April Entry: Roan and the Sea Worg
Based on a campaign world I am building over at the Campaign Builder's Guild, called the Isles of Caillech, and in pursuit of their April challenge - create an Undersea Menace, I am creating this map for use in that world and contest.
Below, is just the media that the map will be placed along with a illustration riddle built into the legend of the map.
Quick background so you can understand why I chose a dire wolf skin as the map's surface... the Isles of Caillech is set in a world that's a mixture of pre-celtic northern Europe and the end of the Ice Age. In the seas to the north west of the main continent of Cer, above the arctic circle lies a chain of islands inhabited by giants, ogres and plieostecene beasts and ruled by a primal goddess of winter, the Caillech Bheur or winter hag.
She has summoned a Worg Spirit and bound it to the largest Seawolf roaming the northern seas around the isles, thus has created the Sea Worg. This intelligent and diabolical possessed monster controls a pack of highly organized seawolves attempting to wipeout the Roan (a type of Selkie) then aid in the destruction of men on the isles.
If the site and ritual object where the spirit was bound to the seawolf can be found, then binding can be broken and the immediate threat removed. That's where the secret location on the map will result in.
WIP so far... just the "paper" (er, dire wolf skin) 8)
That was just the intro image
That was just for quick display and showing some this region's backstory.
Future posts will feature the skin or just the map image, eventually to be composited to the skin.
I plan to create custom Celtic knotwork iconography as part of the border, titling and the legend of the map along with Celtic animal/icon art - the legend will contain the riddle in graphic form... directions, etc. I'll do all the artwork first in pencil, inked, then painted in Xara Xtreme and compostied to skin.
Actually the bottom triangular area of the skin will be where the legend is placed and the map will mostly be in rectangular format in the upper portion of the skin.
I'm trying to make this look ancient in style, but contemporary for the culture of this gaming world.
After some thought, I realized this was really going to be a challenge for me.
Here's the issue - the People who use and read this map are Picts, illiterate peoples with no concept of longitudes and latitudes, runes perhaps, but no words or numbers on the map.
For the reader to be able to understand the graphic code to finding the secret location - I need some kind of longitude/latitude apparatus.
Thinking about longitudes. The number 13 is significant to their calendar year which is counted in lunar months. I'm thinking of having 13 "longitudes" with phases of the moon icons at the top of the map coinciding with vertices of the vertical grid.
Latitudes might be based on the 9 greater spirits of their pantheon - the four seasons, the four elements and time, with icons representing each.
The scale represented in a grid square (?): a day's flight as the crow flies, a rowing crew's speed in a day without wind, or 100 miles... not sure yet.
Sidenote: creating authentic looking and quality Celtic knotwork is a tough prospect! 8)
Thanks, but I think this will work for me...
Thanks, Del, but I don't want just any Celtic Knotwork design, rather I am looking for specific designs that may or may not truly exist complete. So with this Celtic Knotwork font and a little ingenuity, I should be able to achieve my goals.
Thank you for the offer. ;)
I think my riddle portion is ready...
In retrospect, I think I plan to rotate the "Dire Wolf map skin" 180 degrees, so that the triangular portion is at the top. Within the triangle, I plan to place the "map riddle" that guides users to the map to the location of the "secret place."
I have a rough layout of the islands/sea/continent, but now have to adjust to fit the "riddle."
Just to let you know what the "secret" is... the Caillech Bheur, the ice queen goddess bound a Worg Spirit to seawolf. The binding artifact is located at the secret place - if heroes can find the object they can unbind it, and break the possession of the seawolf and end this part of the Winter Hag's war on men.
Anyway, here's the riddle (it was a whole lot of work, so this part's done!) 8)
Oh, in case you can't figure out the riddle - since the map isn't there yet... the goddess's left hand is held upwards, meaning move five "moon longitudes from the east side of the map." Her right hand holds three fingers out in front of her - meaning move three "spirit latitudes down".
Then cross entire grids "as the crow flies" in the direction the each crow takes you from left to right. In the grid of the last crow will be the isle where the spirit binding object can be found...