Skothar Maps

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Skothar Maps

Postby Thorf » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:18 pm

As mentioned on my web site earlier in the week, I am currently working on codifying my Lining Up Mystara project into a full set of hex maps. My initial goal is full coverage at 72 miles per hex — making these the first maps at that scale I have ever drawn. Up until now I've avoided such small scale hex maps like the plague, but they seem to be perfect for my current purposes. How times change! ;)

In any case, I'm starting with Skothar, since it seems to be the easiest of the three continents to tackle. Today I brought in all of the known areas, revising where possible from the 24 mile hex maps, and choosing the best coastlines available for each region. (Dawn of the Emperors' 72 mile hex map seemed to have the most detailed coastlines, for whatever reason.)

Which is what brings me here: I need your help!

I've got all of the official sources lined up, but there are large swathes of the world without hex coverage, and I see no sense in reinventing the wheel when so many other illustrious cartographers have already done such a great job. The rules of the project dictate that I stick with official sources at this stage, so I can't incorporate new nations and such. But as long as the terrain is generally compatible with the very large brush strokes of the official maps, I'm happy to adapt existing maps.

Looking into these, my impression is that work on Skothar originated with Christian Constantin and Thibault Sarlat's maps almost twenty years ago. Since then, we've had new interpretations, but it looks to me like most of these build on the work of those preceding them. As far as I can see, Kal was the first to expand out to the Tangor Peninsula and Zyxl, and Sturm's map is the most recent and modern.

Is this correct? If so, Sturm's map seems like a good place to start.

I should probably add a warning at this stage that my Skothar map is going to end up rather different from all of these, since it's the first to be based principally on the Master Set map rather than the stretched Hollow World Set world map. But that doesn't mean the terrain has to be different.

One other thing I'm looking for is terrain labels. Nations are out at this stage, but I'd love to have a few more geographic labels — what with Tangor Bay, Gulf of Tangor, Tangor Chain and the Tangor Peninsula, the repetition is getting to be a bit much. ;) Unfortunately I have yet to find a map with labels. Does such a thing exist? I have LoZompatore's excellent map with names, which covers the familiar region of western Skothar, but I can't find anything for central or eastern Skothar.
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby Sturm » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:00 pm

I think your timeline is correct. The only labelled maps of the continent are here, Afaik: http://pandius.com/Skothar.JPG and http://pandius.com/morient/skothar.jpg and are of the M-orient project. I imagine Skothar cultures a bit differently as I'd like to leave space for successor cultures of the original pre GroF Tangor empire
I will need to label at least my 72mph map (http://pandius.com/Mystara72mphClimate.png) for Threshold issue #20 which will be about Skothar.
I too tweaked Kal's map to produce the 72mph map, but my goal was to find a working compromise between the Master set map and the Hollow World map so probably it has not the cartographic precision you may desire. However I wanted to keep more or less the shape as presented in the HW boxed set map because I do not like a too huge Farend ocean, but I wanted a big Mystara (slightly bigger than Earth).
IIRC the relative positions of Bellisaria and Skothar are not consistent even in canon maps.. anyway you will see :)
The only region I labelled is Minaea here: http://pandius.com/minaea.jpg (just labelled Kal 24mph map) taking some places from a Tangor map by Giulio Caroletti which appeared in the Almanac, IIRC: http://pandius.com/tangor_r.jpg
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby oleck » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:05 pm

Fantastic job, you are grand master in maping skill :)
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby Big Mac » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:28 am

Sturm wrote:I wanted to keep more or less the shape as presented in the HW boxed set map because I do not like a too huge Farend ocean, but I wanted a big Mystara (slightly bigger than Earth).


How big are the differences between the Hollow World maps and Mystara maps of Skothar?

Is it something that could be explained by the two maps being done in different projections or are we talking of an obvious error?
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby Thorf » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:07 am

Big Mac wrote:How big are the differences between the Hollow World maps and Mystara maps of Skothar?

Is it something that could be explained by the two maps being done in different projections or are we talking of an obvious error?


The simple answer is: both. They do use different projections, but there's also a stretching error.

(Shawn, if you're reading this, please add this to the Vaults so I can find it and refer back to it later! ;) )

Comparing the Master Set and Hollow World Set Outer World maps

The Master Set map presented an almost-square world map, which is the basis for almost all the official hex maps. As a result of this, the projection of the map is most likely to be equirectangular — the simple 2:1 format you need to texture a sphere in a 3D program, which is a simple regular chart of longitude versus latitude. Since the original map was near square, half of the world is basically missing, meaning that there is a massive hemispherical ocean, perhaps with unknown lands on the other side of Mystara.

The Hollow World Set presented the world in a pseudo-Robinson projection; it's actually close enough to Robinson that you can georegister it as a Robinson projection and change it to another projection, and it reprojects very nicely. However, in drafting this map, TSR's cartographers (Bruce Heard and Dennis Kauth, according to Bruce on Facebook) stretched the world east-west to fit the new projection. Some later fan maps are based on this world map, which means that they are also stretched compared to the other hex maps.

As it turns out, Bruce and Dennis did an excellent job with their manual reprojecting: changing the Hollow World Set map to equirectangular and then squashing it east-west makes it line up astoundingly well with the Master Set map.

You can see all this in action in part XV of my Lining Up Mystara project.
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby Sturm » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:20 am

Thorf has explained better than I could, from a game point of view both maps are problematic compared to the existing canon hex maps because:
- There is no valid reason to assume from official product that half the world is missing from the Master set map and there is another "side" with a huge ocean or other continents.
- The Hollow World boxed set projection makes the planet and the farend ocean too small, not fitting with the existing canon hex maps. For example Geoff Gander made his beautiful map of Davania fitting to the HW boxed set maps, but this makes Davania too small compared to the canon mapped parts of other continents, and also completely off relatively to the equator and the tropics (for this reason in my 72mph maps and in Threshold issue #5 I had to enlarge Davania considerably, mostly in the north-south direction).
In my 72mph map I just tried to correct the HW projection to fit it with the dimensions found in canon maps, preserving a big, but not huge, Farend ocean. Previous maps by Cristian Constantin, Thibault Sarlat and Kal did more or less the same, trying to use the shape of the projection as given in the HW boxed set map but using the canon dimensions from the existing canon maps. I found some discrepancies however in their maps, particularly about the relative positions of Alphatia and the other islands with Brun and Skothar, and tried to correct this, using existing canon maps as the privileged source, particularly later canon maps, as those in the Almanacs.
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby Arnden Quartzspar » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:43 am

I'm not sure about the scale or if there are distortions, but I found this site shows the terrain of Skothar fairly nicely.
http://dkourmyshov.github.io/mystaramap
It may help with filling in any trouble spots.
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Re: Skothar Maps

Postby Thorf » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:37 am

That's Sturm's map. I'll definitely refer to it for terrain reference. The main problem is the different size and shape of the continent, so it will be more an interpretation than anything else.
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