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Hey there,

A few months ago I heard on the KARTAS podcast that Ken Hite's own custom hellenistic 13th Age campaign featured only "in character" maps, i.e. either the players draw their own maps based on the GM's description of their travels (or what NPCs tell them), or, if they want to see some cool hand-outs, they need to go find some cartographer who has maps to sell (or steal). I thought that this is pretty cool -- it's kind of a shame to hold off on maps, because frankly everybody loves maps, especially Gloranthan maps which are often super cool, but on the other hand, this also makes maps even more special since players have to do some work before the GM lets them see any.

So of course I figured "what if did that for my upcoming RQG campaign?". But first I have some questions:

1. Did anybody do that? (even if it's for other games) Any feedback?

2. What is, even, the general availability of maps in Glorantha? I assume that you probably find maps for sale at any good Lhankor Mhy temple, but where else? How expensive would they be? How common would they be? (for instance, there are probably maps in Boldhome's palace, but what about, say, Queen Leika's residence? Or Apple Lane's thane's house?)

3. How detailed would Gloranthan maps be? How far would they cover? For instance, would Queen Leika's maps feature landmarks in other tribes' territories? Would they have a lot of information on, say, Lunar Tarsh or Esrolia? Is Prax even accurately mapped out, or would it be mostly vague maps that convey the general knowledge that "it's a couple days' ride South from Pimper's Block to the Devil's Marsh"? Etc...

Thanks!

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There are many types of map. A travelogue or a set of directions as generated by older WWW applications for offline situations is basically a linear map, a list of stations of a journey, with distances given e.g. as travel times. Area maps appear to be as ancient as writing, abstracting a bird's eye view of the lay of the land - there is a cuneiform tablet with something like a drawing of irrigation channels and plots of land and their relative sizes.

There are perspective maps of settlements or coast lines, as viewed from some (at times imaginary) elevation.

Without exact geodesy, maps are only estimates of the lay of the land, and may make little sense without direct experience of the environment (possibly at a certain season, or losing the experience if vegetation changed a lot since making that map).

Map-Making is a craft, and it can only be as good as the data (or, if you have the crafter visit the places to be mapped, as good as the success of the map maker to capture reality on his model).

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25 minutes ago, Joerg said:

There are many types of map.

Sure but I specifically framed it as "hand outs for players during a HQ/RQ/whatever adventure", so by "map" I really mean the type of bird's eye view (top down or perspective) that you would typically just print directly from one of the books, like maps of Dragon Pass/Sartar/etc. And even if the "in game" map took a different form, I guess its "real world" version would still take the form of an equivalent familiar cartographic map because that's what modern humans are used to.

I exclude from this discussion maps of very small areas (like, say, Apple Lane) since they're obviously not "maps" that exist in the game world (i.e. equipment the characters carry), but OOC game aids that help everybody have the same mental picture of an area.

Edited by lordabdul

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But hey, if you want to discuss what other types of maps might be available, where, how, for how much, and what they would look like, I'm all for it :D

Edited by lordabdul

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I would use player handout maps in the style of Griffin Mountain handout maps until the action moves there, then use the pretty ones as a way to demonstrate the available panorama. Providing they are free of spoilers....

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7 hours ago, lordabdul said:

1. Did anybody do that? (even if it's for other games) Any feedback?

 

We all tried that. The problem is that when you have Gloranthan-obsessed players who own all the books, it becomes quite moot in Sartar or in Prax.

It's worked better for my Ignorance campaign because canon maps are scarce.

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Esrolia, being a densely populated country with a history of legal infighting over property rights and a highly complex system of irrigation in at least its coastal and riverine areas probably have some of the most detailed and accurate maps in Glorantha, I'd imagine.

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The other thing is magic.

In cultures where "Fly" is relatively common, those modern overhead-view maps become less of a rarity.

Similarly, many paths of shamanism &c can let someone see from the eyes of a hawk, overhead.

How many Lunars have been on the Red Moon itself, and looked back at the Empire below?

 

Looking back at the maps of antiquity is the wrong take on Gloranthan mapmaking.  Those maps are amazingly cool artifacts... but not even slightly Gloranthan.

As always:  YGMV (mine certainly does).

 

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3 minutes ago, g33k said:

Looking back at the maps of antiquity is the wrong take on Gloranthan mapmaking.  Those maps are amazingly cool artifacts... but not even slightly Gloranthan.

 As always:  YGMV (mine certainly does).

Yes, Glorantha is definitely a feel, It started out as being Church defined, but the modern gent (what is his name, please) has definitely put his spin of the lozenge. 

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5 hours ago, GianniVacca said:

We all tried that. The problem is that when you have Gloranthan-obsessed players who own all the books, it becomes quite moot in Sartar or in Prax.

Haha I guess I'm late to the party then :D  It would probably work OK with my campaign because I'm pretty sure none of my players know anything about Glorantha. There might be a couple new players that join the party that might know it but that's up for debate.

Thanks for the links @Ali the Helering and @albinoboo! I frankly didn't think too much of doing research on various ancient forms of maps, but they kind of look cool! But I think @g33k really hits the nail on the head for me:

5 minutes ago, g33k said:

Looking back at the maps of antiquity is the wrong take on Gloranthan mapmaking.  Those maps are amazingly cool artifacts... but not even slightly Gloranthan.

I think "perspective" maps like this one from one of the previous links might be more common than not, as a result of using Flight (to gain elevation, but maybe not enough to get a real top-down view) or Farsee from some high place (which would indeed "flatten" the natural perspective of human vision), or animal (bird) vision.

Also, nobody has weighed in much about the availability and price of such maps though. Besides Lhankor Mhy temples and the occasional random wandering scribe/cartographer for hire, I'm thinking that some information might be publicly visible on the walls of some rich noble person (who might have paid to have something cool and impressive to show their hosts), and at important locations like Sartar's Palace, next to the bas-reliefs describing important historical events like the Battle of Grizzly Peak.

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I would say the temples of various trade Gods, in the case of the Orlanthi, Issaries. Merchants caravans need to know where to go. 

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40 minutes ago, albinoboo said:

Merchants caravans need to know where to go.  

Oh yeah, good point.

36 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Nice! Very middle ages, but nice!

Yeah the style is obviously totally wrong for Glorantha, so I imagine the same kind of semi-broken perspective but with a different art direction.

I'm wondering though -- checking back on a lot of Gloranthan material, I don't find many references to paper (papyrus/parchment/whatever) documents -- a lot of references are to sculptures and bas-reliefs and things carved or painted on vases and such. I suppose a lot of it is because it gives a definitive historical feel (especially for material that's "in character" and looks back at long gone eras of Glorantha), but I'm now wondering how common would be paper documents and maps compared to tablets?

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7 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I'm wondering though -- checking back on a lot of Gloranthan material, I don't find many references to paper (papyrus/parchment/whatever) documents -- a lot of references are to sculptures and bas-reliefs and things carved or painted on vases and such. I suppose a lot of it is because it gives a definitive historical feel (especially for material that's "in character" and looks back at long gone eras of Glorantha), but I'm now wondering how common would be paper documents and maps compared to tablets?

In glorantha some type of soft material that takes markings and rolls into a scroll are common enough for any given significant city to have a more than one wing library.

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1 minute ago, lordabdul said:

I think "perspective" maps like this one from one of the previous links might be more common than not, as a result of using Flight (to gain elevation, but maybe not enough to get a real top-down view) or Farsee from some high place (which would indeed "flatten" the natural perspective of human vision), or animal (bird) vision.

I honestly think that the modern perspective will dominate.  Hawk's-eye view, Fly with some +duration, etc etc etc.

Issaries merchants can easily get Fly from Orlanthi allies, and will like to use it to map places.  They will regularly be producers of highly-functional maps, and distributors of the same (e.g. copies of new maps made on the journey).

I suppose I can see a 3/4-view perspective (like Boldhome on the RQGcore endpaper, or Clearwine in the GMScreenPack) becoming the accepted standard, for artistic/stylistic reasons.

But this is really one of the places I expect magic to make a big difference vs. RW historical realities.

 

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4 minutes ago, g33k said:

Issaries merchants can easily get Fly from Orlanthi allies, and will like to use it to map places.  They will regularly be producers of highly-functional maps, and distributors of the same (e.g. copies of new maps made on the journey).

 

Missed that tree for the forest, eh? I really should wake up, some days. (sigh)
The Lunars will be doing surveys with moons boats. The Westerns will have flying sorcerers, Perhaps in the East they can trade with dragons for magical maps.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

:)

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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14 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I'm wondering though -- checking back on a lot of Gloranthan material, I don't find many references to paper (papyrus/parchment/whatever) documents -- a lot of references are to sculptures and bas-reliefs and things carved or painted on vases and such. I suppose a lot of it is because it gives a definitive historical feel (especially for material that's "in character" and looks back at long gone eras of Glorantha), but I'm now wondering how common would be paper documents and maps compared to tablets?

The majority of written documents use parchment, at least in the rainy Theyalan habitat. The much dryer Dara Happa might use a variant of papyrus, or actual paper.

Maps often are scrawled on pieces of rawhide, something an explorer will want to have around to seal containers against humidity or to patch up stuff. The handout maps in Griffin Mountain probably all use this rather than clay or wax tablets.

Most Gloranthan scripts appear to be letters or syllabic, often runic or cursive in style. The writing material is likely to reflect those preferences.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Oh yeah, good point.

Yeah the style is obviously totally wrong for Glorantha, so I imagine the same kind of semi-broken perspective but with a different art direction.

I'm wondering though -- checking back on a lot of Gloranthan material, I don't find many references to paper (papyrus/parchment/whatever) documents -- a lot of references are to sculptures and bas-reliefs and things carved or painted on vases and such. I suppose a lot of it is because it gives a definitive historical feel (especially for material that's "in character" and looks back at long gone eras of Glorantha), but I'm now wondering how common would be paper documents and maps compared to tablets?

Fazzur Wideread commissioned the Great Survey of Dragon Pass, there is the Jonstown Compendium, the Reckoning Scroll, Treatise on Horse Breeds and the History of the Black Horse Troop.  Bas-reliefs are a relatively new art style for RQ content. 

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

 

The other thing is magic.

In cultures where "Fly" is relatively common, those modern overhead-view maps become less of a rarity.

Similarly, many paths of shamanism &c can let someone see from the eyes of a hawk, overhead.

How many Lunars have been on the Red Moon itself, and looked back at the Empire below?

 

Looking back at the maps of antiquity is the wrong take on Gloranthan mapmaking.  Those maps are amazingly cool artifacts... but not even slightly Gloranthan.

As always:  YGMV (mine certainly does).

 

I think that we make too many assumptions if we think that having a particular physical perspective means that Gloranthans see things in a way that is identical to ours. Our ideas have developed over millenia and we have only recently had an airborne viewpoint. 

In RW very little matters as much as belief, and Glorantha is probably the same. It seems likely to me that each culture would depict geography in terms of their own mythology rather than in a physically 'real & accurate' manner. 

Mapping materials similarly would vary, depending upon locally available substances and chemical and magical means of preservation.

I would anticipate hide, baked clay, metal, chitin, bark, slate, papyrus as a start. 

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43 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Similarly, many paths of shamanism &c can let someone see from the eyes of a hawk, overhead.

 

That could be interesting, for a truly Gloranthan cartographic  experience: a map of the spirit world overlain with our lozenge...

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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14 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

That could be interesting, for a truly Gloranthan cartographic  experience: a map of the spirit world overlain with our lozenge...

I think THIS hits on a VERY likely way that Gloranthan maps will differ from RW / "realistic" maps.  Nicely spotted, Bill!

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