Tuesday, May 11, 2010

World Building: A Surface Map

A10 Monastery of the Holy Well
E08 St. Morol's Spring
E18 Sahuagin Lair
H14 Ruins — Plain marble shrine that is magically sturdy [Humanoids]
I31 Foursaints (a village built around a holy spring)
I29 Ruins — Plain cyclopean stone observatory (Haunted) [Giant]
I03 Ruins — Poor quality brick manor (creaky but safe) [Fungus]
I13 Temple [Human NPC group]
J05 The Still Mountain (one of only two floating mountains that remains stationary)
L11 Cylan — City with dungeon beneath [Lycanthrope]
M31 Tymestl — City with dungeon benath [Humanoid]
M07 Ruins — Burned out outpost [Animal]
M11 Ruins — Ornate brick library (haunted) [Construct]
O29 Ruins — Ornate stone keep (cursed) [Fey]
O04 Mt. Ore — Floating mountain chained to the earth by duergar to make it stationary so that they can mine it.
O12 Cythraul — City with dungeon beneath [Demon/Devil]
S02 Spring of St. Rhain
T30 Well of the Mother
U07 Monastery of the Hidden Spring
V24 Abandoned well
X32 Mine accessed via a secret tunnel [Dragon]
X08 Assassin's Guild via mouth of a volcano [Extra-planar Race]


In deciding on how the surface world should look, I did allow the underworld to guide me in two ways. Firstly, I made the assumption that anywhere there was a quarry in the underworld, there would be a mountain range above. Secondly, there would be a valley or depression anywhere a "Special" was below (assuming that these had impacted the surface in ancient times, leaving behind a geographic fingerprints):

Forests can only exist where there is water, so there had to be either a river or a spring; however, I didn't want to have very many rivers (to emphasize importance of springs and wells). Thus, I only included two.

I placed springs roughly based upon where they exist in Anglesey.

Floating mountains are wandering monster encounters — they ride the wind patterns and are constantly moving. Some follow more erratic patterns than others. The two floating mountains on the map are the only two that are stationary. One has been chained down in order to mine it, the other is stationary due to some unknown reason (note that it lies between to "specials" in the underworld beneath).

I determined what lay above each dungeon in a random manner. There were four possibilities:
  • Ruins (which I gave the greatest chance, because I thought it cool and CDD#4 has a table on ruins that I wanted to use).
  • Cities
  • Temples
  • Misc. (determined by another CDD#4 table on dungeons).
The monsters listed at these locations in brackets indicate the main occupant or the "master" of the dungeon beneath.

A (Very) Brief History

This area is known by several names:
  • Asymi Isle = ancient human name
  • Silver Isle = modern human name
  • St. Morol Isle = Afonite name
  • Glynaria = ylfe name
  • Silbental = duergar name
Elves and dwarves are known as ylfe and duergar. Both races are descended from Nephilim. As such, there is no distinction between "wood" and "dark" elves or "mountain" and "grey" dwarves. Neither are particularly trustworthy or happy about humans being on the island.

The current wave of humans are Afonites (followers of Afon(eos) and the revelation of God as Triad). They originally lived east of the island in the most north-western part of a world-spanning Afonite Empire. A massive invasion by pagan barbarians and humanoids collapsed the western half of the Empire, cutting off the colonies of the north-west. In the face of the invaders, the Afonites fled west, finally arriving at the island. They had nowhere else to flee and things looked bleak; however, following the martyrdom of the Four Martyrs and the miracles surrounding their death, the Afonites pushed the invaders off the island under the leadership of St. Morol.

Thus, everything east of the channel is occupied by pagan barbarians and humanoids (save for the Monastery of the Hidden Spring). West of the channel is wilderness with pockets of Afonite civilization.


  1. Cool map and key - is it roughly the size of Wales? I like the thumbnail history, too - lots of hooks there. Looking forward to seeing more of this kind of stuff.

  2. Out of curiosity, how did you create your map?


  3. DRW, Thanks for the kind words.

    Flynn, I use Adobe Illustrator.