Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Week's Work

Well, a week's frittering, really.  Maybe 11 or 12 hours.  Time spent resting after work before getting down to things more serious.

Compare this to the map I posted last week.  Worked the coastlines down to central Lancashire, plotted the cities for this corner of Great Britain and filled in the coast lines (so it begins to look right).  I still have the rivers and borders to draw in and then there's the business of making sure that the map is layered properly (the labels on top and all properly showing, the rivers on top of the borders and both not bleeding into the seas, all that).

The land is proving especially daunting, with all the tiny islands and indents, not to mention squeezing so many burgs into such a small space.  I'm glad I didn't start with mapping Britain.  I needed practice to do this one.


Vlad Malkav said...

Very impressive !

I see hexes devoid of "named settlements". Is that because there isn't any sizeable settlement worthy of notice there ?

By the way, how does Infrastructure from different races and cultures interact ? Is that all the same, does it counter one another, or another way altogether ?
The question occured to me after seeing Dric-dachaig ... How would "Dragon infrastructure" interact with "Humanlike infrastructure" ?

And now it's making me thinking about how two Infra scores from opposed sides in a war could reduce one another where they meet. Probably not a full reduction (except in a genocidal total war maybe), but if skirmishes and raids are common enough, there could be an impact.
Hmm, and in a generator, Infra scores spreads for cultures / cities could be used for determining the borders ...

Damn you and your inspiring posts, Alexis ! ^^

Alexis Smolensk said...


You'll remember that I have that system for "groups" based on the infrastructure you describe, that will also designate other settlements that are of lesser importance. Remember the Kosovo map I made with 2-mile hexes that generated a lot of other features when the map was expanded? The same would happen with Scotland.

The Dragon infrastructure would be tricky, I grant you. Moreover, the dragons would probably come in around tech level 5 - very low infrastructure across the board but nevertheless very powerful as a group because, you know, DRAGONS. At any rate, both infrastructure (the construction of the region) and technology level are calculated entirely within borders.

Wars between states are, thankfully, based upon more than who has the greater technology. In a non-firearm world, it is hard for a small, densely populated region with a really high tech to conquer a vast, empty region with a really low tech because the motivation just isn't there. Russia "conquered" Siberia because it was relatively empty; would there be as much motivation to expand into those areas if they were occupied by unreasonable non-humans? Particularly given the environment and the fact that the resources had things sitting on them and weren't free to exploit?

Wars occur, obviously, but the deciding factor is will as well as technology or resources. Ultimately, the Mongols only remained in places where their horses served them well; they were not inclined to remain in territories like India proper, Anatolia or Eastern Europe, because that would have meant sacrificing their lifestyle and tradition and adopting local behavior. They did decide to do this in China, which was most familiar; and as a result, the Mongols in China became - effectively - Chinese. The status quo (infrastructure, technology) remained the same.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

Can you explain why tech level for dragons would be so low? I was under the impression that tech level also measure a kind of "cultural advancement level" based on intelligence and that aside from some of the chromatic types, dragon intelligences are above average or better.

Alexis Smolensk said...

You forget that the tech level is based upon population density. The area of Argyll (with some of Scotland's west coast that I added to Dric-dachaigh) is about 8000 square kilometers or 3000 square miles; 1800 into that area doesn't make much of a density, yes?

Also remember that the tech level describes the majority of the population and doesn't include the few very old or ancient silver dragons with magical ability. Most of the young dragons would be ~ in keeping with the tech five description ~ hunter gatherers, not using weapons, loosely organized and largely nomadic in behaviour, organized in family bands.

Vlad Malkav said...


I remember fully the hex groups generation system, and I supposed it was to be used for generating the inner content. However, my question was only concerning the map and (probably) real world inexistence of "named settlements".
Are the settlements named and placed here the only ones referenced in your encyclopedia ?

For the dragons, I don't see them as "needing" much in the way of Infrastructure and Tech - and that is coherent with their density and Tech Level 5. But then, those reasons would prevent them from ever reaching much both in Infra and Tech (on their own, at least), thus becoming more and more of a "target" when surrounding Infra & Tech level rise (not before some time, yes, but in the modern times of your world ... maybe ?). Emergent behavior ? nevertheless, I like that.

So, Infra and Tech is within borders. My memory is bad, but what determine your borders ? Historical data for borders between existing humanline territories, I get it. But for "monstrous" territories, stemming from places with no historical human inhabitants (or data of) ? Just curious ...

War factoring will & tech & resources (among other things) is rather obvious (and I like your example very much, as I read a book series on this at the moment).
However, even in the general status-quo remained the same, there has been a great deal of destructions from the Mongolian Invasions, whole territories where almost (or totally) wiped out, and Infrastructure and Tech level in those territories dropped dramatically. Same could be said (in a perhaps less severe way) of the Thirty Years War and of the Hundred Years War. So some wars, at least, do impact heavily on Infra & Tech.

For your world, using historical data, this is already taken into account. However for fully "from scratch" worlds or places, maybe there is something to be had there : should a war be "started" after the world design, Infra scores (and tech, population, duration of the war, time since the end, etc.) could be used to determine the extend of the destruction / effect.

Really, someone should put your systems in a computerized form ...

Alexis Smolensk said...


The encyclopedia map only has limited space; it is a 1:4,000,000 scale map with the city labels in 6 pt font so the publishers were doing the best they could. Also, there are some settlements the encyclopedia I use notes but which were not included in the map because those places were founded after 1650.

Borders are generally determined by present day boundaries for regions within a country - but I will change those borders if I have historical evidence to show who owned what when. Take the Pale in Ireland: there is no modern border for that, so the traditional border dating from the time of Cromwell was used for my world, including all the cities therein. Whenever possible, I try to use maps dating around 1650 as a measure, but the better system is to individually look up every city, town and village in my world on the net. This used to mean using the Colliers Encyclopedia detail or a Columbia Encyclopedia that I own, or a Rand/McNally Gazatteer . . . but now Wikipedia covers most of those needs. I have added approximately 10,000 locations to my world so you can guess I've spent quite a bit of the 12 years building up my map just reading details about individual places.

I think if someone wanted to include devastation as part of the tech system, they'd have to acknowledge that it would be mostly temporary. True, Europe's "tech level" was smashed for several hundred years, but that also took two centuries of decay to manage. The British Isles and Ireland were smashed during the 20 years of Cromwellian warfare but most of the two islands recovered within a generation. Those parts of Ireland that remained depressed had been depressed before Cromwell. Population growth, trade and effort can do much to restore most things that are lost to war - which takes less and less time as we become more industrialized. How long did it take Britain & Germany to restore their mutual destruction after WWII? Somewhat less than a generation.

Martin Panusch said...

I really love your maps and will use them in a fantasy-europe-campaign.
Perhaps transporting baltic amber down the river Dnieper to see the wonders Byzanztinum or even the silk road.

Could you please check the map D4 Don&Volga ?
The link does not work for me - I can not download the png.

Thank you very much.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Thank you, Martin. I have fixed that link. It should work for you now.

Martin Panusch said...

Thank you for your fast answer.
I started browsing through your tables of the cities and I am deeply impressed.

I was born in the fedeal state of Lower Saxony near Brunswik studied in Lüneburg and Oldenburg and work now in Flensburg. So looked up several cities in my range in your tables first. I was puzzled to find your Hildesheim assigned to the Duchy of Bavaria.
Is there a (hi)story I missed or may I give you a suggestion for improvement: Assign the Bishopric of Hildesheim to the Principaly of Calenburg

Best Greetings from Germany again many thanks.