Geography for Worldbuilding and Fantasy Maps

crusoeWhether you’re creating a setting for a novel, story, or game, it’s a good idea to think about some basic geography, so things make sense … for the most part anyway. I consulted a geologist about some basic guidelines for the geography of imaginary worlds. Of course, there are always anomalies, and fantastical explanations for unusual features or even entire worlds, but if you want your world to be vaguely earth-like, these simple guidelines may help in your worldbuilding:

  1. Large mountains almost always occur in ranges.
  2. Rivers flow from mountains and hills down into bigger rivers or open bodies of water.
  3. Forest can occur almost anywhere there is sufficient water for trees.
  4. Grasslands and hills can occur almost anywhere.
  5. Swamps, marshes, and lakes occur in flat areas with a lot of water.
  6. Canyons are carved out by rivers or streams.
  7. Major deserts are a regional function of the trade winds, but small deserts often form inland, on the far side of mountain ranges.
  8. Springs and oases can occur almost anywhere.
  9. Volcanoes occur in chains or regions of vulcanism. This usually happens closer to coastlines or islands.
  10. Glaciers, like water, flow downhill, and glaciated areas tend to have broad U-shaped valleys.
  11. Towns and cities need a source of fresh water. Larger cities often occur on trade routes.
  12. If you’re looking at huge timescales and you want some billion year old ruins, the centers of continents tend to be the oldest geologic areas.

Weird Roleplaying Cover Art

WEIRD coverThe Weird Roleplaying cover concept features art by Brian Hendrickson. I wanted the cover to have a classic feel to it. The art had to speak to the theme of weird fiction, since that’s the inspiration for the game, but be ambiguous enough to relate to a wide variety of settings and time periods.

Brian’s web comic “Call of Cthulu: The Musical” is published in Weird Tales and featured on his own site, Qualestation.

Weird is still in the development and writing stages, but it’s a playable game at this point, and ongoing play tests are already happening in-house. More information about the game can be found on the Games page.

Roleplaying Games in Development

roleplayingAnnouncing the development of not one, but two roleplaying games: Grimstone and Weird. I have been quietly developing and writing these games for a while now and look forward to having early playtest versions done soon.

Grimstone Fantasy Roleplaying is a traditional fantasy game based in the 3.5 OGL. It will be largely compatible with early editions of the Original Fantasy Roleplaying Game and with the numerous games of the Old School Renaissance. However, Grimstone features a unique class system with specialized feat lines, a fully developed skill system, and a unified system of magic. I am writing the entire game from scratch, including all spells and monsters to acheive a cohesive streamlined system that represents my ideal in fantasy gaming.

Weird Roleplaying is an original universal rules-light system inspired by weird fiction throughout the ages. It is being designed for fast character creation, streamlined gameplay, and easy adaptiblity to any genre, setting, or source materials. I’m very excited about the possiblities for this game. Weird is like a skeleton key for roleplaying games. It is designed to minimize GM prep time and to make improvisation and adapting adventures from other systems easy and intuitive.

Grimstone and Weird will ultimately be released through my company, Ealdanleoht Books and Games along with a number of original adventures for each system. Stay tuned for further developments.