Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Here Be Cannibals: Mapping Generic OSR-Land

You've probably all seen those maps of Generic Fantasy Land. This one was made years ago;  more recently James Hutchings posted two similar ones over on his Teleleli blog. You might also have seen this post over on Throne of Salt,  which took a whole bunch of OSR settings (including mine!) and squished them all together into a single hexmap - which is also, incidentally, pretty much how I built the game setting for my current Team Tsathogga campaign.

Reading these two posts in close succession made me think about what the OSR-fantasy version of those maps would look like. The OSR, after all, has its distinctive preoccupations and areas of focus: a lot less Generic Fantasy Kingdoms, and a lot more crashed spaceships and mutant snakemen. We have our own fads and fashions - islands and whaling seems to be in this season - and one doesn't need to read very widely in the OSR blogosphere to start seeing the same motifs surfacing over and over again. (There seems to be no limit to our collective fixation with cults and cannibals, for a start.) So I idly opened Hexographer, and an hour later, I came up with this...


20 comments:

  1. Man oh man, I think you are on the money here.

    Islands and whales are so hot right now. (I'm personally guilty...)

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  2. This is on point. I wonder: with so many variants of cannibals, do they get together for big barbecue luncheons to discuss international cannibal policy? Cooking techniques, what is or isn't considered cannibalism, how to get around prion diseases, and so on.

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    1. Funnily enough, I put the Meat God at the juncture of three cannibal communities because I figured it would be the kind of place they'd all want to hang out...

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    2. The spark that ignites the Meat Wars.

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  3. I'd love to see a textless version of this map, so that I can invent evocative names for all the fantastic and economically described places. Hint hint... ;)

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    1. That'd be neat! Maybe Joseph could share his Hexographer file?

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    2. OK. You can download it here:

      https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Ce17SeKiMpcFBxbk1fT3loTjA

      Then just open it with Hexographer, strip out the text, and rewrite to your heart's content...

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    3. Thanks Joseph. Unfortunately, I'm on a Mac and I don't have hexographer. :(

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    4. It's a Java program with a free (and very complete) trial version.
      I see no reason why it shouldn't run on Mac OS.

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    5. Thanks Joseph! And thanks Klaus. Downloaded the free version for Mac and turned off the text and added hex numbers. Here's a PNG of the modified map. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-6yYlgff6_PUzFJbUN4djhjazQ/view?usp=sharing

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  4. Nice, but I don't see any rivers. Personally, I do it wholly handwritten, using Rolemaster's good old Campaign guide...

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    1. We don't do much with rivers, do we? Except Qelong, I guess. And Patrick's stuff about the rivers of the World Uncertain.

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    2. Right; except if you own "Death on the Reik" (Warhammer Fantasy)that includes a supplement for river navigation. Indeed, the real importance of rivers is for realism, to decide where the main human civilisations and their cities will be located.

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  5. HOW DID YOU GET ALL OF MY UNPUBLISHED SETTING NOTES?!?!?

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    1. Logical extrapolation from your published setting notes.

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  6. I don't get cannibals, but cults do make sense. Between inspiration from Lovecraft, Smith and other pulp writers and the human tendency to become subservient to greater forces or individuals (why else would people roll over for obviously insane warlords?), there is still a lot of potential untapped for cultists. Too bad that most of the ones in gaming are for disgusting demon things. I want more cults for benevolent aliens and strange elementals.

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    1. Well, cults are handy for lots of other reasons as well. They have an in-built justification for possessing supernatural powers (gifts from whatever they worship), for gathering in underground lairs or hidden strongholds (hiding from the authorities), and for existing in just the right numbers to challenge a regular PC-size group. The Army of the Dark Warlord is much harder to fit into an average RPG session than the Cult of the Dark Mage...

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  7. I note that the Mountains of Madness are to the North in this map, which explains why the character in the story of that name goes crazy when he sees southward beyond mountains: he witnessed crazy OSR land.

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    1. Also: Cult Cult is awesome and I ma going to figure out how to explain and implement that.

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  8. Oh man, I think i just found the map for my next campaign. Possibly running murderhobos, ya think ?
    Oh, FWIW, it only lacks one thing: the "xerox and ditto" an expository context inn and tavern.

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