Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mapping: Wilderness

I just put this map up today over at the Shatterworld Campaign Blog. It is created at a scale of 1" = 3 miles, and covers an area of roughly 800 square miles. There are two villages towards the bottom of the map, but otherwise the map is 95% wilderness.

One of my contentions is that fantasy lands don't have to be enormous in size, and there doesn't have to be hundreds of thousands of square miles of wilderness in order to have adventures. Things a few miles outside of heavily trafficked areas can be quite "wild".

The Greenwood is divided into three main sections. The Weald of the Merchant Princes is the most "tamed" of the wild areas. It was once known as Kingsweald, and was the private hunting grounds of the king. Today, it is a free territory, but the members of the Merchant's Republic police one another to prevent exploitation and destruction of the resources. This area is roughly 150 square miles.

The Clan of the Wolf is one of the Clans of the Men of Old. Their territory spans from the Red River to The Greenrush. It covers about another 150 square miles. The clan has a timber steading hall, inspired by the mead hall Heorot from Beowulf and halls from the Ulster Cycle:

Craebruad was the best known of the 3 great halls at Emain Macha. It had nine rooms of red yew, walls of bronze, and King Conchobar's apartment had a silver ceiling and bronze pillars topped with gold.

The second hall, Craebderg (ruddy branch) contained the treasure house that held, among other valuables, the heads of slain enemies.

The third hall, Tete Brec (twinkling hoard) held the weapons and armor. 

Wolves are honored and protected by the clan, so anyone foolish enough to kill a wolf in their territory is asking for trouble.

The Clan of the Bear is quite similar, and controls the area from the Greenrush to the northern edge of the forest.

Now, just because they control the territory, doesn't mean that if you step into the shade of the trees you'll meet one or more members. Generally, if you spend more than a day in the woods, they will be aware of your presence through tracks, litter, campfires, etc...

They also don't "own" the woods. There are a lot of other things besides them that call the woods home. Hobgoblins and Bugbears are likely candidates. Wyvern Falls is hunting grounds for more than a few Wyverns. And there are certainly the usual suspects like giant spiders and other forresty creatures.

A mere 10 miles west of the forest is Gryphon's Spine, a ridge with an elevation of some 10,000 feet, which the Clan of the Gryphon calls home. Just a few miles away from the ridge is Barech's Peak, which is "said to be home to giants". While the Gryphonym can fly over to Barech's Peak in the twinkling of an eye, to actually travel on foot from the ridge to the peak would be about a two day trek.

Maren Vale is a cozy place, only a mile or so wide and six miles deep, but it is a "valley of the dead", housing tombs of Imperial and pre-Imperial rulers. Any one of these locations should provide multiple adventure sites. I would estimate that there should be at least 75 to 100 good adventure locations somewhere on the map, or about one every 8 or 9 square miles. Adventures can range from boar hunting and tomb robbing, to dealing with some type of Giant. Who knows, there might even be a Dragon sleeping in there somewhere.

It would take about 100 maps this size to cover the whole of Calabria.

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