View Full Version : Make This Map Yours!

Zeta Kai
2008-07-07, 12:42 AM
I made the map, now you make the setting to go with it. Got any ideas, people? It doesn't matter how crazy or out-there, if this was your campaign setting's map (which is can be, of course), what would you do with this world?

Here's the map:

2008-07-07, 01:07 AM
Start another awesome forum project to create a campaign world that never finishes!

2008-07-07, 01:15 AM
Pull all the pieces back together and grumble about those careless kids who keep running around and breaking things.

2008-07-07, 02:30 AM
Sorry to go off-topic for a moment, but what program do you use to make those maps?

Zeta Kai
2008-07-07, 07:10 AM
I use Photoshop CS3, although I believe all the functions & features that I use for these maps are available in PS6 & above. The key to painting these is the use of gradient maps, really; everything else is just difference cloud rendering, along with dodge-&-burn airbrushing. I spent a lot more time on this image that I normally do touching up a map, just to make sure that I had the perfect geography for a variety of potential campaign settings, as well as obsessive amounts of QC.

2008-07-07, 10:41 AM

I would think that, being as the entire world is made of subcontinent-or-smaller islands, that water would play an enormous part of the world. Instead of an Underdark, try an Oceanic Abyss.


-Each Island/Archipelago has its own culture that has developed due to isolation. It is only recently that they realize that there are other people living across the ocean. I would think an early Iron-agish feel for this.

-Further along, Technology has delevoped along side Magic, allowing for faster travelling, safer medical help, and increased knowledge among common peoples. However, war has been brewing for awhile. Steampunk!

-The world is connected through wide use of ships, airships, and underground travel. People mostly live good lives, but magic and technology is rare and expensive. Bronze-age.

Also, Include all the awesome things you have made so far. (Oaves/Elemental Plane of Flesh FTW!)

2008-07-07, 10:58 AM
Yeah, that plane was just awesome. I'm still probably going to use it if I ever get the chance.

I've been working on a ship-to-ship combat system. By 'been working on' I mean 'was working on a few months ago'. I'd given up on it, but I plan on continuing it again during my work on my oceanic campaign world.

2008-07-07, 11:18 AM
I don't really have much to say about a campaign setting (though I did have the idea that maybe all the islands were actually seamonsters), but I do have to say this: Awesome map.

2008-07-07, 11:22 AM
Pirates. Lots and lots of pirates.

2008-07-07, 08:45 PM
I want to use it like the Earthsea Quartet. Look the series up and read it. So much can be done with islands.

2008-08-04, 09:38 PM
Ooh! Possible plot:

The Arkhelian Empire (the big island near the center, plus bits of a few of the smaller ones) is falling swiftly. The last Empress has fallen to an assasin's garotte, and her generals, children, courtiers, and distant relatives are all fighting to become dominant, tearing the Empire apart.

While all of this is going on, the monstrous tribes native to the jungles of central Arkhelia are rampaging, pirates raid the seacoasts, and all sorts of unsavory psycopaths make life unpleasant for everyone else.

Unnoticed, the Dark Lord K'Thez-Draanok, warlock supreme, raises a vast army of undead and devils in the northern realm known as the Endless Ice. With that, and the savage Iceberg Tribes under his command, K'Thez-Draanok begins to conquer the islands left in chaos by Arkhelia's downfall. K'Thez-Draanok's shadow is falling across the world, but that is not all...

The seas are rising, slowly but surely. With the rising waterline come Sahaguin warbands and much worse things from the watery Abyss--ocean demons, kuo-toa, aboleth, and aquatic horrors to terrible to name, strike the people around the changing beachfront.

Into this world step the PCs.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-08-04, 10:10 PM
Or, for something different, real life never developed on land, and the entire campaign is under water.

Zeta Kai
2008-08-04, 10:46 PM
Wow, I'm flattered & impressed that anyone remembered this thing. Cool. I was hoping for some more views/comments.

Great ideas, Yorgelay; that's the kind of creative energy that I was looking for. You, like anyone else on the forum, can freely use this map. It's for anyone who has a great idea to go with a detailed world map. All I ask is that you share your concept with us here, so that others can see your thought & be inspired, too.

I know that sounds like hippy-dippy talk, but I don't care.

2008-08-04, 10:48 PM
It seems peninsular. :smalltongue:

2008-08-05, 08:14 PM
I'd call it the Eberron-Five-Hundred-Years-Or-So-After-The-Last-War-Started-Up-Again-And-Another-Catastrophic-Cyre-Like-Incident-Blew-The-World-To-Bits Campaign.

I've always wanted to do Eberron......In the FUTURE

2008-08-06, 11:24 AM
One hundred years ago, a kingdom of all sentient races, united and strong, succeeded in making their perfect civilization. They created magical devices for themselves to do their work and made sure that every sentient on the planet had the means by which to live comfortably. Having done this, the people of the kingdom shook their fists at God, demonstrating that they could do better by themselves than they ever could restricted by his own law.

Seeing this, God was saddened at what had happened to His people, and began anew. He allowed the oceans to breach their boundaries of sand, washing away the kingdom's comfortable abodes in the valleys of the world. Only the few that heeded a prior warning to leave for high ground survived. Now, the waters have begun to recede very slowly, a few meters each year, and every year new caves can be found in the mountains, new plains uncovered, and great ruins are revealed beneath what once were islands. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the survivors are eagerly exploring every new discovery, elated at the return of their world, but dreading what it may mean to abandon their seafaring lives.

2008-08-06, 01:11 PM
How long does it take you to make stuff like this, Zeta? I've been working on a campaign world for a while now, and I've considered investing in an actual map-making program (there are a bunch floating around the interwebs), but I haven't seen any that make their results seem as fitting to D&D campaign settings as the maps I've seen you do. Do you have to put a ton of time into them?

2008-08-06, 09:35 PM
Ooooor... Using the things that Battlefield said:

-Each Island/Archipelago has its own culture that has developed due to isolation. It is only recently that they realize that there are other people living across the ocean. I would think an early Iron-agish feel for this.

-Further along, Technology has delevoped along side Magic, allowing for faster travelling, safer medical help, and increased knowledge among common peoples. However, war has been brewing for awhile. Steampunk!

-The world is connected through wide use of ships, airships, and underground travel. People mostly live good lives, but magic and technology is rare and expensive. Bronze-age.

Airships. Lots and lots of airships.

Let's say that the lower reaches of the islands are mostly wild jungles filled with all sorts of nasty creatures, people, diseases, and other foul things.

For the small pockets of civilization that are in this world (the underground halls of the dwarves, the cities of the humans and halflings, elven alpine forests, and sea-nomad flotillas, etc.) stay connected through flight.

Long-range gliders, domesticated sky whales, magically or alchemically powered zeppelins, hot air baloons, and more are used to maintain the routes of trade, communication, and all other necessaries for civilization to continue.

About a century ago, the city-state of Khern (somewhere in, yet again, the big island in the middle), began to slowly slowly colonize the lower reaches of its island. This has brought in slaves, spices, timber, exotic animals, and gold that is not under the control of the dwarven halls.

Consequently, Khern has had the funds to expand. In a series of swift surprise attacks, they took the nearest dwarven fortress and used it to equip an army with a single intention: building an empire.

It took fifty years of nearly constant warfare, but it accomplished it. The Khernish Empire rules most of the World Ocean's central islands. The jungles and beaches have been tamed under the Khernish legions. Emperor Octavyan Saizaar rules over his empire with a beloved iron fist. The wars still continue. Outlying provinces need to be subdued, further islands are there to conquer, local bandits or monsters take it upon themselves to prey on Imperial citizens.

The air traffic over the World Ocean has, if anything, quintupled over the last century. Sky piracy has grown equally. Out of lawless Icemaw Hold, some say the last truly free dwarven hall in the world, air pirates fly all over the islands and seas, fighting Imperial privateers, preying on merchant vessels, and making their way in the Golden Age of Flight.

Into this world step (or, rather, fly) the PCs...

2008-08-06, 09:48 PM
A world where travel by sea or sky is by far to dangerous for any simple vessel to traverse. Violent storms and creatures of ridiculous power live in sky and sea, but on land there is little threat to life and travel. Wanderers and traders between Islands are by far more rare than Dragons themselves. Each Island is a world of it's own with a different power source. (Read magic source.) Some places a teeming with Eldritch energy, others seem to be aligned under the right stars for Divine power, or other Boiling with raw Arcana in the air. [One Island no magic at all would function save for Trues-naming] Every island would be another campaign setting essentially, and they would all be mini-worlds. "Giant Ice Mountain Island" would be the starting point, all the players would be recruited from different Islands, ergo having different powers and backgrounds. They would be working shipping, and defending of a Great and Powerful Ship prepared to face the worst, with more enchantments than all of Boccob's great gardens.

... As for what they are doing? Making money by being one of the only inter-island traders. What are they fighting? Besides the Elements and Crazy Beasts? Pirates, and possibly the governments.

BBEG? The Governments slowly building tariffs and taxes. Eventually they break into war. The Captain who hired the PCs has been smuggling information, political knowledge, and powerful artifacts. With enough information, wealth, and power he can rule the world. Fight him? Or continue to work for him as member of the highest cabinet this side of the Astral Plane?

That's just what comes to mind.

Zeta Kai
2008-08-06, 10:12 PM
How long does it take you to make stuff like this, Zeta? I've been working on a campaign world for a while now, and I've considered investing in an actual map-making program (there are a bunch floating around the interwebs), but I haven't seen any that make their results seem as fitting to D&D campaign settings as the maps I've seen you do. Do you have to put a ton of time into them?

I just use Photoshop. Now, I have a degree in Digital Media, & have been drawing digitally for ~15 years now, so I'm not the right person to measure oneself against. I have developed a system by which I can get a decent map generated in 5-10 minutes, but that's only if I don't care what the landmasses are shaped like. That's helpful for developing a large number of planets, landscapes, or just raw map elements very quickly. If I want to really craft the landscape by hand (which I did for this map in particular), then I will spend a lot more time on it, raising & lowering the landscape, which takes 1-2 hours. This one I believe took just over an hour, all told, including adding the scale, saving out a JPG, uploading it to PhotoBucket, & writing the OP. Most of that is nit-picky tweaks which only make a real difference at full resolution.

As for all of these descriptions, so far, they are all great. No, I'm not stealing anybody's ideas. This map is for you guys to use, freely. I have all the ideas that I need, & I wanted to give something back. If the demand is there, I may make more maps.

2008-08-06, 11:40 PM
I want to use it like the Earthsea Quartet. Look the series up and read it. So much can be done with islands.

There was a fourth book!? Otherwise I was thought the same thing.

That aside I'd probly make it a midieval technology level. Large land areas would have basic midieval themed cities except always in a summer type atmosphere (except in the mountains) because of tropical weather. The smaller islands would have a more tropical feel to them and lack much of the technology, but not becasue they don't know how to do it, but because they lack the need for it due to small community size (not worth the work required to make it). Primitives would live on man made islands (such as linked reed platforms that buildings are on that could move with ocean current within a certain area) and be at about the technology level of the east indies when they were discovered by the europeans. The people who live on land would have most technology focused on seafaring while the most profitable (and common) proffesion in magic would be weather working. The islands would have mostly free trading, but all would mostly be their own kingdoms. Wildlife would be tropical/ocean themed with many large sea monsters (for epic fights while out to sea in armed ships). Pirates would also exist around the main islands and the world outside the map would be considered an endless sea.


2008-08-07, 03:51 PM
What's the size of the map? The scale's a little ambiguous. If it's in miles, then the whole map is about the size of the UK and Ireland, which would make for an interesting, if condensed, world.

Then again the whole of Middle Earth was roughly comparable to Europe, so size obviously doesn't make a difference :smallwink:

Hmmm... mabye something to do with wars due to population pressure between the islands, as well as encroaching merfolk hordes, as the seas rise ever higher?

2008-08-07, 04:42 PM
Edit: More Detailed version-

Map with continent names (if this is not acceptable for you Zeta, I will delete it)-

The Islands-
This is where most of the campaign will occur. The large mountain houses the ancient prison of Father Llymic. The glacial ice has slowly been moving down the sides of the mountain, forcing some dwarven mines to move. His brood has also been harassing villages that are on the mountain side, forcing them to retreat to the bottom.
Most of this island is populated by mixed cities of elves, dwarves, humans and halflings. Orcs and goblinoids control the northern reaches, and slowly campaign downwards. The dwarven cities pushed out of the northern mountains now keep them at bay (current orc advancements leave them in control of the area from the most northern reaches to just above the O in Madjaro). The elves generally keep control of the forests around the cities, rather than the cities themselves.

In draconian, Ksk means sacred home. This island is in control of the evil kobolds and dragons, along with some psuedodragons, half-dragons and some humanoids that worship the dragons (Dragon Shamans, Dragonfire Adepts etc.). They generally avoid outside contact, with the kobolds mining keeping them in supply of weapons and armor, while natural animals act as food. Hunting parties leave about once a year to terrorize Yhn and Ring Island, and the kobolds and other humanoids secure extra food to the larger dragons backs.

Ring Island-
This island is very sacred to the elves, as the inner lake is one of their most holy spots. The lake is supposodly the location where there patron god, forced the sahuagin and orcs from elven lands. The island is inhabited by many species of elves, and aquatic elves live in the lake. They keep good connections with Yhn, Mohan, the West Islands and the Nunhans, but are otherwise self sufficient.
They have become used to the yearly raids by the dragons, learning good ways to hide and attack the powerful beasts. They get by with minor amounts of deaths, an dare much better off than Yhn.

This island is shaped by the yearly dragon attacks. The population, mostly dwarves and underfolk (RoDestiny) along with some gnomes and half-giants, has taken to living in caves. Many live in the south eastern area, farthest from the dragons, which allows for above ground living. The caves range from complex to a single dug out room, and many are linked with "hallways" that make them almost like underground cities. The peopling are very shy, but keep good connections with the elves of the Ring islands, as they share the wrath of the dragons.

This island is mostly unclaimed. The are is a vast jungle, besides the mountains of course, and very few settlements have been created. Those that have are very close to the shoreline and are very careful about exploration. The jungles are inhabited by monkeys, apes, large cats (jaguars and such), large snakes and many exotic books. There is a few troll settlements, although these are avoided even by the animals. There are tales of a small community of Rakshasa, although this unconfirmed. The mountains are inhabited by stone giants, and can be dangerous for adventurers and explorers alike.

These are the original homes of the Orcs and Goblinoids. They are populated by many small animals that are kept in check for hunting purposes. As far as sentient races go, if you can call them sentient, the islands are full of Orcs, Half-Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins and bugbears, while the Sahuagin control the water around them and the costs. The Orcs and Sahuagin are in agreement and have been since they were forced out of Ring Island.
The orcs hunger for more land and have led the goblinoids in attacks on Madjaro.

This is the homeland of the gnomes. They are very inventive, and only keep connections with the Dwarves of Yhn. They sell there inventions to traders, but do not give away the ways to create them. They are responsible for chain mail, alchemist's fire, tanglefoot bags and many other magical items. They live off of small farms and minimal hunting, as they believe killing too many animals is an atrocity.

This island has been empty for hundred of years. It is the home of the great Tarrasque, and has been unoccupied since it destroyed half the island in the course of a week. Many adventurers travel to the island, and few survive, even less are able to live long, if they even make it back alive. Some spend their entire lives searching for, but being unable to find, its lair.

West Islands-
These are the home to good aligned dragons, half-dragons, kobolds, and dragon worshipers. They live off the small animals and livestock living on the islands, and welcome any to come and study under the elders, as long as they are of a good alignment.

North Island-
Each of these items is aligned to a different plane. Clockwise from most north- Air, Fire, Water, Earth. Each is occupied by elementals and creatures tied to those elements. Some sentient creatures and dragons travel to the islands in order to learn more about their totem element, or to try and find out what allows them to live without sustenance, as there is very little food sources on these islands.

These islands are the home to underdark creatures. There is some magical trait that leaves the islands and the water around them completely dark. What causes this is unkown, although it is rumored to be an ancient artifact of necromatic powers. The area is dominated by Illithids, Duergar, Svirfneblin, Drow and other creatures, and also by many animals. The Illithids use their powers to slowly destroy the others by using mind control on the less powerful creatures.

On Magic
There is three types of magic: Divine, Arcane and Psionic. Each has a power source as described below.
Divine: Divine magic is the essence of deities themselves, given in small amounts to mortals. This essence is limitless, allowing the deities to give it freely to their followers.

Arcane: Arcane magic is knowledge. Sorcerers are born with it without knowing how to use it, while Wizards gain it over time. Warlocks gain this knowledge through pacts with fey and demons, along with some angels.

Duskblade- A duskblade gains his power through training. By constantly practicing with wizards and sorcerers and other duskblades they are able to cast limited amounts of spells, and learn to combine them with their blades.

Sorcerer- The sorcerer has an inherent knowledge of arcane magic. They, through their heritage, are able to use arcane magic without study, although are nowhere near as in tune with it as wizards.

Spell Thief- Spell Thieves are strange. They are able to gain arcane magic by stealing it from others, and through this gain an ability similar to that of sorcerers to cast more spells.

Warlock- The warlock gains his knowledge through pacts. By creating a pact with Fey, Demons and in some cases Angels a warlock is able to unlock the hidden knowledge of eldritch arcane magic.


Wizard- Wizards gain their magic through study and calculations. Spell books are filled with tons of calculations pinpointing exactly what is needed in order to cast a spell. By manipulating these calculations great wizards are able to create new spells that are otherwise inherent to sorcerers.

Wu Jen- The Wu Jen are very strange when it comes to magic. They gain their knowledge in the same way as wizards, but also gain supernatural abilities through the practice of keeping a personal taboo, such as avoiding meat, not cutting hair or anything of a minor nature such as that.

Psionic: Psionic magic is the power of the mind. All creatures with brains have the ability to access this power, although very many don't have the will or means to unlock it. Psionics is much different than divine and arcane magic in that it is unrelated to them. Divine and Arcane magic can be used to counter or dispel each other, or to even block the other out, while psionic magic is unaffected by this. (Design Note- No psionic/magic transparency. Anti-magic fields do not function against Psionics, and any effect stating it effects magic is most likely not effective against Psionics, although this is up to the DM. This is as explained under Variant: Psionics are different, XPH 65. Add powers as needed.)

I will probably add some more, but I am leaving it ambiguous purposefully. For classes I will use Core, Completes, XPH, and PHB2. Races all come from Races of, Core, or XPH, if not I will mark it as such. This is actually coming along better than I though.
For the spoilers under each kind of magic I will list any exceptions to the general rule for divine and psionic. For arcane it is best if everything is explained, as they are all different.