Monday, October 26, 2009

Joys of Mapping

James over at Grognardia has complained about not liking mapping all that much. I have to admit that I feel exactly the opposite. I love mapping. In fact, I have whole notebooks filled with maps that I've never used for anything, but just made for the fun of it. I do a lot of cannibalism, stealing names I like from unused maps and reusing them in others.

To the left is my current campaign map, still in progress, rendered in Campaign Cartographer 3. Yeah, I know a few months ago I complained that it took too long to render a map in it, but I ended up catching the bug again and working up the above. It's a different style than I'm used to using for the program, one that doesn't try to close the space between the trees and has a bit more emphasis on contour lines than I have in the past (having been impressed with their use by the Kingdoms of Kalamar Atlas). For reference, here's a map of a kingdom in my original campaign world, Newoldearth:

As you can see, I put a little too much emphasis on trying to give it a "finished product" look while still trying to show the hills among the forests. The result is disjointed and, frankly, far less amenable to attempts to update it by, for example, inserting a vale into the mountains or a ruin into the woods.

Sometimes we just need a fresh start. I knew it was time for me when I found myself more and more wanting to map something fresh, something where I could be surprised by what was over the next hill, something that didn't have a bad case of canon lock-out for new players. Right now, Asryth is that world for me, because I don't have a clue about its history beyond vague outlines of the last two hundred years. Pretty much all I have is one map showing an area about 200 miles across.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.