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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Werthead Posted - 17 Aug 2022 : 17:57:33
Hi all.

After creating my 2E-inspired megamaps of Faerun, Maztica, Zakhara and Kara-Tur a couple of years back, I've embarked on a new project to map each nation-state of Faerun in greater detail.

After a brief side-trip to the Inner Sea, I've so far completed Aglarond, Amn and Calimshan.

The base maps come from the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas, are then copied over and compared with the source maps (the FRIA is a great resource but sometimes over-simplifies the coasts because of its vector approach). The maps are based on 1E-2E (and, happily, now 5E, at least the coastlines) but I also integrate 3E-5E locations where they are referred to as canonically existing in the 1-2E timeline. I've also integrated some changes from the 3E map to these maps where they make sense (i.e. the new rivers they added along the south coast of the Aglarond peninsula).

Before anyone asks, yes, this means a map of Impiltur should materialise. It's currently #18 on the list (which keeps changing as I realise some places are too small to warrant a full map and combine them with somewhere else, or someone reminds me of a microrealm that I forgot even existed), going alphabetically.
30   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Werthead Posted - 06 May 2024 : 23:55:09
They're not drow until the descent, although they are "dark elves" (apparently the descendants of wild and wood/jungle elves who were corrupted by Vhaeraun and Ghaunadaur very early on, and later basically converted to the worship of Lolth). So before the descent they certainly are using evil magic, but the whole Underdark orientation we see in the drow is not present. As Lolth worshippers, the spider thing would be around though (and IIRC driders did show up during the Crown Wars, possibly for the very first time).

I suspect the elves would have a fair bit of the hardcore stuff we see Evermeet having, but all sides having access to it, and possibly more. There's no mention of spelljammers, so the Crown Wars may have been pre-contact with the wider elves of wildspace, so they might not have spelljammers available at that point but quite a lot of other things. Really insane magic, like Elven High Magic, does seem to have not been in everyday use, from practicality (High Magic rituals being long, complicated and vulnerable) and also from morality, the Seldarine not likely approving of the use of High Magic to kill fellow elves (at least until the true depravities of the dark elves and later the Vyshaan become clearer).
Giant Snake Posted - 06 May 2024 : 12:37:42
Sounds pretty apocalyptic but I could envision it. If you’ve read a lot of sci fi or even maybe really outstanding examples of historical total war (ancient Chinese Warring States eclipses all in my opinion) then, yeah I think I can picture it.

Now what would be the question: would the elves be bringing all of the crazy weaponry and mounts they are noted for having on Evermeet or would they have more commonly armed rank and file? Also would the Drow be basically armed the same way at this time? I can’t picture them having massive lizard riding forces.

In all it would be a really fun and worthwhile endeavor for a campaign and I can picture in my head all sorts of artistic differences between the elves of that time. Subtle differences except with the Drow they probably would look more like ‘evil high elves’ in this case rather than their later incarnations after millenia underground.
Werthead Posted - 04 May 2024 : 23:25:37
quote:
Originally posted by Giant Snake

I don’t want to veer the discussion off but I would like to play a campaign or even a wargame set in those crown wars. Tricky tactics and total, 30yw style destruction is what I envision.



I think it'd be interesting but difficult. A war fought by elves who have zero problem spending thirty years fighting a single campaign over a small geographic area, replenishing and reinforcing and then attacking again. I see it as massive, violent battles with horrendous magic, interspersed by years or decades of boredom.

I think it would be hard for humans to relate to, but a necessity given elves' much lower and slower birthrate (as it stands it appears the Crown Wars seriously depopulated the elven species as a whole).
Giant Snake Posted - 04 May 2024 : 07:08:08
I don’t want to veer the discussion off but I would like to play a campaign or even a wargame set in those crown wars. Tricky tactics and total, 30yw style destruction is what I envision.
Werthead Posted - 02 May 2024 : 12:21:40
Historical Maps of the Forgotten Realms 06: The Fourth and Fifth Crown Wars
Werthead Posted - 26 Apr 2024 : 21:43:27
Historical Maps of the Forgotten Realms 05: The Second and Third Crown Wars.
Brimstone Posted - 20 Apr 2024 : 04:38:06
That's nice.
Werthead Posted - 19 Apr 2024 : 20:33:38
Back in the saddle after a year on this one.

Historical Maps of the Forgotten Realms 04: The First Crown War
Werthead Posted - 10 Apr 2024 : 18:41:07
River Athis, rather. My brain failed on that one. I also forgot the river started from the spring in Terabakar rather than somewhere else (I put it in Lonely Lake). Was it formed after Imaskar fell, presumably when Bakar was founded? Interesting. That makes sense.

Good point that the topography of Raurin would encourage rivers to probably flow north into Brightstar Lake. The map of Imaskar in Grand History of the Realms doesn't show any rivers in the area, but they'd presumably have to exist (otherwise Raurin would have been a desert long before Imaskar...unless it was, and the Imaskari tamed it with magic? Nice idea but I don't think supported by any canon).
George Krashos Posted - 10 Apr 2024 : 05:47:13
The river Agis formed after the fall of Imaskar. It did not exist in -12000 DR.

But given that the area is a large basin it would no doubt have several rivers flowing into it from the surrounding mountains. Some might even reach the Gbor Nor to the north.

— George Krashos
Werthead Posted - 09 Apr 2024 : 20:51:37
As part of rebooting the History series (which I left on hold for a year whilst doing other things), I had to significantly redraw my 10,000-pixel megamap of Faerūn to accommodate for this being Ye Olde Anciente Times.

I think I caught all the major changes that happened after this point so the continent looks roughly right for the start of the Crown Wars in 12,000 BDR:

  • The Narrow Sea exists and, obviously, Anauroch does not.

  • The Great Glacier does not exist, but the Cold Ocean does.

  • The Vilhon Reach has not yet been formed. The Jhaamdathi coast (though of course this is long before Jhaamdath) is based on the map in Grand History of the Realms
  • .
  • Raurin does not exist and the Raurin Basin is more fertile, with the River Amis (from Desert of Desolation) running through it.

  • The coast of Sembia is smoother, without the big bay indentations formed by exploding Netherese enclaves (I have a feeling that maybe only one of the bays was formed that way rather than all of them, so I might have to fix that).


So far this is just an outline to show the borders dynamically shifting, as I was trying to avoid having to redraw all the forests to reflect the much greater coverage of the time (I have a lower res map here showcasing that, but the map is too small to show the thrust of the wars themselves). I think I'll have to bite the bullet on that and do that for more "zoomed in" areas of the conflict themselves.
Werthead Posted - 30 Mar 2024 : 21:33:12
I completed a fairly significant revision of the entire Nations article series. I added a second map to every article showing the location of the nation in Faerūn (which helped with the "big picture" some felt was missing from the articles). I also added links to every article so the first time another nation is mentioned, people can click to go to that article. Should help with navigation.

A "Regions of the Realms" article series could follow, although I'd be wary of too much overlap with the nations series, so might be interesting to take a different tack with that. I should continue the "History" series first though, and doing these updated maps gave me some ideas on how to handle that in a more efficient manner.

I did have suggestions that some areas of Faerūn may still qualify as nations even if they aren't in the normal definition of things, so the Dalelands, the Border Kingdoms and the Great Dale might count for further exploration, or even covering nations on the other continents.
Dalor Darden Posted - 30 Dec 2023 : 21:30:20
Simply awesome maps...I've loved all of these!

Any chance for maps of the Dales and the Moonsea? =)
Werthead Posted - 30 Dec 2023 : 01:18:18
A new and updated map of Toril, the whole planet.

I was dissatisifed with my 2019 effort so ent back and reworked it into this. I tapped the "other" maps in the Interactive Atlas to add more islands, and make some of the coasts a bit less artificial. I also chucked out the non-canon names previously included (Aurune and Braaklosia) but retained the one that was a bit more canon-adjacent (Myrmidune) and added the name Ed dropped a while back (Arandron). I also added latitude lines from Markus Tay's research way back in the day, and a qualifier to Osse that the continent's size may be exaggerated (as Ed also noted a while back).

I also stuck it on a globe so people can take it for a (literal) spin.

DewnMoutain Posted - 27 Oct 2023 : 02:56:38
quote:
Originally posted by Werthead





dude!! i love your maps! i used your WOT map as the map for my WOT campaign. Loved that thing! the detail you applied to it!
sleyvas Posted - 05 Oct 2023 : 15:41:33
quote:
Originally posted by Werthead

That was where Doubloon was last sighted.

Excellent point on that, I just found their locations. All off this map, but I updated the text with their information. I also updated my Kara-Tur map with their location (plus fixed some long-standing issues I had with it re: the Utter East).

Could the surviving enclave be Selunarra? Or possibly a reference to Sargauth/Skullport (which was a "ground enclave")?





I would rather see the exact wording from Ed, but based on Wooly's statements that "it was parked and didn't fall" .... I would take it another way... it wasn't a "ground enclave" but it may have been an enclave that for some reason "had landed temporarily on the ground". While I could see many enclaves that might have always stayed aloft, if there were some that weren't "chopped off mountaintops"... but cities on disks like what was described in the recent adventure in the north... I could see them landing in some situations to take on materials being delivered via caravans. I could also see them landing
in a relatively shallow lake to take on fresh water that includes fish. Some Netherese might view this as a weaker enclave as a result mind you.


For those interested, here's my take on Doubloon

On doubloon, I have my own personal story that leads it through history first to Halruaa with the Netherese survivors (because while it was last seen in the North, it may have been establishing territory in Halruaa prior to the fall and may be partially WHY the Netherese diaspora were able to quickly relocate there). I then have it leaving as a part of the Leirans leaving to Nimbral (cloaked mind you). Then once on Nimbral, I have it getting an experimental Netherese "helm" placed on it (since they had been building their own fleet) that enabled it to go into orbit, but would not allow it to achieve spelljamming speeds. This helm would be similar to the dwarven forge helm that achieves its mobility through acts of dwarven creation, but instead working through spellcasters creating minor magic items (scrolls, potions, etc...)

From that point, I have these doubloon riding Leirans getting involved with the inhabitants of Selune and bringing their religion with them. Another take could be that they are the ones who inhabited the moon, and that the elves on the moon and that the fey of Nimbral have a kinship. I personally prefer a more complex relationship that involves a mix of this and ALSO an influx of "Ellefolk" refugees being rescued by Leiran AND Selune worshippers from the plane of shadows. These Ellefolk are paranoid in the extreme that they will be discovered and effectively returned to slavery, and so they actually hide their true nature and pretend to be "Elf Folk". To note, I would have it that these "ellefolk" are not the ones that become the Arak in Ravenloft... but rather a prior group that escaped that inspired that group's rebellion, and which knows zero about the Arak's later escape.

Time passes. Inhabitants of the Doubloon enclave in orbit becomes more insular from the surface. They hide their enclave under a cloak near continually, but eventually they start getting infiltrated. Ironically, the enclave of Leirans starts getting their leadership replaced by greater doppelgangers who create further paranoia in order to establish control. Later, the doppelgangers are infiltrated by illithids who take greater doppelgangers and perform ceremorphosis upon them, resulting in a slow moving shadow war between the greater doppelgangers and the illithids of Glyth.

Ironically, the rescue of this enclave came not from within, but rather from an exterior influence. Mythrell'aa Vianul, Zulkir of Illusion, had spent decades unraveling the mystery of Doubloon until she finally found the city. To her suprise, she also found the city under the secret grip of doppelgangers at war with half-illithid doppelgangers. She used her power and that of her thayan servants to infiltrate both groups and finally revealed them to the human populace of the orbiting enclave, and quickly killed or displaced the monstrous invaders... resulting in a significant population loss to the enclave. As a result, she was welcomed as the new ruler of the enclave, partly out of fear, but also respect and appreciation.

Learning from her own past and knowing that renaming is perhaps one of the greatest forms of obfuscation, she renamed the enclave Luneira, and even passed a law against referring to the colony as Doubloon. Acquiring this colony also included an influx of Netherese knowledge regarding the creation of their own helms. This aided the Thayan Guild of Foreign Trade to develop (behind the backs of many of the other zulkirs not allied to Mythrell'aa) a new form of spelljamming helm. The Quad of Thay, with its "Grand Helm", was expensive, useless for travel between crystal spheres, and required multiple spellcasters to fly.... but it didn't require the aid of the Mercane. Nor did it require the Mercane to even know of its existence, and Mythrell'aa and the Guild of Foreign Trade were intent to make this secret stay a secret. They made sure their ship was fast enough to simply retreat if trouble appeared, and so essentially their Quads became a ship meant for smuggling goods and personnel. When it came to personnel, it was not unusual for them to drug or magically put people to sleep to ensure that they never even knew how they had been transported... in all things, Mythrell'aa believed in secrecy.

So, when the Szass Tam started the war that turned into the Thayan Rebellion, Mythrell'aa received a warning from the Zulkir of Divination that would change her intent to remain in place. Mythrell'aa took her knowledge that renaming things is often the best form of obfuscation, and so she enacted a powerful ritual that made the inhabitants of Faerun think her name was something different. They began to think her name was Mythrellan, and that it had always been Mythrellan. She also faked her own death and removed herself and many of her most faithful followers to Luneira.

In the intervening time between freeing Luneira and the spellplague, she had also been busy regarding spelljamming. She had uncovered Kara-Tur's own spelljamming involvement with the Mercane, and she had uncovered the activities of the country of Wa to develop its own spelljamming engines in the form of Ki Helms and their rudders of propulsion. Once again, using the theory that obfuscation is the best form of infiltration, she staged assaults of spelljammers of both countries and framed their rivals. As a result, she also secretly captured a small fleet of nearly a half dozen Kara-Turan dragonships and even a Wa Tsunami with a complete complement of locusts.

The Zulkir of Illusion however did not stop there. Using her magic and her wiles, she and her loyal red wizards actually managed to ride inside the mind of several Wa courtiers to their emperor and gained intimate knowledge of what his throne room looked like, the mannerisms of the emperor of Wa, and WHO many of his most important contacts were. They constructed a facility resembling his palace and further dressed it out to resemble its most expensive or hard to duplicate features by covering them with illusion. They captured several instrumental wu jen, artificers, and craftsmen involved with Wa's spelljamming endeavours for short terms, replacing them with individuals who would feign sickness or claim a need for rest temporarily (some of these being doppelgangers who had been forced into servitude). They used this subterfuge to uncover secrets involving the facilities, techniques, and even some unique materials used in the construction of their spelljammers.
Werthead Posted - 04 Oct 2023 : 18:59:17
That was where Doubloon was last sighted.

Excellent point on that, I just found their locations. All off this map, but I updated the text with their information. I also updated my Kara-Tur map with their location (plus fixed some long-standing issues I had with it re: the Utter East).

Could the surviving enclave be Selunarra? Or possibly a reference to Sargauth/Skullport (which was a "ground enclave")?
Wooly Rupert Posted - 04 Oct 2023 : 01:12:38
quote:
Originally posted by Werthead

As long as you give credit, sure.

In the meantime, on a request I made a map showing the locations of the fallen enclaves of Netheril, where known.



That is awesome... But I have two questions and a comment.

Question 1: If Doubloon disappeared, what is the logic behind its placement on the map? Have I forgotten lore indicating where it was found?

Question 2: Were you aware that Ed provided the location of three crashed enclaves, that are nowhere near the Heartlands? This was on Twitter a while back

Comment: There is rumored to be a Netherese enclave in Tethyr's Firedrake Bay.

(Ed has also indicated there is at least one enclave that is still inhabited, but it was parked and didn't fall -- so no one living there now knows it was an enclave, and he did not identify it)
Werthead Posted - 03 Oct 2023 : 22:55:14
As long as you give credit, sure.

In the meantime, on a request I made a map showing the locations of the fallen enclaves of Netheril, where known.
Zeromaru X Posted - 03 Oct 2023 : 05:24:35
Well. is not exactly home use. I'm writing a player's guide (sort of) to Tymanther, and the map will be in the guide. I don't intend to charge anything for it, but it will be shared on the Net (here and in other forums).
Werthead Posted - 30 Sep 2023 : 14:40:34
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

Hi, Werthead. I was wondering if I could use your maps as a reference to create my own map. Specifically, I want to make an updated map of Unther to fit my campaign (adding Tymather stuff and that).



No problem with anyone using any of the maps for their own home use.
Zeromaru X Posted - 01 Sep 2023 : 23:48:36
Hi, Werthead. I was wondering if I could use your maps as a reference to create my own map. Specifically, I want to make an updated map of Unther to fit my campaign (adding Tymather stuff and that).
Werthead Posted - 26 Mar 2023 : 21:36:40
Historical Maps of the Forgotten Realms 03: The First Flowering.

In which the elves decide it would be a splendid idea to blow up the entire continent just to build a retirement property.
Werthead Posted - 20 Mar 2023 : 18:39:31
quote:
But since the sundering effects stretched back in time (probably to at least -36000 dr) the single continent will never have been known by any sentient race on toril.


Based on the map in Grand History of the Realms and the timeline notations, it looks like the (First) Sundering became temporally linked with the Tearfall in 31,000 BDR, but before the Tearfall everyone was clear there was only one single supercontinent and that's where everything was happening, hence the Creator Race nations being noted on the map of Merrouroboros.

Between the Tearfall and the proper date of the Sundering it appears to be a sort of quantum flux, hence references to things going on on at the Chultan Peninsula when the Chultan Peninsula does not even exist at the time. Or at least, that's my take on it.
Gary Dallison Posted - 19 Mar 2023 : 14:09:05
Oddly enough George mentioned yesterday that he and eric wanted it dated -24000 dr.

But since the sundering effects stretched back in time (probably to at least -36000 dr) the single continent will never have been known by any sentient race on toril.
Werthead Posted - 19 Mar 2023 : 11:12:19
Map 2: The Dawn Age

Some awkwardness here because of the (IMO, awkward) dating of the Sundering to 17,600 BDR rather than, as feels a better fit, significantly earlier. Still, it more or less holds together.
Asharak Posted - 13 Mar 2023 : 13:27:02
Awesome, I love it, congratulations.
Werthead Posted - 12 Mar 2023 : 22:17:16
And we're back with the first Historical Maps of the Forgotten Realms! Starting with the Days of Thunder.

This was a tricky one to get the sequence to events right: the Narrow Sea being rotated 90 degrees by the sarrukh (for phaerimm-defeating purposes), then the four separate Inner Seas becoming the one big one in the Tearfall. I also remembered to include the Cold Sea (the pre-frozen Great Glacier), which a lot of prehistoric maps of the Realms tend to forget.

The main map draws heavily on Brian James' original map for Grand History of the Realms, but I tried to go into more detail. It was also fun slamming the continents together to try to work out how Brian did it fifteen years ago to get the same results (I think I got it right, more or less). It was also fun to do the eastern side of the planet and figure out how Osse attached to Kara-Tur (badly, in my case, but I did have fun combining Kozakura, Wa and Koryo into a new landmass). One oddity from the Grand History Map is a massive extension of Zakhara to the east, whilst in the present day there's nothing there, it's just the Segara/Foreigners' Sea. I assume it was low-lying land that just vanished under the sea altogether, but still a bit odd.

Also, obviously, the locations of the coastlines, rivers etc should be massively more different from the modern makeup of the Realms, but I kept a lot of things the same so people can see where the locations correspond to the modern day.

This is an off-shoot of a project I've been tinkering with for years, the appalling-badly named Abeir-Torillion (with apologies to Tolkien), a narrative history of the Realms from their creation to the present day (and, with teeth gritted, I realise that had to mean 1497 DR, so Spellplague warts and all). Having maps to go along with it felt like a fun move.

Regarding the Waterdeep map, I did spend about a month working on it, which is about eight times longer than any of the previous Nations maps, and was still only maybe 20% of the way done with it, so decided to put it on the backburner for now.
Asharak Posted - 03 Jan 2023 : 10:55:59
quote:
Originally posted by Werthead
Because that's where the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas places it. There are also some indications in Desert of Desolation that it is on the west side, such as caravans from Phannaskul in Murghom and Gheldaneth in Mulhorand coming that way, and they are both on the western side of the desert. The maps in the module don't seem to be conclusive beyond a general NE-trend in the Dustwall Mountains in the area.

There's also the fact that Bralizzar seems to be well-connected to the civilised lands of Durpar to the south. In Durpar all the major cities and civilisation are on the western side of the nation, the north-eastern area along the Dustwall beyond the Scarlet Jungle seems very desolate in comparison, and the only pass in the eastern Dustwall is supposed to be closed off by the impenetrable Gate of Iron.


Thank you for these very instructive clarifications.
And congratulations again for this enormous work.
Werthead Posted - 02 Jan 2023 : 16:11:24
quote:
Originally posted by Asharak

Out of curiosity, a small question. Why did you place the Desolation Desert to the west of the Raurin Desert when the map accompanying the revised module (I3-5) places it to the east?



Because that's where the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas places it. There are also some indications in Desert of Desolation that it is on the west side, such as caravans from Phannaskul in Murghom and Gheldaneth in Mulhorand coming that way, and they are both on the western side of the desert. The maps in the module don't seem to be conclusive beyond a general NE-trend in the Dustwall Mountains in the area.

There's also the fact that Bralizzar seems to be well-connected to the civilised lands of Durpar to the south. In Durpar all the major cities and civilisation are on the western side of the nation, the north-eastern area along the Dustwall beyond the Scarlet Jungle seems very desolate in comparison, and the only pass in the eastern Dustwall is supposed to be closed off by the impenetrable Gate of Iron.

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