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misterbook said on May 8th, 2013 at 9:13 am

My shameful secret is that my campaign in high school was based on the randomly generated map in a game of Sid Meier’s Civilization.

The even more shameful secret is that all my campaign maps still kind of look like that.

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Sisyphus said on May 8th, 2013 at 9:14 am

We rarely did maps of the world, but I’ve got dozens and dozens of maps of dungeons. I do still have characters that I played in 5th grade around, on their original character sheets.

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Blackwyr said on May 8th, 2013 at 9:59 am

My gaming backpack was stolen out of my car about 10 years ago, with its notebooks full of sketches, cartoons, maps, and stories. About 15 years’ worth. My heart breaks a little every time I think about it.

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I dunno, I kinda want to know what’s up on Hell Island.

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Zyzzyva said on May 8th, 2013 at 10:14 am

Don’t have any maps on hand, but I do remember my campaign setting: vaguely 16th C – heavy cannon, printing press, breakdown of feudalism, the Swiss orcs are in the grip of a religious revival that is about to bring pain to the surrounding countries. The campaign itself was a quest to find the Fountain of Youth – the newly discovered continents across the Ocean Sea contain a whole bunch of tall pointy-eared folk who don’t age, so the Fountain has to be there somewhere. (The elves were also Mesoamerican, because a) they usually aren’t and b) the massive overpopulation pressure they presumably have adds incentive for lots of blood sacrifice.)

I still kinda like that setting.

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highlyverbal said on May 8th, 2013 at 10:28 am

We Wivians all approve of the great reptile diaspora; everyone knows that snake people and lizard people cannot share a land!

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slappy the happy robot said on May 8th, 2013 at 10:39 am

We Wivians all approve of the great reptile diaspora

well of course wivians say that, they have to share their island with mikes, ricks and neils

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Jack-Pumpkinhead said on May 8th, 2013 at 10:42 am

While I never played D&D, I did do a map of my idea for Avengers Island. And yes, I can still find it.

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supergp said on May 8th, 2013 at 10:46 am
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Whatever happens on Hell Island, stays on Hell Island.

“Twilldove” definitely made me laugh hard.

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I think my favorite locales on the map are the Lizardian Empire and the Ssturak Snakedom. Nice and to the point!

What would be great would be having places like that in a fantasy setting and having them totally just populated by, like, elves and halflings or whatever.

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MGK, et al.

It would be awesome of you’d consider donating your old gaming materials to the Play Generated Map & Document Archive.

http://plagmada.org/Participate.html

It’s run by a buddy of mine, and is becoming an awesome repository of gaming ephemera.

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damanoid said on May 8th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

“It’s coming up six bells here on WIV-770, your AM in the A.M., the wavelength of Wavelength. This is Eldarion Darkraven, the ‘Raven who’s Misbehavin’, with your New Kingdoms traffic report, brought to you by MareLife Horse Insurance. Traffic is heavy inbound on the King’s Road to Tarsin, so you might want to take an alternate route. Next up, another 20 minutes of classic easy listening. Then stay tuned for the WIV Morning Zoo with Gronk and the Lizard. Now here’s Arielle Silverhawk with ‘Caught Between the Moon and Nendle Bar.’ “

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From what I remember my old 2e campaign setting was like 85% direct lifts from what fantasy I was reading back in my early 20s. So lots of Eddings and Jordan and Lackey and Pratchet and magic cards. Like three big continents worth of direct lifts…

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Mine was awful. I started out with a crappy little continent that looked a little like the British isles with a few generic kingdoms (here’s the Arabic stereotypes, and here’s the evil northern empire, etc.). Then I got lazy and made a few extra continents with like, one country each.

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Gareth Wilson said on May 8th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I eventually decided that it was too hard to draw a realistic coastline. So I just took the South Island of New Zealand and flipped it North-South to give it a Northern Hemisphere climate pattern. It makes an interesting temperate fantasy island: rainy forested West, a big mountain chain in the middle, flat arable land and natural ports in the East.

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Heksefatter said on May 8th, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Compared to the tabletop fantasy game maps *I* drew when I was 14, this is Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

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I am saddened that I still can’t find my old trapper-keeper with all my old characters and other gaming stuff.

IIRC my first attempt at a campaign map had arbitrary mountain ranges running in exactly the ways that real mountain ranges don’t. Anyone who’s seen a bad fantasy world map knows what I’m talking about.

There were dwarves, and horse barbarians and all the stuff you get when you read D&D novels and Mercedes Lackey in equal measure.

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Darth Paradox said on May 8th, 2013 at 7:17 pm

My campaigns actually just used the maps out of the back of the Rules Cyclopedia, with a small smattering of fairly obvious cultural notes tossed over the top. I drew up a map for a new campaign once, but the campaign never happened, and I’d be surprised if the map itself wasn’t fifteen years past recycled into pulp by now.

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Craig Oxbrow said on May 8th, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I never ran D&D and used the published setting for WFRP, so I lack maps. I do, however, still have Star Wars RPG character illustrations from when I was 13.

And no, you cannot see them. No-one can see them.

Ever.

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The Eye said on May 8th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Our DM did his map in pencil colour on some light brown construction paper. Once a candle accident burnt the edges of one corner of the paper, he took to tightly rolling it up before and after game sessions so it could look like an actual weathered, charred map to help set the tone when we were playing.

I probably picked up the first few Joe Abercrombie books because the covers used reminded me of that map.

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@damanoid: I hate it when people try to classify Arielle Silverhawk as “easy listening”. I mean, sure, ‘Moon and Nendle Bar’ was a huge crossover hit, but if you listen to her entire catalog, I mean REALLY listen to it, and place her various songs in the context of the times they were written in, and view them as prisms with which to see the inner workings of the wider world, you’d know that “easy listening” is the last term you should use to describe her music. I guess some people just don’t like having to THINK when they listen to music.

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I sadly cannot find the massive, wall-spanning maps I drew as a teenager (I honestly bought GIANT SHEETS OF GRAPH PAPER so I could make a map that would rival the ridiculously immense world maps that came in campaign setting boxes and, later, over the course of multiple issues of Dragon Magazine), but I do remember that I was just awful with names. I still think Mara Delsilvaer wasn’t so bad, for a kid who had read entirely too much trashy fantasy for her own good, but most of my place names rambled on and on for several syllables. I actually tried to pitch this world to a publisher during the d20 bubble and his initial response was “Seriously, NO ONE is going to remember any of these names or take them at all seriously,” followed by a good deal of other criticism that I wish I still had.

Later, during the campaign setting search that eventually led to Eberron, I pitched a Tolkienesque fantasy world with a twist: the Age of Men was SUPPOSED to come, but a massive plague had all but destroyed humanity. Aside from a few scattered survivors who had remained wholly human, the ‘survivors’ had changed in some way to escape death: becoming undead, or placing their souls inside constructs, or conducting fairly terrifying rituals of blood sacrifice to become immortal (and then to maintain their immortality). The elves and dwarves were trying for a sort of resurgence, the orcs and halflings were trying to set them up as humanity’s potential heirs, and anyone with human blood was regarded with suspicion or fear.

But I still had the name problem. I don’t think it was the sole thing preventing me from making the top ten (I doubt WotC really WANTED a setting where humans were all but gone, and any human PCs would be treated like pariahs), but I doubt it helped. Still, that does mean the concept remains mine, and I still think there’s merit to it. It’s entirely possible someone has explored similar territory by now, of course.

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Actually, now that I think about it, my old D&D worlds aren’t really my worst shame, even with the awful names. My WORST shame, as far as creative output goes, is probably the Xanth fan fiction I wrote that, in retrospect, was really all about my own emerging kinks. Of course, the actual Xanth novels are mostly about Piers Anthony’s kinks (and puns), so I suppose that in and of itself isn’t so bad.

Still. I think I’m quite glad it was lost three or four moves again, and I can only hope it was actually thrown out. I pity the poor soul who comes across that crap. No one should have to read Xanth fanfic. No one.

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candidgamera said on May 9th, 2013 at 8:29 am

Yes, I know where my old maps, characters sheets, and such are. Right next to my self-published comic books..

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Funkula said on May 9th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

ONE map? Psh. I did a series of maps detailing the political fluctuations over a thousand years! I also had no concept of how much cultural drift should really happen in a thousand years! Not that this is an uncommon affliction for fantasy authors.

That was for the only continent I really fleshed out. My custom setting involved all six of the fantasy races (I believe it was humans, goblins, orcs, trolls, elves and dwarves, because I was super original) as special creations of their patron deities on their own continents, as part of some wager or game. I did half-assed maps for the elf and dwarf continents, a fairly detailed one for the humans, and put most of my effort into the former goblin homeland, which had (along with the trolls) been colonized and subjugated by the orcs, after which the orcs got into a world war with each other and devastated all their holdings (including a magical nuke that killed every sentient being on the troll continent and severed the gods from the world). Then, when their last remaining scraps of civilization were struggling to rebuild on the goblin continent, here came the humans, who pushed the weakened orcs onto reservations.

Hm. Looking at it, the races are a bit corny, but magic WMD and orcs who were once the highest culture are not bad for a kid. I was definitely pretty bad at names though. Boring-ass names like Middleborough, Grand Market, and Cathedral, mixed with nonsense like Vigart and Xober.

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Never having played D&D, all I have are maps of my epic fantasy land – which are nowhere near as embarrassing as my attempts at constructing a language while I was in middle school. I would post a representative sample, but I still use variations on my “language” in password strings (got it up to, oh, a hundred? Two hundred? words before realizing that Language is Hard).

I can tell you that my online handle is from one of the characters in my stories, and that her name translates roughly to “spirit’s hope”. I can also tell you that her mother earned the moniker “Atari” – “the warrior” – until I mentioned the fact at one point in high school. Once I learned that I had not, as I had thought, invented the word out of thin air, I modified it to “Ateri” and decided to ignore any chance that I was influenced by a gaming system I had never knowingly encountered.

Oh, and my fantasy land involved five races at the time I started: Fäeriladnae (fairies), Elvaente (elves), Wezirdalae (wizards), Mikitae (mankind/humans), and Graltinge (dwarves). Guess which race was named years after the others? (And I doubt I’ll ever be desperate enough to use such ridiculously bad-Tolkienesque words as password material, so I’m safe posting online.)

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Mine was pretty basic. There was a “Europe” continent, I think was called Arrowfeast, that was dominated by 13 theocratic kingdoms. Elves had five kingdoms, gnomes had 3, Dwarves had 2, humans had 2 and Halflings had consolidated into 1. One of the elf kingdoms was called the Empty Lands because it was actually a Drow kingdom and anyone trying to settle on the land above would be taken and enslaved. It was a hot topic of discussion at the Council of Kings. The Dwarves had lost most of their land to the elves in the most recent war, so one of the Dwarven kings was sponsoring an order of dwarf warlocks, the Order of the Broken Anvil.

Then there was an “America” contintent that was called The Cup by explorers from Arrowfeast, since it was dominated by a large lake in the center. The Cup was the Orc homeland. Orcs were pretty much noble savages, and I changed it so that their pantheon was dominated by Lawful neutral gods instead of Evil gods. The D&D gods were like my favorite part of the game.

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Tales of the Boojum said on May 10th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Nothing wrong with “Wiv.” People name places for all sorts of reasons. Wiv is actually easy: It was named for the deadly wyverns that roosted on the nearby cliffs. Those bad boys have been extinct for generations, but that thing on the royal crest that everyone thinks is a dragon? It’s a wyvern.

“Dontor” is obviously a family name; not much story there, but “Twilldove” was a maiden chained to the rocks as a sacrifice to the local sea god. She was beautiful, charming and very, very smart; she won the sea god’s favor, which is how Doratia got “The Ruins of” prefix.

And then there’s poor, brave Fligit, who defended his master’s family armed with nothing but a kitchen knife and a frying pan. He was later served up in that same frying pan, but the orcs were impressed by both his courage and his extraordinary flavor.

Now, the thing about Hell Island is that it has a mild climate and a variety of precious gems washes up on the beaches. Inland, it’s mostly populated by slow-moving meat animals and tribes of nymphomanic amazons. The first men to arrive on the island came up with the name to keep everyone else away; the first name they came up with was “Castration Island” but they couldn’t agree on the spelling.

(I could do this all day.)

Next, it’s a castle. It’s on the moors. If you’re struggling to come up with another name, you’re just working too hard…

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highlyverbal said on May 11th, 2013 at 4:41 am

Why isn’t it “Li’l MGK”?

What does the apostrophe replace in “L’il”?

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Mark Temporis said on May 11th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I always hated maps as I can’t draw worth a damn: even my stick figures suck compared to everyone else’s stick figures. Instead I just came up with extensive backstory that I still had to learn to actually introduce in the game. In all fairness, this was between the ages of 9 to 11.

Modern action and science fiction were always where it was at for me. When those systems came out that was all I’d run. I still use the PC multinational spy agencies I designed in High School: The Euro-American Defence Council and WRAITH.

As far as SF, I designed an RPG starting in my twenties from the ground up with a universe influenced by Dune crossed with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms called Amidst the Void. It’s eternally under revision, of course, with the most recent iteration containing a strong Song of Ice and Fire influence as well.

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Mark Temporis: Dune crossed with RotTK sounds amazing and I’m both curious to hear about it and jealous I didn’t think of it first (though I’ve always been bollocks at world building, so no surprise there)

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Cookie McCool said on May 13th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

My inner 14-year-old nerd would be so delighted at this, if it weren’t too busy cussing at how it got stuck being the cleric AGAIN.

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I know EXACTLY where mine is. I recall putting it aside because I was using pen and ink and smeared some lettering, I think while writing “Montrevot” for a kingdom. And after I’d gone through all that trouble ageing and distressing the paper. I’m totally scanning that.

In the meantime, here’s the map for our current, grownup campaign.

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[…] More and more people are uploading their old homemade role-playing maps onto the internet. Thankfully the Play Generated Map & Document Archive was created to house them (and other old gaming aids). If that somehow isn’t enough for you, just repurpose old tunnel maps from Vietnam. Dave’s Mapper is perfect for generating your own maps while donjon has a random generator for just about anything you can think of. […]

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