Cartographer’s Annual Challenge: August 2013

I’ve definitely got behind in the Annual Challenge 😦

My target is to get caught back up as soon as possible, and definitely before the end of October!! Hold me to it, ok… 🙂

The Annual for August was a bit of a poser: a style for producing colourful maps for a science-fiction game. The actual artwork in the style came from the High Space game published by Storyweaver games. Lovely artwork, but how to turn that into a map for my Tolrendor fantasy world (i.e. the main purpose of the Challenge!).

Well, back in the day, there was Spelljammer, an innovative setting for AD&D, taking your adventurers into a fantasy outer space, or Wildspace. Here the ‘science’ was based on magic and owed more to steampunk concepts than sci-fi, but incredibly cool all the same. The setting didn’t make it into the 4E rules, which I always thought a shame, as the cinematic mechanics would have suited Spelljammer adventures pretty well!

I don’t think I ever ran any actual Spelljammer adventures, but I loved the concept, and gobbled up most of the supplements that were published. I also have reams of notes for a potential Spelljammer campaign: descriptions of the Crystal Sphere housing Tolrendor, new ship designs, a space-spanning knightly order, and much more…

So of course, the answer on how to the use the August Annual quickly became obvious: a map of Tolspace, the solar system surrounding my main campaign world (click image for the full size version):


Being a fantasy ‘space’ map, it didn’t seem right to use any of the fantastic star-system backgrounds from the style, so I used the planet artwork, but on a parchment background. I also scanned and photo-shopped some of the original Spelljammer ship artwork (copyright TSR/WOTC of course …) for extra interest.

I’m quite pleased how this turned out – got me enthused to bring Spelljammer back into my game somehow 🙂

Comments and suggestions welcome of course …

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