Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Forbidden Forests

Thought you might enjoy a walk through the forbidden forests of Alfdaín, my present gazetteer project for the World of Calidar. I posted card-like entries during the past several days on various social media. Some of you who caught those earlier will recognize them. I added several more for good measure and a key to get around them.

            (...) Paths, markings, and other attempts at leaving “bread crumbs” in one’s wake fail as vegetation and topographical features randomly shift. Speaking with plants and animals does not work therein. No people or normal-sized animals live there. Giant animals and monsters from random encounters (including woodland beings) are evil, hostile, and mostly immune to the forests’ curses. Druids or rangers encountered here are performing their monitoring duties* and will demand unwarranted parties leave at once. Replace military patrols with haunted battle sites. Pegasus-riding scouts fly above the forest (if anyone notices); they will alert rangers if they spot outsiders in these woods.

[*] Note from the Author: Elaborate random encounters mentioned above are available earlier in the Gazetteer.

Happy camping!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A Brave New Game World

As my present project moves ahead, time has come to pick a new map style. Before getting into this, here's a bit of background: the third Gazetteer for Calidar focuses on the elves of the Great Caldera. Right from the beginning, it was clear that this book also had to cover the place where elves came from. They did not grow on trees, although the idea crossed my mind. Actually an alien race on the main world, they emerged on a moon gravitating Calidar. After fighting each other and the gnomish wizards who'd created them (!) they eventually sailed across space to land on Calidar, along with their rivals, dwarves and humans who came from their own moons. So yes, there are three moons spinning around Calidar. Very, very loooong story short: the new Gazetteer now has to cover both the elves' realm on Calidar and their moon, Alorea.

Thorfinn Tait pledged his time and talent to render Alorea's map in the same manner as the one he'd produced for Calidar seven years earlier. This does also imply that the next two Gazetteers will each cover a realm on Calidar and its related moon. You can expect lots of maps therefore. I handed Thorfinn the coastal outlines I drafted for Alorea, the general positions of mountains, and the climate zones. From this, Thorfinn generated four topographic roughs, one for each projection style. I posted them here for your perusal.
Which one do you like best?

1. Van Der Grinten
[From Thorfinn Tait:] This is the protection I chose for Calidar itself. Its focus on the central area of the world is perfect for Calidar, as the main Great Caldera region appears front and centre. For Alorea, however, I’m not so sure. The edges of the map look progressively more and more warped, and I’m not sure this fits Alorea’s design so well.

2. Mollweide
[From Thorfinn:] The oval presentation of the world is rather distinctive. This projection is often used for palaeontological maps of the ancient Earth, and as a result ended up being used for the Mystara setting’s world map. For Alorea, it de-emphasises the poles rather nicely, as these are not really regions of interest in this world. However, the outer edges of the map appear rather warped.

3. Robinson

[From Thorfinn:] An old favourite projection dating from the 1960s, Robinson is now slightly out of date, which can be a plus when dealing with fantasy worlds. It does a good job of rendering the mid latitudes without too much warping, while not placing too much emphasis on the poles. It seems like a natural fit for Alorea in many ways.

4. Winkel-Tripel
[From Thorfinn:] A more modern take on the same concept as Robinson, and the similarity is pretty striking. The main difference for our purposes is in the depiction of the poles: Winkel Tripel places more emphasis on these areas. As such, it seems like an inferior choice to Robinson for Alorea.

[Back to me:] You're welcome to vote in the related poll, or to comment about these maps. Now's a good time to let us know what you like or don't like. I posted the poll in Calidar's Facebook group (click here to visit).

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Who Killed the GOP?

Just so you get where I stand.

I’m neither defending the GOP as it’s become today nor am I attracted by the ideals of the pre-Trump Republican Party. The truth is that the real Grand Old Party is dead. It had been drifting for some years before Trump and his enablers killed it. But this is neither here nor there: what matters is that a democracy needs more than one single party to work. With only one side calling the shots, there is no democracy. I’d be a dictatorship or a monarchy, whatever. A democracy requires at least two parties with the desire and ability to work together and come up with the best solutions to our future’s challenges. Without these components, a democracy is broken. This is what we have now.

Clearly, Trump’s party refuses to discuss anything or cooperate with anyone aside from what the guy the WH wants. Worse, it is willing to misguide and tear down a nation and its people in order to have its way. Trump and his hateful, corrupt enablers need to be rooted out of Washington. In order for this to happen, you have to vote accordingly. If you do so, you’re not selling your soul for all eternity. You’re not marrying into the other party until death do you part. There is no shame or dishonor in using the tools democracy provides to do what must be done. Afterward, people should endeavor to rebuild a GOP with honorable, constructive folks. It may take four years, eight, twelve: whatever it needs. In the long run, we all benefit, even though we may not agree on ideologies. Demonizing, denying, looking away, lying, hurting, or destroying will solve nothing because they only beget more of the same.

Some people relish tearing down things around them. They do it mostly out of misdirected anger or to lash out at symbols they’ve been told to hate. Though the instigators are quite good at sowing chaos, these people aren’t the kind who can build anything besides walls (and even that’s in question). It’s not what they do, and in any case, it takes far longer to build than to destroy something worthwhile. Never forget this, because if you do, you may no longer enjoy democracy in your lifetime. Everyone loses.

Do the right thing.