Saturday, October 2, 2010

Carpathian Vegetation

I haven't thrown one of these up for awhile, but since I finished this big one on Monday ...

Areas of dense cropland or cropland & pasture are calculated by size of town, elevation and regional borders.  The area detailed is immediately East of the map shown here.  The ridge of the Carpathian mountains is visible by the line of green coniferous forest running semi-horizontally through the middle of the map.  Most of the central part of the map south of the Carpathians is the Magyar Plain - the cropland and pasture in those parts would be mixed with prairie/steppe.

The heaviest density follows the Danube through the south half of the map, but note the large area of green mixed cropland in the NW of the map ... that's Poland.  The Pripet Marshes, that bogged down the Germans in WWII, is visible in the NE.  The mixed forest and the coniferous forest to the north of them is the start of the great Russian taiga.

My apologies.  The transfer of program to jpeg insists on cutting off the names on labels, and I haven't caught them all.


  1. Apologies if this has been asked/answered elsewhere in the past, but what software do you use for the maps?

  2. Where would Broumov be located on this map on the present day border of the Czech Republic and Poland? I didn't spot it under its German name, Braunau, either...


  3. Stephen,

    The maps are drawn using Publisher.


    Those towns included on the map were selected by the old encyclopedia upon which I based my trading tables. Braunau would be there (and under the German name), since it was founded in 1256, located in the west hex of the Duchy of Glatz (the empty hex). It would be a hamlet of 80 people surrounding the Abbey mentioned in Wikipedia, and because it's a German state in Silesia, the monks of the Abbey would be German but the peasants would be Polish.

    You can find the Duchy of Glatz near Pardubitz on the left side of the map.

  4. There isn't a good time to ask this since you have been committed to your mapping procedure for a while now but how in your own mind do you justify such a coarsely pixelated hex scheme for terrain? The maps are not beautiful in their own right and on the scale of a few hexes they are not functional being so lumpen. In contrast your rivers and roads do not follow the hex boundaries so I wonder did you stubbornly persist with an early flaw or do you admire some esoteric cartographical aesthetic unfamiliar to human gamers.

  5. @Alexis Do you have a population minimum size that a town must meet for inclusion on your maps?

    @Kent Really? That sure came across as arrogant and willfully ignorant. The information density of this map is far greater that a comparable scale map from a setting such as Forgotten Realms. One can tell at a glance the distance between Krakow and Kielce is about 80 miles by road without the use of a ruler. Plus one could play out a large scale military campaign on the maps using the War Machine rules from BECMI D&D for example. D&D has a long history of using hex maps at this scale and larger. Perhaps you should expand your exposure to gaming.

  6. HexMaster, the Judges Guild Wilderlands maps are peerless in my view and they are hex maps but they simply overlay a hex grid onto terrain of naturalistic shape. What are the advantages to devoting a single terrain type to each hex? This isn't for a wargame. Where terrain does not fully occupy a hex, movement for example could obey a slowest-terrain-type-in-hex rule or crop yields could be determined with a full hex only or count partial hex rules, and the maps would look better.

  7. @Kent There is certainly a lot of abstraction of terrain type the 25 mile scale. This is true of all maps but the hexes do highlight the fact. (Also note that Alexis' map is a vegetation map and does not show elevation.) The primary reason to use the 25 mile single terrain hex is to cover a vast amount of ground. Alexis is mapping the entire Earth, no small feat. I really enjoy the Wilderlands setting too, but remember the Wilderlands are a small place pretending to be a much larger world with its 5 mile hex scale maps.

    Some gamers, admittedly few but myself included, do use wargaming as a subset of RPGs. D&D itself has the War Machine rules, the module Red Arrow, Black Shield, the Greyhawk Wars box set and the Birthright setting which all include wargaming elements. That's one of the reason I like maps like these. (Although Alexis might break his d20 if he gave it a shot:

    These maps are more tools than objets d'art. I'm as concerned about aesthetics with these maps about as much as I am with the aesthetics of a level break chart. I want the information presented in a clear, easy to read manor at which Alexis' maps succeed. I do use hand drawn maps as player handouts if I'm trying to setting a mood but as DM it's nice to have a hex number by hex number reference at the standby without fiddling with an overlay and finding registration marks.

    At any rate, Alexis does have an audience for this stuff and I would like him to be encouraged to keep making it available to the public.

  8. Also of note is the fact that Bledsaw's original Wilderlands maps weren't drawn at a 5 mi/hex scale, but were supposed to be 15 mi/hex.

  9. @Kent. If there isn't already a Borges short story about a Map of Lost Cartographic Intentions, there should be. ;)

  10. My last comment was for KenHR, not Kent. Another (nearly) lost intention...

  11. Kent is clearly unaware that I have access to as much precise detail regarding the topography and vegetation on my world as I want, through Google maps for starters. This is a tool, as the Hex Master says. What's more, I find it beautiful.

    Kent has been to this blog a dozen times already; he always has some silly axe to grind, and clearly has a vendetta against this blog for reasons that escape me.

    Hah hah.


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