# How far away should all things be?

• 05-24-2013, 04:35 PM
Prince of Rabbits
How far away should all things be?
Hi guys,

How far away should all things be? I'll elaborate, haha. The one aspect of my world that is yet to be defined is the distance from all things to all other things. Coasts to coasts, cities to cities, and everything else in between.

When I look at my map I imagine it to be the size of Britain, but near the centre there is a huge bay because I like the idea of cities on the western coasts of the bay seeing the cities on the eastern side on a clear day, much like England and France over the Channel. But the Channel is 21 miles (I think) and that will make my map too small, or will it?

When I'm thinking of distance I like to think of it in terms of how far a character can see. I try to imagine the entire view when I'm writing. But how far can a person see, realistically? Would it be silly of me to make the bay 100 miles at its widest and still claim those from the east can see the west? I'm sure this will also be determined by how high the elevation is of either coast.

If anyone can understand this plight I will appreciate any advice! Haha. I'm not so sure I've come across as clearly as I intended.

When you guys are defining distance on your maps, how do yous come to final decisions and why those exactly?

All the best guys,

Jamie.
• 05-24-2013, 06:27 PM
Viking
Hi Jamie,
I recommend setting a distance you'd want that bay to be and then using that as a set distance to scale out the rest of your world. Googlemaps may be able to help you get a sense of how far things like cities are apart and such. Depending on what your map will be for consider how far it would take to walk, ride a horse, sail a ship or a car or plane between different locations. Often, for example, the smallest area of authority (say a county maybe) might be limited by how far one could reasonable ride a horse in a day or march soldiers.

For my dungeons and dragons maps usually walking distance is the most important aspect and I can extrapolate from that. If I want an area to be civilized the walking distance will be smaller between areas of civilization and the reverse is true. I don't tend to like players being able to traverse between different areas quickly enough that they could easily rest between encounters but that gets into a whole whack of story telling and dungeon mastering theories. Trying to replicate historical patterns is usually the safest bet!

One trick you may want to try is make your map with a grid overlaid (if you are doing it digitally). Each square in your mind you could say is a square kilometre or mile (or whatever multiple you want). That will give you a consistent and rough idea of distances.
• 05-24-2013, 06:30 PM
Revock
Distance to the Horizon found this on a quick search, ;) the short answers are near the bottom.
• 05-25-2013, 04:22 AM
Prince of Rabbits
Quote:

Originally Posted by Viking
Hi Jamie,
I recommend setting a distance you'd want that bay to be and then using that as a set distance to scale out the rest of your world. Googlemaps may be able to help you get a sense of how far things like cities are apart and such. Depending on what your map will be for consider how far it would take to walk, ride a horse, sail a ship or a car or plane between different locations. Often, for example, the smallest area of authority (say a county maybe) might be limited by how far one could reasonable ride a horse in a day or march soldiers.

For my dungeons and dragons maps usually walking distance is the most important aspect and I can extrapolate from that. If I want an area to be civilized the walking distance will be smaller between areas of civilization and the reverse is true. I don't tend to like players being able to traverse between different areas quickly enough that they could easily rest between encounters but that gets into a whole whack of story telling and dungeon mastering theories. Trying to replicate historical patterns is usually the safest bet!

One trick you may want to try is make your map with a grid overlaid (if you are doing it digitally). Each square in your mind you could say is a square kilometre or mile (or whatever multiple you want). That will give you a consistent and rough idea of distances.

Thanks very much, that's very helpful. It makes perfect sense to make cities within riding distance to one another, these are the things I need to be thinking about! Haha. I might make the older cities at a good proximity to rivers and such, fertile lands and the shores too, then the newer places more inland with better technology for aqueducts and sluices. I'd like to draw out the map on paper first, as I've always done, then make a digital vector of it. That's my usual routine, but the addition of a grid would be incredibly efficient, for storytelling purposes also!

Thanks again for your help. It's much appreciated!
• 05-25-2013, 04:25 AM
Prince of Rabbits
Quote:

Originally Posted by Revock
Distance to the Horizon found this on a quick search, ;) the short answers are near the bottom.

That's a lot of things to consider! Haha. I forgot to mention at the beginning how far a person could see if the planet was completely flat. Very interesting about the silhouetting effect as well. Thanks again for your help.
• 05-27-2013, 10:19 AM
Viking
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prince of Rabbits
Thanks very much, that's very helpful. It makes perfect sense to make cities within riding distance to one another, these are the things I need to be thinking about! Haha. I might make the older cities at a good proximity to rivers and such, fertile lands and the shores too, then the newer places more inland with better technology for aqueducts and sluices. I'd like to draw out the map on paper first, as I've always done, then make a digital vector of it. That's my usual routine, but the addition of a grid would be incredibly efficient, for storytelling purposes also!

Thanks again for your help. It's much appreciated!

You're very welcome!! Yes that too! Definitely put your larger earlier cities near water. Rivers especially are very practical places for cities to grow as they provide a source of fresh water and just as importantly allow for boat access which facilitates trade which is generally very important :)