Map of the Month: In the beginning…

A few weeks ago I was browsing the Profantasy forums, and I came across a post by someone looking for advice on creating a style reminiscent of the maps in the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

That got me thinking. How many people in this world got started on a passion for fantasy cartography with images such as these??:

I certainly know that I couldn’t get enough of these maps when I was first read these stories as a kid (in the case of the Narnia books). The stereotypical overland map style even today in RPG publications is based on these early examples.

Although I loved both the CS Lewis and Tolkien stories as well as the maps, the main motivation it gave me was to draw my own world maps and design my own creatures and stories – and this way before the early 80’s when I first discovered Dungeons and Dragons. I vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table drawing huge world maps, and illustrating (or at least trying to given my limited artistic ability…) the strange creatures that lived there.

This naturally transferred to my role-playing experiences as a Dungeon Master. Of course, I loved settings like the Forgotten Realms, but I never actually played within that setting as written, or mapped. I borrowed loads (including large chunks of the Savage Frontier at one point), but I always had to re-draw the maps to integrate it into my own world of Tolrendor.

Even now (as is probably obvious from this blog…), when I’m pretty time-challenged on my creative opportunities, creating my own maps, whether world or city maps, or just a battle-map for an encounter, is a core part of the game experience!

How many of you have a ‘formative cartographic experience’ related to one of these maps?

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This entry was posted in Cartography, Columns, D&D Nostalgia, Map of the Month, World Building. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Map of the Month: In the beginning…

  1. Pingback: Cartographer’s Annual Challenge: July 2013 | Tolrendor DM's Blog

  2. Flash of Brilliance says:

    I don’t know how I began my obsessions with map making, but it’s certainly a lot of fun in the fantasy genre, that’s for sure. 🙂

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