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Thread: Mapping cliches

  1. #51
      NedS298 is offline
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    I'm a real culprit of trying to put too many climates together... I guess it is a cliche, because it is recurrent and annoying.

  2. #52
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    My Asdar world map is global and thus enables me to incorporate all the climates. I have based the 'climate' bands on real world climates (tundra, boreal, alpine/steppe, temperate/atlantic, mediterranean, desert, savannah, semi-tropical, tropical). It's much more realistic and plausible. Even if I don't have the latitudes exactly right, it's close enough for a verisimilitude of the real world. The disadvantage is that characters in the world have to travel relatively far to reach another climate in many instances. The advantages of the small, theme park-like setting with many climates enables more changing play or stories in a smaller setting.

    Of course, in the real world, it is possible to have dramatic changes, but they're usually on the border of a great expanse of climate. It is possible to go from the Andes Mountains down into the Amazon Jungle Basin or from the Plateau of Tibet down into the Takla Makan desert, although that is probably a much longer journey. In north Africa, you could go from green zones in the Atlas Mountains down into the Sahara Desert. In the middle east, you can go from the Negev Desert which looks like parts of Arizona into the Judean Hills which look like San Diego.

    This is the PDF of my world map. It's over 10 mbs in size.

  3. #53
      NedS298 is offline
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    In essence, I think you're saying that mountains allow for huge climatic differences in small areas; all your examples involve them.
    Anyway, I think that it would be possible to say that place names ending in "dor"/"dhor" or "or" are something of a cliche. In Middle-Earth alone there's Eriador, Arnor, Gondor, Mordor, Numenor and Valinor.

  4. #54
      Ghostman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by NedS298 View Post
    I think that it would be possible to say that place names ending in "dor"/"dhor" or "or" are something of a cliche. In Middle-Earth alone there's Eriador, Arnor, Gondor, Mordor, Numenor and Valinor.
    That's because most Middle-Earth place names are meaningful word combinations in the elf languages Tolkien invented. IIRC "dor" actually literally means "land", so all those ME names ending with -dor are similar to the many nation names in english that end with -land: Scotland, Poland, Iceland, Thailand, etc.

    If such naming conventions seem overused in non-ME settings then that's probably because they're ripping off imitating Tolkien's works

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    Exactly, Ghostman! When world-building, especially when writing novels, it becomes increasingly important to have your little naming details make sense. Tolkien is the gold standard for this. In my recent contest entry, I used Elf and Dwarf words of my own creation for place names. I decided that "dam-" was a Dwarf root for "water", resulting in "Damák" as a word for lake and "Damist" as a word for river. "Kilím" is a Dwarf word for tall mountains, resulting in "Kilím-Dathűl" for one set of mountains and "Orok ul'Kilím" for another. Reference: (http://www.cartographersguild.com/at...progress_8.jpg)
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  6. #56
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    That's completely true, but I think the fantasy community caught on quickly. As an example off the top of my head, in Max's map "Kherash" there were a number of kingdoms ending in "-dor/dhor", eg. Valendhor (or something like that, anyway).
    Last edited by NedS298; 07-08-2014 at 08:30 PM.

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      HBrown is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomalak View Post
    WFlat maps with cookie-cutter elevation. I am as guilty as the next guy, but geographically that makes no sense! Elevation and slope are distinct concepts, mountains have vegetation on one side, and rivers hardly ever travel through flat terrain. If the land is really flat, it's probably a marsh. And that's another thing: homogenous wetland. Is it a tree-filled swamp, or a reedy marsh, or what? Usually it's undefined 'swamp,' and when it IS defined, it's wrong.
    Another one is swamps/marshlands/whatever the size of nations. I've seen fantasy world maps with wetlands which, if you scale them out, must be bigger than France. Even vast marshlands are tiny, on a global scale.

    Another one: Big clumps of forest surrounded by... not forest. Even in medieval societies forest is utilized. There might be big stands of forest, but on the whole they are unlikely to be hundreds of miles across.

    --HBrown

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by NedS298 View Post
    That's completely true, but I think the fantasy community caught on quickly. As an example off the top of my head, in Max's map "Kherash" there were a number of kingdoms ending in "-dor/dhor", eg. Valendhor (or something like that, anyway).
    Actually I don't think there's sych things on Kerash map. Maybe another one?

  9. #59
      J.Edward is offline
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    Here's one.
    Look at a satellite map. How many houses can you see... not nearly as many as you'd think. Trees are often much taller and extend over houses. So on many maps you would see more trees and less structure, even in many cities. Even roads and rivers are often obscured by tree cover.
    I think cliches happen a lot for many reasons, and not all bad ones. A map is used to convey information. That's really its primary goal throughout history. So the purpose of the map is central to what it will look like and what will be there.

    And as pertains to fantasy and new or alien concepts - if you want to sell it people need to be able to understand and connect to it. If they can't do that then you've lost your audience. If that happens - history may remember your work as original and NEW but you may not get a lot of work.
    Cliches, like stereotypes are there because it gets people from point a to b quickly with less explanation. Good or bad, it's true.

    Ultra-realism is great but if it doesn't make the story more compelling or make it resonate with an audience then it's just academic in the end.
    Okay. My 10 cents worth.
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  10. #60
      J.Edward is offline
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    I just had a thought about maps being off to the right - I think it's less of a cliche and more about more people being right handed and maybe that's why. Being right handed people start drawing to right side of the page. Just a thought.

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