Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Better Fantasy Maps

@allenvarney tweeted this excellent article by Ken MacLeod making a plea for fantasy maps that at least reflect the variety of real world medevil maps.
When we look at the ancient and mediaeval worlds, we see if anything a greater diversity of forms of rule than we see today. In fantasy, where we might expect a wide play of fancy, we see nothing of the kind. There are good monarchies, legitimised by prophecy or ancient artifact. There are evil empires, usually in the east. There are barbarian tribes. Here and there, if we're lucky, there are city states ruled by merchant princes. There are plenty of exceptions - Pratchett, Gentle, Pinto, Mieville - but that's the rule.

This is a really great article, and I can't think of anything to add except to solemnly swear that I will do my best to give the world better fantasy maps.

Labels: ,


Blogger Talysman said...

The key to better maps seems to be more kingdoms/tribal areas, with each one distinct in some way, which some people are leery of because of the work involved... which suggests a need for random generation.

I hereby suggest quickie kingdoms,

March 10, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Blogger Philip said...

It's worth noting that Gygax did a really good job getting that sort of real-world diversity into Greyhawk; Wikipedia's article about it actually has a really good section describing how he developed the setting in preparation for its first publication.

March 10, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

@talysman I like the random generation thing you're working on!

@philip Nice Wikipedia link! I hadn't read that. This article also put me in mind of Talislanta, which has as varied a world as you could possibly ever want or imagine. It definitely falls into the "stranger than reality" camp.

March 11, 2010 at 9:29 AM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home