View Full Version : Hyrule-based D&D Campaign Map

10-06-2009, 11:04 PM
Ok, here's an early draft of my map. I apologize in advance for the long post!


As you can see, the borders I've put in are purely geographical, but are also gonna be somewhat indicative of political borders. I'll add more details later, but I'll give somewhat of a rundown.

Generally, deeper into the mountains, and somewhat into the arctic mountains are going to be mostly dwarven lands, and really deep in will be those dwarves with stony skin cause in Zelda that's where the gorons live. There'll be lots of mining for precious stones and metals, as well as more useful material, so across the sea there, there will be lots of trade (and therefore, pirates, which is always fun)

The plains are going to be the main part of human lands, although they're borders will also stretch somewhat into the forests, some of the mountains, maybe even some of the desert. Castle town will be pretty central in the plains, and a large river will run up through it. Water-breathing elves will have an underwater settlement in the North end of the river, so the Zoras get representation.

The desert will have a small nation of humans separate from the Kingdom of Hyrule (or whoever I replace them with) inhabiting a series of oases fairly close to the plains. Close enough to the Kingdom to allow for some trade and contact, but also far out enough that the Kingdom doesn't care to take them over. These are going to be equivalent to the Gerudo, but without the wonky gender ratios.

All throughout the plains and the desert will travel halfling caravans; I haven't decided if they're going to have their own country, but probably not. They'll probably have a halfling dominated city somewhere though. The human nation in the desert will be taking influence from Spanish culture, inspired by the Gerudo Valley theme in OoT but also just cause I want Spanish people somewhere

The forest will have plenty of elves, and to the south will become rainforest, and jungle toward the Southern tip. In the forest somewhere will be a magically concealed Elven city, but there'll probably be smaller elf communities that are detectable to regular people. The Royal family of Hyrule will probably know about the city, but other than that, it's nothing more than a rumour to most non-elves, and even to elves who have spent their life in other lands. These are gonna be high elves, but I'll have more wood elves deeper into the forest, probably far enough that humans rarely if ever venture that far.

Now, as for the scale of the whole place, the border between the arctic areas and the areas below is about where the arctic circle is, and the southern tip of the continent is gonna be somewhere between the Tropic of Cancer (will have a different name, assuming the concept even exists to most people).

Also, I think I'm gonna have Mountains stretching all the way from the tropical islands, which will be volcanic islands, along the Southern edge of the forest, all the way up the Eastern side of the continent up to the North (the Northern and Eastern mountains' borders being marked on the map) But the ones in the forest won't be dramatic or tall enough to prevent trees from growing.

I also want Raptorans to exist somewhere, probably in a more cliffy area of the mountains.

Gnomes are gonna be somewhere, I'm thinking centralized in the more Northern areas of the mountains where even dwarves don't usually go, but they'll also trade with other nations


1. I'm not sure how far South it should stretch. I'm thinking maybe all the way to the equator, but either way, the forest is really big and mostly "uncivilized," especially to the bottom (Amazons and stuff)

2. Obviously there's gonna be orcs and goblins etc. but should they have borders recognized by the Kingdom? Or should the world exist in a state where usually evil monstrous humanoids are pretty much suppressed, and have hidden cities in areas where other races rarely go?

3. Rivers. I think I'm gonna have a Tigris/Euphrates type setup in the desert, you know, cradle of civilization type of thing, but mostly dried up now. I think it'll still be where the capital of the desert people is. Also, I know there'll be a big river stretching up from the big sea West of hte mountains all the way up to the North of the desert. But I'm not really sure how I should set the rivers up as far as where they go.

4. The tropical and subtropical islands: Any suggestions on who/what should populate them?

Now, any feedback on anything about my map or my post will be greatly appreciated, not just the questions, although that's where feedback will be most valuable. And, any other ideas on stuff I should put in, like cities, and where more minor races or subraces should be centralized, will be appreciated as well. And anyone who gives me an idea I end up using, I'll credit you if you want when I have a group using this Campaign Setting, and I'll definitely be mentioning the Cartographer's Guild if you guys help at all ^^

I'll probably just edit this post as I make progress on the map, rather than reposting it. Now, let's make a map!

10-08-2009, 02:41 PM
Welcome SpiderLuigiMan!

Don't apologize for the long post. They're good thoughts to consider with a new map.

I'd suggest treating the border design really loosely. Right now it looks a little like the borders were imposed from space. Rivers, mountains, resources are usually the defining elements of borders. Let the map grow and then strive for a natural border line. Its unlikely to be equal and especially in a medievalesque setting its unlikely to be simple and few. Don't stop yourself from changing or developing them as the map progresses.

Alternately you can have a region of petty lords and define the region but not the internal borders...

What sort of political units are going to exist? Any regions subservient to others? How do the races interact and whose authority do they recognize? Is the coast the most densely populated? Often, ease of travel makes the coast the easiest to settle and have commerce with. Does the setting have more than horses? Are there political units big enough and thoughtful enough to build and maintain road networks? What about Rivers?

It takes a great deal of organization and structure to have a large kingdom\country. The Romans are remarkable for the size of their Republic\Empire but they had huge problems with provinces, generals, local leaders etc.... What binds a big region together? This is especially true if your continent stretches from the Arctic? to the Equator.

Countries may make claims to large regions but for games its sometimes more fun to have chaos between developed centers. Its very modern to have a border guard and a line that says 'this is America' and 'this is Mexico'. In RPG terms there usually isn't the manpower\organization. If a country was big enough to really occupy its region they'd likely be big enough to expand into someone elses territory :).

Sounds like you're deep into considering your map. Good for you. I hope I've only thrown pleasant wrenches into your thoughts.

Good start
Have some Rep :)


10-08-2009, 07:19 PM
As the budding founder of the Geopolitical Police...

#1 Countries, Duchies, Provinces and Shires all like to follow clear obvious boundaries. Classic boundaries are: hill ranges, mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, roads and to a lesser extent terrain types (e.g. desert-grassland boundaries). And those are basically in order of importance (look at France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Denmark & Italy for a good example of why the boundaries exist where they do)

#2 Big countries need political/power infrastructure. Europeans did it via Feudalism, Romans used a kind of "I own the cash and the REALLY good army... so behave yourself and pay me taxes!", Chinese/Japanese had an honour-based feudalism... etc Most medieval "empires" are probably close to a strongly taxed feudalism (There is a Big King who taxes the crap out of the "Not so Big Kings" with threats of execution to back it up, the "not so big Kings" tax the next guys in line... etc) where the regional areas are only as good as their taxation value to the Big King. If its not worth Cash or not worth protecting against invasion (i.e. The Capital is just down the road), they'll get squat and taxed heavily.

#3 Who else is a country? Another country and a border with that country, only exists for me if they have the army, fortifications and government to keep it. If they don't look like a country, then they are a barbarian wilderness (hence why the Ottomans weren't really "recognised" as an empire until after they'd gotten from Constantinople to somewhere around Vienna and Spain... they were just "Ottomans") Your orcs are likely to be viewed as a disorganised rabble of barbarians with no civilisation, no empire and certainly no territory of their own. "Orc lands" will be viewed as "places we haven't bothered to conquer & civilise into our own society... toooo hard basket". Elven communities may be viewed as "city-states" or quasi-republics. Go check out early Post-Roman era Italy, particularly Machiavellian time-frames to get the feel of what a Republic of City-States feels like.

10-09-2009, 06:34 PM
Thanks guys, you've given me lots to think about ^^

I know that the castle city, which will be pretty central in the plains, and the areas near it, will be quite well protected with a good infrastructure, but beyond that, until you get to borders against monstrous humanoid races like orcs and goblinoids, probably little to no government influence. But there'll probably be a lot of border skirmishes with those usually evil races.

But, I think the main empire is gonna be on very good terms with the dwarven regions due to extensive trading, and good terms with the desert people because of some trade, and probably civil terms with the elven races. I'll probably have some sort of loose coalition between these races, and probably the much smaller gnome population, but I think if I have Raptorans they'll be isolated enough to not be involved in something like that.

But yeah, you guys brought up a good point which is that in that sort of time period, the civilized races wouldn't be in control of every inch of the continent, and that country borders are probably purely theoretical; the only claims to territory in more outlying regions would be the towns themselves, not the open countryside around them.

Anyway, thanks guys, I'll post again when I've made some progress ^^

06-14-2010, 12:23 AM
I was just wondering about what everyone here thought about the idea of taking the map of the overworld from the original LoZ and blowing it up on a massive scale, so that a medium sized character took up the same space as Link.

06-14-2010, 02:46 AM
It's more like this... my empire reaches only as far as my swords and arrows will reach.