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Hi. I'm David "Big Mac" Shepheard. I am interested in all aspects of the Spelljammer universe and the wide range of creative things that fans have created to suppliment the original canon material.
If you are interested in Spelljammer you may have encountered me around the Interwebs talking about fan expansion of the original game material, adaptation of other RPG worlds into new SJ crystal spheres artwork (both 2D and 3D), study of the rules and background universe and pretty much anything else that can be shoehorned into a Spelljammer game.
But the main reason I am on the Cartographers' Guild is that I am also interested in learning how to create cartography to support and expand the SJ game.
I hope that this group will help any other would be Spelljammer cartographers to link up with each other, share tips on style and point each other to the tutorials and other resources that can help us all get better at creating Spelljammer cartography.
As a fantasy space game universe, Spelljammer has a few unique cartography challanges:
* When creating world maps other campaign settings can focus on a small part of a world, while SJ worlds would benefit from global maps that could be wrapped onto a sphere to give an image of the planet from space.
* Crystal spheres are something that not too many other gameworlds use. Making maps of the spheres that look more like sea navigation charts than sci-fi system maps could help sell the setting as a fantasy one.
* The Phlogiston was never mapped in the original AD&D Adventures in Space. Creating a style for that sort of map that looks different from the sphere maps, but shares some common elements could help link the various spheres together in the mind of GMs (and - if the GM chooses to share - their players).
I hope that we can share hints and tips and maybe even a few pictures.
You raise some interesting thoughts. For Crystal Spheres, maybe one could go the same way as Ebberon's Planar Charts?
Hi Havard! Thanks for joining.
The Eberron Planar Charts are certainly interesting. When I bought Eberron Campaign Setting I was pretty impressed with the Cosmology of Eberron chart on page 93. I don't know if you have seen the two illustrations of dragon constellations on pages 94 and 95, but I figure that they could represent "the dragon above" (Siberys) and "the dragon below" (Khyber) or two new dragons (dragons of Shardspace).
Shardspace seems to merge its cosmology and its astronomy, making it the sort of environment that fits in with the 4e Manual of the Planes having spelljamming ships act as planejamming ships by default.
For Shardspace, I think you have hit the nail on the head. We would probably be forced to combine SJ and PS to get that fanon concept to work (although I still would be tempted to make the Xoriat in the sky a physical manifestation of the Realm of Madness (and instead have a permanant version of the "Coterminous" effect on a more normal looking world).
Outside of Shardspace, I would be more tempted to go with sphere charts that are more similar to the AD&D style of Spelljammer charts. Although, I am greatly impressed with the work of Spelljammer Port Paladine. The SPP house style for Greatspace, Realmspace and Greyspace modifies the 2e style in a way I really like:
All three of those maps keep the same sort of "single ecliptic and mostly circular orbit" style of the original SJ sphere charts but make the charts into an "in character" chart that a GM can show to players.
I've added my take on a 2D-style phlogison map, it includes, as far as I can tell, all canon spheres (including the Hackjammer ones) and a lot of fan-created spheres, including a few of my own to either put canon worlds in (mostly from Practical Planetology) or 'round out' empires etc. I actually laid this out a few years ago, so more recent fan-works would need to be added.
What I'd really like to do if I had the time, and more importantly, skills would be to create an on-line, interactive 3D map of the Flow, with 3D sphere maps that could be accessed from it. With a brass and wood effect interface! I've started building the closest approximation to this with Astrosynthesis, but this requires proprietory software to view the files. Another option would be Celestia, but I haven't got round to looking at that yet.
Thanks for joining.
The 2D phlogiston map looks interesting. Sadly, I can't get the large version to load.
Mapping the flow has always been a challange. I think that an online map would be useful, as you could zoom in and out and scroll around. Although it is a simplification, I actually think that 2D is a lot more user friendly than 3D. So perhaps your current style approaches what the "optimum" flow map style would be.
One thing I'm picking up from reading stuff is that I believe the SJ universe is a lot bigger than the spheres mentioned in the SJ products. I would be tempted to call a map "The Known Spheres" and make it into something that player characters could buy at a place like the Rock of Bral.
I wonder if you could put certain spheres (like Clusterspace) and the rivers that lead to them, on other layers, so that a GM can turn some of the spheres off and print out a more simplified map.
As for the website thing, maybe clicking on a sphere could take you to a separate webpage. That would allow you to have one webpage per crystal sphere. You could then have a second level of mapping where clicking on a celestial body takes you down to a third level, with the third level being a map of a specific world. (If you wanted to go further, you could add clickable links on cities, towns and other locations and have them link to a forth level of maps that shows the sort of landing sites a ship will visit.
Hey guys just joined up. Hope to be of some help and I see things that will be of a help to me already!
"We might experience some turbulence, then explode." - Mal, Firefly