Friday, February 14, 2014

The Why of Maps

So, why AM I mapping parts of my world that are totally obscure, anyway? I mean, what for? How does it make any sense? The party is likely to NEVER go out there. In the past I've made a point or two about needing to map trade routes to know distances, and sure maybe that has uses, but a lot of these maps are so gone and out there, they don't have trade routes. So what's this all about?

I just love maps. I started making a map of Russia around the end of 2004, first with 10-mile hexes and then when I decided that was a bit narrow, I moved to 20-mile. The 20-mile hex has always been a bit of a standard in D&D, going back, and its not a bad size to build from. The place I started with was Voronezh, because I was starting a campaign with low level characters and I wanted to be sure they couldn't travel off the edge of what I'd drawn ... and one way to slow them down was to not offer any sea-travel. Voronezh is a long way inland, so I figured I'd have time to add maps before the campaign seriously began to move outwards in whatever direction the party chose.

At first I moved in a circle, and as I did, I began adding adjacent areas. Mostly it was Russia, for a long time, but Russia is stupid massive and I still haven't finished it. I could have, I have most of the research prepared for it, but the party wasn't interested in exploring Siberia so I began working on Lithuania/White Russia, then the Baltic, then down through Greece and Turkey. The party at the time decided they wanted to go to China, so I began working on the Caspian Sea, which meant Iran as well, then Afghanistan and since my maps had Afghanistan and Pakistan on the same page, I did Pakistan too. I was thinking about beginning work on western China, so I did all of Russian Turkmenistan (Kazakh, Uzbek, Tadzhik and Kirghizia) first - and then the party changed its mind and went back to Europe.

So ... I started on Germany, which took a REALLY long time. And then 2009 came, and the recession killed all my journalist jobs, leaving me unemployed for almost a year (on the dole), and around that time I just sort of kicked around Siberia, doing the areas that I've been covering in the Work blog this past week. Then, life improved and I got over my depression and got a job and finished Italy in 2011 and France in 2012. Oh, I also did all of India somewhere in there. Most lately, I've been working on northern Africa, and posted some of those maps last fall.

Why? Because its just fun. D&D is an excuse to do something I like. And doing something I like has rewards. I meet people from all over, and it just freaks them out when I know where Biskra is, or Gilgit, or Vasa. I'd be having a great time if I were in Sochi right now ... or as my world calls it, nothing at all, because Sochi wasn't founded until 1838. That's way after my world exists.

Ah, well. I have more work on maps to do.


Jay O' Bedlam said...

"D&D is an excuse to do something I like."

Very true words! Ours is a wonderful hobby.

YagamiFire said...

I have several folders on my PC that are just loaded with content I've created for various games and settings that will never see use...and if that is the case, so be it. I enjoyed every moment of making them.