Lands of Mystery


Dungeon Magazine General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

I like it! Very insteresting backstory. :)

Yuan-ti feature prominently in my ideas for the Rainlands, particularly the eastern parts:

Rainlands – The vast expanse of jungle occupying the southern continent of the Lands of Mystery is collectively known as the Rainlands, and the name is fitting for a rainforest of this size. Occupied by naga, yuan-ti, tribal gnomes, wild elves, and a vast array of other creatures both benign and hostile, the Rainlands are a wonderous and enigmatic place.

Sunken City – Deep below the waves of Lake Tympaniss lie the ruins of an ancient metropolis. This Sunken City is believed by some to have been the center of a great civilization of people that fell to corruption and was destroyed by some divine mandate—a cataclysm that split the jungle and dropped the accursed city to the bottom of a newly formed lake. The same rumors suggest that the naga and yuan-ti who dwell throughout the eastern Rainlands are the descendants of survivors from this ancient tragedy, tainted by the deeds of their ancestors. The truth of the matter is unlikely to ever be known for sure, as the murky waters (and the enormous aquatic beasts who now dwell at the bottom) seem keen to hold onto their secrets forever.

Lake Tympaniss – Though large enough to be considered more of a freshwater sea, Lake Tympaniss’s size is possibly the least noteworthy of its many wonders. Lying at the bottom of its murkiest depths are the ruins of an ancient city of unknown origin, the object of much speculation among historians. More mysterious by far, though, are the faint tones and chimes of unearthly music that can be noticed by anyone who spends time beneath the waves. The native people never go underwater if they can avoid it, citing legends of great monsters who sleep fitfully in the depths, but in recent weeks a team of divine scholars and explorers has set out for the city of Jaquarta, eager to prove a theoretical link between the fall of the Sunken City and the eerie music of the lake.

Jaquarta – The native inhabitants of the Rainlands are many and varied, but rarely do they settle in large groups. The foraging tribes of gnomes and the warbands of their wild elf and jungle orc allies have little interest in claiming territory, choosing instead to live their lives on the move to avoid being pinned down by the naga and yuan-ti raiders that also dwell here. However, when Camlin the Voyager discovered the Tympaniss River and the region was introduced to outside civilization, the need for a central trading port (and a central trade authority) became evident. Jaquarta is not just the capitol city of this unlikely confederacy…it is its only city.

In case it isn't yet apparent: I'm eager to share relevant bits of the gazetteer while the map is new. So if there's a particular location that you want to know more about, just ask. :)


Dear Mr. West,

I know it's been said in this post already but I felt the need to reinforce the sentiment of WOW! in regards to the Lands of Mystery map. I'm about to start a new campaign after taking some time off and was kicking around if I should go with a published world or do something else (especially with Wizards announcement of the Points of Light notion) and when I saw you map the decision was made.

This is just a fantastic piece of work!!!! Now to hear you are possibly putting out a gazetteer to go along with the map just is fantastic news.

Couple of questions/suggestions for yourself and the community here:

1. Have you or anyone else given thought as to if any published Dungeon adventures would fit into some locations here?

2. Have you thought about getting a Paypal account for donations? I know I would gladly donate if it would help get more info based on the map. (or just to say thanks...)

3. Ever think about focusing on keeping this a generic setting but publish/put forth suggestions on the type of adventures certain areas could support? I think there could be a market for an almost ready made setting for DM's who don't have the time to create a setting from scratch but want the flexibility to flesh out something partially started. There really isn't a product like that on the market.

4. Any suggestion on where a community of Snow Elves would fit in to?

Thanks again for this great piece of work.


I'd be curious for any notes you have on Starcrest, CW. The name was very inspiring for me. I picture Starcrest as being a tower on a point of land jutting out into the sea, where a particularily bright star comes to fall at certain times of the year, so the symbol for Starcrest is a tower with a star above it.

There might also be other astonomical markers at certain distances along the point of land, to mark where the star falls at other times of the year.

I imagined it a very ancient structure, that was not built by the current civilization, though maybe they use it. I hadn't decided if the tower was currently occupied (by people), or if it was abandoned and taken over by something the PCs have to fight.

Liberty's Edge

It could be an ancient observatory; by default the place it's located could be where the clearest night sky can be found, to offer unobstructed views of celestial phenomena.


I was imagining something similar, Heathy. Like sunny SoCal, except without the smog, and maybe cooler as well.

Liberty's Edge

Inhabited by ancient inbred scions of the original gnomish creators.


Another section I'm deeply intrigued by is the Deathcalm Sea.

Presumably it gets its name from being deathly calm, except of course that there is no earthly reason that a sea at that part of a planet (quite near the northern end) should be calm, according to geology and planetary physics.

Therefore, there must be some other reason for the sea being calm.

Or maybe I should just join Sutter over in the Science Dorks section....


Nice map, kind of cool nod to old-school toolbox type of gaming and worldbuilding. "Here's your map now start playing."

I hope that there will be electronic version so I can add all sort own markings an erase Boccob and other Greyhawk specific things from it.


Have to add my voice to all the praise for this map!

I'm probably gonna be setting a campaign in the Lands of Mystery in the near future, as well. I can't wait to see the gazetteer. One of the things I've missed in the proliferation of setting books is a bare-bones map-and-basic-descriptions "toolbox" world. It was always my favorite kind of thing, anyway. :)

I'd also like to suggest that the Paizo-folk talk to the WotC-folk and see about releasing the 'pre-map download' Maps of Mystery connected with the Lands of Mystery as a separate .pdf file (or just put ALL the Lands of Mystery-related maps into a single file). Depending on the call for such a thing, it might even be worthwhile to consider a hard-copy product collecting the assorted Maps of Mystery involved, the poster map, and Chris' gazetteer write-up as an all-in-one product. Hell, I'd pay for it. :)

Speaking of the pre-download' maps, for anyone who might not be aware, the "Guildport" map from Dungeon #85 and the "Red Dragon's Lair" map from Dungeon #102 are available on Chris' website.

Chris: Is there any chance that you might be able to put some of the other maps on your site? I suppose you'd have to get permission from WotC or someone, but it would really be nice to be able to get hold of them to finish out the stuff related to the Lands of Mystery map. Also, do you have any suggestions as to somewhere one might place the town of Stillsquall from "Box of Flumph" in the Lands of Mystery? It's always been one of my favorite of your maps, and I've used it as a "base town" for several groups.

Regards,
Darrell King

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for all the kind words! :)

krocha wrote:
1. Have you or anyone else given thought as to if any published Dungeon adventures would fit into some locations here?

I haven't, but since most Dungeon adventures are designed to be easily inserted into different campaign settings with few changes, it shouldn't be hard.

krocha wrote:
2. Have you thought about getting a Paypal account for donations? I know I would gladly donate if it would help get more info based on the map. (or just to say thanks...)

I've never really thought about that, but my general inclination is to make sure any money I receive for my work is based on an actual product sold, rather than a gift or donation born out of a sense of gratitude and goodwill. I love the gratitude and goodwill, of course, but they are rewards in and of themselves.

If I ever find myself in a situation where I need contributions from fans to be able to keep producing maps, I might consider something like that--but I've been fortunate and successful in my working relationship with Paizo, WotC, and others, so I don't anticipate that I'll ever need donations to do so. I'd much rather bring my own map products to market and make them available for sale, so that folks who wish to support my career can do so by buying my maps directly.

krocha wrote:
3. Ever think about focusing on keeping this a generic setting but publish/put forth suggestions on the type of adventures certain areas could support? I think there could be a market for an almost ready made setting for DM's who don't have the time to create a setting from scratch but want the flexibility to flesh out something partially started. There really isn't a product like that on the market.

With the gazetteer in hand, this Lands of Mystery map should fill that role pretty well, I think. I tried to make sure that people would have enough useful setting ideas in the Lands of Mystery to keep a campaign going for long time in the absense of the print version of Dungeon magazine.

In any case, WotC now owns the copyright on this map, so I can't effectively publish supporting materials on my own even if I wanted to. But that's OK, because part of the allure of this map, I think, is in the idea that it won't be developed further. Players can make up whatever information that want about it, and it won't be invalidated by any "official" materials. Even the free gazetteer is just a bunch of suggestions.

It is possible, I suppose, that future Maps of Mystery in WotC's online continuation of Dungeon will refer to places on the Lands of Mystery map. I would ask you folks, though: is that something you'd like to see? Or should no further places from the Lands of Mystery poster be mapped? My plan was to leave these cities and dungeons and wilderness places undeveloped, but enough people have been asking for more that I might consider revisiting them. Would that be a good thing, or a bad thing?

krocha wrote:
4. Any suggestion on where a community of Snow Elves would fit in to?

I'm not really familiar with snow elves, but I'd guess from the name that they'd feel at home within the Snowcrown Mountains. They could have a huge civiization along the coast of the Frostmere, and few in the rest of the Lands would ever know of it.

Sean, Minister of KtSP wrote:
I'd be curious for any notes you have on Starcrest, CW. The name was very inspiring for me. I picture Starcrest as being a tower on a point of land jutting out into the sea, where a particularily bright star comes to fall at certain times of the year, so the symbol for Starcrest is a tower with a star above it.

I like your ideas!

Here's what I had written about it:

Starcrest – High up on a bluff overlooking the ocean stands a citadel of crystal and polished granite, with tall spires and great observatories full of arcane instruments aimed at the sky. Ancient magic of the elves infuses this place and preserves it (and all those within, if the legends are true) against the ravages of time. Untouched by war or strife, the Starcrest Citadel is a little-known bastion of learning where, it is said, elven loremasters guard the ways of passage to their ancestral home and record the destiny of all living things.

Regarding the Deathcalm Sea: I had originally intended to make note of the curious and perhaps magical nature of the calm, suggesting a connection to Deep Aquilon but leaving it to the imagination of the DM to create a reason for it--but I seem to have left it out of the description...

Deathcalm Sea – Sailors regard this sea with an unspeakable terror and avoid it at any cost, for those that find themselves becalmed within the tranquil waters never find their way out. The center of the sea is said to be littered with ever-drifting vessels and the remains of crews who lost their minds to the stillness.

Deep Aquilon – The realms below the waves have their own diverse array of cultures and denizens, most of which remain a mystery to the surface-dwellers. Deep Aquilon, the “Jewel of the Undersea” is one of the only places in the depths that is able to accommodate air-breathers for any length of time, and as a result it has achieved some recognition from surface scholars. Magical “tideportals” allow the rulers of this city to safely transport people and goods to and from the surface, facilitating some limited trade and communication for as long as they wish to maintain the passage. The sea elves call this breathtaking city “High Aquilon”, because of its lofty location atop a tall underwater mountain. They widely resent the decision of their ruling council to maintain it as neutral ground and allow other deep-sea dwellers—even Sahuagin—to freely enter the city.

Darrell wrote:
Depending on the call for such a thing, it might even be worthwhile to consider a hard-copy product collecting the assorted Maps of Mystery involved, the poster map, and Chris' gazetteer write-up as an all-in-one product. Hell, I'd pay for it. :)

I think that would be pretty cool, but it would be up to WotC.

That said, I do have plans to release a similar sort of product on my own, hopefully in about a year, set in a different fantasy world with all new maps. I'm hoping Paizo will be involved in that publication, but it's far too early to tell. They have their hands full with Pathfinder these days, after all.

Darrell wrote:
Chris: Is there any chance that you might be able to put some of the other maps on your site? I suppose you'd have to get permission from WotC or someone, but it would really be nice to be able to get hold of them to finish out the stuff related to the Lands of Mystery map.

That's a possibility. I do have the right to exhibit the maps in my own portiolio, and the companies I've worked for have always been gracious about the work shown in my portfolio site. That said, my storage space and bandwidth are currently very limited. I'm planning to update my website and make it more robust in the (hopefully) near future, though, so when that happens I may be able to create a section dedicated to the Lands of Mystery and the maps related to it.

Darrell wrote:
Also, do you have any suggestions as to somewhere one might place the town of Stillsquall from "Box of Flumph" in the Lands of Mystery? It's always been one of my favorite of your maps, and I've used it as a "base town" for several groups.

Hmm. If you want to add it to the map, I'd suggest the coastline southeast of Creeper's Lodge--across the water from Northern Elmwood. If you want to pick a location to swap out for Stillsquall, I suggest the town Far Cove. It's got that "way out on the edge of civilization" feel to it.

Thanks for your questions! :)

Scarab Sages

Christopher West wrote:

In case it isn't yet apparent: I'm eager to share relevant bits of the gazetteer while the map is new. So if there's a particular location that you want to know more about, just ask. :)

In that case, What can you tell me about the Solajrin Theopolis? I'm particularly curious, because that name is just one letter away from a homebrew idea I once had - the Solarin Imperium, which was going to be a big, multi-racial empire similar in structure to the Empire from Frank Herbert's Dune.

Anyway, as for the Theopolis, I'm curious as to what you intended.

By the way, I was consulting my books over the weekend to try and find a third deity for my aforementioned Three Wandering Gods. I might go with Bres from the Celtic myth cycle. Although I am also thinking of throwing a goddess into the mix, maybe one from Persia culture.

Scarab Sages

To add to my above entry, if anyone has suggestions as to the third god in my little wandering triumvirate of Wotan (Odin)/Prometheus/?, then feel free to suggest.


Christopher West wrote:
It is possible, I suppose, that future Maps of Mystery in WotC's online continuation of Dungeon will refer to places on the Lands of Mystery map. I would ask you folks, though: is that something you'd like to see? Or should no further places from the Lands of Mystery poster be mapped? My plan was to leave these cities and dungeons and wilderness places undeveloped, but enough people have been asking for more that I might consider revisiting them. Would that be a good thing, or a bad thing?

I'm rather two-mided on that. I actually like that there's no further 'planned' support, in that it lets me place things the way I want 'em, and use things that catch my eye from other places (such as the Stillsquall map I mentioned earlier) without fear of later 'official' contradiction. On the other hand, I absolutely LOVE your maps, Chris, and would relish further maps of towns, cities, dungeons, etc. from the Lands of Mystery. In fact, it's one of the few things that might induce me to shell out some $$ for WotC's online version of Dungeon.

Christopher West wrote:
I do have the right to exhibit the maps in my own portiolio, and the companies I've worked for have always been gracious about the work shown in my portfolio site. That said, my storage space and bandwidth are currently very limited. I'm planning to update my website and make it more robust in the (hopefully) near future, though, so when that happens I may be able to create a section dedicated to the Lands of Mystery and the maps related to it.

I'll keep a hopeful eye out. :) It doesn't even need to be ALL of the Lands of Mystery-related maps - just the ones from before the Dungeon map download pdfs started. It'd be nice to be able to get some of the earlier ones (Town of Deepwatch, Pirate Sea Cave Stronghold, Githzerai Monastery, etc.) without tracking down back issues.

(RE: The Stillsquall map in the Lands of Mystery)

Christopher West wrote:
Hmm. If you want to add it to the map, I'd suggest the coastline southeast of Creeper's Lodge--across the water from Northern Elmwood. If you want to pick a location to swap out for Stillsquall, I suggest the town Far Cove. It's got that "way out on the edge of civilization" feel to it.

Far Cove it is! :) Its 'edge of civilization' quality, combine with its proximity to a couple of decent adventuring locales make it a perfect 'base' for a group of adventurers.

I really can't say enough how much I enjoy this map, Chris. It's started me thinking and planning in a way that many other recent RPG products (that I've spent FAR more to get) haven't. Thank you.

Regards,
Darrell King


Aberzombie wrote:
To add to my above entry, if anyone has suggestions as to the third god in my little wandering triumvirate of Wotan (Odin)/Prometheus/?, then feel free to suggest.

The Wind Duke(s) from Chinese mythology. :)


Or Red Phoenix the guardian of the South from Chinese mythology. I know they have a write up of the phoenix in one of the Monster Manuals, and you could give her a human form with the flowing scarf thing of Chinese angels.

Liberty's Edge

Aberzombie wrote:
In that case, What can you tell me about the Solajrin Theopolis? I'm particularly curious, because that name is just one letter away from a homebrew idea I once had - the Solarin Imperium, which was going to be a big, multi-racial empire similar in structure to the Empire from Frank Herbert's Dune.

Sounds cool!

Solajrin Theopolis – Built in the shadow of the Graven Monolith, an enormous relic thought by many to have a godly origin, the Solajrin Theopolis is a center of religious study and other academia. This city-state’s Divine Council, a governing body representing the recognized faiths of the land, has one seat for each deity in the pantheon—including the less benevolent ones. Four seats stand empty at all times, representing two deities that perished in the Godwars at the dawn of recorded time, one who prohibits her faithful from holding power over others, and another whose mortal followers are forbidden to reveal themselves.

Graven Monolith – This structure is the definitive wonder of the ancient world: a miles-high pillar of unbreakable stone, carved by some unknown force with a spiral formation of unidentifiable runes. It stands far out in the ocean, but can still be seen from land, and seems to be embedded deep within the continental shelf. Scholars believe it is a gift from the gods, or perhaps a test of the ingenuity of sentient folk—a challenge to see if the people of this land can decipher the primal language of the multiverse. Others say it is a bridge to the divine planes, and argue that climbing the spiral “road” of runes would bring one before the creators of the world. The enigma seems unlikely to be solved anytime soon.

Also related:
Godfall Woods – This forest is a holy place to many sects of the Solajrin Theopolis; many legends claim it is a site where the gods themselves would come down from the heavens to delight their mortal followers. Certainly some magic or divine power is at work here, for at night the stars seem to come alive to those watching from the glades and clearings of this forest, and meteors, comets, planets, moons, and all manner of astral movements can be seen with astonishing clarity here—as if magnified—like no where else in the world. Some say the Celestial planes overlap the Prime Material here, forming a sort of magical meeting-of-ways, and the region is thus a huge attraction to sages, astronomers, and mystic theurges.

As for your third deity--how about Lilith?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith

"passage in the 13th century document called the Treatise on the Left Emanation says that there are two Liliths, the lesser being married to the great demon Asmodeus."

Darrell wrote:
On the other hand, I absolutely LOVE your maps, Chris, and would relish further maps of towns, cities, dungeons, etc. from the Lands of Mystery. In fact, it's one of the few things that might induce me to shell out some $$ for WotC's online version of Dungeon.

Thanks! Nothing's set in stone yet, but it appears that WotC is interested in increasing the frequency of the Maps of Mystery. I'm rearranging my work schedule to free up some time for that (and other projects), and I think it's going to work out well.

Their online version of Dungeon is likely going to be free for a few months, from what I hear, so you'll be able to see six or more new maps before you have to make that decision.

Darrell wrote:
It'd be nice to be able to get some of the earlier ones (Town of Deepwatch, Pirate Sea Cave Stronghold, Githzerai Monastery, etc.) without tracking down back issues.

You've just named three of my own favorites, so I think it's safe to say they'll be added to my gallery at some point. :)

Thanks guys!


I had thought that the submission agreement had any submissions belonging to Paizo. WotC only has the rights to the Dragon and Dungeon trademarks, well and of course the Dungeons and Dragons game stuff that isn't open content.

An original map that was not connected to the worlds they do hold the copyrights for, would therefore belong to Paizo. And with the making of the Lands of Mystery, you have certainly declared that this is new turf.

Of course I could be wrong, I hadn't read through the complete submission guidelines. And if WotC wanted to lay claim to it, I guess they could say it was part of all those terra incognita bits on the map of Aebir-Toril.

Liberty's Edge

Unless I'm shockingly mistaken, WotC owns all rights to all of the artwork in the magazines--including maps, which they consider game content. (The notable exception is the comics, I think, since the creators are free to publish collections of their strips.)

It's very frustrating to not be able to publish a volume of the Maps of Mystery I've created thus far, and I am trying to work out other contractual arrangements for future installments. A lot of the legal stuff goes over my head, though, so I'm also working on an independant set of maps that I own completely. As such, I will have every right to collect and publish those new maps (and associated game content and background information I create, using the OGL) without needing to cut through any red tape. :)

Scarab Sages

Thanks to all suggestions, and thanks to Mr. West for his responses to all of our questions. All that info you've been supplying is going into a little file on my flash drive, in a folder called Lands of Mystery (big surprise, huh?).

Anyway, I'll have to do some reading up on those Chinese myth figures. I'm not too familiar with them.

Another thought I did have though was to put in an Elder God from the Cthulhu myth cycle. Some of those good guys have found their way into print, and they might serve as excellent intro's for Far Realms type deities. I've already found a nice Wkipedia reference to Ulthar(or Uldar) - an Elder God sent to Earth to watch over the Great Old Ones.


Actually, you might want to check it out. I know that it took a while for comic book artists to be formally recognized as owning their own work in regards to established comics.

Since comics and magazines might be considered the same medium, you might just have a case.


I'm not sure if Red Phoenix actually became a goddess (unless she is a representation of Guan Yin). I know west White Tiger is the Tiger General. If you need help with the wiki, look for the Directional Guardians of Chinese mythology. It might not be the exact name, but it might be close enough that you might get suggestions as to what they called it (Wikipedia gets fussy about exactness).

The Exchange

Christopher West wrote:
It is possible, I suppose, that future Maps of Mystery in WotC's online continuation of Dungeon will refer to places on the Lands of Mystery map. I would ask you folks, though: is that something you'd like to see? Or should no further places from the Lands of Mystery poster be mapped? My plan was to leave these cities and dungeons and wilderness places undeveloped, but enough people have been asking for more that I might consider revisiting them. Would that be a good thing, or a bad thing?

Yay for more maps!

I was already planning on using a couple of the individual site maps for future adventures in the campaign I've started for my seven-year-old daughter, and the poster map is just begging me to set the whole campaign in it. Very cool!

Scarab Sages

More questions for Chris! What about.....

...Tryanor?

...The Warspire?

...The Necrodome?

Liberty's Edge

Aberzombie wrote:
More questions for Chris! What about.....

LOL! If we keep this up the whole Gazetteer will be posted in this thread... :)

Tyranor – The city-state of Tyranor was built on the ruins of an Isprean port after its founders, the very legionnaires who laid waste to that port, secured the rest of the mainland and turned their attention to shipbuilding. In the years that followed, Tyranor built a great host of warships and took its conquest to the seas, but the nation’s supremacy was not to last. Internal power struggles swept through Tyranor’s huge military, and the navy was split into separate factions. The ships of Tyranor eventually turned on one another, and the city was sacked by rogue elements of its own fleet at the height of the chaos that followed. The nation of ambitious conquerors—once unified in its assault on Isprea and bolstered by fell armies out of the Dreadforge—soon collapsed under its own lust for power. Now countless petty warlords rule the land, and the burned-out husk of Tyranor lies forgotten, as dead as the city it consumed.

Warspire – The Warspire was constructed during the occupation of Isprea, symbolically placed over the ruins of a shrine that had been sacred to the conquered people. It is a towering fortress featuring four gates facing the four cardinal directions, with plenty of room within the central courtyard to house and outfit a legion of soldiers. Deep tunnels beneath the tower were used to store food and supplies—enough to withstand a siege of many months. It was meant to serve as the headquarters of the conquering general and his infernal advisors, but the leaders destroyed themselves before they could take up residence here. Since the sundering of the legions, numerous warlords and bandit kings have laid claim to the Warspire, but none have managed to hold this ground for more than a few years. It is whispered that the old gods are enjoying their revenge on the heathens who tore down their shrine, but it’s just as likely that the petty dictators lack the number of loyal troops needed to properly defend all four gates.

Necrodome – The name of this horrific place inspires fear in everyone living within a thousand leagues, for it was the birthplace, home, and citadel of one of the vilest mortals to have ever walked the land. Fiendcaller, Deathlord, the Duskspawn Leige, Master of Nightmares, the Charnel Walker—his names were many, and he left a legacy of brooding evil that still corrupts the swamps and forests near this, his legendary stronghold, generations after his fall. The heroes that vanquished that darkest of mystic theurges did their best to cleanse his taint from the halls before sealing them, but something wicked is beginning to stir once more in this decrepit palace of death, celebrating the passing of the last Warder.*

*Not fully detailed in the gazetteer is my idea for the Warder family, descendants of two of the heroes who defeated the Deathlord the first time around. Their family was charged with keeping the Necrodome sealed in order to guard against the villain's return. As the last known Warder dies without an heir, the stage is set for "Horrendous Evil, Round 2." You could probably base a whole adventure path around this situation, with an interesting twist entering the plot if one or more of the PCs discovers a lost connection to the Warders. Perhaps a daughter of the original Warder family, trying to escape her fate (or spare her newborn child from it), ran off and changed her name...and the PCs all share that woman as an ancestor. A party made up of humans, elves, half-elves, and half-orcs could all be related and tied to this destiny without knowing it at the beginning of the campaign.


Mr West, you've outdone yourself. This rocks.

Once again, I'd love to see/hear the various adventures people have come up with that use(d) your maps - but now I'm thinking I need to revisit all the ones I used and try to tie them into an adventure path in this wonderful land of Mystery...

Lucky thing I'm on vacation this week. :)

Scarab Sages

Christopher West wrote:
Aberzombie wrote:
More questions for Chris! What about.....

LOL! If we keep this up the whole Gazetteer will be posted in this thread... :)

Huzzah!

And... what about Isprea?

By the by, here is what I'm considering as a furtherance of my own LoM storline...

The 3 Wandering Gods arrive in the LoM, and they are just in time to witnesss the death of one of that world's gods. Basically, a brother and sister (sun and moon deities, respectively) were the last of their pantheon. All the others had been wiped out by this more primordial deity. The 3W's get to watch the brother get killed but drive off the BBEG and save the moon goddess. She marries one of them, probably Prometheus, and Odin (or Waedan as I've taken to calling him) becomes the new god of the sun (I'm thinking Holy Symbol of Ravenkind).

If I make the third guy someone like Bres, then he can get pissed at the other two, take up his tyrannical ways again, and become the god of those Tyranor guys who destroyed Isprea.

Hmmm...ideas, ideas, and more ideas.

Edit: Or...considering the following, maybe not!

Liberty's Edge

Ruins of Isprea – The ancient Ispreans were a peace-loving people who valued art, literature, and expression as virtues equal in importance to freedom and justice, but they maintained a strong naval military nonetheless, to guard their island kingdom from external threats and push back against the expansionistic Atraesians. It was a threat from within, though, that ultimately sundered their civilization and brought tremendous upheaval to their once-beautiful land: a faction of power-hungry zealots secretly activated the long-lost Dreadforge and unleashed a cataclysm of events that engulfed the region in violence. The city of Isprea, once a center of learning and beauty, now lies in ruins beneath the waves off of a coastline that has been changed forever.

Sea of Isprea – The balmy waters of the Sea of Isprea are deceptively serene; few would expect such a beautiful climate to have such a bloody history. A large chunk of the Isprean mainland sunk beneath the waves when the diabolical powers of the Dreadforge sundered the land. Thus, ruins of old Isprea dot the sea floor, intermixed with the remains of more modern war frigates that joined them when the fleets of short-lived Tyranor ran out of enemies and turned on one another.

Isprean Current – The mild waters of the Sea of Isprea travel through a deep channel here, picking up speed as they are funneled towards the Raptor Coast and the southern Azure Reach beyond. Unattended or poorly handled sailing ships can soon find themselves in the open ocean if allowed to drift on this current.

Scarab Sages

Is there a way we can get a download of the map without all the Maps of Mystery reference points? This would be asesome.

Tam

Scarab Sages

Hey Chris, one more question.

What can you tell us about Shifter's Vale?

Liberty's Edge

Tambryn, I'll see what I can do about that. :)

Shifter’s Vale – Nestled in the forest overlooking the Fog Downs is a small village that doesn’t appear on many maps. It’s a independent little place that seems strangely serene most of the time, considering its proximity to the Fog Downs and the nameless badlands to the south. As a matter of routine, though, the people of Shifter’s Vale bar their doors and secure their livestock every night, because they know full well that their town is aptly named. A large percentage of the population is infected with lycanthropy, some of them quite openly. Indeed, the village speaker is widely known to be a powerful wearbear.

Scarab Sages

Thanks again Mr. West. I'm really looking forward to the gazetter.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Aberzombie wrote:
Thanks again Mr. West. I'm really looking forward to the gazetter.

Me too!


Christopher West wrote:
Unless I'm shockingly mistaken, WotC owns all rights to all of the artwork in the magazines--including maps, which they consider game content. (The notable exception is the comics, I think, since the creators are free to publish collections of their strips.)

That isn't surprising.

Christopher West wrote:
It's very frustrating to not be able to publish a volume of the Maps of Mystery I've created thus far, and I am trying to work out other contractual arrangements for future installments. A lot of the legal stuff goes over my head, though, so I'm also working on an independant set of maps that I own completely. As such, I will have every right to collect and publish those new maps (and associated game content and background information I create, using the OGL) without needing to cut through any red tape. :)

And, you know, that was going to be my question. I'd really like a compilation of the Maps of Mystery to go with this gazetteer you are creating, but Wizards won't likely let you do that unless it is published by them.

The Lands of Mystery map is my favorite part of Dungeon #150, so far. BTW, does the world for these Lands of Mystery have a name? Or is that part of the mystery?

Cheers!

KF72

Scarab Sages

Knightfall1972 wrote:

I'd really like a compilation of the Maps of Mystery to go with this gazetteer you are creating, but Wizards won't likely let you do that unless it is published by them.

You can get most of the Maps of Mystery in PDF form from the supplements available on this website. They started the supplements with #114 and so far have up to #144, with the promise that #145+ will be up as soon as they can get to them. I was missing issues 85, 87, 99, and 108, so I ordered those as PDFs. For the few remaining that I only have as hardcopy I've been scanning them in as JPGs then improting them into PDF files at work.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks folks!

Knightfall1972 wrote:
And, you know, that was going to be my question. I'd really like a compilation of the Maps of Mystery to go with this gazetteer you are creating, but Wizards won't likely let you do that unless it is published by them.

Correct, though I do have the right to display them on my portfolio site. My earlier Maps of Mystery are not as well done as some of my newer work (in my opinion), but it might be interesting to showcase them all as an analysis of how my mapmaking style has evolved over time.

Knightfall1972 wrote:
The Lands of Mystery map is my favorite part of Dungeon #150, so far. BTW, does the world for these Lands of Mystery have a name? Or is that part of the mystery?

That is, indeed, part of the mystery. The world of the Lands of Mystery is left for DMs to name for their individual campaigns. I do not have a name for it. The continents are also left for you to name as you see fit.


Jaquarta sounds like an awesome midpoint to me. I wouldn't complain if you detailed it to any degree.

Liberty's Edge

Riskbreaker wrote:
Jaquarta sounds like an awesome midpoint to me. I wouldn't complain if you detailed it to any degree.

I don't have any plans to detail Jaquarta any further, but I agree that it would be a cool place to base a campaign, surrounded as it is by a mysteriously musical lake, a sunken city, dark jungle, skulking serpentine enemies, uncharted mountains, etc.

If I ever do return to the Lands of Mystery, that would be a likely candidate for further development.

Scarab Sages

Sorry for the return of more questions, but....

-I remember reading that you use Adobe Photoshop for maps. What font do you use for labeling cities and geographical features?

-Do you have a write up for the Felgrim Heath and Loathsome Pass?

As always, thanks.

Liberty's Edge

Aberzombie wrote:
I remember reading that you use Adobe Photoshop for maps. What font do you use for labeling cities and geographical features?

I used to use one called "Pterra", which was introduced a long time ago. There was another font used before that, but I don't recall the name of it. The GameMastery maps called for a different font, the name of which I also can't recall off the top of my head. Future Maps of Mystery are likely to use another different font, and my own future projects are likely to use yet another new font. But the font on the Maps of Mystery has been Pterra for a long time.

Aberzombie wrote:

-Do you have a write up for the Felgrim Heath and Loathsome Pass?

As always, thanks.

No problem!

Felgrim Heath – These barren and desolate badlands don’t have much to offer in vegetation or common wildlife, but they do feature an unusual array of avian beasts who prey upon carrion and the occasional orc. Raiding parties of gnolls often come down out of the Heath to victimize the settled lands to the west before returning to their hidden camps.

Loathsome Pass – The woodlands nestled in the Doomfang peaks are rich with stands of rare and valuable timber, but the hazards of the Felgrim Heath generally prevented the logging guild of Guildport from acting to capitalize on the trees—that is, until the enterprising humans set out to build a road through the mountains to bypass the worst of the dangers. They cut a deal with a tribe of goblins, whose adepts and demolitionists (and plenty of cheaper laborers) aided them over the course of several years in cutting a passage through the rock. A tower was built to guard the highest point and watch over the trail, but the road was never used. Legend has it that the guild betrayed and slaughtered the goblins on the night the road was finished, and that the high priest of the tribe cursed the pass with his dying breath. Horrible things are now said to haunt the tower, and only the foolish or the desperate ever come this way.

Scarab Sages

Thanks again for the info Chris. That definition for Loathsome Pass is perfect for me, considering the woods Guildport wanted to get to will be my location for the land of Barovia. I'll just have some of Strahd's "friends" haunting that pass and the tower that guards it.

And the western lands those Felgrim Heath gnolls raid will be home to my version of Kingsholm from Barrow of the Forgotten King.

Liberty's Edge

Sounds great! Most of that continent is corrupted in one way or another (IMO), so it's a great place to plug in some Ravenloftian wickedness. :)

Here are some examples of what I mean by that:

Harrowfen – This vast swamp was corrupted long ago by the ghastly energies of the Necrodome, and now teems with unholy life. The trolls, plants, beasts, and vermin of this place are the stuff of nightmares, preying on each other in a mockery of nature when they lack living wanderers to ensnare. The old road connecting Fengate with Guildport and other civilized lands passes through this once-tame wetland along a raised embankment, but these days it is only ever traveled under heavy guard.

Serpent Lake – This body of water provides the only barrier between the unliving horrors of the Harrowfen and the wild crags of the Felgrim Heath. Since undead don’t breathe, this isn’t much of a fence at all--but a cabal of reclusive druids and their snake companions have set up a shrine on the lake’s dividing peninsula and seem intent on driving back the abominations.

Blightwood – The ecosystem of this primal forest was thoroughly corrupted by some malignant force in centuries past, and it has been crawling with undead abominations ever since. The trees and other plant life of this wood perished long ago, yet they stand as dry husks in defiance of the natural forces of entropy, refusing to rot or give way to new life.

Deepsand Ravine – Where the northern arm of the Doomfang Peaks meets the sprawling dunes beyond, there is a deep rift in the earth. No one knows how deep it is, exactly, because the treacherous eddying sands that partly fill this cleft defy explanation. The shadowy depths are home to some remarkably deadly things, and few sane people come here voluntarily. A handful of scholarly expeditions do make the trek to this barren ravine, however, to study the ancient cliff-dwellings carved into the southern wall. They come with heavy escort, drawn by legends of a great passage into the Underdark, and some still never make it home.

Goblin’s Grove – This shady woodland has been infested with goblin bands on a number of occasions, but the farmers of Haleford and other villages in the region have proven adept at rooting them out using superior numbers and the marked resolve of men and women who don’t wish to see their children eaten by monsters. However, the goblins always seem to come back, spurred on by a craven hunger or some other malevolent force.


Hey Chris!

Like most of the others on the thread, I love the Maps of Mystery too and I'm thrilled with the grand finale in issue 150. One quick question though that I didn't notice anyone else ask in the thread. Were there any thoughts about an appropriate scale for the map or were you leaving that up to the needs of the people using the map? Just curious because I noticed a scale wasn't included on the map (unless I'm blind of course...).

Thanks again for the great work and I'm really looking forward to getting a look at a gazetteer of the World of Mystery!

Liberty's Edge

Raymond Brooks wrote:
Like most of the others on the thread, I love the Maps of Mystery too and I'm thrilled with the grand finale in issue 150. One quick question though that I didn't notice anyone else ask in the thread. Were there any thoughts about an appropriate scale for the map or were you leaving that up to the needs of the people using the map? Just curious because I noticed a scale wasn't included on the map (unless I'm blind of course...).

Hi Raymond!

As you guessed, the scale of the Lands of Mystery map is intentionally left a mystery so that DMs using it can decide the distance between locations for their own campaigns.

I've never come up with a scale, even for my own reference, so I really don't have any suggestions--other than to point out that the top of the map was intended to be a polar region, and the bottom is a tropical region. Thus, the vertical scale could correspond to approximately 1/4 of the circumference of a world. (Of course, the size of the fantasy world is also up to the DM to establish, if needed.)

As a side-note: I'm actually pretty bad when it comes to judging the scale of a region in real-world terms. I usually just guesstimate distances and travel times in my campaigns; it works for me and my players, but I'm sure my guesses wouldn't stand up to realistic scrutiny. It's probably for the best that I never tried to set a scale, because it would either be absurdly small or far too large. ;-)

Grand Lodge

[QUOTE="Christopher West"
As a side-note: I'm actually pretty bad when it comes to judging the scale of a region in real-world terms. I usually just guesstimate distances and travel times in my campaigns; it works for me and my players, but I'm sure my guesses wouldn't stand up to realistic scrutiny. It's probably for the best that I never tried to set a scale, because it would either be absurdly small or far too large. ;-)

A quick guide for distances and time of travel is 1 league (3 miles) = 1 hour of walking at 8 hours per day.

I live in Mid Missouri, where it is 120 miles to either Kansas City or St Louis. So the scale for walking would be a 40 hour walk either way or 5 days to a Big city. An area the size of Missouri, then, could have a lot of adventure potential.

Liberty's Edge

Cool, thanks Krome! That does help put things in perspective. :)

Scarab Sages

Christopher West wrote:
Tambryn, I'll see what I can do about that. :)

Thanks Chris, I really like the idea of building my own campaign setting around this georgeous map. I would want to print it off on about 6 8.5x11's assemble them and then laminate them for hanging on the wall. I can't wait for it.

Tam

Scarab Sages

Regarding scale of the map - If you look at a map of North/Central America, from the US/Canadian border to northern Pananma is approximately 2500 miles. Using this as a basis, I came up with a value of about 1 inch = 150 miles. That gave me a distance of about 3300 miles from the top of the page to the bottom. That should be sufficient distance to move from a cold environment, through a temperate one, and into a tropical zone.

And Chris, just a few more bits of information, then I'll try to leave you alone for awhile. What are your thoughts on Fengate, The Doomfang Peaks, and Dyvaldion?

Liberty's Edge

Aberzombie wrote:
Regarding scale of the map - If you look at a map of North/Central America, from the US/Canadian border to northern Pananma is approximately 2500 miles. Using this as a basis, I came up with a value of about 1 inch = 150 miles. That gave me a distance of about 3300 miles from the top of the page to the bottom. That should be sufficient distance to move from a cold environment, through a temperate one, and into a tropical zone.

Ahh, but a smaller world with a denser core could have the same relative gravity but significantly less surface area!

Heh...seriously, though, thanks for the scale assessment. Sounds better than anything I could come up with. :)

Aberzombie wrote:
And Chris, just a few more bits of information, then I'll try to leave you alone for awhile. What are your thoughts on Fengate, The Doomfang Peaks, and Dyvaldion?

Fengate – Though not a proper fortress, the wooden palisades of the town of Fengate help to protect her citizens and inhabitants of the lands to the east from the horrors of the Harrowfen.

Doomfang Peaks – People usually use this name to refer to the snow-covered southern arm of the mountain chain because the tall pinnacles gleam like bloody teeth in the setting sun, but the western branch is just as dangerous; these rugged hill, crags, and fissures are home to desperate predators, including several different varieties of dragon that prey on the Felgrim Heath and the forests nearby.

Dyvaldiön – Isolated far from civilization, at the northern coast of a barren desert that is, itself, walled off by treacherous cliffs and a rift of bottomless sand, the prison-fortress known as Dyvaldiön is actually much more hospitable than the land outside. Perhaps this is why the inhabitants—which include some of the most dangerous individuals ever apprehended by the Knights of Subricon—have never bothered to escape. Theoretically, this is where the Knights incarcerate defendants awaiting trial alongside convicted criminals, but a grievous lack of oversight has allowed the Knights to keep unsavory figures (and more than a few innocent people) locked up indefinitely, without ever consulting Subricon’s truthfinders or wasting their time in courtrooms. Being sent to Dyvaldiön is widely recognized as a one-way trip, even if a trial is promised.

Liberty's Edge

You might want this entry, as well:

Subricon – Though it maintains an intense rivalry with nearby Guildport, Subricon is an inviting and relatively secure city that thrives on the commerce of seafaring traders. Recent difficulties in harvesting lumber from the Feywood have reduced the logging industry’s profits, but Subricon’s overall economy is reasonably healthy. An order of lawkeepers known as the Knights of Subricon are charged with the “proactive defense of the city and her holdings”, which is a formal way of saying that they are allowed to interfere in any affair that may affect their homeland. These activities often bring the Knights into conflict with foreign interests, and have made Subricon plenty of enemies over the years. The Knights of Subricon maintain a remote penitentiary called Dyvaldiön, where they incarcerate criminals awaiting trial in Subricon’s tedious justice system.

An idea that occured to me just now (and thus is not found in the gazetteer) is that the Knights of Subricon, or even just their wardens of Dyvaldiön, could be psions or psychic warriors, armed with special badges that empower their psionics to function within an antimagic field. Then you add such a field to the prison levels of Dyvaldiön, and it's easy to imagine how the prison could keep even powerful spellcasters confined.

It also sets up a great escape scenario, when a psionic prisoner gets his or her hands on one of those badges...

If psionics aren't your cup of tea, though, you could instead make the wardens spellcasters themselves, and arm them with relic-like metamagic rods that somehow provide the same benefit: the ability to defy an antimagic area.

There are probably a lot of villains who would infiltrate a remote high-security prison just to get their hands on one of those fabled rods.

One last thought on antimagic fields: imagine if clerics of a dead god could contact their deity and receive/cast spells within that field. That would put a new twist on things. :)


Hi, Chris--

I was just wondering if there have been any further developments, with regard to the gazetteer. Any chance of seeing the full document in the immediate future?

Failing that, could you post the entries for the general evirons around Far Cove? I'm starting a new campaign in the next week or so, and I've pretty much decided to make the Lands of Mystery my campaign setting for the foreseeable future, because I like the idea of a setting I can develop on my own, beyond some basic information provided by the creator (kind of like Greyhawk originally was).

I'm using your Stillsquall map from "Box of Flumph" as Far Cove, and would like to see what you had envisioned for the nearby area, specifically:

Far Cove
Coldwash Bay
Faenost Arborea
The Forsworn Wastes
Tundra Bluff
Faeldrid's Fall
Deathwind Pass

Also, I'd been giving some thought to using some of the 'poster map' cities from Dungeon as substitutes for cities in the Lands of Mystery (I'd prefer to use your maps exclusively, but I don't have many city maps that you've done.), in the same way that Stillquall is 'becoming' Far Cove in my campaign. I've gone over the map for geographically suitable locations, and have come up with a few. What would your thoughts be on the following substitutions?

Diamond Lake = Winecrest or possibly Outcast
Alhaster = Solajrin Theopolis or Refuge
Sasserine = Tidewash
Scuttlecove = Kembridge, Subricon, or maybe Shallows

I also have an older poster map of Hommlet (it came in either Dungeon or Dragon around the time of the release of Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and thought it might fit as somewhere like Hallowdale or Heathshire.

I'm really looking forward to the gazetteer. Everything you've posted from it so far has been very thought-provoking, in a campaign-planning sort of way. :)

Regards,
Darrell King

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