September 21st, 2009

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Featured Map: The World of Solomon Kane

With the advent of the upcoming movie, I thought I’d showcase a map I made for Pinnacle Entertainment Group’s RPG: The Savage World of Solomon Kane.

This is an example of a common difficulty in historical fantasy game maps. There is a constant battle between accuracy and artistic authenticity. On the one hand, the customer wants a map that will look as much as possible like a map of teh time. They want a product which the player or gamemaster can hold and get that visceral feel of connection with the setting.

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In this case, Solomon Kane lived in the 16th century. The world was far from fully mapped. At the same time, much of the action is in the discovery and exploration of far-off lands, or strange hidden lands within places once mysterious and unknown, such as Deepest Africa. You will note that Australia is hinted at on this map, though it was not discovered by Europeans until the following centruy.

This is a nod to Accuracy and Utility. Though we want a map that looks like something Kane himself might have held, the players and gamemaster want something that they can use to accurately gauge distances, or spacial relationships between land-masses. They want the arcane and the familiar in one product. In general, these aims are incompatible, and the problem gets worse as you “zoom in” to larger scale maps. In a future post, I will show a portion of a map of the Eastern seaboard of North America that also illustrates this point.

The concession was arrived at in this map, that landmasses that had been discovered would be shown faithfully, even if they were not already fully mapped. The farthest north, the farthest south, and places like Australia would be faded and ghostly.

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Originally published at Out Of My Mind. You can comment here or there.