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Thread: Mapping cliches

  1. #31
      Dearmad is offline
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    Oh oh I have some:

    City maps in fantasy settings with lots of magic and flying intellogent damgerous creatures... Why do they have city walls? I mean magic alone snuffs that defense... It's like earth history trumps the internal logic of the fantasy world because we weren't creative enough to imagine a truly fantastical city that fits into our magical realm...

    Another cliche for fantasy world maps that I have noticed is the overly tied cultural to terrain type bs. Oh a desert is here, so the culture has to change... Oh forest here so the culture (and of course place name style) has to change. That is total bull****. Cultures above tribe level (but not even most tribes, tbh) do not stop at drastic changes of climate/terrain except when relatively impassable.

    Oh one more thing i notice at city level gain and again, fantasy or reality based... COMPLETE and utter disregard for... The source of... Water?? Where are the aquaducts? Cisterns? Etc?
    Last edited by Dearmad; 05-01-2014 at 07:32 PM.

  2. #32
      NedS298 is offline
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    Those are all valid points, and I really agree with the climate part; why should a new culture spring up whenever the climate changes? The Romans conquered everything from the Sahara to what's now Denmark and the climate didn't stop them spreading their culture.

  3. #33
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    There is some justification for that. Culture is, in part, used by a society to adapt to its environment. In the absence of any interdependency, settlements in different biomes, even if settled by people from the same culture, will eventually diverge in practice until they become culturally distinct. Of course, neighboring cultures very often do develop some degree of interdependence, whether that's through empire-building or marriage customs simple trade, and there are quite likely multiple cultures in a given biome that have adapted to the same environment in different ways, which should futher muddy the delineations.
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  4. #34
      NedS298 is offline
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    Wouldn't that probably have more to do with the proximity of other cultures? Very distinct ones have evolved because of their isolation from others, but I disagree that climate is a factor - unless the culture emerged in a land in which there was a poor climate and a need to conquer other lands resulting in a war-like people (eg., the Vikings). The inverse would be a culture in a poor climate meaning no one actually wants their land, but I don't think that there'd be too many people living there in that case to establish a culture.

  5. #35
    Guild Novice Nordicblood1's Avatar
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    I think that the problem with cliches is that as artists, creationists, writers, cartographers etc...we want our work to be relatable and believable. As cartographers, if our work doesn't have some foothold in reality then people won't be able to follow it. It's also a matter of perception. For instance if you're looking at a map, that has the arctic tundra in the very center, surrounded by temperate climate and then that is surrounded by desert or tropics, you'd have a very funky looking map that looks like a target...however if you changed the perception and gave people a reference as to what they're looking at i.e. the north pole...all of a sudden the map makes sense, it's no longer a targer you're just looking at the top of the world made flat and extended. If you wanted your map to be 100% original and fantasy based...just change the perception of what your audience is looking at.

  6. #36
      NedS298 is offline
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    Wise words

  7. #37
      - Max - is offline
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    I spotted one more :

    Quote Originally Posted by Dearmad View Post
    Oh oh I have some:
    City maps in fantasy settings with lots of magic and flying intellogent damgerous creatures... Why do they have city walls? I mean magic alone snuffs that defense... It's like earth history trumps the internal logic of the fantasy world because we weren't creative enough to imagine a truly fantastical city that fits into our magical realm...
    Does a fantasy setting have necessarily to rely on heavy magic?
    Last edited by - Max -; 05-13-2014 at 04:55 AM.

  8. #38
      NedS298 is offline
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    Why does it have to have cities then? Why does it even have to settlements or human beings or be in a European style setting? Why can't it be a completely alien planet? But why does it have to be alien? Why can't it be some point in earth's history veiled by magic? But why magic?
    - Max - likes this.

  9. #39
      - Max - is offline
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    Yup sounds like the cliches discussion can easily turns into an unending debate

  10. #40
      NedS298 is offline
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    Of course it can, but there are always cliches that define the genre - that, in my opinion, is where the debate should end. Having cities and settlements, European-style settings and magic, or even just a world reminiscent of medieval Earth is what defines the fantasy map.

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