Averald: A Fantasy Sandbox, part 2
The following was originally posted on my old blog on September 26, 2011. I have since commandeered that blog for private use, and have decided to move my campaign development ramblings over here. They are presented here in their entirety, though they may be reformatted to be easier to see on this blog’s color scheme. Thanks for reading!
Last week, I talked about my general idea for a campaign setting. Today, I’ll talk about the next step — coming up with a brief history in order to give myself a better idea of the setting.
In a nutshell, this basically comprises steps 1-3 of Rob Conley’s “How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox” series of articles (which are an interesting read, if you’re into that sort of thing, which you probably are if you’re reading this.)
In addition to this little history (which has been revised a bit to make it read a little more nicely), I also drew a map as I wrote. (My original page of history, randomly-generated names, and hacked-together map is provided here for your amusement. And yes, I like to draw on graph paper. And yes, I changed all of those names in my final revision. They were awful. I still used ones from the same list of names I generated at the beginning, though!)
A Brief History of Averald
By the year 473 (350 years ago), the Sumradine Empire had conquered all of Averald and beyond. The people of Chauntyle were crushed to almost nothing, forced into the depths of the Glassmarsh. Chauntyle’s most powerful mages came together and, with the most powerful display of magic ever seen in Averald, threw up a chain of mountains between themselves and the bulk of the Sumradine Empire. Cut off from their reinforcements, the Sumradine army was suddenly outnumbered, and was forced to flee south into the ancient Lorthera Forest, where they survived in hiding.
In 648 (175 years later), the stranded Sumradine people rallied arouned a powerful leader, Tiaeroth, who conquered much of the southlands. Tiaeroth’s son, Honroth, was the first king of the new Sumradine kingdom of Lorthera – named for the forest that had sheltered them in their time of need.
The kingdoms of Chauntyle and Lorthera warred almost nonstop for the next 75 years, until the coming of the great sorceror Neghamos. Neghamos was a Chauntylian mage who – with ancient Sumradine magic he found in the Glassmarsh, it is rumored – conquered much of Lorthera. But just as Chauntyle was rejoicing at the defeat of its old enemy, Neghamos turned his magic on them. Soon, both kingdoms had fallen under his rule, and Neghamos made himself supreme emperor of Averald.
His reign was brief. In 727, only four years later, Neghamos was overthrown by an alliance of Chauntylian and Lortheran rebels. A year later, the Charter of Two Kingdoms was signed, creating official borders for the kingdoms of Chauntyle and Lorthera.
There was a brief peace until 752, when Lorthera was thrown into a civil war by political unrest. The Kintai rebellion – known to them as the Uprising of the Purebloods – was short-lived, being brutally crushed by the Lortheran King, but it inspired the Chauntylians to turn a series of keeps on their northern border into a curtain wall.
The year is now 823. In the wake of the peaceful times the two kingdoms have been enjoying, there has been an age of expansion for both of them. The Lortherans are slowly purging the monsters that make the land uninhabitable, and the Chauntylians are expanding into the northern sea and the islands there. Much talk has been heard of going east, past the Shield Mountains, to conquer Sumradine.
But unknown to the people of Averald, what was once a fertile, forested land is now a desert wasteland… and the surviving Sumradine are angry. Very angry….
Well, let’s just say it was.
Revise and redraw your map, if necessary, and then put it on some sort of grid so that it can be scaled up easily. Name important areas of your selected region.
So I redrew the map on another piece of paper, seen here. (I also picked a nice big chuck out of the middle to map more fully.) You can see I’ve gotten more randomly generated names, hehe! When I’m fitting the details of a setting to an idea I’ve decided on previously, I’ll come up with names myself or look for something appropriate. When I don’t have a solid idea, though, random names can spark interesting ideas. For example, one of these names was “Brightcliff”… what would make people name a town that, I wondered? Maybe the cliffs have a certain pale color, or shine in the light of the sun. Maybe it’s a certain type of rock, or maybe it has some shiny ore or mineral in it. Maybe there’s a mine nearby where that shiny something is being mined. What could be mined there? Silver is an easy answer, but maybe something else. I’ll keep thinking about it.
After I’d done all of this and pondered everything for a while, I decided to add a few more places to the map and make it into a hex map, to make mapping the smaller regions accurately easier. Here’s the finished hex map of Averald.
The eastern country, half desert, is of course Sumradine. The western ones are Chauntyle (northern main continent) and Lorthera. The island continents are a new addition: the western island is Saboro, and the northern group of islands is the southern end of Ildaunt, both of which are being colonized by explorers from Chauntyle.
What I am thinking right now is that this map needs some labeling and a nice map key up in that empty northeast area.
Resources used so far:
Rob Conley’s “How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox”
The Welsh Piper’s Hex Map Templates
Samuel Stoddard’s Fantasy Name Generator
Serendipity Random Generators
Hexographer Hexmapping Software
And I can’t mention maps without a shout out to the Cartographers’ Guild, without whose accumulated map-making wisdom, I would doubtlessly be quite lost.
This entry was posted on April 30, 2012 by StarRaven. It was filed under Averald, Gaming, Writing and was tagged with campaign settings, fantasy, gaming, hex map, maps, role-playing games, worldbuilding, writing.