Intro and the first steps

So, first I’ll talk about the map itself. I started off with this map which I got off Birthright.net (I think that’s where I got it, but if not it’s kicking around online somewhere).

Since that map is in a not readily usable projection, I had to transform that into a rectangular projection, which involved a lot of failed attempts at doing it through various map projection applications, and in the end I just ended up doing it by cutting, distorting, and pasting, and ended up with the following modified map, which I then used as a template to trace over to make the basic maps, which those of you on Birthright.net might have seen. Anyway, as far as the continent in question, the end result was this physical map.

While filling in the vegetation I tried to take into account the effects of warm and cold ocean currents and wind patterns (this involved a lot of research on my part, since I am not a climatologist. But I now know an awful lot about it; and they said D&D wasn’t educational!). The ocean currents were on another of the original maps, and I made the assumption that the prevailing wind systems would be similar to that on earth. Thus rain shadows, etc. are sort of accurate, and it also explains the jungle running so far up into what would be the temperate zone on the east coast of Djapar (warm current flowing north).

Then, once I had the physical map done, I overlaid that with a layer of rough province-sized rectangles, which gave me this. Now, you may notice that these rough rectangles are not all the same size, they get bigger the further north or south you go. This is deliberate and it is to account for the distortion due to the map projection, so despite being larger on the map, each rectangle represents roughly the same acreage on the ground. As an aside, these rough rectangles based roughly off the nice rectangular provinces in Zikala on the published Cerilia map, and so, according to the scale on the published Cerilia maps these rough rectangles are about 40 miles along their long axis and 25 -30 miles on the short axis.

Next, once I had the rough location of all the provinces, I started blocking out the nations, something like this. While roughing out the nations, I tried to follow natural boundaries such as rivers, mountains, or major vegetation changes (major swamps, etc.). Needless to say these roughed out regions changed a lot in the process of getting ideas for each region, and then refining those ideas. Some of the original nations disappeared, and other new ones were created as I developed my ideas.And knowing me I am not done yet.

Anyway, once I had the different nations blocked out, I could draw in the national borders, like this. I then repeated the process with the various regions and other subdivisions, in descending order, so that at each level the borders were smooth, and then finally drew in the borders of the individual province borders, which gave me my working map, which looks like this. Obviously there is a lot more to do before the map is in it’s final state (names, cities, etc.), but I could now get on with detailing the various nations and provinces.

From there I started naming things. What I did for the names was to assign each cultural group or nation an equivalent real word nation, and took names of towns and things from that nation, and then ran those names through the Language Mixer on the wonderful Chaotic Shiny web site. I used a different mixer option (harsh 1, melodic 2, etc.) for each linguistic group (Germanic, Slavic, Romance, etc), that way each nation’s names would have an internal consistency, and related languages would have similar looking names.

Well that’s it for this post.

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