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Thread: Do you create a "story" for your maps?

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      NedS298 is offline
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    Default Do you create a "story" for your maps?

    Does anyone in this forum create a kind of "back-story" for their maps? Whether it's elaborate or simple, whether it's focused on human interaction or geological history, whether you write it or just think it up, does anyone do this? And if so, how?

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      Naima is offline
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    I developed my map thinking of possible human interactions , mimicizing possible starting locations similar to modern day earth and i agine how cultures could eventually have differently evolved .
    A book I am reading that sugests this is guns germs and steel .

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      J.Edward is offline
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    I almost always have a story that goes with maps. Or I quickly form one as I'm drawing it.
    It may just be backstory material or it may be a fuller more involved story with characters.
    To me, just my personal opinion here, a map without a story is a picture without meaning.
    I'm sure that might elicit strong opinions in some but what is the purpose of a map? If not to help give information and meaning to something.
    And if there is nothing behind the map then to what does it give meaning?
    That doesn't mean the map can't still be a beautiful rendition of style.

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      waldronate is offline
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    For many people, maps are support for the story. The very essence of a map is that it's made for a client for a specific reason. The client and the reason determine what goes on the map, how it looks, and so on. If you are your own client (isn't there a lawyerly saying along those lines?), then you alone determine why you're doing the map and what goes on it. It's possible to have software generate many, many pictures per hour that look like maps. But are they truly maps?
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      Azelor is online now
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    I would say that about half of my maps where either historical one or alternate history.
    For the others, yes, I generally come with some story elements. But I only got in geology, climates, etc; just on my personal map.

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      Larb is offline
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    Unless it is something purely for practice purposes, all my maps have some kind of story behind them. It also helps me build the map because I know where certain things should be and why.

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      Chashio is offline
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    I often do think up something while working on a map, though it's very rare that I actually write any of it down... but I probably should.

    I like to experiment with different styles, and so many times I'll just pick up a drawing utensil or paintbrush and start in with whatever's on my mind to try. If I like where the experiment is going then I'll keep building off it and at some point it becomes more than just a picture on the page... I start thinking of it in terms of a real (if imaginary) place where the sun rises and sets (most of the time) and of which many different creatures and characters call home and interact with their surroundings.

    Usually it's only a fragment in one particular area which snags on my conscious imagination, such as a short glimpse of scene in the past or present; I see a boy struggling to drive his father's horse cart up the side of the valley on his way home from Market Day in town; the pleasant glade I just labeled becomes strewn in my mind's eye with the aftermath of a desperate battle fought for reasons now lost but for the haunted memories of a few grey-haired survivors.

    Or it might be that a certain mountaintop I just drew looks like a troll and my mind starts coming up with myths and legends the locals tell their children to explain how the land might have formed such peculiar features. Or my drawing turns out to be particularly... different... and I'll ask myself what sort of people or society would have drawn a map in the way I've been experimenting with. What influenced them? What did they value most, and least? How did they address one another? Who were . . .

    And, of course, there are times I begin with story and then draw the map.

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      lostatsea is offline
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    For Me ; The creation of individual pieces of the map generates questions. Why is this here? What is the purpose of that? How do the people/creatures live? The answers to these question give direction to the maps development. On the other hand as the map develops it also fuels more questions. This continues one part the map feeding the story and the story feeding the map. The story begins to Demand certain features of the map and the map starts to adapt a certain feel or flavor based on the developing story. In the end they become intertwined and parts of a whole. A word of warning ! From my own personal experience the danger to this type of development is sometimes the story demands more than I have the skill to deliver. Then I have to settle for the best I can do Now or rein back the story to fit What I can do well now. This leads to a folder of I'll redo this later !
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      Ilanthar is offline
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    I've always done map for my rpg settings. It's a prerequiste to developping the background of the world for me. The maps and the worldbuilding are then interrogating each other all along the process. Every map are generally telling me a story when I look at it... no wonder I love the guild and all its marvelous maps .
    And I suppose it's the main reason that explains I'm very fond of mapmaking... and of redoing the same maps a different way or with new elements.

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      helvene is offline
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    I always do! Even more: first comes the story and then goes a map.

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