked errands, the dead men swim without pause for many nights and days whither-so-ever the masters may send them.'


The Black River is only mentioned in the one tale, but since it was designed as a highway of sorts for the Necromancers and their servants, I figured that it would wind it's way around the continent -- generally not too close, but close enough to allow for a summoned storm to bring some hapless vessel into their clutches.... bwahahahaha!

The direction of the River's "pull" would be easternward along it's length.

Oh, and I already caught at least one spelling error (gah! that always gets me).

07-06-2007, 12:46 AM
I like it! Nice, clean style. Simple & attractive; very functional.

Good work.

07-06-2007, 02:21 AM
Brilliant! I love the illustrative style - you can just imagine it on the inside cover of a published book.

I like the writing too! I shall have to read the stories (and now I have a great map to accompany them!)