Thursday, May 21, 2015

Copper Age Heroes

Works continues apace on the next issue of NOD, and I'm doing research for my Age of Heroes campaign idea, which will probably show up in NOD later this year. The late Neolithic and Chalcolithic are really fascinating, and I'm enjoying the research immensely. Research is, of course, only the first step. I like to get an idea of what really was before I start making nonsense up to lay over the top of it and turn it into a fantasy campaign. I'm still not finished, but today I thought I'd share my working map.



I've mapped out settlements that would have been active (or nearly active in the case of Troy - I'd really like to include it but I probably will not) around 4000 to 3500 BC, drew out some broad cultural areas to work with (not entirely accurate, but again, this is a fantasy campaign, not a dissertation), included a couple locations of known ancient monsters (Chimera, for example) and sketched out the location of mythical Atlantis in North Africa. After all, every good fantasy campaign needs an ancient, ruined empire to plunder. In some case, I've started the process of giving these sites names - primarily in the west, using Basque and the Berber tongues as guides. Lots of work left to do, but it's getting there and is being refined and nudged constantly.

Obviously, any person who does this for a living could find a million problems with this map, but for my purposes of creating a Chalcolithic fantasy world with lost kingdoms and monsters, I think it will do.

I should note that the base map comes from Natural Earth Data. Very useful - I wish I had known about it when I was working on some of the other Campaign Workbooks I've published.

7 comments:

  1. How dry was North Africa back then? I suspect that at the least the oasis sites should be larger, and there should be a pretty wide fertile belt along the coast. There may also be a lot of room to include more settled/developed areas amid the not-quite-so-dry range of the modern Sahara, as who knows what might have been out there and not yet rediscovered.

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    1. Apparently, the Sahara was pretty lush until a few hundred years before the game is set, so I figured it would make a good place to put a ruined empire. I'm going to focus on large settlements - treat them like city-states - and otherwise assume there are small villages and hunter/gatherers just about everywhere else.

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  2. If you want Troy, just put a village of ramshackle huts there. If you want it fantastic make them primitve cyclops, with one baby cyclops making walls with building blocks... ;)

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    1. Yeah, I'll probably include it, just for fun.

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  3. It's always cool to remember just how much culture and human history is clustered in a relatively small area. Looking forward to the write up. How will magic be handled, since that era's mysticism is far different than medieval?

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    1. When I do these campaign ideas, I try to keep in mind that I don't know what rules people might be using for them, so I try not to delve too deeply into classes. I think you could run it with all the traditional spellcasters, though the lack of spellbooks could be a problem for magic-users, or you could pare it down a bit and focus on druids and sorcerers. I think the point of any campaign should be exploration and adventure, with the look of the adventurers/explorers being secondary.

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  4. I love the idea of a late Bronze Age setting, especially if it would be possible to play through the Collapse. The mysterious events of that whole changeover, and the enormous variety and complexity of the civilizations that preceded it, is really a phenomenal setup. I've always liked your Nod a lot, and I look forward to more!

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