in Area maps, Greyhawk, Maps
Tags: Ataphad Islands, Dramidj Ocean, Ekbir
Skord of Skule
Dec 17, 2012 @ 10:31:28
I just discovered your amazing work has reached the Dramidj ocean. As always, your maps are simply wonderful. Thank you so much for that.
I have one small question here : I see (from your general “Area maps”) that you’re following the outline of the original Darlene’smap for the shape of the whole Flanaess. Yet, on the Darlene’s map, the Ataphad islands do not appear. In the Glossography (second booklet form the 1983 World of Greyhawk boxset), on page 18, there’s a small map of Oerik showing that the Ataphad islands are lying just outside (to the left) of the area depicted on the Darlene’s map.
However, this was changed on the map of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. There the Ataphad islands appear on the Flanaess map. But this is *not* due to the fact that this latter map depicts a bit broader an area than the original Darlene’s one. Instead, this is due to the fact that the authors of the LGG drew the LGG map using a different cartographic projection (something like a Lambert conical conform projection, to be precise) than the original map. The result of this can be clearly see on the right side of the LGG map, where the Thillonrian peninsula appears to be squeezed in comparison to its size on the original Darlene’s map.
So, I was wondering what brought you to draw the Ataphad islands so close to the Ekbir coast ? Is it because you followed there the cartography of the LGG map ? Or is it a conscious choice, to make those islands closer to the Bakluni coast ?
Thanks in advance for your answer. And congratulations for your work.
Jean-Marie (Skord of Skule on Canonfire)
Dec 17, 2012 @ 11:21:24
This is a good example of the inconsistencies between different sources, just like you point out the Ataphads are a LGG creation. I don’t know how come they appeared in the LGG campaign, and there are no mention of them in older sources.
I add LGG features as much as possible so my work can reflect as much of Greyhawk lore as possible. I also include well written fan made content at times too, especially if it details something that has been ignored in published material. It is not an easy choice at times how to weigh conflicting sources and in the end I make a subjective decision of how I want it. So this time I decided to go with the LG maps and modules and place the Ataphads closer to Ekbir, and also add the island of Murenshi.
Thankfully I have lots of very knowledgeable and dedicated fans like you who questions what I do and help me get things right.
Skord of Skule
Dec 18, 2012 @ 13:33:15
Hi Anna, thank you very much for your answer.
I’m certainly not questionning what you’re doing. 🙂 I think you’re doing things great. And I understand perfectly that you have to make subjective decisions when there are conflicting sources. It’s not what I was up to.
My point was that this is not only about conflicting sources. But also about two different map projections. Indeed, the Ataphads do appear in previous sources. Only they have been given *a name* in the LGG. But they appeared previsouly on the map in the Glossography booklet (page 18 of that booklet). On that map, the Ataphads appear further from the Ekbir coast. The LGG map made them closer from that coast, clearly.
But that’s not only because of two conflicting sources. It’s also because these two maps (the Darlene one, which is only expanded by the Glossography map) and the LGG map have been drawn with two different map projections. they represent the same thing, but in a different aspect. That’s the point I wanted to stress. If the difference is not very important for a small structure like the Ataphads, it could be much bigger if you refered variously to one or another of those two maps for a larger structure.
Don’t know if I’m making myself clear (and maybe you’re aware about all this). But it comes from the fact that in the 90’s, Gary Holian “established” that the Darlene map had been drawn using an equirectangular projection. A questionnable choice for many reasons, but I’ll not go in there now. Then, when they prepared the LGG map, they decided to draw the map in a different projection, more able to show the “true” (true only according to their assumption of an equirectangular projection !!!) aspect of the Flanaess. They choose to present it in some kind of Lambert conical conform projection… That’s why on the LGG map the Thillonrian peninsula appears to be squeezed in comparison to its aspect on the Darlene’s map.
But the same happened with the West corner of the map. Not only did they make the Ataphad islands closer from the coast of Ekbir, but they also “squeezed” the whole region of the Dramidj islands, in comparison to the Darlene map. So, the fact that the islands appear to be closer from the coast is not only a question of them choosing that, but is also due to that change in the map projection.
Concretely (and to conclude, at last :-), since you’re following the general geography of the Darlene map (and this remains true whatever the projection we assume for it), you should place the Ataphad islands a bit higher and more to the left of your map, even if you consider their place on the LGG map. Because that map does not follow the same map projection as yours.
Well… Sorry to be so long. 🙂 In the end, this is only a game and your choice is as good as any. (Then, I’m kind of a cartography geek and this is also a game for me. 🙂
But my main point was to stress out that difference of map projection between the two sources you used. For bigger structures it could be a problem. (Again, I don’t know if you were aware of it. Likely, I guess.)
Dec 20, 2012 @ 11:55:47
Its great to see someone else who is really into maps!
I recall reading something about that long ago in Dragon or so, but to be honest I wanted to forget about map intricacies like that for my Flaness maps, I had enough of it as a pilot struggling with long distance navigation 😉
But it is a in interesting topic that deserve some thoughts. Long distance navigation in a fantasy world are I think either done though visually following landmarks or through magical means. So maps don’t really need a grid system for navigational needs and projections used should be ones that preserve areas, like Mollenweide or Lambert. I’m very fond of Equidistant projections that make the map look like a picture of the globe from a certain point.
But it is local navigation and distances that are what is important for campaign maps I think. It is just like you say in the end only a game even if we care a lot for it 🙂
Skord of Skule
Dec 25, 2012 @ 19:21:07
Hi Anna, The topic you raise, about the “reason” they would have (in-game) to draw the Flanaess map, is very interesting. Was this map drawn for long-distance navigation ? I’m not so sure. I guess people who fly by magic means or on the back of a griffon – or a dragon – are not so numerous, even in a D&D world (but they would be rich and powerful indeed, certainly enough to have people drawing maps for them). For my part I see the Flanaess map more like a geopolitical instrument for kings and rulers (and rich merchants too), able to show them the areas they claim, the distances for trade or war, the natural obstacles to conquest and travel, and so on.
With this in mind, I’m following a more ‘out-game’ perspective, trying to find which map projection is able to preserve the presumed cartographic characteristics of the Darlene’s map. For example, I know players are very fond of preserving the distance-scale of the map, because of the hex-grid. (At the same time, this is consistent with the in-game use I envision for the map.) Then we have to consider projections where parallels are evenly-spaced straight lines (because of Glossography p.18, again). Of course, players want also to preserve the shapes of the map, but this last is a more intricate issue.
I won’t go too much into map intricacies. 🙂 – don’t want to bother you after job hours. But it appears I’m presently digging into that issue. In first instance, this brings us towards the Sinusoidal projection. This one preserves the distances of the Flanaess map much better than the equirectangular projection. It is also equal-area. The problem is that the Sinusoidal projection distorts shapes heavily on its outskirts. This is not a trouble with a regional map like the Flanaess/Darlene one. But it is less suitable when we consider the Glossography’s Oerik map, for example. (And it simply doesn’t work with the Dragon Annual’s Oerth map.)
I’m presently studying the result if we consider a Goode homolosine projection. It solves some problems of the Sinusoidal but create others, as always with maps :-). Well, I’m preparing a topic for Canonfire on this whole issue. I’ll post you the link when I publish it.
So enough for map intricacies. 🙂 Sorry for that. I understand you can have enough. So you’re a long-distance pilot and you still have time to make all those wonderful maps. That’s great !
Dec 26, 2012 @ 19:38:22
RPG’s and Fantasy realms are a wonderful thing, you can take them as serious as it pleases you and it makes it more fun. But right now i’m not so keen on going tin and study the grid lines in the Glossography, its great to know I will have expert advice when the time comes!
Then I will hopefully have your article to lean on and study as well 🙂
You don’t need to worry about disturbing me in my after job hours – I’m full time mapper nowadays, my flying days are over. So now I can devote most of my energy trying to chart fantasy realms.
Skord of Skule
Dec 29, 2012 @ 22:10:41
Don’t worry, my point was not to ask you to study those questions. I was just giving the reference and pointing the issue. I’m still not sure myself if that research has any use for Greyhawk, besides canonical dissertations.
Wow, full-time mapper. Are you living of it or just doing that as a hobby ? (Asking the question because… wow, I’d love to have that kind of job. 🙂 )
Dec 29, 2012 @ 22:17:23
I’m having it as a part time job, and it is more and more a full time job, and I fully agree with you, its a great job! 🙂