Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sea Chart

I'm going to try and have a big print made so players can make choices about where to sail. So I tried to make my map look more like a weathered artifact.

One thing I realized is that because the crew is "Chinese," 1) they won't speak a lot of English and I can have players roleplay out their learning of the map, and 2) I can give names to cities, straits, seas etc. and then completely change them later when the players hear them referred to by other cultures.


  1. I love the ambiguity about some of the coastlines and the censor's seal there. Brilliant.

    I'm also curious about your Chinese crew in the Med: are they displaced or is this a Chinese Med? Does any kind of "Chineseness" affect the players' playing, like, are you playing OA or any other rules that have some kind of Chinese twist? And what's your period/tech level?

    In short, do you have a campaign bible you could point me to? I bet it would spark more specific/appropriate ideas.

  2. Thank you. About the Chinese, no, my party is all abstract fighters, wizards, and a couple priests. No real sense of culture because I didn't even have a map of my world yet when we started playing. Hell, our starting city is mapless sort of for that very reason (but also because, as a suburban boy, cities seem abstract and unreal to me).

    The first adventure I DMed after coming back to gaming involved an abandoned nunnery that, in style and climate, was based heavily on a California mission.

    I don't think we can get away from our fantasy world being shaped by our real experiences. Well, at least I can't, and I haven't travelled a whole lot.

    So I don't have a campaign setting worked out. I imagine the tech level is somewhere between 1100 and 1200. I just want some cool Sinbad-like island hopping to take place with interesting npcs to encounter. I'm pretty open to what "interesting" actually means right now.

    Not sure if that answered your question, still getting caffeinated.

  3. I'm going to agree with richardthinks here. The whole map looks really cool, but, as someone who grew up in Japan where they actually use seals like that as legal signatures, the seal is really a very awesome touch.

  4. Maybe then the crew are Chinese migrants from a fantastical 12th century San Francisco, the junk part of its pre-war fishing fleet? It's perfectly at home among feluccas there.

    If you're interested I could email you an elevation of a Japanese Fune (ship) that I copied down from the exhibition "tous les bateaux du monde." Representations of ship interiors are almost impossible to find before the 19th century.

  5. Thanks, Staples. I appreciate that.

    @richardthinks: hell yeah. I got a book from the library on junks but haven't had time to delve into it. It isn't public domain either so I shouldn't really scan/share any pics it has.

  6. wow, i was skeptical of this idea of using the mediterranean map but it works super fine! i am impressed!