Edward Greaves (temporus) wrote,
Edward Greaves

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Maps to Imaginary Lands

One of my hobbies obsessions is cartography.   Especially, imaginary cartography.  It might have started with the map included with The Hobbit  that I read first in third grade.   But I sort of doubt it.  I've always been fascinated with maps.  I'm also a rather good geography buff, spending hours with many a globe or atlas.   

I'm certain that fantasy literature's tendency to include maps within books only added fuel to that fire many years ago.

Possibly out of some misguided, youthful, belief that to write fantasy stories requires one to follow in the footsteps of Tolkien, when I started writing, I started drawing maps.   Not long after that, I discovered this marvelous game.  Dungeons & Dragons.  It seemed the culmination of all these ideals at the time. Fantasy, and maps!  And I could spend all the time I wanted crafting maps that (unlike my writing at those junior high years) would actually be used by people.   So besides writing, I spent a lot of time playing D&D and drawing maps.

Some time around college I got tired of D&D and role playing in general, instead I followed other outlets.  I still drew maps, at that point mostly for fictional worlds.  I'm sure somewhere I've got a large stack of maps for novel ideas that never went anywhere.  Possibly even more than writing scraps that never went anywhere.   Also during that time I seem to have discovered (if not consciously) that I could *gasp* write stories without a requisite map to go along with it.

After college, somewhere in the 90's I got back into D&D with my old gaming group.  It was a lot of fun, and though not quite like the days of my youth (in this case I mean that in a literal fashion) there was a lot of the same obsessions with maps and all that.   I got back into making maps for D&D and other games, and eventually ended up buying a computer program to help: Campaign Cartographer by Profantasy Software.  For a few years, I was heavily into mapping, creating all kinds of stuff for myself, for the public at large.  (For all intents and purposes, I released a number of those maps into the "Creative Commons" before that term actually was defined.  Some day, I just might do so in a more literal fashion.)  I even helped beta test a few of their products, and worked on maps for the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas.  Profantasy Software is probably one of the best software companies I ever had dealings with.  Some of the best support around, and always a great product.  And add to that a great user-base community that genuinely supports each other to help make the best maps each person can.   I've been on lists one hundreth the size of that email list with more than a hundred times the flamewars.  Astounding.

Fast forward to the present.  Well, I still play D&D, though far less frequently than as a child.  I still draw maps, because, beyond enjoying a good game of rolling d20's, I simply enjoy crafting the maps themselves.  I'm now a marginal part of that community at best.  Still on the email list, though I hardly get the chance to read and respond.  I'm not as up-to-date with the software as I used to be.   When Profantasy came out with the latest version of their software: Campaign Cartographer 3, I kind of missed the boat.  Okay, so I was a touch busy having a son and all that.   I finally got around to getting myself a bit more up-to-date.   

Am I glad I did.  I'm floored with the new version.  This is hands down a marvelous upgrade, and what's more, it's worth every penny.  This really does warrant that full version number upgrade that they used to delineate it.  I'm still in the phase of relearning the software, to remember where things are, and determining how best to make use of the new tools, etc.  While the D&D Campaign I was running has broken up, and I don't have endless need to be creating new maps, I still find it a relaxing hobby that I hope to have time for the occasional creation again.

All of that was a very long-winded introduction to a map I created, and just wanted to show off.  This thumbnail should enable you to get to the larger version.   If you want to get to the much larger version, I think you double click on that version again.   But be warned the much larger version is about 1.7 MB.   And is set for screen size off most monitor sized scales.   That's to allow me to see the finer details.

*The map above was created with both CC3, and the Annual, an add on to enable a user to have even more style sets with which to make their map.  This style set is based upon the historical style of maps by Mercator and his contemporaries during that early part of the "Age of Exploration."

Tags: cartography, cc3, d&d, map
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