Friday, March 23, 2012

Beyond the Flanaess: Zindia and the Golden Jungle

As promised, I'm continuing to undertake my mapping project, doing the lands beyond the Flanaess in the Darlene style (nowhere near as cool as the original, of course, but a close enough approximation). Today I present the lands to the southwest of the Sea of Dust; the many kingdoms of Zindia, the Ryuujin Dominion, and the southeastern reaches of the lands of the Celestial Imperium.

I've also redone the first map in the series, making some corrections and changes. The rivers in the jungles look much better now, and I've added "Raj" ("kingdom") to the names of the Zindian lands. As always, click to embiggen:


Most significantly, I've changed "Nippon" to "Woguo". The appearance of "Nippon" as the name for this nation comes from Dragon Annual #1 and it's famous map of the lands beyond the Flanaess, but explicitly states that this is probably not the right name. Some GH fans use "Ryuujin", from an article in Dragon #277, but nothing explicitly ties Ryuujin to the Nippon on the map other than the fact that they both sound Japanese. Given the fact that Ryuujin loosely means "dragon king" in Japanese, I object to it as the name of the place for the simple fact that it would render the names of the two seas surrounding it (the Sea of Nippon and the Sea of the Dragon King) superfluous. So, given that there is no real canonical name for the place, I'm going with Woguo pending a more authoritative ruling.

I didn't update the small gazeteer I did earlier, but Zindia as I envision it is not one monolithic empire, but rather a mixture of several different independent states. Some, the various Raj's, are more traditional feudal-type realms. Others, the Ashrams, are communal realms where everyone is, in theory at least, of equal rank and peaceful co-existence is paramount.

The Golden Jungle is a land of dinosaurs and ruined cities. Shemri-no, the free city, is a land of legend, where powerful priest-mages supposedly keep the very multiverse itself in balance. Visitors to the place are rare, visitors who return from it are almost unheard-of. I deliberately did not place the lands from the "Sagard the Barbarian" books here as was done in Oerth Journal 26. If one looks at the maps in the books themselves, it's really a poor fit, and despite the existence of a place called "Ratik" in the first book, they aren't really set on Oerth, but Yarth, and I prefer to keep my 'rths separate.

The Celestial Imperium of Suhfang (Shufeng) is also seen, at least in part, in the latest map. While the central Empire is still solid, consisting of a number of different provinces, the outlying regions have fallen away and become independent states unto themselves. Thus we see kingdoms such as Yanjing and Yuyuan. Some of those breakaway kingdoms on the far side of the Tsangling Mountains have themselves been conquered by the expanding empire of Woguo, and are now part of its Dominion on the mainland.

Aside from the overall geography and a couple of the place names, little of these maps is canon. But they're useful (I hope) and certainly fun to make, and I certainly don't mind giving a slightly different take on the lands beyond the Flanaess.

EDIT: If you look over to the right in the "Free Resources" section, you'll now see links to the full-sized .png files. That should quiet all you who are demanding larger versions of the maps; that's as big as I've got on my hard drive! ;-)

Next up: I'm either going north, and covering more of the Celestial Imperium, Orcreich, etc. or going even further west and covering Erypt and the eastern reaches of some far-fabled lands such as Lynn and the Red Kingdom. We shall see.

Maps done using the superb Hexographer mapping software. Check it out if you haven't already!

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20 comments:

Timothy Brannan said...

I love this kind of stuff. Especially since there are areas of the world I'd love to map, but lack the time, skills, or whatever to do so myself.

Putting up a link to this post on my Mystoerth page so I can come back to it.

Yggs said...

Nice, but you won't tempt me with that Dragon Annual map, no matter how sweetly you Darlene-iate it!
Nope. Hmm. No, I said no. Hmm.

James Mishler said...

These maps are sweet! Is there any way to get these at a higher resolution?

Joseph Bloch said...

Actually, Yggs, this section is still covered by the map of Oerik in the original folio edition, on p. 7. So you're safe, for the moment. ;-)

Coming, James; patience. (Although if you download them to your hard drive, you should be able to then view them a bit larger than you can in your browser.)

Koren nRhys said...

More amazing work, sir. So fun to explore...
My vote is for moving north to the realms of the Orcreich, based on the name alone. Huzzah!

Joseph Bloch said...

James: If you look on the blog in the "Free Resources" section off to the right, you'll see links to download the full-sized .png files.

Bobjester said...

Pretty! But I have to agree with Yggs on the Dragon Annual #1 map, and fwiw, the only other map of this area I've ever seen prior to DA#1 is the extended map in the 1981 GH Folio. :)

Ragnardbard said...

I have worked with hexographer, and it is a wonderful, user-friendly and intuitive program.

That being said, I have an idea of the effort it would take to make these maps. Once again Joe, I salute your commitment to my favourite setting. Your sterling Greyhawk efforts typify what is best about the OSR, and Greyhawk won't die so long as we as a community keep breathing life into it. Thank you.

chatdemon said...

Very cool maps. Not to be a pain, but any chance you have drafts without the name labels?

James Mishler said...

Joseph: Thanks for the full-sized versions! These are wonderful! I'm working on another campaign right now, but this will work jsut right for a mostly monks Oriental Adventures campaign some of my players have been itching to play...

faoladh said...

The extended map is also found in the boxed set Glossography, page 18, as part of the weather article.

I am definitely tempted by these maps, though I am still not fond of having Asian-analog cultures be so close to the Flanaess (and just on the other side of pseudo-South American/Mexican lands!)

Joseph Bloch said...

Chatdemon: No. No I do not.

Rory Klein said...

@Joseph Bloch

Great work, it really looks great. Any chance of getting the original Hexograph Files from you. I dont mind paying for them ...

If not I understand. Keep up the hard work and articles on your blog.

mortellan said...

Super sweet maps! It's a good time to be a Greyhawk fan.

druvas said...

Joe, these are very impressive maps!

One thing that has always bothered me about the placement of the other nations of Oerik is that, anthropologically speaking, I find it hard to believe that such wildly different looking peoples would develope side by side and still retain their "purity". If the Suel were tall, pale, albionos, it seems strange to me that darker skinned peoples roughly akin to those of India, Sri-Lanka, etc, separated by some thin (in some places) mountians would develope side by side without blending.

Pretty much everywhere on earth (with a few exceptions), there is something of a gradual change from one culture to the next. I understand that Oerth is a fantasy world, this just sort of nags at me for some reason.

Anywho, again, awesome maps and I hope you plan on doing more. I've toyed with mapping out all of Oerik but simply don't have the artistic talent :-)

Yggs said...

druvas: The Suel were just THAT good at population cleansing!

Joseph: You've sold me on the hexographer mapper, that's for sure.

I've been redrawing/meshing Gygax's other world maps together (Aerth & Learth), but now I'm tempted to Darlene-iate them as they are. Why merge worlds when it's easier to just gate between them?

That's how I see it for cultures not needing to be so close, as druvas indicated. I don't see my players spending years and years walking, sailing, etc around the world. Gates are the new black!

Panzerblitzer said...

Sweet....when are you going to have the other 15 done ;)

Joseph Bloch said...

Panzerblitzer: At the rate I'm going, about the end of July. ;-) But no guarantees I'll keep on doing one a week.

Druvas: Well, historically, the higher-caste Brahmins had significantly lighter skin than the lower castes, as they were the descendents of foreign settlers (invaders?) with lighter skin one. Perhaps something similar could be at work south of the Sea of Dust? Could the higher-caste members of Zindian society, with their lighter skin tone and even occasional throwbacks to blonde hair, be the descendents of Suel refugees from the Rain of Colorless Fire?

As the point I make in my latest post, the answer, of course, is to write up something to explain the situation, rather than merely decrying it.

Yggs: Glad I could make a convert. It really is a fabulous program, and the professional version is really worth the minor fee, especially if you're going to be doing Darlene-style maps.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Interesting stuff. For what it is worth, according to my wife, "Ryuujin" translates roughly to "Dragon-God", "Dragon-King" would be more like "Ryu-o".

44e951ec-78c1-11e4-8ef3-5b1948b0b9b0 said...

Ryuujin doesn't mean "dragon king", it means "dragon man" or "dragon person", or in the plural "people of the dragon(s)". Dragon king would be "Ryuu-o" or "Tatsu-o".