24 Dec 2012
Time to write down goals and ideas I have for the future, but first some thoughts of the past. I’ve been working on mapping the Greyhawk campaign setting since the mid 90’s. During all these years the task seemed to grow and becoming almost impossible, and I have many times feared that I wasn’t up to it. This year my goal was to overcome those limits and progress from a passionate hobbyist to become a professional. I have spent many many hours researching, sketching and finally trying to create what I think the world of Greyhawk looks like. Now I feet confident it is possible to finish this project. Mapping the Flanaess has brought my interest and skills in fantasy cartography and computer graphics from a novice to a professional level.
State of the the Atlas of the Flanaess project
A year ago I wrote that 2011 was the most successful year, and that is even more true this year. 2012 I’ve managed to cover as much as I did during all the previous years combined. All in all I have done roughly 80% of the project to map the entire Flanaess.
What I have left to do are parts of the Sheldomar Valley, the Tillvanot Peninsula and Hepmonaland, the far west with Zief and the southwest with Ameido and the Sea of Dust. It is a large area but large parts require comparatively little research. The labor intensive areas left are the Sheldomar Valley, Tilvanot Peninsula, Ull and Zeif.
A public presentation of the map will be held during 2013. Not decided when and where yet, but hopefully we can have a gathering of Greyhawk fans and show off our beloved setting at GenCon or at some other big convention.
My intention is to make the high resolution files needed for print available for everybody to download under the Creative Commons non commercial license. That will require more resources to cover cost for hosting, creation of various formats and versions to be able to print wall maps and books. I haven’t gone over the exact sums yet, but I have almost a thousand people interested in this project and if all of you support me with $5 each the sky is the limit. I can host the big files in different versions for you to download and use digitally of for print and tweak the way you like. If this turn out well I can use this model to finance future projects as well.
As a professional comes the inevitable part of trying to make some money to cover expenses and making it possible for me to devote lots of time to devote to map making. There are several different ways for me to publish my work and that way laying the foundation for more maps. here are some of my thoughts about various forms of publishing what I do.
I have several projects under discussion and one or more will probably be set in motion. Its a great way of getting payed for making maps. The drawbacks are that I don’t get a chance to work on my pet projects – making more Greyhawk maps.
Though sites like Drivethru RPG or virtual table top tools like Roll20.net or d20pro.com. This is a excellent way of selling fantasy maps and I’m sure I will use it for some projects. IP issues have to be considered so Greyhawk content is not to be published this way.
Even in digital times like these there is still a market for printed maps in various forms. Wall maps, books or for use on the gaming table. Some of my work will be published this way, and again IP is a consideration here as well.
This is a great way to both figure out if there are enough interest for a project and also to gather the funds for it. I’ve talked to some other Kickstarter veterans and the trickiest part is to set the pledge rewards right so they don’t increase the cost too much and they don’t force me to devote time away from the project designing T-shirts, baseball camps or other things. Intellectual Property rights also make Greyhawk related work ill suited for a Kickstarter funding.
It is a haphazard way and not very reliable, and might be unfair and problematic if the goals aren’t met. The positive with this type of funding is that it makes it possible to fund Greyhawk projects. This method makes it possible for me to concentrate on creating content, rather then manage sales or to do commission work in order to earn money.
Next year will be very exiting when my work will go into a new phase. First the publishing of the Flanaess maps, then to set new goals and working out what ideas to bring to life.
A big map of the world is lovely to have but when you’re running your game what you need more than anything else are maps for use in all the the encounters your party has. That means high quality re-usable, informative and above all inspirational maps that gives life to everything from a street fight to the epic struggle in the dragons lair. There are lots of maps on the market to try and cover this and some of them look great. But I’m of the firm opinion that there are room for some more and new innovative styles as well. I have a whole set of ideas how to make sets of tiles that can be created to cover different types of terrain like country roads, the village, castle, orc lair, underdark, forest, hills, winter, city walls and many more.
I want to make special tiles to cover famous locations from Greyhawk and other places that will work together with the other tiles making it possible to cover large areas for big battles of in depth exploration.
Maps of cities and villages and other locations of fame are another type of maps that I have many pet project ideas. One of my end goal would be to have tiles that could be combined to make a particular place in a city, but also be a part of another city.
When it comes to Greyhawk some of my ideas are city maps where the city of Greyhawk are one, but also Stoink, Rel Deven, Rauxes, Irongate or why not Highport or Dorakaa. Then we have places of special fame like the Passage of Slerotin, Vault of the Drow or one of my favorites the Gibbering Gate. The adventures of forever would be great to play with full color battle maps.
For me every day I can work on a fantasy map is making a dream coming true. Thank you all for making that possible!
I hope that you have a great Christmas and New Year and don’t forget Needfest.
I also hope you want to come with me on many future adventures.
Anna B Meyer