Map for a flooded fantasy world. Largest landmass is the size of Britain.
I just can't seem to find the right look for this region map that includes all the politics involved while also not looking like a clutter of islands.
The setting has thirteen races, though one is aquatic, one is airborne, and one was artificially created and shares their creators' lands, leaving only ten that need worrying about.
The primary regional power, which should be central on the map, is the Elves, who inhabit a landmass roughly the size of Britain, I'm not picky about shape. This is the biggest land, every other landmass should be clearly smaller.
Nearby should be two islands, one, quite small, is the homeland of the Halflings who now also serve as the workforce on the Elves' home. The other, perhaps Ireland sized at most, though stretched out a bit like Japan, is the home of the Skarn, a people who sought to conquer the Elves, and were forced to submit to Elven rule in retaliation.
On the southern edge of the map should be several small-mid sized islands serving as the home of the two or three nearest human nations. Humans are new to the region, having only been occassional visitors a couple human generations ago, aka, quite recently by Elven reckoning.
On the northern edge, and perhaps on the eastern edge as well, should be another larger island, this one right on the equator, which is the home of the Thri-Keen. Near them should be at least two more islands of moderate size, the homes of the Darfellan and the Hadozee, respectively. The Darfellan are a completely subjugated people, while the Hadozee are simply raided for slaves. Darfellan are amphibious, while Hadozee are ape-like, meaning the Hadozee island, which should be further from the Thri-Keen lands should have a jungle on it.
Somewhere safely away from the three listed powers, perhaps around the northwest corner, should be a cluster of five or six very small islands. These islands are actually connected below the water surface but above the distant sea floor, near enough for the Drow who live there to have secretly constructed a connected underground nation.
Somewhere between the Drow islands and the Elf land should be a smaller-mid sized island, the home of the physically adaptive Orcs.
Penultimately, somewhere where there's space should be an island for the Xeph, Halfling-sized psionic people who love to travel and see exotic things.
Finally, if there's space, there should be a few smaller islands that are uninhabited by sentients.
It's a tall order, and I'm hoping someone with more skill than I can make it work on one map, rather than my idea of resorting to multiple maps for various scales.
I'm perfectly willing to share more information about the world, especially if it gets someone excited to make a map for it, but I thought I'd just start with the essentials here.
Last edited by Jallorn; 05-20-2014 at 12:35 AM.
Well, you're describing a bunch of islands so 'looking like a clutter of islands' would be pretty normal :-). Maybe a way to shape the request with terminology is to ask if you want this to be one archipelago, or separate groupings of islands that are hard to reach from one another? What's the technical level / cultural range - low fantasy sailing, say pre-middle ages?
Are these the only landmasses on the planet? Do you want this to be a world map, or if not what size region? Things will turn out quite differently if these are spread across an earth-size globe, vs. collected in a Caribbean or Indonesian or Philippine equivalent region. "Humans are new to the region" suggests there's other landmasses elsewhere -- unless you mean we humans spawn spontaneously like maggots on meat? Do ALL these races originate elsewhere, only gathered in this island collection for purposes of storytelling and strife?
What's the style you're looking for? Is it a reference map from outside these races' viewpoint, or is it the work of a Xeph master cartographer? Or easier to afford and obtain - the work of a mediocre Xeph journeyman cartographer? :-) Me - I might could provide you a map drawn by a Xeph apprentice rope-spinner with delusions of cartographic adequacy, whose uncle used to tell tales of these far-flung peoples and their places.... would you prefer it drawn in wax crayon on slate, or in squid ink on the back of a piece of bad street-poetry? (three coppers the broadsheet, composed just this morning!)
Do you need walkabout detail on-board each island, or is this the equivalent of a schoolroom (boardroom? ambassador's office? captain's cabin?) reference map mostly concerned with the landmasses' relative distance and position from each other?
What's the map for?
Initial map is for reference, an accurate representation of space and size. Let's say it's the work of a dedicated Gnomish cartographer family (Gnomes live in airships powered by technology they no longer have the tools or knowledge to create) It's only a particular region of the world and aside from Humans and Gnomes, all the races developed in this area on their particular islands. I'm not opposed to fun maps I can show the players, but I really need an accurate map for my own sanity.
Originally Posted by jbgibson
I'd say the total area coverage of the map is around the size of the Indian ocean, that is from the bottom tips of Africa and Australia up to Asia approximately. There are other landmasses, but this is probably the largest cluster with the most racial diversity, and it contains the single largest landmass. The technological level is just starting to approach the age of sail in some regards. Early Carracks are the newest ship on the block, although Humans, the crazy bastards, have been crossing huge seas on longships for generations.
That's a big part of the mythos of this world. Gnomes are an ancient race that fly all over above the dangers of the sea, but Humans are crazy and terrifying with their ability to cross vast distances of ocean, though the other races are learning how from them. The other races all have their reasons for not achieving what the Humans have, beyond the Human's incredible amount of endurance (ie +2 Con).
Elves have no broad interest in adventuring, except for the weird, crazy ones, instead preferring to live in peaceful long-time, and they have no real need since they have such slow population growth and plenty of land. Halflings wouldn't dream of braving the seas and leaving their homes, especially since they, too, have plenty of land since they farm for the Elves. The Drow actually did succeed in going elsewhere, but it nearly killed them all, and they're still recovering from the journey, plus they'd rather reclaim their home than move elsewhere.
Thri-Keen are plain not good sailors, though they're trying their best, and getting places faster than anyone except humans. Darfellan are an amphibious species, and so the idea of a boat is not something that would occur to them, and few would brave the oceans long enough to get anywhere. Oh, and the first place any of them did get to would be the Thri-Keen home. Hadozee are still primitive, especially socially, where they're barely even tribal.
The Xeph love to travel, but they always come home, and anyway, being small, for quite some time it was enough to simply travel to the different people of the Xeph. The Orcs don't really get out, being too deep into their "one-with-nature-ness," which is incidentally a factor in their dying out.
Meanwhile, Humans are crazy, oh and also fleeing the Dragons that tear up their nations every few hundred years. There are other people out there, the Gnomes, at least, know of them, but they don't matter, since they're not in this region.
How much of the ethnic info does the map need to convey? Can it be a typical political atlas map, with most of the overlays being off-page textual rather than graphic?
Is modern okay, or even as a reference for you do you need it to be period-appearance? The modern look can always be played off as an encyclopedia entry from three thousand years later :-).
Does your story involve any mermaids or harpies? Sorry I had to ask, one past request struck my mind while reading yours.
I would like to know what is your definition of crazy. Humans are crazy because they ride ships in order to flee the destruction of the dragons ?
Modern is fine, and political info doesn't have to be included (though if you want to include it that's fine). I put that info up because the political relationships were built first and I need a map that serves those decisions.
Basically I just need relative sizes/distances of the islands.
No Harpies in the setting so far, and Merfolk is another name for the Sea Elves (only the Drow call them Sea Elves). Merfolk actually range in appearance, from Sahuagain to more traditional Sea Elves, and the few who are actual Mermaids are a select group of priest-types who are a bit smarter and subtler about the war against the surface.
Humans aren't crazy for fleeing the Dragons, they're crazy because even while in essentially constant retreat, they still gear a large part of their culture around fighting dragons, instead of mastering escape. Also, they don't exactly broadcast the dragon attacks, for a few reasons. They don't want to be seen as harbingers of draconic destruction, for one, and for another, they believe (almost every time it happens) that the warriors that stay behind while they flee succeeded in killing the dragons this time, and they won't have to move again.
Also, for the record, I've changed the nature of the Human nations. Instead of a few unified nations, Humans are basically fractious all the way down to the neighborhood unit, if not the family unit. That is, they compete and even war amongst themselves, but still somehow possess a loyalty to those they fight with as long as there's a more distant enemy. My friend tells me I'm describing segmentation. So you've got city-states made up of various competing factions (rarely do you see open violence at this level) but then you've got the whole island uniting against another invading island.
Anything more organized just hasn't had time to establish itself since the last exodus, and very few people actually try to build one.
So not as a specific proposal, just an example of island groupings, is something like this appropriate? The largest island is about 800 miles across. Generating a world with Fractal Terrains with a typical land extent of maybe 35%, I then raised the ocean till I got island chains. One can edit the roughness, and one HAS to edit in some linearity, like one kind of expects - island arcs. But leaving aside any specific shapes, does this look like too broad a chunk of planet -- too distant for your folks' navigation? Is it too close? The same sort of archipelago(s) can be scrunched closer or I could show a whole world. I included a blown-up section so you can see there's lots of smaller islands - a reasonably realistic situation.
From those kind of shapes I can generate stuff like
Yeah, I think that blown up section is a pretty good size.
On the one hand I'm tempted to say make the world map as well as the local region map, but on the other hand... nah, just the local region map.