This is the practical demo companion for the “Creating a Fantasy World” post.
Creating a Fantasy World – Practical Demonstration
Geography and Natural Resources
Since we are in the beginning, we don’t know anything about language, names, units, and so on. So, the initial work I’ll do here will feel “nameless” and will lack a definite image. That’s ok, we will progress as time goes on and add more and more data as we build our world. So, for now, some of the stuff will seem abstract and unclear, but they will clear-up as we go along.
The universe was created by a diety and many worlds have been spread throughout the vastness of space. The worlds are not connected, nor do they know about each other, but various links will bring them together, whether through people’s dreams or through the thoughts of some with special powers.
The world for our story is made out of continents, oceans and seas. There will be one major continent where a lot of the story takes place, but there will also be islands and underwater places where parts of the action happens.
In this world, there are amphibian creatures and there are also creatures that can travel through the air. Therefore, there is no restriction on the height and placement of the mountains.
There are two Suns in this world and they trail each other on the sky. Using Earth equivalent time units, the day lasts 40 hours and the night lasts 40 hours as well. There are 60 days in a month (there is no concept of a week) and there are 10 months in a year, making a year 600 days. The world is millions of years old, but for the purposes of the story, the known history is about 20,000 years.
There is only one season in this world, a moderate one, spring-summery style, but the temperature varies significantly during the “Storm Months” and the “Dry Months.” During those periods, everyone must take different precautions to survive.
The size of the world is roughly 4000 miles by 4000 miles, so a total of 16,000,000 square miles. (to get an idea, the entire Asia is about 17,000,000 square miles).
To start mapping the world, I will use a 80 x 80 matrix, where each cell is 50 square miles. I will start by adding rough parts of the land in different colors. Here’s what I’ve got (click the image to see it bigger):
Now that I have this, I will put a paper on top of it and I will start tracing the map, freehand. This is the result:
Besides that fact that my drawing skills are very limited, you can also see that while drawing I decided that the lower-right yellow box was making the map too crowded so I did not include it. Instead I let a free ocean area over there.
In the same time, notice that I established coordinates and set the North direction. I don’t know yet if I will call the directions North/South/East/West, but I wanted to give myself a point of reference.
The next step was to add a few mountain areas and some rivers and lakes. I did that manually at first:
And finally, once I had all of this ready, I fired up Campaign Cartographer 3 and I started to draw the map. Note that there is a way in this program to import a hand-drawn map and set it as the background of the map while you are drawing in CC3. This will make it easier to create the map based on your original design.
Here’s the result:
Note that I finally decided that the ocean on the lower-right was too big and I added a coral reef between two islands. I also added a few more rivers.
The software added the scale in the bottom-right corner, so we have some idea about sizes and distances. It’s worth mentioning that you can use this program to calculate distances and areas for your map. Just look for the Tools menu and you will find a lot of goodies.
There’s a lot more to work on this map, and I will do it later on, such as: adding darker shades to the ocean, as the ocean is farther from the coast, to signify depth; adding darker or lighter shades to the land to signify hills or valleys. But those will appear later on, as I decide on cities and villages.
Note a few things I did to make this map look a little bit more realistic:
- I added a light glow on the outside of the map to show the water going deeper from the shore
- I added a light yellowish glow on the inside of the map to show the beaches
So far I have a pretty good start for my world. Now I’ll have to start filling the world with fauna, flora, people, cities, and so on. But that’s the next step.
If you want to learn more about creating maps with Campaign Cartographer, watch the series of videos available here: Campaign Cartographer Video Tutorials
Till next time! (once I add a new page, this page will link to the next)