Brave New World

My first fantasy map, 1982-1983 circa

I drew the map above in my squared A4 school notebook with my school issue Faber-Castell o.5 pencils. It was back in 82-83 and we had played b/x for a while and I had just gotten hold of the Games Workshop Runequest box (RQ2 for the initiated). I loved the game, but the greatest fascination was the Prax map by William Church. I had never seen anything so cool map-wise, so I decided to expand the map with my home-brew setting, which eventually grew into the “World of Haleth” (yeah, I know – superdorky and pretentious name).

This world was expanded as needed and really was a mix of my own stuff, Glorantha and The Known World (and later other settings like Hârn and Shadow World). We also used it for our b/x, RuneQuest and later AD&D and even GURPS Fantasy games. It was highly anachronistic, mixing fantasy styles as well as ancient to medieval timeframes in a bizarre mix.

And it was awesome. 

This Christmas season I have thinking of different fantasy worlds and rule sets and I have come to the conclusion that I use far too much precious prep time on various system and game world related issues. (In this post from last year I discussed some thoughts on my then four ongoing world projects).

That is why I have decided to combine all these ideas into one (in)coherent whole: Terra Innominata.

This new world will incorporate all the different stuff that I have used different worlds for. I will also mash up the campaign flavours, not solely playing Dark Fantasy but also insert more easy going stuff in one and the same setting.

And even more bizarre, I will do as I did back then: I will use the same world for both d100 and OSR gaming.

Hopefully, this will put back the magic into world-building and designing cool adventures.

To do this, I have made a very crude continent-size map of what’s there and how these lands relate to each other. As before, my world will be seriously influenced by The World Between (from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque), Ravenloft, Planescape, Warhammer’s Old World but also by literary sources like the Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski and the First Law books by Joe Abercrombie.

It will be Low Fantasy. It will be Dark. It will be hard. But there will be beacons of light and civilisation. And Sigil. And hope. And Heroes. A place for adventure.

And it will be awesome.

Building Better Worlds

Starting out a new world

Starting out a new world – Terra Innominata

After having been in dark fantasy land for a long while now, recent 5E D&D online playing in Forgotten Realms have made me think about a more traditional high (well, not THAT high) fantasy world to use as a base for adventures.

While there is a bunch of nice worlds to use, they often contain a lot of stuff I think is lame. Also, worlds like Forgotten Realms, Glorantha, Greyhawk and Mystara have existed for so long and have so much official lore written about them that most of the time I just feel dis-empowered and kinda loose interest when I read the books.

My way of handling this is to cannibalize stuff from all over the place and put it into my own loosely defined “Frankenstein world”. I did this with my long standing AD&D game long ago when I mixed up The Known World (predecessor to Mystara), Glorantha, Hârn, Shadow World with my own stuff.

So my next project is a large standard fantasy world to house stuff from all the cool settings out there. The picture is a first sketch of my “Terra Innominata” world with mini-settings from OpenQuest and RuneQuest plopped in. Got the idea for the map outlines this summer when I lay on the beach and some particularly interesting cloud formations came into my view.

At this point I have four different fantasy worlds going on:

1. Nexus Mundi (OSR dark fantasy, much inspired by the excellent works Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque)

2. Innominata Maligna (d100 dark fantasy, basically Ravenloft minus the in my book lame things).*

3. Terra Innominata (d100 standard fantasy, collecting a bunch of cool d100 settings into a coherent whole).

4. Mittelwelt [work name] (OSR high fantasy, mixing up the things I like about Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Mystara, NOD and others).

I have also been thinking of using the same world for both d20/OSR and d100 gaming. It would certainly make things easier, but also is laden with some problems as some basic assumptions (like how gods and magic works) are quite different.

But building better worlds is fun. Weyland-Yutani was right.

* = apparently I’m not alone in the Ravenloft critique field, as Jack Shear in running a series of interesting blog posts on the issue.

The Only Fantasy World Map you’ll ever need

The Only Fantasy World Map You’ll Ever Need by eotbeholder@deviantart

I love this. Probably no news to most of you, but I just found it. And maybe some of you haven’t seen it before so…

Actually, I’ve been thinking along similar lines for outlining my expanded version of Jack Shear’s World Between – Nexus Mundi.

No need to create a huge and detailed world map before you start adventuring. At the same time I like to have at least a clue to the World and where stuff might be located.

Creating a rough map labeled with concepts and ideas instead of countries or regions is just pure genius. Just like the World Between books, where boring details are absent and instead the energy is put into evocative ideas and flavorful suggestions for adventure.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me this is the way to go.

If you’re interested, here’s eotbeholder’s home page


World Between Map

Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque does not include maps. However, there’s this beautiful map from Fictive Hack. I have been using it so far, but I think I will make my own version and integrate into Nexus Mundi.

Here’s my first rough idea of the world, with the World Between in the middle. My huge playground!


Nexus Mundi world map