Forum member Gonzalo (pool7) has some spare ProFantasy products that he is generously giving away to the community. Post in this thread on the forum to get a chance to win a Symbol Set 1, an Annual Vol 4 or Vol 5 or a Tome of Ultimate Mapping.
It contains much more information than previous maps, including trade codes and information on population density and industrial capacity. Printed in full color, on laminated paper, at a size of 96cm by 68cm (about 38″ by 26.5″), it is a stunning piece of art. The map is completely in English, set up for international appeal.
And did you know? In Cosmographer 3 you can import the data of ANY official Traveller sector and build a sector map in seconds. That was the basis on which 13 Mann elaborated to create the new Spinward Marches map.
Mark Fulford and I formed ProFantasy Software back in 1993. At that time, Mark sold CAD systems (computers with pre-installed software) and I had just finished university. We are both keen gamers, and the idea of combining Mark’s knowledge of CAD with roleplaying to create campaign maps was attractive. The difficulty was finding a CAD program which was even vaguely close in price was the main problem. Enter Mike Riddle, creator of AutoCAD and later FastCAD and EasyCAD. He was willing to take a risk on us, allowing us to have a license to FastCAD at a price which enabled us to resell it to gamers, and only 200 or so licenses all told. We simply removed dimensioning, an essential feature for CAD designers, but not so important for gamers.
Over the years Mike has rewritten the software for his customers, but also taking into account our customers and ideas, improving the interface and functionality for both standard CAD users and cartographers. Next week, for the first time, Mark and I will be visiting Mike in person out in Phoenix, partly to come with new ideas for the next version, but mainly because we’ve never met despite long conversations and creative endeavours over nearly 20 years. One other person who worked with FastCAD is Peter Olsson, who then created most of the code for our add-ons and added buckets of functionality to the core program. Peter has worked in the ProFantasy offices and also with Mike in person, and he’ll be joining us.
It’s a long-delayed meeting, and I’m looking forward to it.
[STOP PRESS: Mike Schley, who has created a new overland style for CC3+ lives in Phoenix, and we'll be meeting him to discuss future cartography projects.]
The history of CAD and Mike’s company Evolution Computing
[Ed: This is a map created by Rigtje Schootstra, Leviathus on the forum]
It’s world map time! These maps are from my project Lion Head. The world is called Eterna.
Below the first map, made with Campaign Cartographer 3 (using the Mercator Style), which is based on my hand drawn map (see below this map). The position of the continents is a bit different than my original drawing, but I had to fit them in the two spheres without shrinking the map too much. Most of the place names and political borders are still placeholders.
The map I drew in Photoshop. Here you can see the names of the continents more clearly.
One of the things I like most with making maps is when you have to decide where your different countries and cities will be placed. But how can you do this in a convincing way? Where shall you put your cities? As always we have to look at our own history and learn.
If you look back in our history nearly all early cities started out close to water. Before we had good roads waterways were the highways for travel and transportation. To be able to start up a city you needed a surplus of goods and food, so not everyone needed to work. So that some people in the community could start doing the administrative tasks to keep it all together. Living close to water made those things easier to happen.
When that happens a smaller tribal village can evolve into something larger, a city, and in the end a great kingdom or empire. Of course this description is very simplified, but still you can say that this is the foundation behind the growth of a society. Maybe you have to add in things like learning to write, minting coins and technological advancements in building techniques. But without a surplus in production those other things will never kick off.
So how can you use this knowledge in your mapping?. Well when I make my maps I usually wait to plot out borders for countries and their cities until all the terrain is done. When the terrain is done I try to locate places in the map where larger cities might lie. If you look at the example map below I’ve marked out some locations with red circles. Those places are where I probably would put the larger cities in the map.
But not all cities are located close to water, so where should you put the rest of the cities?. To find out this the next thing to do is to draw roads between the large cities. When you’re done have a look at the map for crossroads, crossroads are typical places for a city or town. A place where people travelling to and from different locations meet, and goods can be sold. In the example map below I’ve added some roads and cities at the crossroads.
We now have a good base for our kingdom with some logically planned cities and towns. Next step is to continue adding in more towns, but this time towns that might not feel logically placed in the beginning. When a kingdom continue to evolve other more rare resources gets more and more important, like gold, silver, iron etc. Try to add towns in places close to where they can acquire resources for the kingdom. Also think of how the goods will be transported to the main towns. If you place a small town in the mountains where they mine silver and you have a river close by they would probably found another town next to the river so they easily can transport the silver, instead of transporting it all by the road. In the example map below I’ve added in some towns where they can collect resources.
You can continue this way and add in more and more towns. After adding the towns you add in more roads, more roads means more crossroads that leads to more towns. If you try to build up your map this way the placing of your towns will feel logical which will give you a better and more believing map. And while mapping you might even come up with an idea or two for an adventure.
Last Friday’s Deadlands Reloaded campaign session saw a tough battle against a Chinook – a weather-controlling cross between a wolverine and a Kodiak bear in the Deadlands setting. It was fought on the shore of a mountain lake and I created this battle map for the occasion, making special use of the snow and ice bitmap fills includes in Symbol Set 2 – Fantasy Floorplans. The tree symbols are from CSUAC.
Click on the image to to download a full-size miniature-scale pdf and go to the ProFantasy forum to download the CC3 file.