Tuesday, 22 December 2015

[worldbuilding] Discovering old maps part 2

Having discovered my old maps and deciding to rework them, I continue on my path to create a new.. old world

Part One

The Canvas

To really get a feel for what I was doing, I gathered all my maps and looked over them, drew out sketches of things, very very general sketches.. making sure certain issues were dealt with..

The first was simple world physics. The Original Coyn World was far smaller, the sun would pass overhead which would mean very long days, very hot days.. or the sun would need to move so fast you could watch it shift shadows. So I needed to 'set' the sun to match the more current world maps which I worked on the physics for months before I got it all right.

So the sun rises and falls on the rim of the coyn, but now a new problem.. in the centre of the world is a spire (because remember, that this world was more directly a copy of Terry Pratchett's Discworld). So with only a 30. degree rise, the spire would blot out the sun on the other side of the world, making winter in some areas deadly.. while interesting.. was going to break too many maps..
Zoom in to see details.

So I adjusted the rules of the sun, 40. degree, sped it up slightly to ensure an earth approximate temperature, checked the maths, then started measuring the spire. (see the little image below.. it had to get shrunk..60%)

As you can see from the image, the spire shadow would (from the 16 different months) only cover half of the world in winters shadow.

Now, since I was going to use the zoomed in section, I needed to ensure that any nearby mountain ranges might not interfere with the suns rays.. there was.. you can see the mountain with the green sun lines to determine its midday ranges..

Next, I plotted out the suns direction to give me some workable lines. I no longer had the cad program I used before and I calculated the time it would take to make a new program to work the maths, would exceed the time I would take to simply draw lines on a map myself. So I drew the lines myself.
One Shadow Map

I'm not going to bore you with 16 variants of map, just one. What I did was work out the distances the sun was from the local hills, and the height of the sun at 9am, midday and 3pm, and "shifted" the mountain peaks lines in an art program and filled in the shadows with a darker colour.

Shadow Lines, Shadow Months & Sun Levels
Then I blended all images together to give me a colour coded map for the 4 months of summer, winter, spring and autumn so I could determine biomes. If an area got 2-3 hours of sun, mid-autumn, but remained in the shadow of the local mountains, its going to be a colder region, and will less likely to have temperate forests, so I'd colour those zones with a light green/blue, if it got sun all 18 hours of the day, all times of the year, its going to be a desert.

Rainfall Levels
Next I started adding Water. Simple google searches explain how water evaporates off the ocean, flows across the land, then when it hits mountains it becomes rain and produces forests and rivers and the like. So I mapped out the general flow of the clouds and map a map of that.

Forests in Green, Deserts in Yellow
Next I made sure my river beds on the original maps matched the flow of water coming from the mountains. I had made some mistakes, but mostly it was ok, so I matched the rivers to the shadows to the biomes and drew in the spots where forests could grow (not would.. just could).

Then I scanned all these, and overlayed them in the art program, and this gave me the 'concept' of where the forests 'would be' before humans started chopping them down and building places.

Not that its easy, but you might be able to see that my original 1991 maps have quite different forest lines to the new more legit maps
Lots of little trees, all those green dots.. (yes I'm using copics)

So far so good.


So my new map now has a very cool desert like terrain, not exactly Sahara, but more Australia/Arabia/Egypt, so that unlocks some opportunities. Also the larger expanses of plains on the east, could be used for some battles.. European style.. and now the central valleys are all cold.. snowy cold.. so I can also make some cool little Russian/Mongolian Taiga locations.

Plot-hooks

The Main draw card for this island, is the History. 12 gigantic Ziggurats from an ancient civilization of 9ft tall crocodile people, built of gold, (based on the 'cities of gold t.v. series when I was a kid). Heroes across the world catch boats here, travel through the cities, spend their money, and some return from the ziggurats with a gold brick the size of a dog, enough to retire the entire group, if they so wish.
My notes are sketchy as to what they contain, but I have some maps and a few pages of notes, so I just need to piece it together (and re-watch the t.v. series to see if it sparks any memories). the main point comes from one line at the top of the page:

"The Ziggurats are heavily guarded, not by living creatures, as they would have died eons ago, no but by traps, ingenious deadly traps, that are designed for 9ft tall priests, who know the correct path, to be able to traverse safely, at the right time, in the right season."

My notes only included traps that players came across, (I used to make everything up as I went). Chessboard battles, Illusionary chasms, a Cart-Voodoo puzzle and some giant cat statues that shoot lazers? So now I just need some ingenious traps to flesh out the rest of the rooms..

Lastly, because I never got around to finishing it, I'm putting the dead remains of one of my old roleplay groups, in a set of Crypts that guard ancient treasures that they collected

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