Friday, February 16, 2018

Ideas For Greyhawk Maps

Good day Greyfriends! It's a slow week, but I am heartened by the uptick I've been seeing of Greyhawk community interest online. Whether its because of the token announcement of a Mordenkainen book I don't know, but hopefully the likes of Anna Meyer, Return to Greyhawk, Greyhawk Grognard, Greyhawk Reborn and various Facebook groups can keep pushing Wizard's buttons. For my own part, you know I have more projects than I can handle, so let's create some more. Here is some ideas for various Greyhawk themed maps I'd love to see or create myself:

Updated Resource Map. The small map in the 1980/1983 Greyhawk Guide showing regional resources of the Flanaess is one of my favorites. The LGG updated each nation's resources with new entries like livestock and ship building. A new map with this info is high on my list of DM utility maps.

Battle Maps. This one is also a long term dream of mine. We've all seen the Flanaess map that shows the migrations, but it would be just as interesting and informative to see the direction of various battles and wars. Just hearing about the Battle of Emridy Meadows, the Short War or the Hateful Wars is nice, but where do these forces originate and what direction do they advance or retreat? A simple themed map with arrows can teach players about the conflict faster than a long, boring treatise on the subject.

Ancient Flanaess Maps. Another handy map for history lessons on the fly. What did Eastern Oerik look like 500 years ago? 1000? and so on. I've meddled in making one before but the research of canon often shuts me down. A good example, someone once made an amazing series of maps showing the evolving size of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy. (map to the left) I need to find the link to this map. Also what DM wouldn't like to know what the Flanaess looked like when elves and dwarves held sway? Or ancient Flannae civilizations? There would even be geographical differences, like larger forests or cities that are now ruins. The applications for such maps are unlimited.

Update: Got a link to those historical maps here courtesy of Greyhawk Grognard (thanks Joseph).

Magic Aura Map. This one is extreme so bear with me. It would be daunting to research but fun to see all the magical sites (such as Tovag Baragu and other permanent gates) and ley lines (sites of druids, lost lands, wizards towers, etc) and lingering auras (Dry SteppesSea of Dust)  present in the Flanaess, all charted on the map somehow in levels of intensity. The utility is that wizards would know which areas to go or avoid in a general arcane knowledge sense.

Monster Hunting Maps. How about a reference map for common D&D monsters for PCs use in game? You could have areas marked where dragons or giants are found and what type. Heck you could even get create and tag owlbears, ogres or otyughs. Anything! Hand that out to hack n slash players and let them pick a destination.

Population Density Map. This one I've done before with a color coded population density map of the Great Kingdom based on data from Ivid the Undying; unfortunately it was hand drawn and crude (see to the left). I'd love to see one of the entire Flanaess someday. This type of map is more informative and esoteric, something only a hardcore Greyhawk DM's could care about. However, such a map would be easy to show to players to tell them, yes you are traveling to a populated area or no you are heading into wilderness, without need of a history or politics lesson.

That's all I got for now. Anyone else have some crazy ideas for a Greyhawk themed map?


Greyhawk Grognard said...

I turned that Great Kingdom series of maps into an animated gif, and used it on my own blog a few years ago:

You'll also find a link to the originals there.

MP said...

Has anybody done a map with the current national borders clearly defined? ("Current" in this case meaning 591 CY, since I'm a newbie to the hobby and only familiar with the LGG.)

I know borders in olden days were kind of fuzzy if they didn't follow a tidy natural feature like a river, but it seems strange to the modern eye to look at a map and not know exactly who owns what.

Mike Bridges said...

Joseph: Thanks! I knew it was somewhere but didn't have time to search. I'll update my article with the link.

MP: I know someone working on something like that. Stay tuned. In the meantime an interesting source to check might be Greyhawk Wars (yes that the boardgame boxed set) or From the Ashes boxed set.

grodog said...

Great ideas, Mike! The resources map and auras maps sound particularly good.

I've made some historical 175 CY maps for my old campaign set then, but they were largely crude maps based off of the Folio's Oerik continental map.

Plate tectonics and locations of volcanoes/earthquakes maps would be useful as well, and (again) there were extensive discussions of such geological features on Greytalk BITD too.

There were some extensive discussions about ley lines on Greytalk back in the '90s (and perhaps the Codex of Greyhawk, too?), but there haven't been as many discussions of them more-recently (that I'm aware of, anyway): will offer some pointers. Combing ley lines with locations of known Fading Lands, holy/pilgrimage sites, gates/teleporters/magical pools, planar conjunctions, and other elements of Greyhawk's mythic geography would be worthwhile, too---or perhaps as separate layers in the same map.

My first post to Greytalk was about the magical catastrophes of the Flanaess, and trying to align them with some of the above (ley lines/magical zones as well as tectonic plates) seems like it might be as useful for reference as the battles map (and doing an animated battles map showing the battle locations mashed up with the migrations would be nice too!).

Some other specialized maps to consider:
- distribution of high-level characters by class across geography; I assume this would largely align with population centers and national borders, but I think it would still be fun to see a scatterplot style map with this embedded data
- a map showing the various extents of the Land of Black Ice, during ice ages of glaciations past
- roads, trade routes, shipping routes, pilgrimage routes,
- weather map with seasonal temperature averages, ocean/wind currents, amount of sunlight/moonlight/starlight vs. cloud cover, eclipses/conjunctions,
- perhaps with monster hunting, also include monsters densities and migration patterns too--were some of the various human migrations into the Flanaess triggered in part due to monstrous migrations further west in Oerik?


Anonymous said...

MP, the Greyhawk Players Guide that was published for 2nd Edition has a 591 CY campaign map with borders and hot spots. That is probably your best bet.

I am taking my campaign back to 576 CY so I am in the process of creating border maps for that era since there really isn't a definitive source for that period except for the Greyhawk Wars maps from the board game, but even those have limits and are not completely filled in (the Bandit Kingdoms are not divided up into 17 separate states).

Papy-Rolf said...

I have stumbled upon this old blog
which is full of maps (language maps, races maps, ...)

These could be of interest ...

Dark Lord Galen said...

Anna created a "seasonal" version of the Flanness located on her download page.

Mike Bridges said...

grodog: Should've known you'd be on ley lines! Good map suggestions too ;)

Papy: Wow that's a good one, how come I'm just now seeing this? Thanks!

DLG: Ah yes Anna is the go to source for the Flanaess and stock maps. Haven't forgot her! Hope to see her in a few weeks at Garycon.