Forgotten Realms Maps

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Thorf
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Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Thorf » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:11 am

First, I'd like to stress upfront that this is a thought experiment. I don't have the time to start working on another major project at the moment.

However, I am curious...

I've been wondering lately what the state of the Realms is when it comes to maps. Specifically, Mystara has a number of illustrious cartographers, and of course me, too; Greyhawk has Anna Meyer. Both these settings seem to have a flurry of activity among fan cartographers, and both have started the careers of their own professional photographer.

But what about the Realms? It could just be that I'm not reading the right channels, but I don't seem to see much in the way of Realms maps beyond the official stuff.

Are there fan cartographers working on reconciling problems with the world's maps? If so, does anyone have some links for me to check out?

What is the state of the world's maps? I mean, is there a huge mess of maps that disagree with each other to various extents, as there is for Mystara? And has anyone worked through these to sort them out? For that matter, do the official maps do this already?

Is there a project to map the Realms to a globe? Are there official or fan-calculated dimensions for the world?

And one last thing that occurs to me: has the DMs Guild created a situation where all this stuff is now behind paywalls? Do people still create maps of the Realms for free?

Any information on any of this would be much appreciated.

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Morfie » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:42 am

Markustay has done some really great maps for FR, I consider him their equivalent of you and Anna. You can find some of his work at DeviantArt.
There was another one called HandsomeRob who did some wonderful maps years ago. I think some of those can still be found via Candlekeep forums.

I'm not entirely sure that FR had the same issues as Mystara. I'm sure there must've been a few but they had the FR Interactive Atlas CD and Faerun Atlas book to canonise the scale.

The issues I know about are:
1. Kara-Tur was shrunken by 1/3 between the original box set and later books linking it to Faerun.
2. 1e/2e Realms on the Faerun side had scale changes for 3e. Areas were shrunk/enlarged/angle changes.
3. 4e Realms had massive changes due to WSE's.

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:53 am

Thorf wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:11 am
First, I'd like to stress upfront that this is a thought experiment. I don't have the time to start working on another major project at the moment.

However, I am curious...

I've been wondering lately what the state of the Realms is when it comes to maps. Specifically, Mystara has a number of illustrious cartographers, and of course me, too; Greyhawk has Anna Meyer. Both these settings seem to have a flurry of activity among fan cartographers, and both have started the careers of their own professional photographer.

But what about the Realms? It could just be that I'm not reading the right channels, but I don't seem to see much in the way of Realms maps beyond the official stuff.

Are there fan cartographers working on reconciling problems with the world's maps? If so, does anyone have some links for me to check out?
I would second what Morfie said about Markustay.

Forgotten Realms has actually had different house styles for it's cartography over the years. 2e had big blocks of colour, but 3e had a style that looked a lot more like a real map.

The 2e style is a lot easier to emulate than the 3e style, as there are a lot of elements to the 3e styles (like shapes of trees for woods and shading patterns for mountains). Markustay was so good at emulating the 3e house style that you literally don't realise they are fan made maps. They look exactly the same as WotC maps.

Markustay makes some homebrew Realms maps, where he changes things around and an editor at Forgotten Realms Wiki once grabbed a copy of his Kara-Tur map...which had another campaign setting called Mahasarpa* shoehorned into Kara-Tur...and put it up on an article about Kara-Tur canon. It confused me so much that I wrote a topic called: Is Kara-Tur's Mahasarpa the same as James Wyatt's one? :lol:

* = We do not have a Mahasarpa forum at The Piazza...yet.

A lot of people have stolen Markustay's maps and put them up in other places (without asking permission, linking back to Markustay's page or even stating that the maps are created by him). So if you see Forgotten Realms maps online, and they look a lot like WotC maps, they might actually be Markustay's maps.

Markustay had some sort of massive computer disaster at some point and lost years of work. :o The stolen maps survived, but the original files (that could be edited to update things) were gone. ;(
Thorf wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:11 am
What is the state of the world's maps? I mean, is there a huge mess of maps that disagree with each other to various extents, as there is for Mystara? And has anyone worked through these to sort them out? For that matter, do the official maps do this already?
Morfie has given a good overview, but here are my thoughts:

Forgotten Realms started off as Faerûn. That's your well developed area that is covered as well as Karameikos is in Mystara.

Anna Meyer concentrated on the Flanaess (which is the main area of the Greyhawk campaign setting) and went looking for places mentioned in adventures that were not on the map. She also looked for text about place locations that might have conflicted with the official maps.

I don't know how much of that has been done for Faerûn. But it's possible that there are a lot of places that feature in adventures, but not sourcebooks.

4th Edition rebooted Forgotten Realms. You have almost certainly heard at least one person ranting about this, but from a cartography point-of-view, the back-story for the 4th Edition Realms had a second planet, called "Abeir" merge into "Toril". Apparently the primordials* and deities fought in the past and Ao (the overgod of the Realms) split Abeir-Toril into two and hid Abeir so well that 1e, 2e and 3e Realms fans didn't know it was there. ;)

* = Primordials are some sort of elemental powers that have similar power to gods. I'm not totally sure how mechanically different they are, but I'd say that the theme of Primordials is probably as different as the theme of the Immortals of Mystara. But they are all powers that can control the world.

Anyhoo, with your 4th Edition Realms maps, you have sections that have been rebooted to cut out parts of the 3e maps and include new Abeir stuff.

That creates two big problems:
  • Working out how 4th Edition Era maps fit in with earlier Realms maps and
  • Working out what happened to the large parts of the world that 4th Edition products didn't bother to cover.
Living Forgotten Realms (which is set in the 4th Edition era) must have added a lot of locations. It might be useful for a cartographer to add them onto 3rd Edition Era (or earlier) maps, so that a fan playing in a pre-Spellplagued Realms game could use those locations. But some sort of canon checking would be required to work out if that was a location pulled over from Abeir or an existing location that had just not been created before.

As to the other parts of the world, we know that Maztica vanished and and got replaced by a large section of Returned Abeir. I believe that Maztica was returned for the 5th Edition Era, with the explanation that it had been moved to Abeir. So 4e didn't just merge two planets, it swapped parts of one planet with parts of the other planet.

Not everything from Abeir got sent back for the 5th Edition Era. So you have a bit of a research problem if you want to take maps from out of print Realms products and create 5th Edition versions. Have things vanished during the 4e Era? Have they returned during the 5e Era? Did they never go away? Did new things arrive during the 4e Era and stay?

I have never seen a canon map of what Abeir looked like on it's own...or what happened to Abeir after lands like Maztica arrived.
Thorf wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:11 am
Is there a project to map the Realms to a globe? Are there official or fan-calculated dimensions for the world?
Forgotten Realms has already been mapped onto a globe. I think that Silverblade might have used Toril in at least one of his 3D Spelljammer pictures. He might be able to tell you how well the maps fit onto a globe.

There are some continents on the global maps, that have never featured in roleplaying products. One is an island where Australia is on the real-world.

There are other parts of Toril (or Abeir-Toril)
Thorf wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:11 am
And one last thing that occurs to me: has the DMs Guild created a situation where all this stuff is now behind paywalls? Do people still create maps of the Realms for free?

Any information on any of this would be much appreciated.
I've not kept up with DMs Guild, but I do know that WotC has put up some collections of art in DMs Guild products for people to buy (for free) and then reuse in their own DMs Guild products.

Anything created for 4th Edition, 3rd Edition or 2nd Edition can not be put onto DMs Guild. (D&D Classics is sold in the same storefront as DMs Guild, but anyone putting stuff up for DMs Guild, has to make it 5e compatible.) There is nothing against people making 5th Edition rules for the classic eras, though. So I guess it would be possible for someone to build a product similar to Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide that covered the 1st Edition Era...but that made it work with 5e rules.

With the subsettings of Forgotten Realms not being documented much by 3e, 4e and 5e (and 4e and 5e both applying fairly significant reboots and a time jump) I think it's likely that some people will try to sell "old school Realms - new school rules" products on DMs Guild. If that happens, I can see people getting confused about new maps, old maps and "new-old maps". I'm sure that cartographers, like Markustay and HandsomeRob would add notes to explain themselves, but when people randomly raid pictures they tend to ignore the notes and forget where they even grabbed the pictures from.

In theory conversion documents could be created for every single D&D Classics adventure for Forgotten Realms. And conversion maps (coming from the different angles I mentioned in the last paragraph) could also be created.
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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by JamesMishler » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:55 pm

I briefly stuck my toe into the Forgotten Realms map market and discovered that, at least for hex-based maps, there does not seem to be much in the way of a market.

Realmscrawl Campaign Map 05: Tilverton

Realmscrawl: The Incompleat Realmscrawl

I originally developed the Realmscrawl maps for my own campaign I was running, and decided to finish them up and offer them on DM's Guild.

All told, in a year and a half, I've sold less than 20 copies of the complete set (Tilverton + Incompleat).

The Incompleat Realmscrawl set covers only the Eastern Heartlands (Cormyr, the Dales, Sembia, the Moonsea, etc.), at six-miles per hex (5E style), so maybe it was a bit too granular for the FR fans. Maybe they didn't like the Mystara-style hexes? I simply do not know... I never got any feedback, even from those who bought the maps.

I know there are others out there who have done other FR maps, some in hexes, but none in the classic Mystara style. How much success they have had, I do no know...

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Coronoides » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:26 am

Has anyone see a map of the ancient giant empire of Ostoria? Just asking.
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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Sturm » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:48 am

It would simply be the whole Faerun from the Vilhon Reach to the north. Main difference should be at the time the Great Glacier did not exist, as it was created by the fall of Ostoria. I think no map exist, but you could easily make one using 1and2nd ed FR maps https://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/ ... n_-_2E.jpg
and changing the environment a bit:
No Great Glacier, No High Moor, No Anauroch. Those were forests at the time (or forests and farmlands probably in Anauroch and forest with montains and hills the Glacier). Calim desert was farmland. Calimsham and Tethyr would be outside Ostoria and a contested territory between giants and elves.
After the Thousand Year War https://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/ ... d_Year_War, Ostoria would be reduced to the north, probably above the current High Moor. The start of the war could be an interesting time to set your campaign :)

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Coronoides » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:21 pm

Sturm wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:48 am
It would simply be the whole Faerun from the Vilhon Reach to the north. Main difference should be at the time the Great Glacier did not exist, as it was created by the fall of Ostoria. I think no map exist, but you could easily make one using 1and2nd ed FR maps https://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/ ... n_-_2E.jpg
and changing the environment a bit:
No Great Glacier, No High Moor, No Anauroch. Those were forests at the time (or forests and farmlands probably in Anauroch and forest with montains and hills the Glacier). Calim desert was farmland. Calimsham and Tethyr would be outside Ostoria and a contested territory between giants and elves.
After the Thousand Year War https://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/ ... d_Year_War, Ostoria would be reduced to the north, probably above the current High Moor. The start of the war could be an interesting time to set your campaign :)
Thanks that’s a great start. Now I can at least draws rough map to work from. My current plan is to provide support for the status quo of Ostoria at its peak when the Giants had no idea that the solitary dragons living within the Empire could even be a threat to stablility AND for those wanting to play the thousand year war era.
Last edited by Coronoides on Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Coronoides » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:24 pm

Oops
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Morfie » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:13 am

Shouldn't the Ostoria bit belong in its own topic?

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Re: Forgotten Realms Maps

Post by Coronoides » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:24 am

Morfie wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:13 am
Shouldn't the Ostoria bit belong in its own topic?
I don‘t think so. People are asking about what maps are out there for FR. Responses indicate a very complete collection is available. I ask these knowledgable people if a specific map has been done.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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