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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Terra Firma Thursday

























Today's Music to DM by is JUDAS PRIEST - Heading Out on the Highway
Candle Color is Purple

I thought I would test drive doing a few blog entries about terrain, map creation as they apply to my own campaign maps, dungeon maps and D&D cartography in general.

First.  I like to present multiple and diverse terrain options for characters to wander into in a reasonably close proximity.  Taking the section from my own Kingdom's Chimerical grand campaign map I have the Bitterfrost Spellblight - a region locked in a magically created winter, the great forest region of Central Pictland to the North, surrounding farm and rolling hill country with some lesser wooded terrain and finally the creepy Boglands of Ghagnasdiak to the South.  Nearby there are also opportunities for the character to have coastal or sea going adventures.  All within about a hundred and sixty mile radius.

This layout is somewhat intentional.  I like 160 miles as a working number when designing large scale campaign areas.  At an average overland speed of thirty miles a day this sets up a play area where all kinds of diverse terrain and adventures can be formulated in great variety all in a week's travel.

Sure there are plenty of real world situations which are quite different.  Where one might travel for twice or three times that time before emerging on the far side of the great expansive forest or plains of whats-it-a-ma-hoo's-it.  I'm only vaguely trying to achieve realism in my maps for my Dungeons and Dragons fantasy world, cities and dungeons.  More often my major push is player fun and keeping the action / story moving over concerns for realism.

The Icegale is at the center of the Bitterfrost Spellblight.  This is the former stronghold of the Pentagarchy wizard's cabal in the Kingdom of Daria.  During the Nightshade War when the Necrogarchy of Leng marched its brutal armies filled with undead out of the East, the sorcerer's of the Pentagarchy unleashed a weather control spell which shattered the fabled Life Stone, killed most of the sorerer's making the attempt and brought endless deep freezing winter to cover an area roughly a hundred miles in diameter.  The spell was sufficient to engulf most of the armies of the Necrogarchy, freezing or slowing the hordes of the undead to make them easier for the Darian military to hunt and destroy.

Most of the spellblight remains a ruin to this day although there are a few organized villages where the locals are trying to rebuild.  These include the towns of Skittern, Candle and Whispglow.

The forests of Central Pictland to the North are home to dozens of brutal human / barbaric tribes, many of whom still worship at alters dedicated to the Elder Gods and powers of Chaos which brought humanity into this world centuries ago.  The Picts avoid the enchanted winterland of the Spellblight which offers some relief from the occasional raiding party.  The remainder of the Kingdom of Daria continues to struggle with seasonal incursions by the Northern Picts.  Indeed the Darian army fights a slow battle to recovery to this day.  In the North they seek to resecure their Northern border.  In the spellblight they fight a slow war to mop up the remnants of the older armies of the Necrogarchy still half frozen in the snow and ice of Bitterfrost.

In the South the Boglands of Ghagnasdiak are a stronghold for the Steam Barons, a faction of men who have mastered some of the steam punk + magical technology left behind in the ancient war machines of chaos.  The Steam Barons and their slowly rolling or trudging mobile villages are a rising rival to the more traditional powers of the Hundred Lords of Man, the long standing collection of noble households which have ruled over the Civilized Kingdoms surrounding the Sea of Harlots for nearly a thousand years.

So there you have it.  Short and sweet this time, to be sure, but I am in the midst of packing for a move here in town and so you'll have to forgive the brevity of this blog entry.  There is always next week to further expand on terrain, fantasy cartography and revealing bits and pieces of my long standing homebrew D&D campaign.

Rocketship Empires 1936
Radiobot by Mike Doscher
A different RPG project for a different
and future blog project.
Goodnight and Happy Gaming!!!

Ed Kann



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