Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

A directory of geographical maps for the world of Mystara.

Moderators: Seer of Yhog, Thorf

Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Andaire » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:17 am

BTW Thorf, there is a long-standing question regarding cartography: How do you map the Underdark?
(This question pops because the real cultural feature of the Great Waste is Graakalia.)
Of course you'll tell me you will make replicas and updates of maps of Graakalia, the Shadow Elves' Cavers, etc.
But:
- How do you really represent depths, which often vary, and the fact that there may be various "levels"?
- Wouldn't it be nice to have surface maps or composite maps that show the Underdark positions relative to surface, in a similar fashion to Undersea with Ierendi & Minrothad? (I realize it is easier with Undersea because there is no Undersea feature where there is land above, barring some deep-sea caverns -- hey this doesn't seem to have been much done yet, doesn't that give anyone ideas ;) .)

Moderator edit: Marked the thread with an "issues" (question mark) icon.
Information Wants To Be Free
Hervé Musseau http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1223372668
User avatar
Andaire
Stone Giant
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby Thorf » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:29 am

Yes, absolutely. The worst problem is layering; while the surface world has just one plane with varying altitude, the underground world is made up of caves and tunnels at many different levels, which often overlap.

The Orcs of Thar map showed one way of dealing with this problem - essentially by having two maps with labels showing where they join. GAZ13 completely ignored the problem altogether, and just put all the Shadow Elf caverns on a single plane. This is entirely possible, but it doesn't even begin to mark the connections to layers closer to the surface, let alone tunnels to the surface itself.

It is probably possible to do 3D maps of this sort of thing, but they'd need to be interactive (rotatable and zoomable), or parts would block each other out.

All in all it's a definite conundrum. Probably the best way to deal with it is not to go for a completely accurate or detailed approach, but rather to leave some things to the imagination and mark on the most important landmarks. Tunnels to the surface, for example, could be left to DM discretion.

On the other hand Graakhalia shouldn't be all that difficult to map if we put our minds to it, and try to keep things relatively simple. :mrgreen:
User avatar
Thorf
Cartomancer
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:41 am
Location: Akita, Japan

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby Cthulhudrew » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:56 am

I never quite finished my maps of the underground beneath the Great Crater, but what I have is actually two maps, following along the lines of the Gaz10 map, with height indicators to show the differing levels (and it is two maps because it covers quite a bit of terrain in/around the Great Crater at heights above sea level- taking into account the surrounding mountain ranges- and below sea level, almost to the SE caverns- the crater is said to have penetrated very deeply.)
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image
User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
 
Posts: 3871
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby Thorf » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:52 am

Andrew, I'd love to see what you have. I can't remember how many times I've been asked to do maps with the Great Crater, and eventually I'd like to have a go. ;)
User avatar
Thorf
Cartomancer
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:41 am
Location: Akita, Japan

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby OldDawg » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:52 pm

Thorf wrote:It is probably possible to do 3D maps of this sort of thing, but they'd need to be interactive (rotatable and zoomable), or parts would block each other out.

Not necessarily. Its like creating Ravenloft-style maps, all you need to do is exaggerate depth to prevent view blocking. It would take a while, but I think I could do it in either Illustrator (actually the defunct Dimension would be better, as I could bevel out the correct shape) or MATLAB.


On the other hand Graakhalia shouldn't be all that difficult to map if we put our minds to it, and try to keep things relatively simple. :mrgreen:


Actually, quite the opposite. Graakhalia (and neighboring regions such as the caverns below Sind or the manscorpion territory), occupies three major strata each with dozens of levels. Cavern systems extend below the Black Mountains to the Burning Waste, Sind to the western hills. There are several designated subsystems within the territory. Mapping Graakhalia would be a great, long-term, community project, however. May as well go for broke and gaz it up at the same time - possibly breaking up the subsystems.

Anyway, my two cents.
Moderator for Greyhawk and GazF forums. My moderator voice is cyan.
OldDawg
Troll
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:18 am

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby Cthulhudrew » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:48 am

Thorf wrote:On the other hand Graakhalia shouldn't be all that difficult to map if we put our minds to it, and try to keep things relatively simple. :mrgreen:


OldDawg wrote:Actually, quite the opposite. Graakhalia (and neighboring regions such as the caverns below Sind or the manscorpion territory), occupies three major strata each with dozens of levels.


Got to agree with OldDawg here. I once thought about trying to map Graakhalia, and the sheer size of that area (not to mention, as he points out, the depths of it) make for a staggeringly huge mapping project, IMO. :o

I'll send you the maps I have for the Great Crater region, Thorf. What would be the best way to get them to you? Find a way to post them here, or send you the files (they're all bitmaps, IIRC).
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image
User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
 
Posts: 3871
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby Thorf » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:41 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Thorf wrote:On the other hand Graakhalia shouldn't be all that difficult to map if we put our minds to it, and try to keep things relatively simple. :mrgreen:


OldDawg wrote:Actually, quite the opposite. Graakhalia (and neighboring regions such as the caverns below Sind or the manscorpion territory), occupies three major strata each with dozens of levels.


Got to agree with OldDawg here. I once thought about trying to map Graakhalia, and the sheer size of that area (not to mention, as he points out, the depths of it) make for a staggeringly huge mapping project, IMO. :o


I think you both overlooked the "keep it simple" part. It doesn't matter how complex it is; if you zoom out and do it in rough form, for example by depicting only the most major parts and missing out all the rest, you can still come up with a decent (and highly usable) map without spending forever on it. The key is just not to let things get out of hand, and to consciously avoid putting in too much detail. It would very much be a "use your imagination" kind of map, but still much better than what we have now.

I'll send you the maps I have for the Great Crater region, Thorf. What would be the best way to get them to you? Find a way to post them here, or send you the files (they're all bitmaps, IIRC).


Great! Thanks. :D Feel free to e-mail me them (PM me if you don't have one of my e-mail addresses on hand), or you can post them here.
User avatar
Thorf
Cartomancer
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:41 am
Location: Akita, Japan

Re: Outer World: Great Waste, 24 miles per hex

Postby Havard » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:58 am

Thorf wrote:I think you both overlooked the "keep it simple" part. It doesn't matter how complex it is; if you zoom out and do it in rough form, for example by depicting only the most major parts and missing out all the rest, you can still come up with a decent (and highly usable) map without spending forever on it. The key is just not to let things get out of hand, and to consciously avoid putting in too much detail. It would very much be a "use your imagination" kind of map, but still much better than what we have now.


A very good philosophy. Traveller got away with using a 2d map of the Galaxy in a Hard Sci-Fi setting! It would be nice to have a map that at least gives us an idea of what these areas are like and let the DMs fill out details using dungeon style maps etc.

Havard

The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 16677
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby metal » Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:51 am

Thorf wrote:I think you both overlooked the "keep it simple" part. It doesn't matter how complex it is; if you zoom out and do it in rough form, for example by depicting only the most major parts and missing out all the rest, you can still come up with a decent (and highly usable) map without spending forever on it. The key is just not to let things get out of hand, and to consciously avoid putting in too much detail. It would very much be a "use your imagination" kind of map, but still much better than what we have now.


Like a road map? I'm thinking a map containing lines and dots (maybe even on a ghosted surface world map). The lines are the main tunnel systems and the dots are the large clusters of caverns. Then the dots can be mapped in a smaller scale to flesh out important areas. Elevations (is that the right term for underground?) can be marked every so often. Multiple "line and dot" maps can be drawn, one (or more if needed) for each layer.

Does anyone know how RW mines/cave systems are mapped? This might help with some ideas.
metal
Long live Mystara
"I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out!"
User avatar
metal
Stone Giant
 
Posts: 662
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 3:00 am
Location: Gainesville, GA (somewhere in the Sind desert)

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Big Mac » Tue May 17, 2016 11:46 pm

Andaire wrote:How do you map the Underdark?


I think this is a big challenge for cartography.

While the surface might have a single road in the middle of a wilderness the Underdark might have a single hollowed out channel in the middle of a large amount of solid rock. So you don't necessarily have the ability to move away from mapped routes.

You mentioned different levels and how some people ignore them and make 2nd maps. Has anyone tried to make some sort of underground contour lines to show depth around a 2D tunnel?

I have seen some Underdark products give different names to different depths. Has this ever been done with Mystara? And is it possible for the Underdark of the Known World and the Underdark of the Hollow World to meet each other?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 20899
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Sturm » Wed May 18, 2016 10:31 am

A more recent discussion of this topic is here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10171
Also we plan to make one of the future issues of Threshold about the Shadowdeep, which is the name the community chose for Mystara's Underdark. Cthulhudrew and me proposed a division in Upperdeep, Middledeep and Lowerdeep.
Hollowdeep was also proposed for the Underdark of the Hollow World. They could meet, but not necessarily as there is also a big layer of magma in the middle...
User avatar
Sturm
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 3439
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:26 pm
Location: Genoa, Italy

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Khedrac » Wed May 18, 2016 8:35 pm

Sturm wrote:They could meet, but not necessarily as there is also a big layer of magma in the middle...

Well, considering the capital city of the Shadow Elves (pre WotI) is, relative to the surface world, on the ceiling of its cavern because it is far enough into the world shield to have reversed gravity, I think it is safe to say that it is canon that they meet.
(It is also documented that the shadow elves have tunnels leading to both the surface world and the hollow world.)
"If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might just be a crow".
User avatar
Khedrac
Ostego
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Wed May 04, 2016 10:19 am
Location: Andover, UK

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Sturm » Thu May 19, 2016 8:57 am

Yes sure, indeed I forgot to mention that several group of elves travelled from the Outer World to the Hollow World through the tunnels (i.e. the hard way to get to the Hollow World, as it probably means months or years of travelling, the easy way being transplanted there by the Immortals as happened to several cultures..).
Not only the Shattenhalfen (who lived with the Shadowelves) but also the Icevale elves and the Gentle Folk are supposed to have reached the Hollow World in that manner, IIRC..
So Khedrac is right, many "holes" in the magma layer must exist...
The fact that the capital city of the Shadow Elves has reversed gravity was discussed before, for example here (viewtopic.php?f=25&t=1565&p=20377&hilit=#p20533) and here (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10171&p=122888&hilit=#p122888) because to be located near the world shield (where gravity changes) it should be much deeper than other canon sources says.. so its strange gravity may not necessarily be connected to the world shield..
Yet in the first thread above is also noted that Gaz13 says Shadowelves of the Outer World has been attacked by Azcan warriors of the Hollow World at least twice, despite the enormous distance.
It is possible there are strange magical portals in the Shadowdeep which can greatly shorten the trip...
User avatar
Sturm
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 3439
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:26 pm
Location: Genoa, Italy

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Big Mac » Thu May 19, 2016 12:51 pm

Sturm wrote:A more recent discussion of this topic is here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10171


Thanks Sturm. I've actually posted in that topic, but there are new posts since I last looked.

It's a generic Mystara topic, rather than something within the remit of the Geographical Mapping project. Should I report that post and ask the Mystara moderators to move it here?

Sturm wrote:Also we plan to make one of the future issues of Threshold about the Shadowdeep, which is the name the community chose for Mystara's Underdark. Cthulhudrew and me proposed a division in Upperdeep, Middledeep and Lowerdeep.


I love the divisions.

I think that there is a chance that some people might think that "Shadowdeep" is a "Plane of Shadow version of Underdeep", but it's a good name. (I think it's mostly the 4e fans who might get confused.)

Sturm wrote:Hollowdeep was also proposed for the Underdark of the Hollow World. They could meet, but not necessarily as there is also a big layer of magma in the middle...


I like "Hollowdeep". It fits well with the other name.

Have there been any thoughts on Hollow World versions of the terms "Upperdeep", "Middledeep" and "Lowerdeep". Are you going to use the same words, or go for different ones?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 20899
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Big Mac » Thu May 19, 2016 12:56 pm

Khedrac wrote:
Sturm wrote:They could meet, but not necessarily as there is also a big layer of magma in the middle...

Well, considering the capital city of the Shadow Elves (pre WotI) is, relative to the surface world, on the ceiling of its cavern because it is far enough into the world shield to have reversed gravity, I think it is safe to say that it is canon that they meet.
(It is also documented that the shadow elves have tunnels leading to both the surface world and the hollow world.)


That's very interesting.

That must mean that there is either areas of Mystara where the magma has cooled down enough to turn into regular Shadowdeep...

...or that there is some sort of process that can punch a "tunnel of coldness through the magma layer, that cools it down enough to create solid rock.

Perhaps the Shadow Elves used magic to cool down the magma, so that they could dig tunnels through it. :?

Are there any other possible explanations?

Has anyone considered how changes to the magma layer might affect Mystara's plate tectonics? (Or if Mystara actually has plate tectonics?)
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 20899
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Sturm » Thu May 19, 2016 1:36 pm

I don't think it's really necessary to move the topic, maybe it's enough to post a link to this one at the bottom of the other one? I could do that.
Sorry for 4ed fans, but I believe Shadowdeep has to stay, it's the best option for Mystara as The Shadowelves Gazetteer is the main source on the Underworld.
I suppose the Hollowdeep too could have the same divisions.
Shadowelves do not really travel between the Outer and the Hollow world. Some groups managed to do that in the past, and there is also a storyline of further travels in the Fan Almanacs, but the route to the Hollow world should not be common knowledge among the Shadowelves.
The OW Shadowelves and the HW Shadowelves are also enemies and would not trade or cooperate unless a group conquer or submit the other.
It's something like 1200 miles from the Outer to the Hollow World in a straight line. As there is nothing like a straight line, you should take into account at least 3600 miles of actual distance in irregular terrain and the utter dark, and with many dead ends. I believe it should take 6 months minimum to make the trip in an exceedingly optimistic prevision.. probably one year or two is much more realistic.
So to estabilish something like a "regular" route could be extremely difficult, yet Shadowelves could eventually manage to do that as hinted in the Fan Almanacs..
I also wrote this some times ago (http://pandius.com/undrdeep.html) where indeed I used Underdeep as an alternative name, but probably Shadowdeep is better.
User avatar
Sturm
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 3439
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:26 pm
Location: Genoa, Italy

Re: Mapping Issues: Underground Mapping

Postby Robin » Fri May 20, 2016 2:24 pm

Interesting discussion
Big Mac wrote:Has anyone considered how changes to the magma layer might affect Mystara's plate tectonics? (Or if Mystara actually has plate tectonics?)


As Mystara being a immense creature(see my Megalith article on my Blog ), it has no tectonics, but individual cell movements (up, down as with the Plateaux Atruaghin and Sea of Dread, twist around various axis(creating Mountain chains on one side or depths like ravines on the other (which fill up in time), cells may also decrease(see Burning Waste) or increase in moisture(See South east Atruaghin), heat(see Ylaruam/Nithia), magical influences (see Alfheim).
Cells resist external forces, and distributes impact energy lees than tectonic plates would, with cells, a cell might implode/explode (see Broken Lands 1700BC, and Meteor)


Big Mac wrote:I think that there is a chance that some people might think that "Shadowdeep" is a "Plane of Shadow version of Underdeep", but it's a good name. (I think it's mostly the 4e fans who might get confused.)

Pity for them...for D&D basic players or even AD&D versions it fits best. :twisted:

Andaire & metal wrote:How do you map under dark, RW mines/cave systems.
The best way is use layers (real layers not as a drawing program as I just learned from Sturm ;) ) for each rougly 100/500 yards a new map, that gives all references of that layer, Then add a vertical seethrough(or several) to depict the layers and the caves...This is how they do it in Real Life, with speology.
And I agree with Thorf. Larger scale for the Overview, and maybe some tetail (hex maps for specific regions).

Somewhat like I did with the Broken Lands caves/meteor damage which was even improved by (sorry forgotten name :oops: )

As far as the Shadow Elves chamber, according Canon it sits exactly in the middle of the gravity field (as thus in the exact middle of the total planet crust. The middle of the cave is thus zero gravity, and on either side you fall down with gravity (whichever direction that will be). In fact this cave is in a sort of Bubble in the Magma of the World Shield, according Gaz Shadow Elves.

As to Graakhalia. According The book, it is somewhat concentric with 5 large layers of caves on either side, somewhat like a flower. of course their will be lots and lots of overlap. but this can be resolved with layered mapping. I have several paper sketches of the region, so maybe I can give it a try (after Broken Lands map is ready ;) )
My Deviantart page; http://6inchnails.deviantart.com/ For Mystara hexmaps and Fantasy art (to see all fantasy art; enter and declare you are an adult...frigging exposure rules)
My personal Mystara Blog;http://breathofmystara.blogspot.nl/
User avatar
Robin
Fire Giant
 
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:33 pm
Location: Netherland Groningen


Return to Geographical Mapping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest