Saturday, 24 January 2015

Big Freaking Map

I promised this to my patrons a long, long time ago, but now that I'm about to hit $200 (thank you!) I'm getting my butt in gear to finally make the Big Freaking Map.

As I said, it's a work in progress - I suppose it will be a WIP indefinitely, as I extend it and add detail. At least half my adventures are on the periphery of the underworld "Ur-Menig", so eventually there will be a version that shows where that lies, and some of the ways up and down.

There's something about this sort of map that tugs at my heart, it's like a gateway to hundreds of places, each one containing some detail of interest, a mystery, adventure, or a poignant ending.

I've always felt this way about maps, but I imagine that the beautiful cloth maps of the early Ultima series cemented this feeling. Each point of interest on those maps was an invitation to explore a richer world.

This map doesn't have that level of reality behind it, and it may never, but if you look at even one place on it and wonder what's there, we're sharing the same feeling.

UPDATE! The map has now been updated to version 1.0, with all the adventures marked on it (except of course the extra-planar Extent of Gamandes).

UPDATE 2! The link has now been updated to always point to the latest version of the map (currently 1.2).


  1. Any place to order a printed version?

    1. There are two versions of it (player/GM) in the compendium; in the case of the limited edition, on the inside covers. You're looking for the map separately? In which case, no, but that's not a bad idea.

  2. Wow, this is hugely, hugely cool! Both in concept and execution. I'm keen on starting a west marches sort of campaign myself, mind if I ask some questions?

    - I notice the hexes are 8 leagues. Are there smaller scale hexes nested in these for more local travel?
    - The map is beautiful, particularly the natural transition between groundcover - what program was used to make it?
    - What sort of process did you use to choose what went where? When mapping / dungeon-designing I sometimes fall into a sort of paralysis when it comes to layout.

    1. 1. I haven't done any mapping at a more detailed level, except the prep I did for Strange Weapons campaign, which you can see here:

      2. Photoshop! It was inspired by some tutorials on the Cartography Guild; it makes heavy use of layers, smart filters (for things like terrain shadows), and custom blotchy brushes to produce the stippling that gets turned into hills and mountains.

      3. Man, I have no idea. It helped that I had existing adventures that I was trying to place; as soon as I place one it has implications for the rest of what's going on. In the compendium, I did move a few things around, after I made the precise area of the Ur-Menig underworld more precise and to scale.

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