Friday, December 28, 2012

Building Blocks

Writing, drawing, worldbuilding....anything creative has its ups and downs. The good times are when you have so many ideas you feel like you're rushing to get them all down. Furiously scribbling while the muses smile on you. There's nothing like riding that wave of inspiration! Be sure to say "thank you" when fate does bless you with those moments because sometimes they feel few and far between.

That being said, let me move on to the real point of this post: what to do to pull yourself out of a rut.

First of all, be mindful of your feelings, your thoughts betray you. Doing something creative is a great way to escape into something fun. But trying to force it is about the worst thing you can do. For a time-killer, poops-and-giggles guy like me that's not as much of an issue as for someone who does this for a living. I can't think of many jobs cooler than getting paid to do this...but what happens when the laughter stops and it becomes the daily grind of work? Again, I'm rambling. The take away is this, don't count on just being able to plop down and churn out something. It doesn't work like that. It really really doesn't work like that if you're in a bad mood, tired, frustrated, etc. You can improve your mood with this stuff, but don't think it's a cure all.

Second, find what inspires you. If you can't think of something, go find something. I like landscapes (maps especially if you haven't figured that out yet) and concept art. It's pretty easy for me to look at an image and "fill in the gaps". What is this place? Where? What's around the next bend in the road? What lies at the end of the journey? What started it? What are the people, creatures, modes of transportation like? In a specifically fantasy sense, what are the dangers of the world? What is the political system/religion? Are those two separate? Is there magic, what are its rules and limitations? Armor and weapons fascinate me. What does each piece mean/do? Why did the artist/character choose what they did?

Another suggestion...READ! Find a magazine, book, blog, website, forum, guild, whatever. I like to take an empty backpack to the library and just wander. If you're a worldbuilder it can be overwhelming how much you have to consider to flesh out all of the details. Don't try to see it all at once. Focus on bits. Mythos, philosophy, language, commerce, weather, terrain, etc. I say that like it's such an easy thing - believe me, it's not. I get stuck in a funk at least once a month. It happens. Shake it off and move on. We can't be demanding of our imagination, it often does whatever it feels like.

One last bit of advice. Don't erase, apologize, or beat yourself up about it. I used to try to make everything fit into one world. It didn't work. I have pages and pages of notes that I don't know what (if anything) I'll ever do with them. But it was fun to write it at the time. And it's fun to go over it again later. Sometimes you forget something really great hidden within an old notebook and it's really cool to rediscover it - even moreso when you can remind yourself "I did that. It's bloody brilliant!"

**Thanks to Nathan (aka Vorropohaiah) for mentioning documentaries. I knew I forgot to include something! I watch a lot of documentaries. Science, history, cultural, space, etc. They are almost guaranteed to stimulate the imagination. And even if you don't get a lightning strike of inspiration, at least you're learning something that you can draw upon later.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Waste(d)

I don't have much for the blogosphere/bloggerverse today being that it's Christmas, I've been drinking steadily for about 22 hours (with a bit of sleep in the middle), and I'm at my parents' place meaning all my links/favs/pics are not here with me.

My recent activities have mainly been geared towards DM prepping for my homebrew campaign. Wish me luck, I'm DMing for the first time ever this weekend. The world is pretty well built by now, I have down on paper (and still quite a bit in my head) the character/race/class info players will need to get started. I already know the first encounter the group will throw dice for, and I have plenty more that we can game with in the future. Many are stand alone adventures, but with easy work-in-ability later if we decide to run a single linear campaign.

So I'll get my minis printed up sometime between now and Saturday (because it's easier and cheaper than figurines) and confirm who is showing up, and that's that.

This feels like an incredibly wasted post, but it's all I could muster today.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Relax. It's not like it's the end of the world.

I was sent this link several weeks ago, but I just knew I had to save it for today.

Exit Mundi - Various End of the World Scenarios

As much as I think this world would be better off with fewer idiot people, I guess it's a good thing the sun will continue to rise. I'd miss my wife, friends, dogs, and blogs. But man I'd like to shoot some zombies!

On to the next dommsday panic, I suppose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Satellite Style Photoshop Map Tutorial

I haven't been on in a while, but I was sending thanks to the artist who supplied the awesome maps that now adorn the nerdatorium. While I was wandering through links I came across this fantastic info share:

Satellite Style Photoshop Map Tutorial

And that's just Part 1. I'm eager to see what comes next.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


My last map from Banners on the Cheap came yesterday, and again, I'm impressed with how it turned out. Now y'all (mainly you Nils) can quit having an old fashioned geek fit and get down to gawking ;)

First up, in honor of The Hobbit movie opening, a classic oldie but goodie

This map of Beleriand is still tucked in the corner where is always was

The Ustalav region of Pathfinder is also in its original location

As is the 4 panel Pathfinder Inner Sea Region

Now, on to the newness! This 3x6 foot mega-map now takes up the back wall above my drawing table. I had to take an angle shot from each side to minimize the washout from the flash.

Above the computer desk is (from left to right) Galinorn, the north-central continent from above, the Westerlands, and the Forgotten Realms

This Galinorn map was the last to be delivered, not due to slow shipping, but from me not ordering it with the first two. I don't know why.

The Westerlands in all its GIMP glory. This is the world I'm currently focused on as it's where our dice throwing adventures take place.

The Forgotten Realms is roughly where it used to be, just moved down a bit.

And I had room to move it because my wife gave my the fantastic idea of putting the bookcase on its side to allow more wall space. Great thinking, wife!

And to finish off, the Pathfinder town maps are in their original location, but shuffled a bit so they didn't get caught in the scanner.

So there it is folks. The Neo-Nerdatorium. I was thinking that the new organizational setup would also help my oragnize my thoughts and imaginings, but I'm beginning to believe that nothing short of prescribed medication will help that.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pull Up A Chair And Pour A Pint

The nerdatorium is in a state of disarray. As I was taking down maps to hang the new stuff, my wife gave me a great suggestion of how to rearrange the bookshelf to give myself more wall space. That is done and about half of the old maps are going back up, but shifting to new locations. I have 2 of 3 new maps hung, since I'm still waiting for the last one to be delivered. Pics are coming (Nils), I swear.

In the meantime, as mentioned previously, I've begun gaming with pals and preparing what will be my own homebrew campaign. Since I want to keep this blog primarily about world building, I started a new adventure log blog for the game tracking:

Once we start rolling dice - probably after the holiday craziness subsides - I'll have semi-regular posts.

In the meantime, as I continue to build that world for the gamers to journey and jaunt in, I can't decide if I should post the progress here, or on the new blog. Advice, suggestions, opinions?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dead Reckoning

I still haven't gotten around to hanging my new maps in the nerdatorium. Work has been A) well, work B) busy. So in the meantime I'll scrape this old post from my old blog - zombiegunslinger - and splash it up here.

Can you pay homage to your own defunct blogs of the past?

While I was driving around in the mountains with my dad I kept telling him how the mountains would be a great hold fast in the aftermath of the zom-pocalypse. There's water, wood, game, fish, and the terrain is far too rough for the walking dead to navigate....thank you Max Brooks and WWZ for the idea.
The idea nested in the back of my mind for a couple weeks, then WHAMMO!! The pieces cascaded into place and formed the zombie-western, post-apocalyptic story of Dead Reckoning.

As always, I wasn't nailed to the idea until a thought up a title that fit just right. Dead Reckoning works on many levels:

1) Wiktionary/Wikipedia defines "dead reckoning" as - the process of estimating one's current position based upon a previously determined position. While traditional methods of dead reckoning are no longer considered primary means of navigation, modern systems (GPS) are very widely used.
A disadvantage of dead reckoning is that since new positions are calculated solely from previous positions, the errors of the process are cumulative, so the error in the position fix grows with time.

This applies very well because the whole premise of the story is that the generation (or possibly the next generation - 2 from the zom-pocalypse) following the outbreak has reverted back to Old West style living. They only vaguely know where they are headed based on the previous period of American history. They are learning as they go through trial and error and finding ways to adapt to rougher living, competition with other survivors, and contending with the ever present threat of zombies. A second application is that technology has failed almost entirely because there is no one left to pilot the satellites, keep the ISPs humming, or generally leave the lights on. Therefore a humanity that has become increasingly dependent on mass media, abundant power, and knowledge at the touch of a button is now forced to eek out a living in the wilderness like their forefathers.

2) A definition for "reckoning" is - an opinion or judgment, or the consequences/retribution for one's actions.
This fits because in the story it is not known/no longer known what caused the outbreak to begin with. Some think it was government work/weapons/testing that lost control and others believe it to be God's judgment on a crumbling, immoral world. Either way it just so happens to be that it is the dead wreaking havoc against the clustered pockets of lingering civilization.
The whole thing won't be entirely Old West....that would just make folks think there was a post Civil War outbreak. Think more like Book of Eli.There will be those with modern firearms, but ammo (particularly brass shells) is running short and people are going back to black powder weaponry. Fuel was mostly consumed as people fled into the mountains from all over the country. Air travel, aside from the rare glider or hot air balloon, is nearly non-existent. Travel by horse and wagon is easier than it was in the late 1800s due to the fact that paved roads still criss-cross the country, but they are falling apart, dead ending in the canyons, or being washed out from repeated storms and no maintenance.

Another problem....beyond the obvious zombie that Mad Max-ian bands of cannibals and marauders have formed to pillage and plunder the settlements. And what is a sleepy mountain town without a self appointed, greedy baron out for land, power, and domination. These fat cats monopolize trade, passage, and any source of power (electricity, water, fuel, etc). Perhaps some even construct pioneer style forts which they defend with armies of hired thugs who run amuck and present yet another threat to those trying to pick up the pieces.

Hunting is difficult because some animals have become even more skittish of humans due to the wandering dead, while others (bears, large cats, wolves, etc) have become much more violent and aggressive, attacking any human and tearing them asunder. They do not consume the flesh of zombies...aside from your routine scavengers like carrion birds and coyotes. Animals cannot become infected from the bite of a zombie because they lack the brain physiology of a human which stores the zombie-ism.

Printed books....already becoming a rarity (imagine the future!) are treasured - the most highly sought after being Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, and what would the American West be without the zealous Bible thumpers clamoring for leadership of their flock

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Maps and other D&D Adventures

Last Friday was a big day for me. Not only did my vinyl maps get delivered [insert cartographer geek squeal here], but I was also out until 1 AM playing my first ever session of D&D. I will say this, what a great way to kill several hours with a fun bunch of guys. Thanks a ton Marcus, I had a blast...even if my character SUCKED!! Word of warning people, if ever you have to create a quick level 6 character to replace the cool level 15 ranger that it took you hours to create, don't go with a dwarf druid healer that takes a penalty of  -1 on ranged attacks.

I'm now thinking that D&D will become a regular thing for me (well, as regular as it can be for a grown man with work, school, and a family to consider). I know I want to DM games and, through trial and error, I now have a much better understanding of creating characters. I'm even looking at getting a vinyl grid mat that I can scribble on.

As for the other vinyl mats/maps that came Friday, Ansaera looks fantastic, and huge. 3x6 folks, that's a big freaking map! Westerlands is awesomely marker-friendly and the perfect size for a tabletop game mat.

I'm so impressed with both of them that I placed a new order with Banners on the Cheap this morning for a 2x2 Galinorn.

Pics will come later when I rearrange the Nerdatorium wall hangings to accommodate the new goodies.

Friday, November 30, 2012


If you're ever trying to describe what it is you do, and people just look at you funny when you say "I'm a world builder" - say "I do mythopoeia" and watch their face...just watch.

The founding father of fantasy, Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien, revived this word in the 1930s. Mythopoeia means - a narrative genre in modern literature and film where a fictional mythology is created by the writer of prose or other fiction. The idea is actually from the Hellenic Greeks in the fashion of the Homeric epic the Illiad and the Odyssey.

There are many examples of this now, but Tolkien was among the pioneers in modern times.

One last bit of trivia: Tolkien was never knighted. Queen Elizabeth did award him with the Order of the British Empire (one level below knighthood) in early 1973. He passed away September 2, 1973. It is thought that perhaps if he'd lived longer to see the Silmarillion get published in 1977, he may have died Sir J.R.R. Tolkien.

I like to think that even if he were knighted it would mostly be an honorary title that didn't change his hobbit-like outlook - much like Merry and Pippin being conferred with the titles of Rohan and Gondor.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Sense of Belonging

Why do I do this? Because it's fun and I like it.

I was telling my wife how much I would love to tell our future kids completely original stories set in a world of my own creation. Sure they'll get the regular fairy tales and Arabian Knights and King Arthur, but they'll also get stuff no one else gets. Whether it's ever published or not I would get a kick out of it if my kids take the ball and run with it, spinning tales of their own in my setting. I think of R.A. Salvatore and his son Geno now partnering to tell Drizzt tales 20 years in the making.

Another thing I love (and hate) is when I do something and then later come across it in the writings of other famous authors, i.e. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, R.A. Salvatore. I love it because it gives me this little ego boost that I am thinking and creating like the greats. I hate it because it means anyone who has read them and then reads me will think "he totally stole that from..." I will state clearly that the only fantasy I read prior to beginning to build was The Hobbit and LOTR (after the movies came out) and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. So any similarities to those are probably subconscious. But that's what I'm getting at - subconscious archetypes!

I checked out a few books to kill the long weekend with and the first one I read is loaded with insightful references to "modern fantasy" being so popular because it mirrors ages old archetypes. Celtic deities and faeries, Norse elves and dwarves, Shakespearean sprites and witches. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell basically state they're buried in every human brain the world over, that's why LOTR was one of the most read, influential, and beloved tales of the past century. And it's not losing momentum anytime soon because people are eagerly awaiting The Hobbit trilogy (I am so excited it's more than just one movie!) and I'd bet that many of them who will purchase tickets haven't read the books or perhaps weren't even alive when the first trilogy came out over 10 years ago.

The Silmarillion is one I've yet to complete cover to cover because it's Tolkien overload. I can't process more than a chapter or two at a time. I have read The Hobbit a few times. I need to re-read the LOTR books. And The Children of Hurin was one of my favorites.

What I'm saying is, we read [fantasy] to escape the mundane world and get a glimpse into the sacred, mythical worlds that our human experience so seems to lack. Some of us build such worlds to get even further into the experience. And sometimes unintentional, almost unavoidable mimicry is going to take place. But they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We do what we do because we are compelled to. Our inner elf is forever trying to break down the divide from the physical world and the faerie realm.

Some interesting tidbits to finish with: the words yourself, ourselves, themselves come from the long held Celtic belief that humans are descended from elves. That's why Tolkien's tale of Aragorn, Arwen, and their son Eldarion resonates within us. And over 30% of modern Americans have Celtic ancestry from Europe's days gone by. The Celts also believed that if someone makes you think "hm, that person looks like an elf, faerie, dwarf, etc" it's because they have that race somewhere in their bloodline. It's the same way that you can very closely resemble an ancestor for 5-6 generations ago.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Booking the Cooks and Other Writing Advice

I follow Juliette Wade's blog TalkToYoUniverse and she is a gem. A constant wealth of knowledge, experience, inspiration, wisdom, and encouragement. And no, I don't know her personally. But that's the awesomeness of it all. Being a blogger, you don't have to meet and shake hands and make awkward smalltalk and remember to send insipid holiday cards. You just find each other, and WHAMMO! you share common interest, exchange supportive words and you're off and running.

To those would-be writers and blogging hemmers and hawwers (one or two Ws in that?), just give it a go. You won't become famous overnight, you may not be saying anything staggeringly original, but the plain fact is you're at least saying it. For a while it may seem like a futile effort of talking to yourself, that no one is listening or cares. But there really is a sense of liberation when you put yourself out there. And best yet is when you grow your network of like-minded readers and writers. Soon you'll start getting comments and exchanging emails and ideas with folks half a world away. Trust me, it ROCKS! I have chatted with folks on both coasts of the US and places in between, Australia, Germany, and Malta. We're all creativity junkies, geeks, artists, writers, builders, and most of all bloggers. So like I said, give it a go.

Circling back around to Juliette and holidays, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and with writing wisdom (as usual), she had this to say.

Easy As Pie?

Because she typically gets a lot of comments, I thought I'd share mine here so you can see the kind of return you get from faithful readers when you offer up your snow globe for a giddy shake. 

My comment:
Nice allegory :) If someone unfamiliar with writing and the process thereof were to stumble across this post they might think "why the hell is she talking about cooking?" They may completely miss the point that reading, research, and practice make perfect. For instance, I make a mean lasagna. Meat, veggie, cheese, whatever, it's delicious - everyone tells me so. But how did I ever learn to make such deliciousness? Simple. It wasn't. I started with a recipe and without a clue. Over the years I learned what works and what doesn't. Now I just do it by memory. I don't even have to think about it.
It's the same with writing, the EXACT same! Learn what flavors you like, shop for ingredients, read a lot of cookbooks/recipes, and try it out. If it doesn't work...try it again. If it tastes horrid...try adding nutmeg ;) What I'm saying without saying is research, practice, and don't give up. Oh, and watch out for those with peanut or gluten allergies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nerdatorium Pics As Promised

Back with photographic evidence!

Brace yourself, there are lots. Sorry for the flashy glare on some, it's what happens when the poster paper is glossy.

This is what one is first confronted with when entering the Nerdatorium. This is the Ustalav region of Pathfinder, which you'll see in a sec. I'm thinking of making a sign to hang on the door (yes, like a teenage girl trying to keep anyone and everyone out of her room) that reads "Please Knock: World Building in Progress" or, for the more blasphemous, "Do Not Disturb: It is the 7th Day and the Creator is Resting". In fact Nils was gracious enough to make some mock-ups for me. What a swell guy!

This is the poster of Westcrown behind the door.

This looks like just another poster map, right? Oh how wrong you are....this is THE wall map to end all wall maps! If you linked to before you'll know what I mean.

Just look at that monster! That's actually 4 posters that combine into one gi-normous map! It's the entire Inner Sea Region of Pathfinder. I took this shot to show the size comparison next to the closet door. This was the perfect use of that otherwise awkward bit of wall space. I couldn't even get the whole thing in the picture, the room is only so wide to back up for the shot.

This is the back wall of the Nerdatorium, aka Tolkien Corner. It's some awesome Middle Earth maps I found while in Texas for a bit last summer, hanging above my drawing table. I still can't believe I finally have a real table, I used to just lay on the floor. You can't tell, but under the stack of books is a built in tracing table - so cool! These next few pics are close ups of Tolkien's ground-breaking, foundation-laying fantasy world. My hat is eternally off to that man!

Numenor, before it was lost beneath the sea.

Middle Earth. Sorry for the bad flash, it was even worse if I tried to get closer, and too dark without it.

The Map of "The Hobbit". Man I love that book! I've read it 3 times now and I'm sure I'll read it again before each of the movies come out. Hallelujah that Peter Jackson is directing those too - they deserve nothing less than consistency with the other LOTR movies (even if Thorin does look a bit like a Klingon). Again, sorry for the flash that blotted out the Misty Mountains and westward.

Beleriand, the northernmost part of Middle Earth. I believe I got this map out of "The Children of Hurin", another fantastic read and one I'm sure I will revisit. Or perhaps this was in "The Silmarillion", either way a great map in a great book.

This here is Compie Corner, where I spent hours upon hours trying to "make the magic happen". Surprise, surprise, my wallpaper is a fantasy map - thank you Aventhar of cartographersguild. Yes, that chair is very comfortable.

These are 5 of about 2 dozen town and city maps from Pathfinder. I would love to have all of them up all the time, but I simply don't have the space. So I started with my five favs and I'll rotate through the stack as the notion strikes me. Yes, that's a beer by my pen cup. I usually have a few whilst hammering the keys and clicking the mouse. Sometimes I drink because it helps. Sometimes I drink and it doesn't help at all. Mostly I drink all the time because...well, I'm a drunk.

Here's a close up of ye old computadora. That keyboard is going on 10 years old and still going strong. The new computer came with one of course, but I found I just didn't like the feel of it. OCD much? Yes, yes I am. The coins to the left are because I was jingling them for size and weight feel while mulling over a currency idea for stories.

This here is the handy, dandy bookshelf that replaced the clunky old dresser I was using. The left half is mine - within easy reach of the desk - and consists of: scanner/printer, D&D manuals and other such nerderies, computer games, comic books, and file folders of maps. My wife has claim to the right half (we planned it that way, because she's always right and I'm always the know, the W word) which is much more adult and useful (just like my wife) which has important paperwork, college fundraising binders, cookbooks, and a dictionary.

I have posted close ups of each shelf before, so you other fine worldbuilder folks would know what titles I'm working with. And since that past post the collection has expanded again. I'm not going to take pictures of each new book I get or you people might start thinking I have nothing else to do besides work, read, and worldbuild (and Skyrim, or course).

Hang in there - we're coming to the end, I swear.

Forgotten Realms above the bookshelf. Because why in the hell would I have all those D&D manuals without the map to go with them? Thank you Ed Greenwood for crafting this amazing world. If you could tell, on the shelf I had the readers guide to R.A. Salvatore's "Legend of Drizzt" which came with this big map. And The Inner Sea World Guide, which I purchased to flesh out the huge Pathfinder map/world I'm just beginning to discover.

And last, but certainly not least, my faithful companions Domino and Shadow - since they did their damnedest to try to get into each and every shot and dad had to keep shooing them out of the way. I figure they earned a spot in the line up. They're right where they usually are, Shadow crowding my feet under the desk/table and Domino right in the middle of the floor where she's to be found snoring when not honking her hedgehog, and noisily slurping her butt when not doing either of the first two. And that face says "Dad, I can't believe you just put that online about me! Hopefully people got tired of your excruciatingly looooooong post before they got to the part about my butt."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pathfinder Maps

This morning I ordered my big prints from Banners on the Cheap of Ansaera and Westerlands! A 2x2 tabletop/game mat map and a 3x6 wall hanger with grommets for under $40 (including shipping). What a steal of a deal. Their 30% off sale is still going until next Tuesday 11/20, so you better hurry if you want to save on your awesomely mappy early Christmas present.

And speaking of wall hangers, I think I'm up to 2 dozen maps from various Pathfinder map folios from the brush of one Rob Lazzaretti. Sadly I don't have the wall space to hang them all in my Nerdatorium and what space I do have is going to get rearranged and gobbled up with my banner maps get delivered. Next time I'll post pics of what the Nerdatorium currently looks like and then I'll post more after I make the switcheroo.

In the mean time, here's a look at some of the Pathfinder maps that adorn the walls of yours truly.

Start at the bottom of the page and go up to get to the goodies.

I love how simple and colorful the maps are without making things appear too cartoony. I want my adventures to take place in medieval/fantasy towns and villages, not the Disney theme park version of a medieval/fantasy town or village. I like the ambiance of dwarves and halflings wandering about with brigands and sell swords, not Snow White and Mickey glad handing 5 year olds.

With Disney owning Hasbro (which includes WotC/D&D), Marvel, and Lucasarts now, I'm sure it's only a matter of time until Pathfinder is under the corporate umberella. At what point does a corporation become an imperium?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Know Thyself aka Seek Immediate Professional Help

Know thyself. As a person and as a writer. It makes for better characters, better dialogue, better stories, a better you. 

I am on Holly Lisle's weekly email list and I've never been disappointed with the topics. The emails themselves are simple in nature, the goal being to teach you how to make you a better writer. Each is a few paragraphs, usually with several resource links, and the subjects are always thought provoking.

She recently did a multi-part string of emails that made you step back and really consider "you". Your flaws, fears, hopes, dreams, scars, lessons learned, etc. It's not just about that introspection that we all need sometimes, the focus is to get you in tune with those things and drive you to put them on the page. You don't have to be writing an autobiography to inject those deeply personal touches, you can work them into characters and conversations. Maybe you never learned to swim, so your character can't. Maybe you almost drowned and so your character has a paralyzing fear of deep water. Spiders, snakes, fire...q-tips. Who knows?

Your character be could fearful of anything for nearly any reason. Even worse, what if they're irrationally afraid of everything? How do they deal with their bizarre compulsions? Can they? Perhaps they must be medicated everyday, the degree to which they are doped is entirely up to you. Do they take a simple pill each morning? Is it an injection that must be administered by someone else? What if part of their phobia is needles, but there is no other way to get the dose? These are all things to consider. They're a normal, every day person with the help of the meds......but then what if they lose that oh so important little bottle?

You can really run with it. Maybe they have just lost their job and don't have the money for the prescription. They changed jobs and their new insurance won't take effect for 90 days. Perhaps the new insurance doesn't have drug coverage at all, or doesn't pay for their usual rx and now they have to change medications. Or they have moved to a completely new area and need to find a new doctor to prescribe. The search is proving difficult and the increased stress of the move and a new home and job are taking their toll. New symptoms begin to manifest. They are becoming more and more delusional, suffering from intense anxiety, hallucinating. I could go on and on, but I think that's enough.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fantasy Worlds

Yet another awesome share from my Gandalf. 

Planetocopia is one of the best complete world(s) sites I've seen because the maker, Chris Wayan, doesn't just do it because he loves it, but he can explain in great depth why he does it and loves it. His worlds are crafted with great precision, and if there is a hiccup/hole, he can account for it. Whether you're after theoretical worlds, ancient, future, would-be Earth, or even alien worlds with multiple moons, this has them all!

I especially like Jaredia because it's based entirely on the concepts of Guns, Germs, and Steel a book I meant to read for years and years. It was suggested by professors and friends alike, and wouldn't you know, as soon as I bought it and started reading...the 3 part documentary version was loaded on Netflix. Win, win.

This wondrous resource pairs especially nicely with the donjon fractal world generator because it handily explains the whys, hows, and pitfalls of the generated world maps.

If you're like me and "grounded" fantasy on one Earth-like world suits you, or whether you want a smattering of worlds for a vast Traveller system, this will serve your needs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Reply Regarding Printed Maps

Yet another great email reply from Banners on the Cheap

Greetings Realmwright,

Very, very cool!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with me and for sharing our info with your audience. We truly appreciate the free advertising!!

I can't wait to find out how your maps turn out!! I've bookmarked your page so I can check it out at a later date. We'd love to see photos of your maps in action, of course, when you find the room to hang them in your nerdatorium!

I hope Santa treats you well and crosses this off the wish list!!

Just today we started a sale on our banners which will be good through November 20th to get 30% off!! I couldn't find you on our mailing list so I've forwarded this email to you, it's a click through promotion so if you are able to buy by the expiration date you want to head to our site by clicking through the link in the email so it will apply the discount.

Hope this helps!! Thanks again for sharing!!

Have fantastic gaming day!

Melissa Mcquiston
Customer Love Team
M-F 7AM-9PM Central
Saturday 9AM-6PM Central

Monday, November 5, 2012

Printed Fantasy Maps At A Good Price

 I came across a great post/recommendation for printed maps from Banners on the

As you can see from Zachary Houghton's post on his blog RPG Blog II he scored a vinyl 3 x 5 wall hanging map for under $28. That sounded pretty sweet to me, so I shot them an email asking if I could order a few of my own and any limitations that may apply.

Their lovely "Customer Love" (mind you, not just plain old 'customer service') team sent me a reply the next business day which read:

Greetings Realmwright,

Good afternoon & thank you for your inquiry!

WOW! There must definitely be a trend going on with these map banners!! What a wonderful idea, I've seen quite a few of these creations lately!

You can certainly order the images you want, the only restriction is that we cannot print images that have a watermark on them.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you need any additional assistance!

Have a great day!

Thanks for choosing us for your printing needs, we know you have many options for printing and we are glad you have chosen us.

Melissa Mcquiston
Customer Love Team

How's that for service? Prompt, courteous, enthusiastic, and all at a great price! Needless to say I will start saving my pennies for my own wall hangers. They will be the Ansaera and Westerlands maps I previously posted (with permission from the artists, of course). Now I just have to find more wall space in my nerdatorium...

Friday, November 2, 2012


NaNoWriMo kicked off Wednesday. Sadly I never received any requests for worldbuilding assistance, but I suppose there is still the chance someone will get stuck and reach out. Whether they ask me directly or not, I hope my blog can give them good info and resources, and best of luck.

Along the same lines of November being the "official" month for creative ventures, I recently learned of NaGaDeMon from

Through the NaGaDeMon site I found this link. 


I'd have to straighten out a few other projects in life before time would allow me to begin gaming, but it's nice to know freebies like these exist so you don't have to drop a lot of money to get started. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful....

I hail donjon as one of the most complete gennies I've come across in my years of worldbuilding. I've linked to it before, but I'd like to refer to it again, particularly the random weather generator

Personally I use the weather almost as its own character. At the time I'm drafting this post there is a massive scramble underway in NYC for the monster storm. School is cancelled, public transport is shut down, the harbor is closed, they're afraid the subways will flood, it's even managed to dampen (pun intended) a rather heated presidential campaign. So for the city that never sleeps to come to a grinding halt is a BIG deal.

**Update: the 900 mile wide civilization-drowning blight on the Eastern US of A (aka Hurricane Sandy) is responsible for 11-14 foot swells making landfall in NYC, resulting in thigh deep water on the surface streets, the complete flooding of 7 subway tunnels under the East River, and countless millions of dollars in property damage. Oh yeah and the largest scale blackout of the greatest city on Earth since 2003.

Rain in Seattle, smog in LA, neon lights in Las Vegas, every city has its staple environment - use that to the fullest. Or like with New York, that is no stranger to hard winters, a torrential rain can really throw things for a loop. What if it didn't rain in Seattle? How would the Emerald City handle an unexpected drought? I live way up in the Rocky Mountains where yearly drought is a concern when the winter doesn't give us enough snow. Everyone talks about the impending, doomsday earthquake we call "the Big One" that's expected to level the city. But get people talking about strange weather and two things are sure to come up: the flood of 1983 and the tornado that ripped through downtown in 1999. Very rare and memorable things. Work something like that into whatever setting. Is the storm raging now and everyone is stuck inside, or is it darkening the horizon? Were people adequately warned and prepared, or is it panic mode to grab what is left on the shelves? Or do your characters arrive as some of the first travel allowed back into the city and everything is a disaster area?

Let's say your road weary travelers didn't heed the advice of a local druid's forecast and supplied themselves for only a 5 day trek, which took a turn for the worse and became a 12 day harrowing plod. Because a freak blizzard struck and halted forward progress they had to take shelter in a none-too-splendid inn. The innkeeper swindles them on the price of the tiny room, which has its share of bedbugs, rats, a draft around the window, and a leaky roof. The proprietor knows as well as the adventurers that it's their only option. Either pay top dollar for the shabby digs, or it's back out into the snow and blow. How do they deal with that speed bump? Do they blame their intrepid leader who passed on the sage advice in order to get on the road? Do they bicker amongst themselves about whose turn it is to stoke the fire and empty the chamberpot? Maybe they have to hold members back from throttling the innkeeper and ending up in the local dungeon, for which they have no bail money. And go!

See? This alone is a story (or game session). It really doesn't matter where they were coming from, or their destination. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

NaNoWriMo Prep

Ok all you would-be writers, sharpen your pencils! NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us.

There's a great post over at TTYU - give it some serious consideration.

TTYU Worldbuilding considerations

She even provides the link to her hang outs (discussions with other writers and builders) and the needed subjects.

TTYU Worldbuilding hangouts

You'll notice in her comments that I offered worldbuilding assistance, because I know myself better than to dive into writing 30,000 words in a month. It's all about laying foundations and research and other prep work. That's what I do. I don't often refer to myself as "a writer".

If you want worldbuilding help (maps, gods, history, characters, etc) leave a comment or email me.

Here's a little quiz for you. There are no right or wrong answers, but there had better be answers. It's even better if they are automatic/instinctual.

What if you started a fantasy novel knowing nothing of weapons, armor, magic, travel? Or if you had no idea what the world looked like beyond the would-be hero's village? What beasts live in the wilds, are there elves in the woods, dwarves in the mountains, evil wizards in tall towers? How is the kingdom run, democracy/monarchy/theocracy? Is the leader good or bad, old or young, wise or foolish? What are the laws? How do people dress and talk? What is the economy, is it currency or barter? Is it a farming village or do they trade goods for food? What do they trade: ore, textiles, leather, wool, tools? Where is said village? Where is it in relation to other places? What's the climate? How does the weather effect lifestyle, ecology, travel?
If you couldn't easily answer ALL of those questions, you're not ready to write yet. That's where I come in!
I won't hold my breath, since the requests haven't exactly been pouring in, but the offer stands.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fantasy Map (.net)

This is one I found yesterday through cartographersguild . What a fantastic resource! Maps of about anything you can imagine. I quite like the Floor Plans for the classic graph paper and the Oceanus Ultimus is probably my favorite for its layout and awesome border.

Look and enjoy! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Worldbuilder Guild

Again Nils scoured the interwebs and sent me this little doosie.

Deviant Art Worldbuilders Guild

How awesome is that?! It stands to reason that if there's a guild for cartographers, there would also be one for worldbuilders too. Why did I never think of that?

And if it wasn't cool enough to be able to browse the many many galleries, they're also on Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, and have the stand alone site

Now I really have no excuse not to Photoshop better maps.

I played with the Photoshop cloud render as advised and got some pretty cool results. I'll be tweaking them a bit with Illustrator to clean up the outlines with smooth edges. As WIPs go, it's nice to have a few to tinker with.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I've Fallen Down A Well

After much consideration, I've decided to up my postings to two per week instead of just Fridays.

This is technically a day late since I'll now be posting each Tuesday and Friday to have an even gap of 4 days between. Jabber jabber blah blah blah....on to the goodness.

I stumbled into the depths of this fantastic site and was lost for well over an hour (and there's still much, much more to go).

It has great advice on worldbuilding, many free gennines - I particularly like the random village generator, and several downloadables. You must give it a go.

I found it through RPGBA, which I have now joined under the persistent recommendation of Nils (aka Gandalf). I'll be damned if he wasn't right about joining other forums, Facebook, and commenting on like-minded blogs increasing my traffic.

Friday, October 12, 2012

IT'S BACK AGAIN! Westerlands Map

From the amazing talent that is Geoff Nunn.

This is the "blank" version from his CG album: Westerlands CG Album

He's even delved deeper to create a whole wiki page for his world.

And it all that ain't enough for you, check out his blog too!

Many thanks, Geoff, for being so gracious and for just being an awesome guy. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yawn...But in A Good Way

My buddy Nils over at is the Gandalf to my Frodo. He drags me from my hole and opens up whole new worlds through his experience and wisdom. I cannot thank him enough. He's been a patient mentor, chat buddy, and a great sounding board for new ideas (and sometimes rehashing old ones).

His latest finds/contributions are these: 

Yawning Portal Maps 1

Yawning Portal Maps 2

You really really need to check it out. I'm floored by the number and posts since March. I cannot imagine having the drive and dedication to pull off a blog like Yawningportal. Tom's experience and know how goes back decades, and it absolutely shows. His passion and penchant for D&D obviously shows, but it's equally impressive how versed he is in other games and design as well. The man makes his own miniatures and settings for gods' sake!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This is actually something completely new to me, I've never even heard the word before, but to a map nerd like me it's GOLDEN!

A big thank you to Hounaine El-Hamiani who contacted me via to request some city maps. It was a very flattering request (via a misunderstanding) which I had to unfortunately decline. I suggested that there are much more talented artists to be found by posting through the guild.

Hounaine was gracious enough to share the following links, which I have now saved to my favs.

Urban Geofiction

This is some ridiculously good stuff. I had no idea there were folks out there putting Google Maps to shame with fictional urban settings. The level of detail is amazing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Getting the Right Look

So by now you have a fantasy world, or a dozen, and a named character, or a few hundred, that live therein. But what do these intrepid heroes look like?

What's that you say? You've spent all this time writing and building, but not doodling and envisioning a personage? So what. You can always have these guys do it for you. - Custom Character Portraits

Amazing galleries! Your chosen price determines the end result and detail of "the look". Some people think art is a waste of time, but screw them. I think it's great to support other artists and at least help get their work out there even if you're not directly commissioning a piece.

Whether or not you're wanting to commission works, or if you're just wanting to wander the woods and peruse some more awesome art, head over to It's where I really got my start and fell in love with fantasy artwork. I'll post a few links to my favs next time.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's in a Name?


Fantasy Name Generator
Great for run of the mill fantasy race names. Cool length feature I haven't found elsewhere.

Skyrim Name Generator
Whether you're rocking it old school with Oblivion, or wasting hours in Skyrim like yours truly.

Warhammer Name Generator
This one is pretty specific by race and geared completely towards Warhammer, but what an awesome name. I haven't played it, but the books are great. The Sigmar Trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy series ever.

Majesty Name Generator 
Specific to the Majesty kingdom simulation game. It doesn't generate more than 4 names at a time, but it does provide a nice option of sorting by class. 

1,000 Fantasy Names
1000 fantasy names - It's unusual to come across a huge list like this with so many generators out there nowadays. But this works if you don't want to keep clicking "generate".

Fantasy Names and Places
Complete name lists and generators - Not sure what you're looking for? Chances are you'll find it here.

Angelfire Elf Name Generator
I really like this one because it tells you what the name means. You can either sort through and pick a name with a specific meaning/theme, but I really like throwing dice for random results. I picture an elf wise one casting runes to name a newborn and calling them what the runes divine. Also cool to answer that burning question of "What would Johnny Depp look like as an elf?"

Friday, September 14, 2012

More D&D Maps

After my last post, Nils from sent me the following links

Greyhawk Maps - Fantasy Maps

What great sites/maps! Thanks for sharing, buddy.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have quite the stack o' reference material (namely D&D guides). I thought I'd share these pics so you can see exactly what I use.

This is the whole top shelf. And below I have zoomed images so you can better read the titles. 


Two of the books you can't see because they're sideways. These are them. 

And here's the second shelf with zoom.

I know these are just a quick peek and not the best quality pics. If anyone wants a complete list of titles and authors I'd be happy to oblige. You can get my email address in my profile info.

BONUS: My Photoshop CS4 book The Missing Manual by Lisa Snider King came in the mail yesterday. !@#$%^&*. I guess I'm all out of excuses now and actually have to start doodling again. Wish me luck and, most of all, patience with myself. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

More Fantasy World Maps

I'm somewhat familiar with Faerun/Forgotten Realms thanks to the volumes of players guides I've amassed. Or at least I'm about as familiar as one can be for never actually gaming...I'm starting to think I must remedy that. While Ed Greenwood's world is great, it does have its flaws (if you care, ask a geek). I can easily ignore some geographical abnormalities as long as the story doesn't suffer for it. My issue with Faerun is that it has a really complex history, which is very understandable considering the run of its development. I like that though. Bring it on! Lots of history and mythos - my bread and butter.

Other gamers seem to like Eberron, but I know next to nothing about it. If I spent all my time and money buying up established world resources, my own fiddlings would suffer, and that I cannot abide.

Whatever your tastes are, you can't argue with the overall fantasticity and astoundingness of these maps

Eberron World Map

Khorvaire World Map

Detailed Khorvaire Map

Monday, September 3, 2012

IT'S BACK! Ansaera/Galinorn Maps

Reposted with permission from the amazing talent that is Aventhar.

Ansaera World Map Album

This is a long time favorite that I've been pouring over for years. The shapes, colors, mountains, all blows my mind!

You'll notice in the album on CG that Aventhar has names on each continent. I like them and still refer to them as such, I just had them removed so I can zoom and place settlements unimpeded.

Many many thanks to Aventhar for allowing me to repost it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Past the Point of No Return

No, not the Phantom of the Opera song.

In case you're wondering what got me into D&D to begin with, it was A Reader's Guide to R.A. Salvatore's the Legend of Drizzt. I must have flipped through it a dozen times before I decided to pick up the book series and from there I was well beyond the point of no return into true geekdom. I poured over the maps of Forgotten Realms (because the book came with a big fold out map) like this
Faerun World Map

And frankly, who couldn't help but drool over Todd Lockwood's incredible art? Drizzt Do'Urden, in my mind, will forever look as he does on the cover of The Silent Blade. Deadly stealth, waiting to spring from a silent crouch. Scimitar gripped tightly, ready to do its bloody, methodical work. (clears throat) Sorry, kinda got lost there for a second.

I can't recommend this fantastic book series enough. You could start with The Crystal Shard, but I'd advise starting at the very beginning and go from there. It paints such a better picture of who Drizzt is and what he can become when necessary. The first 3 books have been called some of Salvatore's best writing to date. It would be very hard to disagree with that statement. Having just finished the non-Forgotten Realms, The Crimson Shadow trilogy, those 3 books (mine was one volume) are right up there among my favorite fantasies I've ever read. It has a much more "real world" feel, probably because it's so obviously based on the United Kingdom post-Roman occupation.

In case you're completely unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms, these fill it out in every minute detail
Forgotten Realms Wiki

Forgotten Realms Index

Dig in. Don't look back. Stay hydrated. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Share and Share Alike

I'm a hobbyist. No more. No less. I do this because I like to - nay, because I love to! Maybe someday I'll design a game or write a book, but for now I worldbuild just to give my imagination and fingers something to do. It makes use of an anthropology education I don't otherwise feel gets made use of.

I have been posting my links and favorites and tools and goodies with the hope that someone stumbles across them and can use them. We geeks like to pay it forward and network - despite the stigma of having a complete lack of social skills. That being said "successful" worldbuilding is as much about education, imagination, and connection as it is about timing, luck, and incredible discovery.

The point I'm rambling along and trying to make is, CHECK THIS OUT! You must, your world(s) and imagination need it, demand it, and will thank you for it. Once you finally do you will kick yourself for every moment you knew of it and didn't listen.

My buddy Nils over at has linked to the phenomenal (but sadly over and done with) podcast Shakespeare & Dragons

I'm only on Episode 4 and it's completely blowing my mind! I'm sitting here mapping and doodling as I listen and Episode 3 alone gave me a glorious headache from the sheer volume of information and concepts and suggested exercises. Needless to say, I will finally proceed to check out on with Guns, Germs, and Steel that's been sitting in my cart for weeks.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

D&D Deluge

Last time I promised D&D links. So here you go.

First off you need to know what to call your character. I have to have a good name....nay, a great name. Once they have the right handle, the character builds themselves.

D&D Character Name Generator

Then you have to figure what they're going to do. They can't just float in the void or hang out in the tavern - unless that's their schtick and what you were going for the whole time.

DM Adventure Ideas
300+ adventure ideas - especially useful for DMs. If you can't find something here that gets the juices flowing, I have horrible news friend, your imagination is broken. Finito. Kaput.

If you need a little more than a one liner to get going, try this

Adventure Hook Generator
I especially like the Bare Bones version because I tend to outline this way. The intro to the D&D Classic is pretty catchy too.

Just for added fun, take the quiz and see who you would be in D&D. Who says you have to create an avatar to play? You know you (well, maybe). How would your persona transmogrify into somewhere like the Forgotten Realms? Find out here.

D&D Character Quiz
I always come out a ranger druid, I guess that's just my inner Aragorn.

Let's say you're more into by the book D&D character creation (but you don't really buy the book), without getting into the raging war of which edition is best, I present to you

D&D 4E Character Creation
The Dummies How To of 4th Edition character creation - I especially like the starting gear pack, but you can nit pick through the Players Guide goodies if you wish.  

A shadow of fear passes over the village. Menace drifts on leathery wings. Circling the mountain, it lands on the jagged peak and releases a bellowing roar with a gout of flame. DRAGON! - D&D Dragons
Types of dragons in D&D - and one of the best one-stop-shops for all things scaly and toothed that I've ever come across.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What to Wear: Suit Up When Stepping Out

** Great news: is back!**

I hate it when I find broken/outdated links in my favorites list. I used to visit all the time for reference and ideas. But now it's apparently defunct, which really super sucks because it was an awesome site. I'll link it anyway in case it comes back. I know it changed ownership not too long ago and was under construction for a while; hopefully it's coming back bigger and better. (fingers crossed)

The bright side is I found this going through the web's other suggestions - Fantasy Armor

It's a great article that's right up my alley because I always try to steer clear of overdone anime/Final Fantasy style armors. I think Lord of the Rings resonated with me so much because of how realistic it was in terms of visuals. The armor, weapons, architecture, etc all seemed very feasible....given the expertise of elves, dwarves, wizards and ancient cultural foundations ;)

Don't miss out on cruising the rest of I can't speak for all of it yet since it's such a new find for me, but what I've seen so far is fantastic.

This is another fav that has survived the test of time.

Elads Fantasy Armor

I especially like the Drizzt armor based on the incredible Todd Lockwood's art. What can I say? I love me some R.A. Salvatore stories. In fact, next post I'll drop a bunch of D&D links.....and I mean a BUNCH!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Worldbuilder Toolbox

There are lots of questions a worldbuilder must ask when setting out to create. Some are involved, some are very involved, and some are so obvious that you wouldn't ever think to think of them. The list goes on and on. That is primarily the reason I created this blog in the first place. I want it to be a resource toolbox for anything and everything a worldbuilder would need.

Like anyone with a creative spark and internet access, when I sit down to do something I usually end up doing something else. As such I have found many many worldbuilding sites, which now crowd up my favorites list and bookmarks. I'm going to share those with you. About a dozen such links are already scattered through older posts if you care to scroll through the past.

Today I present you with these: - Fantasy Worldbuilding

SFWA Worldbuilding Questions

Worldbuilding Strategy

This is what I'd hope my blog to be. Helpful, insightful, well written.

Because honestly when I am looking for worldbuilding resources I just Google "Worldbuilding". Best of luck fellow builders. Whether you find it here or elsewhere I'm just glad someone somewhere is crafting other someones somewheres.

I know how much (aka how little) this blog is visited and I figure that's because I'm not really out there. Well I am now! I finally broke down and joined Facebook, with Pinterest soon to follow. [Insert resigned sigh here]

Curse you life-sucking social media! Bless your potential usefulness.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spend Some Time in the Real World

So you're the Creator? You spend your time and energy contemplating the Void (the web), occasionally you have a spark of clarity and inspiration (you find a good worldbuilding/name site), this leads you to pour order into the swirling chaos (you refill your coffee mug), and finally you shape a world.

Now before you go on to create a timeline, pantheon, solar system, languages, and currency exchange....log off and go outside! I know, I know, you're the Creator. The unblinking, omnipotent, invincible Watcher! An hour to you is days, years, ages in your world. But still, a little fresh air and time away is good for you. Even God rested on the 7th day. Odin had to sleep sometime. 

If you absolutely refuse to interact with the real world and find the very notion vile and abhorrent....well then, you are a true geek/nerd and I give you a tip of my hat. I guess you wouldn't be escaping into a concocted world if you were an immense fan of the actual one. Nothing wrong with geeking out.

Do not totally shirk the real world because you will be cheating yourself from a wealth of information and inspiration. There is so so much to draw from. It's a whole wide world out there. Open yourself to it, even if it means taking a book or idea pad to the park. Take a wander with a notepad in your pocket. Stare up at the clouds/stars. Look at birds, bugs, trees, etc....really consider them. Think of what they are, what they do, what they mean. If you open your mind to the questions most others gloss over it's amazing the stream of thought it will lead you through. Sit up on a hill/rooftop and watch traffic patterns. Think of why cars move the way they do. Why are the roads laid out like that? Is the timing of traffic lights significant? Where is everyone going? Destination and motivation is extremely important.

And if you still won't do any of that and insist on wiling away the hours in the hypnotic lambency of your monitor, at least check these out:

History of the

FREE Physical World Maps
I swear, the real world is interesting and you will get something from it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Together. Again.

These are oldies but goodies.

Red Dragon

Red Dragon Inn is always useful, whether you're needing character/town/tavern names, a dice roll when you find yourself without any, and especially if you're heading out on a quest, but need to do a bit of shopping first at Sal's Outfitters. I especially like "window shopping". I just hope Sal doesn't mind that I'm always in there perusing and handling the merchandise, but never putting down the coins for anything. I also frequently nerd out with the dwarven name generator since I've created my own runic alphabet and I love "translating" the names. It's got the great feature of being able to choose realistic or fantasy names. And you can get clan/surnames too. The elven name generator is great too, but I get confused with the gender option. How can you tell by a name if one of those pointy-eared, limb-skippers is a guy or girl? Ain't they kinda known for being androgynous-ish?

Greywolf Doodles

Greywolf's gallery is great for picturing the merchandise from Sal's Outfitters (since there aren't pics, only descriptions). I've cruised the gallery many times and never do I leave uninspired. The drawings are imaginative, simple, and I absolutely love the rough pencil work. I can imagine the items on a table/shelf, armor on a mannequin, or miscellany piled in some slain dragons hoard. Rummage to your heart's content, but remember, Thorin II Oakenshield will hold a grudge if you pilfer the Arkenstone.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Way With Worlds

I can't say enough about this column by Steven Savage. It is jam packed with great advice and tips for worldbuilders. Whether you're new to it or have been at it for a while, it's a must. Sadly it has been defunct for some time now, but a big thank you to Seventh for hosting such a wonderful compendium on top of an already great generator.

Without further ado, have at it:

A Way With Worlds

Friday, July 6, 2012

BEWARE! Enter at Your Own Risk

Not like this blog gets a lot of traffic, but you may have noticed that several posts/images have been removed. That is thanks to the cautionary, well-intentioned advice of my friends.

While I did not know, and certainly did not mean any harm, I was infringing upon others' copyrighted works. It's not like I was served with papers to appear in court for art theft, but in an extreme case it could happen.

To hopefully help others avoid from stepping in the same mess, READ THIS:

How To Avoid Copyright Infringement

As it points out, just because you found it on the internet does not grant you a free for all to take it and post it elsewhere - even if you do give credit where it's due. Simply saying "Look at this, Joe made it" is not enough. You have to have Joe's expressed permission.

You might not think it's a big deal, but it is to someone. If the internet teaches us anything it's that someone, somewhere, sometime will have something to say about it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chin Up, Knuckle Down

This is a general, but profound idea: Keep Going!

This is the second time I have posted these, but I do it as a reminder to myself and to anyone else who happens to come across them.

And don't just take Ira Glass's word for it

SFWA: We Limit Ourselves And We Need To Stop

That is all.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Set Your Compass Spinning

I would love to one day develop my world(s) to this level:
The World of Farland 4E

I don't see that happening because 1) I severely lack the needed focus 2) I don't game, I just build and 3) I don't have other people traipsing through. My creations are just a place for my imagination to roam and stretch its legs on a wander.

Is it just me, or do you other worldbuilders/writers also worry that these things you make become real - say as a parallel world - and you feel this pressing obligation to them and the people/characters? I'm not trying to say I have a god complex, far from it actually, but can you imagine being a person in these places and feeling as though the Creator got bored and turned his back. I hope that isn't the case because I'd be a shite Creator indeed. Just a thought.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

All 8 Continents

Camera cable found. This is where I last left off with my first go at fantasy world building.

I give you Schiehallion:

I really need to come up with an overall name for the world/planet, but so far nothing has come to me.

That does give me reason to give you another link:

Serendipity - Fantasy Name Generator

Please excuse. As you'll see the site is in the process of a rebuild ( !@#$%^&* spammers!) but what is back is great. The feature I miss most is the ability to generate a list of names because I used that a lot to put multiples together and make minor tweaks. There was another clever one that gave very English sounding place names - I think the old description was something like "for those new housing communities that wish they were quaint towns in the English countryside". My fingers are still crossed that it will come back again.

Friday, June 1, 2012

While the Whole World Waits

I laid out all of the Schiehallion continents on the back of my drawing board and snapped a few pics. And now I can't find the cable to transfer them from camera to compie. So that will have to come later.

For now take a gander at other pretty pics in the galleries here:

Terragen Photorealistic Landscapes

And if you want to feast your ears on epic music while feasting your eyes on the stunning visuals, here you go too:

Youtube Epic Music Mix

Of course you don't have to listen to them in order - I like the later versions myself. Just search "epic music mix". They make for one hell of a world building soundtrack, but be warned, the cat may jump up and look at you like a crazy person when you disturb their slumber by shouting "Fus Ro Dah!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nerd in Need!

Calling all nerds, geeks, and worldbuilders!

My buddy Nils over at is in need of place naming assistance. Check it out and lend a hand or tongue.............oh shut up, it's not even dirty!

I'm doing my part with the following:

Donjon - Complete Fantasy Generator - Random Name Generator

These are a couple of regular name gennies I use all the time. Donjon is great for a number of things - I especially like the Random Weather Generator because it provides a day to day feel for any story. Just imagine the grumblings of a sodden dwarf ringing out his beard as a halfling splashes in puddles. Meanwhile the elf is bemoaning wet bowstrings and the human adventurer complains of rusting armor. The ranger/druid loves a refreshing spring rain because it's the closest they've come to a good wash in weeks.

Behind the Name is great for all sorts because it gives the history of the name, alternates/roots, famous bearers, and frequency. I love this because I'll pull bits an pieces of famous bearers and use them as parts of the character who carries the same handle.

I'll post other favs and resources in the future, but Nils admonished I not squander them all at once.

Nils, I hope this helps.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Mad Lands

I slept on it and I think I may still include this last piece in Schiehallion. I never had a name for this island beyond The Mad Lands. I know, it sucks. It was a minor part of the story that I'm not sure if I'll use or not.
Here it is:
It's nothing spectacular, just Australia spun a bit. The idea was that there was some sort of toxic spore emitted from within the earth that would drive any living organism mad. People, animals, fish, plant life, anything alive. It was a rather weak story point known as the Time of Madness, or simply Madness. The idea behind it is that the wicked, jealous earth god sought to wreak havoc on the things living on the surface because they are all by products of the benevolent sky god. It sounds rather Biblical when I say it like that, but I'll cover that more later.

Anyway, whether I keep this as The Mad Lands or not is what has me stumped. I could see how it goes keeping with the idea that it's this cradle of blight. Or I may make it the homeland of the reptilian Thissians and bring them in from another world - Vastmorlund - the same world of the Armans, Sumaka, Mantu, and Torongo. I'll have to give it some thought. Vastmorlund was never a favorite of mine, just a happenstance that came with practice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Knorr'd and Landen

These are basically the last of the maps for Schiehallion. There was going to be one more, but I may discard it however well it fit the planet, tectonically speaking. These two were kind of the beginning of the end for this world. I made them because I felt I didn't have enough....then decided maybe I'd done too much. Once I had totally overwhelmed myself I stepped away for a while and began fiddling with other worlds. I thought that using maps others had already created would give me less to do with worries about topography and I could focus on people, monsters, locations, etc. Then I just never really returned to Schiehallion until I started this blog to give me reason to go back.
This is Knorr'd. It's eastern coast was once butted up against NW Schiehallion and Western Galedon (the Carvetti region). It has now drifted westward in a slightly polar motion making the northernmost island nearly uninhabitable, but prime whaling and seal hunting territory. The largest landmass is much like Norway with extremely rugged coastlines and deep fjords. A mainly fishing/seafaring people the Knorr'ds (another obvious name used in Skyrim) are modeled very closely after Vikings but without the tendency to raid and pillage foreign lands. They mostly fight amongst each other over fishing rights and who builds the best boats. The hostilities aren't so brutal, but there is many a slugfest if peoples from the rival communities have a few too many.
This is Landen. It used to be one very large continent until an asteroid slammed into what is now the eastern sea area and broke the land into two. The following earthquakes and upheavals brought more ocean pouring in and swallowing over half the land Atlantis style. This is where I stopped.

Another world I developed shortly after this was Vastmorlund, but that will be my next post. I'm now considering pulling in cultures from that world to place on/in Landen. They would be the Mediterranean like Arman Empire and the rival jungle peoples of Mantu and Torongo. But if I do that then I may also have to transplant the Thissian lizardfolk and the Arabian-style Sumaka as well. We'll see, since only the Arman and Sumaka were even human.