Maps, Maps, and More Maps (or Art or Artifact?)

So, I wrote a Live Journal post with nearly the same title in January of 2014 and bragged about my map of the continent of Moytonia.  I’ve made or was given multiple maps over the years.  I really enjoy maps.  As I mentioned a while ago, I wanted to build up my map collection (Item #2).  This campaign is giving me just that.  I’ve got 6 major cities and towns on the Bazarene Circuit to map out.  There is a monastery and a halfling village to work on.  If the PCs want to explore beyond the Bazarene Circuit, I have maps for Constantina, Barovia, and Neverwinter.  I am working on a map for Majipor.  This is a good time for maps and me.

I like maps that Players can make their own.  I like maps that have Player notes on them.  It gives the Players a sense of ownership of the campaign.  My first map was the map to Mythgold; you can see the marks the players made on it as they figured out how long it would take them to travel from the edge of civilization to Mythgold and where they should and should not camp.  My pre-GIMP versions of Moytonia had many marks put upon them by my Players.  Kingdoms were drawn in.  Islands named.  It made Rillmorn more than I could have done on my own.

I will use the map of Neverwinter that came with the campaign setting, but I will not be able to let my Players mark it up, because it more art than artifact.  I cannot reproduce the Neverwinter map and if my Players spill something on try to mark which house is the mage spy’s house and which house is the cleric spy’s house that map will be ruined.

In my newest campaign, I had originally planned on making a single copy of each map and show it to my Players, as needed.  I fully expected them to mark it and turn it into something that I could use in later games.  My wife convinced me to make multiple copies of the maps of Duvamil and of the larger area in which the game is set for each of my Players.  This lets each one of them mark his or her the way he or she wants.

So, here are the maps so far…

Northwest Moytonia – This map is a combination of a section of my big Moytonia map and a map I created for my Sanderzani Campaign.  I will be focusing on the towns and cities on the Bazarene Circuit, but I hope to make or steal maps for all the areas marked there.

Duvamil – Since I first ran the Sanderzani campaign in 2004 and 2005, I have had the town of Duvamil marked on multiple maps.  I have sent PCs to Duvamil multiple times, but I never had a map for it…until now.  Using GIMP, I took pieces from the maps of Red Larch from Princes of the Apocolypse, Brindol, Greenest from random image sites, and the Village of Orlane from N1 Against the Cult of Reptile God.  It has a patchwork quality to it and I am good with that.  Yes, there is a lot of blank space on the map.  The map only shows the largest of structures in Duvamil and none of those marked items have names.  I am bad at naming things and won’t give places names or, sometimes, even purposes until the PCs go looking for a specific person or place.

Heppra – This is my latest creation is.  It is two maps of Hamunaptra from Green Ronin’s Mythic Vistas series mixed with other elements using GIMP.  This one is being numbered, so I can give Christina a copy of the key, since Heppra is the home town of her Character, Shery-kem.  It is a work in progress.

Maps do not have to be perfect.  They have to be usable.  They have to be touchstones to the Reality in the Game.  These maps of mine are examples of that.  What do your maps look like?  Are the pristine or damaged?  Are they more art or more artifacts?

Until next time, Game On!

Beltane

Today in the Northern Hemisphere, we acknowledge the Vernal or Spring Equinox.  On the continent of Moytonia on the world Rilmorn, where the celestial movements are much more clockwork in their precision, they are celebrating the first day of Aires, AKA New Year’s Day, AKA the Vernal Equinox, AKA Beltane.

While I have admitted (5th paragraph) that I was wrong when I placed the four Great Druidic Celebrations on the equinoxes and solstices, I do not have any desire to change this part of the established history of Rilmorn.  These Celebrations have held sway in active game play since 1984.  Also, I intend to start my next campaign (the Duvamil Campaign) on 1 Aries 2016.  Had all went as planned, we would have started this campaign today; thus linking calendars in the Game World and in the Table World.

I had planned on the PCs encountering various Beltane traditions.  As the suns set, they local druids would reenact the fight between the Holly King and the Oak King and all would celebrate the Oak King’s Victory.  There would have been the driving of the cattle between the Bel Fires to bless then and protect them from the attentions of the Goodly Folk.  Maybe the PCs would have participated in Fire Leaping.  The children of Duvamil would have tried to rope them into games of Eggs and Hares.  If any of the PCs were unmarried, but of marrying age, they would have been cajoled into joining a Ring Dance around the Oak King’s Tree.

Of course all those ideas and plans will still happen, but I won’t have the personal joy of starting a Campaign on the Vernal Equinox while playing the inaugural game on the Vernal Equinox.  So, dear readers, do you have any special events set up for holidays in your game worlds?

Game On!