I Love Maps
Hi! I love maps, both historical and fantastical. When I taught history at the University of Iowa in the 1990s I often borrowed maps from the library so I could point to locations for my students as I talked about one historical phenomenon or another. It's amazing how much history you can learn just by looking at historical maps.
I've also created a map (in many pieces) of large parts of my D&D campaign world. I actually have poor spacio-mechanical skills so it's very much a labor for me.
I'm wondering if anyone around here might have an interest in creating a map or maps for my D&D campaign world. There are two sites I've been meaning to develop but with my poor spacio-mechanical skills haven't had the time.
One is just a simple wooden stockade fort. I was even just thinking of using the Steading of the Hill Giant Chief’s upper level for it, although I have in mind something more along the lines of a large American frontier fort.
I’d also like to have a small, fortified port city that has a relatively small entrance to the harbor with a stone tower or stone rock outcropping towering over each side of the opening. If they’re rock they’d have stairways, rooms and windows carved in them to allow people to fire down at any ships that come near the opening to the harbor. A massive chain would run just under the surface to stop any unwanted ships from entering, but could be retracted to allow friendly vessels to enter (or leave). So in the rock on either side would have to be room for the chain to retract and for mechanisms to retract and extend the chain. (I’m not even sure if that’s physically possible, but it seems like a cool idea.) I was also thinking that there’s a “dungeon” under the ground level, for storage, access to the chain and mechanism, with a secret underwater entrance which characters might use to access the one or the other of the towers by swimming or using an Apparatus of Kwalish.
In my current campaign the pirate kingdom has seized the fortified port and one inland fort from the half-elven kingdom, and might sent the party (which has reached 23rd-25th levels) to try to free one or both. I can’t really have them do either though until I have the physical locations designed. So I don’t know if anybody here might help with that or not, but it would be great if they did. :) I imagine there's some forum here to ask for that sort of thing, but as I'm new I haven't had a chance to look around yet. I hope it's ok that I mentioned it here. Thanks! :)
Check around in the finished and WIP forums you might find something you can use or at least something close to what you want. You can then contact the creator (FYI - you need at least 5 posts before you can PM someone) and see if they'd be willing to modify their existing map.
Ok, thanks for the suggestion! :)
Originally Posted by Steel General
Or....just or...you can confront those perceived lack of skills and give it a go! we'll help you along the way....try it, we'll catch you if you fall. Drawing decent maps is not half as difficult as it might look.
Hi Ravells! I thought someone might say something like that. I don't actually have a perceived lack of skills so much as an actual low level of spacio-mechanical skills. I'm not being humble or lacking self-confidence either; my spacio-mechanical skills measure below average for the general populace, whereas my math skills measure above average even for people who take graduate-admissions tests (GRE, GMAT) and my verbal skills measure right up at the top of the distribution (again even among people trying to get into graduate school). I have in fact created many maps over the years, as I've been playing D&D and DMing since 1978, but I find it difficult and the results often quite dissatisfying, and rarely what I had in mind when I started. I mean the map of my world, which I've done in pieces over the decades, I find reasonably OK, but it's tough for me to design anything that doesn't just fit along the straight lines and 90-degree angles of graph paper. I also don't have a good sense of how large things should be, or even sometimes of what ought to be in a place.
Originally Posted by ravells
Eventually, if nobody shows any interest in designing the sites, I might come up with something on my own, but teaching at two colleges doesn't leave me the sort of free time I once had, and tasks at which I do poorly I tend to put off in favor of tasks I can do better, like creating storylines and NPCs. By eventually mean, well, let's just say that it's been a few years since I first came up with the ideas for the sites and I have yet to put pencil to paper (which would make sharing the designs a little more difficult, although I could scan them and upload them if this site allows that. I'm not sure; the ones I've seen so far appear to reside on other sites with links on here rather than directly on here.)
Well back to work I guess. Part-time professors don't get paid much... :D
I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but for small scale maps (regional / continental) you really don't need spacio-mechanical skills to any great degree. It's more a question of following procedures and tinkering with them to find a result which pleases you.
In terms of city design, yes, I think you do need to have some idea of 'dimensional fit', but you don't have to be Da Vinci.
I'm very suspicious of tests which seek to asses how able a person is to do a thing apart from his ability to take the test in question.
Anyway, if you'd like someone to take on your map requests, then I suggest you post it in the map request forum. I'd give it a go myself, but I'm strapped for time at the moment. Bear in mind that city maps are very time consuming to draw, and more detail in your description would be helpful to anyone looking at taking on your commission.
Good luck with your map request!
Welcome. If your after a simple stockaded fort then thats a style thats prevalent in my area of the CWBP - community world building project. The CWBP is our little world where we all map bits of it for no real reason but for the heck of it. I have tile 7 Thrubmorten and theres a few stockaded forts in that thread. Also theres a stockaded village kind of thing called Hardy Point. I reckon that would do you.
Trust me, there's plenty of other evidence to support the notion that I have below-average spacio-mechanical skills, above average math skills, and substantially above-average language skills. :-)
Originally Posted by ravells
Anyway I can probably design something myself given the time, but basically I have been postponing that part of the campaign for a couple of years now because I just haven't gotten around to it.
For the port itself, I see the city rising above the harbor on a hill, sort of forming a semi-circle around a roughly elliptical harbor. A narrow opening bounded by two spires of rock allows entry the only entry into the harbor from the sea. I care more about the spires and the entry than the rest of the port really. I assume there are other garrisoned positions around the seaward lip of the harbor (I hadn't thought of that before but it makes sense to me) to allow attacking ships as they sail up to the entry. That's about the sum of what I have in mind for that site.
For the fort I have in mind something vaguely square or at least rectangular, but I'd prefer if it had features designed by someone who actually knows what a wooden fort might look like in detail. I'm just not very good with physical details of structures. I've DMed over the years for many people who had much better spacio-mechanical skills and they routinely ask me questions to which I just have to invent an answer on the spot because I'm tend to think in the abstract rather than concrete. :)
Hi Redrobes! Somehow I missed this post of yours. Thank you very much for it. I'll look around for CWBP. Thanks! :)
Originally Posted by Redrobes