Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Fantasy Mapmaking

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I know I’ve talked about this before, but not recently.
I love maps. I love looking at them. I love drawing them. Maps can make an otherwise confusing travel story clear or just spark my imagination to new ideas about how geography effects the world. As a result, I’m always looking for more ideas about making my own maps. I use a lot of different tools to make maps, but mainly I use Campaign Cartographer. Though, the tools don’t really matter as much as good technique. And, I know that my technique is pretty weak these days. So, when I saw Maldin’s Greyhawk – A Guide to Mapmaking, by Denis Tetreault, one of the main cartographers for Wizards of the Coast, publishers of Dungeons and Dragons, I got really excited.
Sure, much of the information is a rehash of things I’ve read elsewhere, but plenty of it is new stuff. And, what’s more, it gives a nice look into the mind of a professional fantasy cartographer. How often do you find that kind of information? Right, not very often. That’s why I linked to it and suggest that, if you have any interest in fantasy map making, you check it out.


Designing a Fantasy World

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Ever had the urge to create a fictional world?
Maybe even just a country? Well, over at Everything2, there’s an article on just that called, ironically enough, Designing a Fantasy World. The article takes you through the basics of what one needs to consider when putting together a fantasy world, if you want it to be believable. They touch on most of these subjects lightly, but there’s enough there to take you through the physical forms of your world, as well as the mythology behind that, and all the way on through the society that might develop in such a place. They’ve got plenty of links and Everything2 is sort of like Wikipedia, so there’s a lot of information there to browse through and digest. The article has lots of helpful suggestions in addition to those links, too!
But, for my money, the best thing in the article is:

The cardinal rule in all of this is to preserve mimesis – that is, the apparent reality of your world. You don’t need to have volumes of abstractions like language and geology if you don’t think you’ll use them. But a little care can give the reader the pleasing illusion that such things could exist, and that there are no glaring contradictions lurking just below the surface. A little thought about the points mentioned can lead to an altogether more pleasing experience for the player or reader.

Remember that, and you’ll do just fine creating your own fantasy world.


Real Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Now this is really cool!
Once again, science-fiction becomes reality with a GPS-enabled, real “Hitchhiker’s Guide”. A prototype traveler’s guide that is more than just GPS-synced maps, this little baby gives you historical information and other tidbits that might interest a tourist based on where it reads you via participating networks. The author tested this on the 850-acre parkland surrounding Ashton Court, which is somewhere in the UK, from what I gather. I’m not familiar with it myself, but it must be a popular tourist destination. In any case, this little bad boy, called an “Explorer”, sees where you are on the GPS grid and serves you multimedia content based on that location. As well as showing you those cool maps that we’ve all come to depend on so much. (You know, I think Gibson wrote about something like this, but more personable, in some of his work, too.)

Anyway, the future is now. At least in prototype-land. Hey, it’s the best I can do for a Friday Fun Link on the same day I’m getting divorced. Get over it!


The Island Project

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

This is cute!
While looking for water gardening resources, or an old t-shirt that I can only half remember, or something, I found a fifth grade class’ creative writing assignment called The Island Project. The project was for the kids to imagine themselves stranded on an island and to describe the island on which they found themselves. Many of them also drew maps of their island. The project is from 1995-96, but, somehow, is still up on the web. It’s fun, actually.
And, not a bad way to get some creative juices flowing for a story setting, either. I have often gotten ideas for things to write by drawing maps first. So do Orson Scott Card and Holly Lisle, both successful writers, so it’s not just a fluke or a gimmick. It’s also a bit of fun.
So, if you’re stuck for something to write about, why not draw a map? Or, heck, if you’re not too full of yourself, why not just do the same exercise that the fifth-graders did? You might just be surprised at the results!


Well, No Wonder

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No wonder I never got paid for this!
Apparently, Rob Kuntz never did finish the planned modules that I did maps for in Campaign Cartographer. And, of course, I did them knowing I would not get paid until they were published. So, since they were never published, I was never paid. Now, apparently, he’s selling his entire stash of gaming stuff, including the Barbarous Coast Maps.
Even though I have them posted here on my site, Rob retains all rights to them. Insist on getting them signed, if you can manage it, since, in my opinion, that’s the only way the printed maps are really worth anything.
Gaming is a tough business and I’m sorry that it looks like Rob has hit a money crunch and needs to sell his stuff. Go check it out and buy something, if you can. He’s a great guy and I’m sorry to see him having to do this.
Good luck, Rob.


Extra-Solar Stuff

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Okay, mainly it’s just planets….

But, it’s still cool! Last week, I mentioned several articles about habitable planets outside our solar system, so it’s been on my mind. Well, today, my Friday Fun Link is to a site called Extrasolar Visions, which is the home of the artist who did the amazing graphics that are on the site. He has a gallery there, but the work is mainly small stuff with links to where you can buy prints of the work. But, he also has something called Extrasolar Skies, which makes starmaps on the fly. As the name implies, it also lets you choose your viewing location. Very cool. And fun, too!

So, hey, it’s Friday, go dream a little!


A World Of Blogs!!

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

“He’s go the whole blog, in his hands!”

My darling wife sent me a link to the World as a Blog, which is as fun a site as I’ve seen. It shows you a map of the world and, as registered blogs update, it pops up those updates in little windows! How cool!
So, if you sit and watch, you can see what bloggers all around the world are posting about. In real time! I haven’t signed up for this, yet, but you can bet I will!

Yes, this appeared on my other blog last week.
Now, it’s Friday, go have fun!


Review: High School Earth Science Review

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

This weekend I finished the High School Earth Science Review.

That may seem odd, but it’s not, really. See, I want to create more realistic worlds for my fantasy and science-fiction settings, so, I need to know the basics. And, in my opinion, the basics include earth science. So, falling back on my memories of High School, I thought it would be good to simply review the things I hadn’t caught in science class. See? It realy does make sense!

Anyway, the book was actually fairly good. It gave a decent overview of the subject and used pretty simple language. After all, it is meant for High School students who are having trouble with Earth Science! But, it does hit all the highlights: plate tectonics, water movement and erosion, weather and climate, and so on. There are questions at the end of each section meant to test your knowlege alone the way, but I didn’t really pay attention to them. I wasn’t trying to pass a test, after all. It did give me several ideas for interesting things in regards to planetary processes that might turn up in some of my writing. And, of course, I hope it will improve the realism of my maps. Knowing that rain falls on the windward, and oceanward, side of the mountains, for instance, really effects a lot on a map.

Anyway, if you’re looking at world-building, there are far worse places to start than a review of High School earth science. And, this book is a fairly good review.

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