September/October 2013 Challenge: Jantoos Bogway
Just two entries? Can't have that. I'll see what I can do to add to the mystery this month.
Long, long ago - and I really do mean decades - I had devised a world with many semistandard fantasy characteristics. There were a variety of races, some swashbuckling, a bit of adventure to be had, and of course some maps. Had I been able to find my originals, probably rolled up somewhere about the house, I could have revamped the continent I focused on and showed the Guild my world of Verdeenen Godarligoggstyd, for the recent "redo an old map" contest. Verdenen was a bit of a cooperative effort, with friends each having a continent. Mine had a significant peninsula rimmed by mountains in which Standard Dwarves (tm) had been mining and manufacturing for enough centuries to have gotten up to a tech level of steam locomotion on railways. Neighboring folk in flatter land benefitted from extensions of those railways, though the technology was beyond their ability to duplicate. The dwarves declined some, drew back to their hills and peaks, and the rail lines in the flatlands languished. The odd catastrophe and climate shift occurred, and a former grassy plain wound up thousands of square miles of marshes. More time passed.
"Now"adays, this stretch of squishy terrain is overgrown with hummocks of scrubby trees, cattails, floating scum, stretches of peaty water, scarce a current nor clear channel to be seen, and a general swampy reek. The fauna include reptiles that could play the part of crocodiles in a b-grade movie, mosquitoes capable of carrying off small dogs, a consequent shortage of small dogs, and fish ugly enough to curdle milk. Oh, and a scruffy sort of passably human mud-dwellers who eke out a living safely apart from any authority or governance. The Jantoos Bogs just aren't desirable enough to generate any enthusiasm for ownership by the various dwarven duchies and human petty monarchies around about. Or maybe it was the fact that the last pair of antagonistic armies that ventured to contest a territorial dispute within the Jantoos, sank. Gone. Finito. Vanished. Never heard from again. The squad of ranger ninja types sent to investigate likewise disappeared. As did the usually successful Auditor Corps expedition. As did the subsequent entrepreneural individuals trying to cash in on the modest bounty for information on the whereabouts of 4200 Galdoniterians, 3600 Nisfrentirals, 176 allied Posznats, and sundry venturers of unrecorded provenance.
The Jantoos mud-men just shrugged, opined that things get lost in the swamps, and offered to sell mudgill croakers to any enquirers. Hint: don't buy any. Or if you do to be polite, don't eat them.
In this environment, about the last thing locals care about is a bunch of dwarven railway routes beneath the water. The iron rails haven't quite rusted away - iron tending to form a rust crust, instead of flaking away as does steel. But where they wander? What does that matter to a fisherman?
Well therein lies a tale. Which I'll get to later, lest this post get ToTaLLy TL:DR.
To make this initial contest post adequately mappy, I took some clouds (real not digital, though captured digitally) and did a bit of differencing, overlaying, blurring, and whatnot. A Serif PhotoPlus filter called Paper Cutouts does a nifty job of generating some tasty random shapes, which I'm going to tease into a map. "Posterize" is a filter on this and other graphics packages that does about the same effect. Since my Verdenen maps are out of circulation AND you lot have never seen them, it really doesn't matter how I lay this out. I mention this only because like a lot of your creations, the imaginary landscape has taken on a life of its own, and I almost feel I have to apologize for being inaccurate. Crazy, huh?
Here's a start:
### Latest WIP ###
Not much map yet, but one has to start from the very beginning. There's a song in there somewhere....