View Full Version : Project Revamping

Greason Wolfe
10-13-2009, 07:38 AM
For any of you that have been wondering about my general absence as of late, please rest assured that it has nothing to do with family or work related emergencies. In fact, in those two areas of my life, things seem to be settling down for the most part. On the family front, my grandmother is doing fairly well, and there is a good chance that Hospice will be stepping back for a while as she seems to have stabilized medically for the time being. As for my father, he's doing as well as can be expected. He's still experiencing a bit of a respiratory problem, but it isn't a life threatening thing. In terms of work, we've finally got a good crew with everyone doing their jobs like they're supposed to. The only real problem on that front is a little flu bug that is making its rounds through the employees.

The thing that has been keeping me away is, in many ways, just the opposite of what some folks here in the forum experience when they talk about "losing the inspiration to map." For me, that is "too much inspiration to map." And I'll try to explain that a bit better.

I am, at heart, a multi-tasker. I've always been a multi-tasker, I think. I can't remember a time when I didn't have a dozen, or more, different bits of information banging around in my head, all relevant to whatever primary task I was doing at the moment. When I was in the Navy, this meant keeping track of all aspects of an electrical distribution center. As a boat/yacht builder, it meant keeping track of which components needed to be installed/connected and what order they needed to be installed/connected in. Believe me, it's not quite as easy as it sometimes sounds, particularly when working on multi-million dollar yachts. In my current job, it means tracking customers, employees, cash registers and operating cash. In terms of work, being a good multi-tasker is a good thing. In terms of writing and creating maps, however, it can be a curse.

The big problem for me is that I get too many ideas bouncing around in my head at the same time. And while I do my best to jot down brief notes in an effort to get those ideas on paper, it doesn't really help free my mind from them, and with all of those ideas bouncing around, it gets more and more difficult for me to focus my attention on one thing at a time. For instance, lets take a look at the ideas that were bouncing around in my head recently;

1. Haevenstadt Harbor
2. Eurosivarae
3. Well of the Golden Maiden
4. Pseudo-Isometric/Hand-drawn Effects in Terragen
5. In-depth study of Erosion Effects and their relationship to Contour Development
6. The Hearthstone Saga (including map, background information and adventure development)

What, invariably, happens is that I'll get to work on one project and, as I'm working, an idea or thought for one of the other projects will pop into my head. Now, as I said, I'll jot it down for further development at a later time, but that doesn't get the idea out of my head. It'll just sit there saying "pay attention to me," while I'm trying to work on something unrelated. I have two choices when this happens;

1. Ignore the idea and try to keep working on the first project
2. Shift to the project related to the idea

If I try to keep working on the first project, the idea just keeps pestering me, so to speak. If I shift to the related project, I'm right back at square one and, at some point, I get hit by another idea for one of the other projects.

So, I decided to take a break, and just let those ideas bounce around in my head until my sub-conscious either eliminated them for lack of potential or filed them away as having potential for later use. That is, in the long run, what usually happens. But not this time. Instead, my sub-conscious took all those little ideas for a variety of different projects and connected them into a single project of a much larger scope. Haevenstadt Harbor has become a significant area in the Eurosivarae World Project. The Well of the Golden Maiden has not only become part of the Hearthstone Saga, but holds some connection to Haevenstadt Harbor as well. The mythological/religious aspects of Haevenstadt Harbor, Eurosivarae, the Hearthstone Saga and the Well of the Golden Maiden have meshed together as a single mythology/religion and been joined by a mythology/religion I developed several years ago for an online role-playing group I was involved with.

In other words, instead of having several smaller projects to work on all at the same time, I have one large project to work on where all those little ideas that pop up have a place and purpose. Of course, with this becoming a larger project, I'm expecting it is going to take considerably longer to complete than the smaller projects might have, but the important thing here is the fact that I've got my focus back. When those little ideas pop up in my head, I'll be able to write them down, knowing full well that I'll be able to work on them without feeling like I'm abandoning something else. With all of that in mind, I've stepped back to the beginning in a manner of speaking.

The first thing I did was toss out almost all of the previous maps. I did keep a rough version of the Well of the Golden Maiden map for both its layout and general appearance (i.e. that pseudo-Isometric/Hand-drawn look). The second thing I did was arm myself with a couple of tutorials by Waldonrate and settle in for a lengthy bit of world searching in FTPro. As it stands right now, I've found the world I want to use as a foundation and started the rudimentary editing process of expanding and deleting land masses here and there to better define the continental shore-lines and shelves. Once satisfied with those two aspects, I'll take things into PSP and/or Wilbur to define the dominant mountain chains (all that study of erosion and how it effects contour development is gonna pay off here!) and locations of any major rivers. With those done, I should be able to refine the various creation myths attached to the world by its various cultures as well as the climate/biome zones.

I don't expect the progress on this to be accomplished at a record setting pace, but I do have a much clearer vision of where I want to go with this project and how I'm going to get there. As for the mapping aspect of this project, I'll most certainly be posting updates here in the forum. And for those that might be interested in such things, I'll try to include little bits and pieces of the other stuff (i.e. creation myths, cultural and historical aspects, mythological/religious aspects and so on) as they develop. Yes, it is a grand project, a very grand project, but one that I am fully focused on now, rather than having my attention split amongst several projects. It's going to take time, but, when I'm finished with it, it should be a wholly completed product rather than these half-finished projects I've been developing a "reputation" for.


P.S. As a side note, here is the world I am starting with. As mentioned earlier, I'll be doing some basic editing to get the continental shore-lines and shelves where I want them before tackling the task of building up the dominant mountain chains and major rivers. Once I've settled on a name for the world, I'll also shift things over to the World/Regional Mapping sub-forum.

Greason Wolfe
10-14-2009, 04:01 PM
A bit of progress today. That's my new goal; a little bit of work each and every day as opposed to putting in several hours every third or fourth day. It gives my mind a chance to clear itself, so to speak, and hang on to that focus instead of burning out.

With a bit of help from Waldonrate, I managed to tweak out the main continental shore-lines and shelves. For this update, I shifted the center of the projection in FTPro just a bit to give a clear view of all the land masses and set all the above sea-level elevation coloring to a fairly dark green for the sake of contrast. I'll be sending the world to Wilbur as an MDR file next so that I can set up the PNG side of things for smoothing the land masses and re-building the main mountain chains. That, in and of itself, is going to take a while (I'm guessing a week or so as I don't want to rush things) and then it will be back into Wilbur (as a grey-scale surface) for export as an MDR file to import into FTPro for rainfall, temperature and climate editing.

I haven't yet decided on a specific name for this world. As is often the case, however, the various cultures involved may have their own names for the world based on their own creation myths and languages. The predominant religions are likely to be based on Old Norse and Ancient Egyptian mythologies with a smattering of other mythologies stirred into the mix, so if anyone has suggestions in this regard, I'm open to them. Likewise, I'm open to suggestions as far as the land masses go. I'm fairly happy with them as they stand right now in terms of shape and distribution, but if anyone sees anything that seems a bit "off" I'd like to hear about it. As it stands right now, there aren't any polar land masses, and it's unlikely that I will be adding them in at any point in the future.

Technically speaking, this world is about 2/3rds the size of Earth both in circumference and elevation range. It orbits a slightly smaller sun which makes it a few degrees cooler at the surface than Earth, as well. With a slightly more exaggerated axial tilt, the seasons are a bit more extreme than we see on Earth. I'm still working on the calendar (the current version is a 351 day calendar) for the world as well as the other astronomy based details.

Anyways, I suppose that's enough for now, as soon as I have a solid name for the world, I'll drop it into the World/Regional Mapping sub-forum. For now, here's the latest bit of work. C&C welcome.


Steel General
10-14-2009, 06:35 PM
Good to see you posting again...

Greason Wolfe
10-15-2009, 08:22 PM
So no major updates today, at least as far as mapping goes, because I've spent the day working on the historical, political and cultural aspects of the world, mainly jotting down generalized notes to myself regarding one of the major political bodies, a bit of detail about various epidemics and some background information on how magic differs between the various cultures and/or races.

One of the things I really started to focus on was the history of the world, at least as far as the northern hemisphere is concerned. As far as northern history goes, it can be broken down into two major eras; those times before the Exodus and those times after the Exodus.

In brief, the Exodus was brought about by incidents that occurred in the area located around the Well of Purity (Well of the Golden Maiden). The end results of these incidents forced the humans (and several other races as well) to abandon the lands they had always known (the Old World) and seek refuge in a new land far to the west.

Over the course of 2500 years, humankind has slowly but surely regained some of the numbers they once boasted in the Old World. Now, however, they have to share the land with "Elves," "Dwarfs," and other folk of myth and lore. One of the major events that came as a result of the Exodus was the loss of a strong, central leader. Although the humans have always practiced a Parliamentary form of government, they have been unable to maintain it in a proper sense since arriving on the shores of the New World. This has led to bickering, border skirmishes and outright war between the human kingdoms as various kings and chieftens made grabs for greater and greater political power.

To facilitate developing a more detailed history for the northern realms of humankind, I settled on 16 major kingdoms and pulled up the Timeline Generator running it across a span of 2500 years for each kingdom. I'm correlating this data to create an overall timeline that shows significant events such as epidemics, wars and natural disasters. I'm also using it as a means of locating preliminary borders and trade routes by looking as infection spreads (for epidemics) and where common skirmishes and wars occurred. It's a bit painstaking, but is proving to be useful at the same time as some of the kingdoms show a "natural" tendency towards certain types of natural disasters (i.e. tidal waves, forest fires, earthquakes and collapsing mines) while others show a tendency towards more political posturing/warfare or epidemic disasters.

As it stands right now, I've identified significant epidemics that have occurred over the last 2500 years. By looking at which kingdoms these epidemics occurred in, I'm starting to get an idea of where some of the common borders and/or trade routes might be. Once I've correlated the skirmishes and wars, I should have an even clearer idea of where said borders and/or trade routes might be, and, as a finishing touch, by looking at the natural disasters, I should be able to identify which kingdoms are coastal, mountainous or located in/near major forests. Of course, I'll have to compensate a bit for the other sapient races, but, all in all, this information, along with the infection and/or mortality rates for some of these events should give me a very solid idea of how the population has spread over the course of history.

Again, I'm not spending hour upon hour working on this each and every day. One little step at a time seems to be working exceptionally well at the moment now that I'm letting all these little ideas work together instead of trying to maintain them as separate entities. For instance, I was struck, last night, with an idea for how magic is going to be handled in terms of the New World. The "Elves" practice two forms of magic, one being a ritualistic discipline form of magic (read that as Schools in terms of 2nd Edition AD&D) in which the "casting of spells" takes a considerable amount of time and has long-term effects. At the other end of the spectrum are more or less, innate minor enchantments (read that as Cantrips and low level spells) that can have an immediate and useful effect. Meanwhile, the "Dwarfs" practice a runic based magic that allows them to permanently enchant crafted items. As far as humans go, at least in the northern hemisphere, there are certainly divine (Clerical) abilities, but as for magic (sorcery, wizardry and so on), it is a relatively new thing and they, in typical fashion, have twisted and mutated it to better suit their shorter (and, sometimes, power hungry) life spans.

I realize this isn't really the right forum for posting this background information, but, if I've read other posts correctly, it seems that the forum that might be better for this sort of information isn't quite as active as this forum is. So unless you all feel that it would be better for me not to post this background stuff here, I'll continue to do so (as it develops) and readily welcome comments, criticisms and suggestions on how I might breath more life into this new project as a whole.


Greason Wolfe
10-16-2009, 08:52 PM
Well, it seems I've hit a bit of a snag with this project as far as map development goes. Waldonrate was kind enough to help me with an earlier glitch in FTPro, but in so doing, it seems another glitch has come up. I've passed that information on to him and will have to wait to see what he comes up with as far as an answer goes before I can get back to work on the map. In the meantime, I'll be digging a bit deeper into the history of the world with a primary focus on the northern hemisphere, still. For a bit of additional flavor, I'm reconstructing the old Norse language (based on a English to Old Norse dictionary that I downloaded some time back) to be used as a "lost language" from the Old World.

One of the things I did come across as part of the ongoing process of correlating more recent history is an area of the New World that seems to be frequented by epidemics on a fairly regular basis. I was thinking that this might be linked to a rain forest or swamp like environment. Of course, a rain forest is just a tad unlikely in a more northerly climate, so I'll likely go with something a bit more swamp like. The question, however, is why anyone would settle in that sort of environment and, after so many epidemics, remain in that sort of environment. One possibility I'm considering is the existence of native plant and/or animal life that is of some particular value. I am, however, more than open to suggestions on this as it seems to be a bit of a curve ball that I'd really like to get the bat on, metaphorically speaking.


10-19-2009, 06:27 PM
One of the things I did come across as part of the ongoing process of correlating more recent history is an area of the New World that seems to be frequented by epidemics on a fairly regular basis. I was thinking that this might be linked to a rain forest or swamp like environment. Of course, a rain forest is just a tad unlikely in a more northerly climate, so I'll likely go with something a bit more swamp like. The question, however, is why anyone would settle in that sort of environment and, after so many epidemics, remain in that sort of environment. One possibility I'm considering is the existence of native plant and/or animal life that is of some particular value. I am, however, more than open to suggestions on this as it seems to be a bit of a curve ball that I'd really like to get the bat on, metaphorically speaking.
Since this is a fantasy world, what about an ancient curse? It could be something that will just follow people if they decide to move, which makes moving rather pointless.

10-19-2009, 06:30 PM
Maybe they are hiding there. Or the place is important in their religion. Maybe they think it's a test of faith. Or they want to expose themselves to the elements to create a tough people. Maybe there's a lot of game. Or are they looking for something?

Greason Wolfe
10-19-2009, 10:07 PM
Oh, good ideas. In fact, now that I think about it, it could be both a curse and a test of faith. Maybe this particular area was originally settled by someone (or several someones) related to those that initiated the incidents at the Well of Purity and brought about the Exodus. Yes, that just might work, and to top it off, the only reason they haven't been invaded is fear in the other kingdoms.

~Wanders off to plot some evil doings~


10-19-2009, 10:36 PM
And the security brought about by knowing no one wants to invade them helps keep them there :)

I'd rather fight off a flu every year than invading armies :)

Greason Wolfe
10-20-2009, 10:18 AM
If only it were something as simple as a flu. Although the infection rates might be low, we're talking about fairly significant fatality rates, but I think it works. Along with that, they may be leading the way as far as "treatment" for such epidemics. A great source for healers, perhaps, both mundane and "gifted." It could very well be that the kingdom in question (as far as the terrain goes) bears a striking resemblance to the area around the Well of Purity from before.

~Off for even more evil plotting. Mwahahahaha.~