Fantasy Map Picture

Over the past couple years, I've gotten into the habit of drawing maps for my made-up settings. Of course, that's sort of a waste of time if you jump from one fantasy world to another before actually doing anything with them (My old-west-ice-age setting, the greek-mythology setting, etc...) So, I figure I may as well post this before I switch settings once again. Its a map of your typical medeval fantasy world, home of Elves, Dwarves, and the like...But I'd like to think I've put a unique twist on a few of the races.

I don't really have a name for the place, yet, but...

In the center of the map we have Gol'Hol, the land of the dwarves. It is in the middle of the known world, a 'Middle Kingdom', if you will, because I've decided to make the Dwarves vaguely Chinese. Goh'Hol is the workshop of the world, famous for its metalworking and other crafts. Its also highly bureaucratic, and slightly dysfunctional, with highly 'educated' government officials having the final say in every facet of life. (Did you know that one point in ancient China, the government had a monopoly on alcohol? Imagine: the DMV brewing your beer. There is a story just waiting to come from that set-up!) Lots of mountains, lots of tunnels and big cities, and a lot of your usual Dwarvish stuff...

To the northeast, the land of Aksalal, the land of the Elves. A mix of the giant trees of the pacific northwest, and the culture of southeast asia. A god-king, circular cities with a sacred tower in the center of it.... Wet and rainy, and did I mention giant trees? Elves and trees. You know what to expect. Also, Elves are the great mariners of the setting.

In the southeast, the island of Chova, home of the Drow. The Drow will be inspired by various Meso-American cultures. Like the Maya/Aztecs, they will practice lots of human-sacrifice to keep the volcanoes (of the nearby 'Ashlands') at bay. They will have ballcourts, eat potatoes, and live on the terraced highlands. And like Inca, they will practice the royal tradition of 'Panaqa,' where the dead king's mummy gets to keep the land he conquered, leaving the living king with the right to rule, but not so much land to rule over. Thus, each new king has a lot of incentive to conquer new lands....

In the Southwest, the empire of the Yurodu, home of the Uruks. Who are ciphers for the people of ancient Uruk, and a lot of empires of the ancient near east. Though the Uruks are the dominant race, there are many different races in the Yurodu empire, whose loyalty is assured because whenever a new people are conquered they are separated from their elites and 'deported' (aka, moved and forcibly re-settled) onto new lands on the other side of the empire, for whom they have only the god-emperor to thank. You might notice a trend here--it's kind of a dysfunctional system.

And, to the northwest, the land of Basican, home of the Magnons. (Cro-Magnons, aka, Humans) Now, when I decided to make the Dwarves Chinese, I had the urge to make the humans into steppe-nomads. (Mongols and such, undisputed masters of the horse) And yet, every instinct I have says to make the humans a cypher for medeval Europe. ...So to compromise, I'll do both! Most people are European peasants, ruled over by a mounted elite. A horse-archer elite, rather than super-armored knight. (or Ka-Nate, Khanate, or however you choose to mis-pronounce that word) And in keeping with the dysfunctional nature of most regimes, Basican is only nominally led by a king, but is essentially ruled by a myriad of petty princes. Petty princes whose realms overlap, ensuring that most peasants owe fealty to multiple lords at the same time. And the princes aren't necessarily Magnons. Some might be wizards, some might be dragons....Doesn't that sound like fun?!

...And as a sop to the steppe-nomad inspiration, there are genuine steppe nomads (and a silk-road of sorts) lurking just off the map to the west.

Also, there are the Ashalnds, an especially seismically-active area ringed on all sides by volcanoes, and invaded so often that no independent power can ever arise there. Because every setting needs a place for all the other places to dump on...




...Well, drawing (and redrawing, and redrawing) the map was fun. Hopefully I'll stick with the setting long enough to make it meaningful. And who knows, maybe I'll even name the setting someday!
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