Coldforged: The Atlas

As I cruise through towards finishing the Coldforged book, every once in awhile, I’ll have extra information that doesn’t always fit into the standard Thursdays format. This month, I’ll discuss the atlas and format that I believe I’ll be going forward with for the Atlas of Tysis, Chapter 4 (don’t hold me to that) of Coldforged.

The Plan

When I finally get Coldforged into my hands, I want it to be chock full of maps. I am absolutely fascinated with them and love both making them and reading other’s creations. It’s awesome to me to see the details and the little pieces of information that are included, giving me a glimpse into the world that they’ve created.

I don’t mean that there will simply be geographic maps, either. There will be plenty of those, for each and every area, but there will also be a plethora of informatic maps as well, to help visualize the world. Sadly, all of the maps aren’t finished yet, so I’m just going to talk about the different types of maps I’m going to have and why they are important, and the ones shown are early prototypes as I flesh them out.

The Maps

The main map, of course, is going to be the one that has the entire continent on it. It’s going to show all the major geographic features you’d come to expect. There will be mountain ranges, great swamps, large forests, and other large areas that are fairly uniform. It will have most of the names of the areas, as well, including bays, oceans, rivers, mountains, and forests. It’s a great overview of the area that helps people understand the land that their characters, or the characters being written about, live in. This is the oldest form of the map I have, and while it’s been updated a few times, even this one is still being honed.

The Kingdom maps

Next, we’ll follow up with the standard regional maps. These will include both the Kingdoms within the continent and non-kingdom regions, as well as their important traits:

The Map of Thrax will showcase the various tribal locations, including the towns and cities, geographic entities of importance, and lines of antagonism between the tribes when needed.

Levisha will showcase the different towns and villages, both broken and holding strong, as well as the city center of Ibajia and the border fortresses.

The 10 Kingdoms map will detail all of the 11 kingdoms in the territory, their houses land, nobles, manors, important castles, and battlefields.

Nova Killbarum and the Killbaran City-states will plot the location of each city and their resulting city-state, as well as a number of important colleges, both destroyed and currently intact.

The City States

Brokensail will contain the outer islands as well as the 9 chunks of land that make up the city, including important buildings, docks, and other features.

Izkoret and Hazorath will, much like Brokensail, showcase the two cities in their valley, and the local important buildings and landmarks.

Aldishir is again similar, showing off the land it controls, the great keep and the important areas nearby.

The Regions

For non-kingdoms, Drimm will have all of the old Drimmen cities, the Voskag tribes, and the giant holdfasts, with the large mountains, important valleys, coves, and Islands.

The Northern Tundra will be pretty basic, to be honest, as it’s mostly just a fairly cold and bitter land with little to note, but what there is to note, will be, along with unique Landmarks.

The Ironarm Mountains will have the standard mountain important peaks and valleys, but this will also show important Frost and Cyclops tribes, rock formations of import, and non-thraxian orcish settlements.

The Gray Morass would tell about the Children of Jet, the islands around the swamp, the dragons known outposts and a number of ruins and settlements outside of the law, as well as the few safe places to travel through the mire.

For the Toldiri Hills, we’d have the known geographical formations and features, as well as tribal lands, important towns, and the one or two cities that exist, as well as safe passages through the rough hills, and those few antagonistic tribes that exist.

These are just a few of the maps I want to make sure are included, both because they are fun to make, but also because they are good information.

Other Types of Maps

From there, we start getting into a number of fun maps. These are the ones that show a bit of differing information from the standard geopolitical maps. These include, among others:

A monster habitat map that shows where dangerous or abnormal monsters live and, along with their expected habitat and ranges to better support understanding of the dangerous monsters in an area

A number of historical maps, including The Drimmen, Early Tyndarian, Killbaran and other periods including the Occurans, Eshlin, Elthrim, and Aloran Kingdoms, to allow for better placement of ruins magical items and people

Speaking of people, a map of the various ethnic groups within Tysis and their homelands.

I love maps, so this is gonna be a while.

There will be maps of Trade routes, with important spices and goods marked, as well as resource maps, with Metals, Wood, and other information that is useful, but not vital to every campaign.

A map of historical battlefields that changed the Kingdoms, marking turning points of empires as well as small kingdoms and the fate of heroes.

Maps of a number of cities will also be included, with the likes of Killbar, Tyndaria, Hilea, Vale, Dulara, and Parminium among them.

The reason I include these maps is that I think the full picture of a world is important for being able to truly plan out deep, multilevel adventures and campaigns that pull the characters deeper into the world. This absolutely isn’t needed, and you can create epic adventures without having strong world tie-ins, and most players and DM’s will love staying at that level.

FOr the Arctic Druid, though, who loves knowing the exact scary creatures they’ll encounter, or the historian who wants to have all of the information at his fingertips or the individual who wants to build a character with an ethnic tie into the great and powerful states of old, I am one of them, and I love it when the setting book gets deep into the guts of what makes it its own slice of existence. There are many players who will simply skip over this section, never needing its information, but for those who I feel a deep kinship with – This is for you!

Until next time,