Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Olympos

Here's the map of another story I've been batting around for a while. FYI This came about accidentally as I was trying to create Natalie's map(s). What can I say? Muses, like other supernatural beings, work in mysterious ways.



It took a long time to come up with the name of New Olympos for this world. I know it sounds very simple, and it is, but I couldn't decide for months if I was going to give this world and characters actual Greek names or just names that were very Greek sounding. In the end there will be a mixture of both.

A very big thanks to http://www.wjohnson.freeuk.com/names/greeka.htm for providing a great Greek name generator. Having studied Greek mythology for as long as I can remember I had a pretty good feel for what "sounded Greek" but this generator gives a really good mixture of composition that I never would have concocted myself.

As with The Six Kingdoms I will wait to see who wants to hear the story before I just go splattering it up here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Natalie Maps



This is a map I did months ago for a Coalition mate and very good friend of mine, Natalie J Walsh. She's a fantastically gifted writer given she's just a pup.

She always tells me how envious she is of the names I come up with for places, but given that she is writing a remarkably originally fantasy story combining the names of Heaven's gates and tarot cards I would have to (and do) envy her!

If you like this check out her page at http://lil_bit_dizzy.elfwood.com/ and be sure to hound her with comments demanding more stories. I know for a fact that she has written several more chapters than what's posted and each is muy fabuloso.

This map is a modified version of what is above. This area is the southern desert region of Raqi'a, I just expanded it and shifted a couple of the islands. This positioning makes better sense based on the descriptions of climate and overall size that Natalie supplied. Again, she's an awesome writer! Totally check out her stuff and be sure to tell her the Zombie Gunslinger sent you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Magpies



It is only right that I should have magpies on my blog. Shelley and Brendon will understand more than others. Mayhap I'll create a crest for the Coalition with a magpie on it. Whaddaya say me Coalition chums?

For the record, I did not do these. They come from the quick artistic genius of one Kara Bang Boulden, my cousin-in-law and fellow blogga. Check her out http://karaboulden.blogspot.com/

Visual Design & Illustration is only one of her five or so blogs.

Thanks Kara, you's the bestest!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Freebie



This is a rather simple creation that I have decided to call Eoria - in my mind that is pronounced Yoria...not as though it were named after a certain depressed donkey from the Hundred Acre Wood. Also I think it just looks better with an E.

I haven't put a whole lot of thought into it, I just liked the combination of features and shapes. I also didn't include any rivers of other place names because I figure folks can use it as they'd like and add whatever strikes their fancy. I couldn't even decide which way I liked it positioned...I flipped it...rotated it...and just could settle on anything.

As a jumping off point I figured I'd throw out some concepts for races and see who likes what. I thought the Ayori (also another reason I avoided Yoria - I didn't want the names too redundant) could be an ancient land/terrain race. Their architecture is composed of terraced platforms and gardens like the Inca. The idea struck me from terra and race....terrace. Voila!

And since every world thrives on conflict I tossed in the E'titi, a water race - can't decide whether they're Atlantean humaniods or some sort of merfolk - that have recently come in to the region. Other users' imaginations can decide the relative time span correspondent to the term "recently". Maybe the E'titi just barely got there, maybe they've been around for decades, centuries, millennia...you decide.

By the way, the Ayori could be a stone worshipping people. It's makes for a good justification of conflict with a water people. The Ayori see the land as permanent and ageless, having always existed. Now there's this culture from the depths making war with them. The Ayori believe that they are incredibly strong and steadfast and will stand against the E'titi as the coast weathers the pounding tide. The E'titi on the other hand see the ocean as endless and know that over time the relentless onslaught of waves will erode the shore, carrying it away a bit at a time until it's been reduced to nothing.

And....GO! I'd love to hear what people do with the ideas, or brand spanking new ones of their own.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Because you asked for it

**CHECK BELOW FOR A COLORED VERSION OF THE SIX KINGDOMS WITH RIVERS**

Certain followers/other bloggers - aka bloggas ;) - enthusiastically requested more about The Six Kingdoms, so here it is!

The Six Kingdoms

The following is what each of the Six Kingdoms is known for. These are the prided values of each kingdom.

Northern: defense and war
Sunset: mining and farming
Central: peace and order
Eastern: law and military enforcement
Sunrise: philosophy and freedom
Southern: commerce and prosperity
Amethyst Islands: an extension of the Southern Kingdom rich in finery and jewel mines
Lands of Exile: criminals and pirates
Wild North: savages and raiders

With such different goals and outlooks it is bound to be that not every kingdom gets along with its neighbors. Shared borders are no guarantee of civility, while others form lucrative partnerships. These are the Rivalries and Alliances of the Six Kingdoms.

The Northern Kingdom thinks all others are weak and sheepish in the face of danger. Were it not for their spilled blood and honed blades the North is sure that the remaining kingdoms would fall to the Nordes. The North holds a wavering, professional respect for the military might of the Eastern Kingdom, but is also resentful and feels that the East does not do their part to defend the northern border. The North has closest ties and kinship with the Sunset Kingdom who provides men and supplies to the cause.

The Sunset Kingdom consists of a rustic folk who appreciate the sweat and toil of hard work and the harvest. They keep themselves and the Northern Kingdom fed with the products of their fields. They are mostly peaceful and more at home with a tool in their hands than a weapon, but many – mostly young men seeking adventure – have given up farming to defend the northern border. They are a varied people in their trades, from the farm fields of the north to the deep mines in the south. The settlements along the Kings River and western coast are mainly fishers and freighters transporting cargo up and down the waterways. The Sunset Kingdom is resentful of the lavish Southern lifestyle and philosophical “lay-abouts” of the Sunrise Kingdom. They also disapprove of the Central and Eastern demands for taxes and military service, but they agree that both are necessary for the well being of their kingdom and others.

The Central Kingdom is in many ways similar to an empirical core. They hold the unofficial authority of a throne/king-like reigning power, although no true monarchy exists in any of the kingdoms. They rule over the surrounding kingdoms with an arrogance that only comes from an inflated sense of security and supply. They are dependent upon all the other kingdoms for taxation, yet they hold none is as high regard as themselves. Only the Eastern Kingdom possesses the manpower to overthrow the government of the Central Kingdom – made up of “bought” men from all over the empire – but because the core keeps their armor polished and their pockets heavy the East stands to lose more than they would gain by bucking the system.

The Eastern Kingdom is both noble and corrupt and unyielding in the application of rigid laws. They have sometimes been accused of being overzealous and even brutal in the enforcement of discipline, but they assure all that it is absolutely necessary for the safety and prosperity of all citizens. They regard the Northern and Sunset Kingdoms as being tough and hard-working, but also believe them to be in serious need of a stable, governing law. They are the eyes, ears, and enforcers of Central will and granted jurisdiction/amnesty in every kingdom. The Southern and Sunrise Kingdoms are uncomfortable with such an overbearing presence, but remain hospitable to avoid punishment. It is the Eastern Kingdom that serves to patrol and protect the south from exiled criminals believing that any crime, no matter the severity, is a constant rot destroying and decaying civil society.

The Southern Kingdom is pompous and gaudy and only interested in a rich, lavish lifestyle gained through trade with other kingdoms. Their biggest interest is in the profitable mines of the Sunset Kingdom and Amethyst Islands, but many barons also have investments in shipping firms and hold deeds to lands of the Sunset Kingdom. They are regarded as lazy and corrupt by the Eastern Kingdom, but they are also granted immunity/leniency by the Central Kingdom who receives handsome payment from the vast coffers of the Southern lords. While the South pretends at adhering to Central law it is really greed that runs their world. They care not for the Northern Kingdom, believing that they only consume supply from the Sunset Kingdom that ought to be channeled south. They are certain that the Northern and Eastern Kingdoms would protect them from any wild enemy. The bloodthirsty Nordes are more monsters from children’s tales than any real threat to the south; however there may come a time that south will have to face the Nordes and they can only pray their riches will appease the savages.

The Sunrise Kingdom is a lush paradise of hope, freedom, and philosophy. They are entirely peaceful and perfectly happy to live in harmony, open and appreciative of nature. They are a kingdom of soothsayers and sages, poets and artists, and often naked wandering beggars making their way through the world sure in the fact that universe will provide all that is needed to live. The Sunrise Kingdom is seen by all others as a na├»ve nuisance, but easily ignored unless one has to travel through their country. The Northern Kingdom is all too happy to be separated from the free-loving Sunrise by a great distance. The Eastern Kingdom is eagerly awaiting the day they can bring permanent order and discipline to the Sunrise Kingdom. The Central Kingdom is content to let them be, but wishes they would pay more taxes and serve a purpose. And the Southern Kingdom has not yet found a way to turn a profit from their neighbors, except the occasional slavers’ raid to shanghai Sunrise citizens into a life of labor and servitude. A common problem the other kingdoms – especially the Eastern – have with the Sunrise is that they often allow banished criminals re-entry and safe passage/hospitality. The Sunrise refuses to acknowledge that any man has the right/authority to deny another man his desires; therefore they risk their personal safety and stiff punishment to allow exiles to slip in and out of their lands. They think all land belongs to all men and thus ignore the border established between the Sunrise Kingdom and the Emerald Marsh/Lands of Exile. Some Sunrise citizens have lost their lives by granting amnesty to the wrong passerby who turned out to be a dangerous criminal, but others rarely heed the warning stating simply that “it was meant to be this way”. Besides this occasional tragedy the Sunrise knows nothing of violence, especially the hard fought life along the northern border.

The Lands of Exile encompass everything south of the Southern and Sunrise Kingdoms. Beginning in the bogs and swamps of the Emerald Marsh, the Lands of Exile prove to be harsh and unforgiving; hence they are the perfect prison/punishment for banished men. However, they also make the perfect breeding ground for desperate and dangerous men. Those that survive being exiled into the swamps and rugged mountains often cluster into loose bandit societies governed by tribal law. These gangs are composed of bitter men, vengeful towards the outside world that shunned them. Many draw on the criminal lives they were forsaken for and form thieves’ guilds and pirate crews and raid back into the empire. Pirates prefer the easy prey of the western coast, which is rich in treasures and supply from the Southern and Sunset Kingdoms, while others have discovered the narrow passage through the Hidden Gorge to the eastern coast where they can easily take captives from the Sunrise Kingdom. Some bold pirates have even dared raid against the Eastern Kingdom hoping to come away with better weapons and armor, but not all are so foolish as to tempt inviting the wrath of the powerful military. It is uncommon but does occur that some criminals – mostly those who were harshly judged for minor crimes – still hold an affinity for their home kingdoms and try to make their way back into those societies by slipping through the Sunrise Kingdom. The only kingdom actually know to take people back in is the Sunset Kingdom, but unspoken law dictates that accused/convicted criminals serve time defending the border in the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom is always desperate for more men in their fight against the Nordes, and although they appreciate the extra arms they don’t like that their lifestyle seems a fitting punishment for criminals and outcasts. Not all who come to the North for penance see it as punishment – some enjoy being part of something larger and the brotherhood shared among Northern soldiers. Nearly all view a few winters on the northern border as better than a lifetime in the Lands of Exile.

The Wild North is home to the marauding Nordes who want everything south of the Norde River, especially the rumored riches of the Southern Kingdom, but it is the Northern Kingdom that they absolutely hate with a burning single-mindedness.

The Outlands (aka the Southlands) are geographically separate from the Six Kingdoms, even more so than the Northern Kingdom, and are unknown to all but exiles and pirates. All that is known of the lands to the south is that climate varies from arid to tropical. The Southlanders have only very recently been introduced to the existence of the Six Kingdoms, but some have heard tales of the Amethyst Islands. A few dark or olive skinned Southlanders are members of pirate crews.

Nordes: A Mongol-like people. They ride great shaggy yaks and mammoths. Some ride a stocky, hearty northern pony and stories tell of them even taming/riding large bears. They are an ancient and violent people who continually attack the border and raid across the Norde River. They steal armor, weapons, livestock, and slaves from the Northern Kingdom. Their stone and wood tools/weapons are poorly matched against the stronger forged metals of the Kingdoms. Thus they rarely stand and fight in a matched battle. These harriers rely on savagery and guerilla tactics to constantly peck at the defending order of the Kingdoms. Their “disorganized” attacks keep the border in a state of constant warfare – splitting the main fighting among two areas between the Warr and Front rivers. A large wall is under construction from the Warr River to the Front River to better defend the open border. It has been a timber palisade under constant guard and repair since shortly after the establishment of the Northern Kingdom. It is now being reinforced with stone quarried from the mountains. It is planned to span even the most rugged terrain where only scattered guard/signal towers stand now, but the effort and manpower needed will take decades to complete.

The following is a concept/reference template for the people of the Six Kingdoms loosely based on real world cultures.
Nordes: Mongolian
Northern: Scandinavian
Sunset: British/American
Central: French
Eastern: German
Sunrise: Indian
Southern: Persian
Amethyst: Central/South American
Southlanders: African and Mediterranean

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Luminae: Who's Afraid of the Dark?



Yet another map. I used MS Paint to slap some legible labels on this one.

The rough idea of this world is that the "heavenly" force of light/land reached down and touched a formerly dark world of water. The light/land and dark/water sides are now battling over who will control the last realm of sky. Spirit is a neutral realm from which each side draws their power.
I think that there will be a fairly balanced ratio of earth and water in this world, but Light is hopelessly overwhelmed by Dark - like a candle in a vast cave. Maybe this mapped area is the last remaining hold out of Light and solid ground because the Dark has destroyed all other pockets. The rest of the land mass(es) have been overrun by evil and darkness and the land is no longer "stable". The terrain has been scarred and warped by the dark powers and battles. Solid ground was never meant to coincide with the shifting flow of dark magic and the unnatural combination has spawned unholy monsters.

I like to think that the territory between the Crescent and Ring rivers is fairly stable, but in a state of constant warfare. Maybe Light magic isn't as reliable in this area while Dark hardly falters at all. The peninsula beyond the Ring River is the kingdom of Luminae, and while outnumbered by the surrounding darkness, its inhabitants are still brave and valiant in the face of peril. Their faith and power remain strong against all odds and the concentration of hope, will, and Light just might be enough to turn the tide of war.

That's where I leave off and let others' imagination take over. What does the world look like? Who are the people/creatures that inhabit it? How does the magic work? Can the Light win? Should it? What will happen if it does or does not?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oldinor





**HERE'S AN UPDATED/COLORED VERSION OF OLDINOR**

**I removed the locations of Bayfort Fords and Norford. They lay at the river crossings near Bayfort and Norton, but they looked crowded and redundant on the map. I did leave Redford/Redbridge because the location has a story behind it.

I changed the spelling of Rochlan to Rokland and added a few more ocean names - all with good reason**


This was a map I whipped up just for poops and giggles. It's much less involved than The Six Kingdoms both visually and story wise. Just last night I added the locations of Knight's Grave, Haven, Bayfort Fords, Norford, and Westbridge. I also added a crossing of the Bloodstone River but I can't decide if I'll name it Redbridge - similar to the nearby Red Ridge Mountains - or Redford. Who out there likes which?

Mayhap it used to be called Redford and a nearby town shared the same name, but then the ford was crossed by the wild, raiding Redmen from the south and the town was destroyed. Perhaps later the easily crossed ford was obliterated and a more defensible bridge was built with stone quarried from the mountains. I just pulled all that outta me bum...not too bad if I do say so myself...and I do!

Anywho, enjoy! I hope all y'all readers/followers can make out the place names on the maps - coming up with those are the funnest part, and they generate a majority of the associated stories.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hands off!

Now that I will be posting pics and story ideas I feel I must issue fair warning to any would be clepto-fiends. As one who has both studied anthropology and seen Disney's Aladdin I can attest that in certain parts of the world the hands of thieves are brutally hacked off for their crimes.

I will do this and more.

Get caught stealing any of my stuff and I will: tear your arm from its socket, beat you mercilessly with it, shove it so far down your throat that your wrist protrudes from your rectum, and then cut off your hand.

You've been warned.

The Six Kingdoms

Here's the colored version of The Six Kingdoms with the names of rivers.







**NEWER VERSION WITH BETTER LABELS**

Here's the most finished of many maps I've created. I am calling this world and related stories The Six Kingdoms. I could jabber for pages/hours about this world, its history, and the people who occupy it - but for reasons of space and time I will wait to see just who wants to know. That's the prompt for any interested parties or *cough* blog followers *cough cough* to request mas informacion and I will gleefully oblige.