A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

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LoZompatore
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A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by LoZompatore » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:23 pm

In the following a link to a (still unfinished) work of mine on pre-GROF Mystara.
Some of you already know of it and, before further proceeding, I'd like to know if there are comments and suggestions by the rest of the fan community.
It is based on the second-to-last iteration of Thorf's majestic work on Outer World mapping of Mystara (it should be Placement 4 on this 2016 article of him, I guess) and, in itself, the article is an update of this old work of mine.

Thorf is currently busy in producing a more polished version of the Outer World map which - as it involves modifying the projection close to the post-GROF poles - it would likely jeopardize part of my work here :mrgreen: but nevermind. ;)
To me is important to get a general idea of the pre-Cataclysmic world, which could always be refined at a later time. ;)

The link to the article is: here.

The link empowers you to add your own comments to my article, in case you wish to do so. I'll do my best to reply to your comments as soon as possible.

Hope you enjoy it! ;)

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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by RobJN » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:42 pm

:o That, sir, is a thing of beauty
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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by Sturm » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:17 am

While I admire the precision of your work, the idea that the whole south eastern Brun was the north pole just does not work for me and I think it contradicts more canon than it fits.
But to me the debate about if it is more canon this way or the other way does not really matters, it is mostly that I find this scenario less promising and interesting than the other one, from a game perspective.
I also tend to give precedence to the HW boxed set precataclysmic map because well it is a map devised and approved by Heard and Aalston, the creators of the setting, while the text clearly contradicts itself multiple times (even the HW boxed set timeline says the beastmen appeared in the Borean Valley NORTH of Blackmoor, as Blackmoor was meant to be in the KW as mentioned in some products, and then also says Blackmoor became the North Pole while it does not seems so looking at the map).
Also the whole Pole shift thing to such an extent really hurts my suspension of disbelief, even this is mentioned often in canon sources, so I chose to follow the HW set map in my hypothesis http://pandius.com/m_ow3500.html
I realize this is mostly a matter of personal preferences, and I think many parts of your work will still be useful to me as many of your previous writings were.

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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:08 am

It's a great compilation of place names and references even if you decide to draw the map differently.

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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by LoZompatore » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:49 pm

First of all thanks a lot to you all for the appreciation :D
While I admire the precision of your work, the idea that the whole south eastern Brun was the north pole just does not work for me and I think it contradicts more canon than it fits.
This is definitey the main issue when handling with Blackmoor, I must admit.
There are at least four "official" location for the lands of Blackmoor:

1) The Broken Lands (from DA1)
2) Central Brun (from GAZ 10)
3) The current north pole with Ethengar being the old north pole (mostly HW boxed set)
4) Somewhere on northern Skothar (from the pre-cataclysmic map of HW boxed set which somewhat contradicts itself)

so, when working with pre-cataclysmic maps and locations, a necessary choice must be madeas a premise for the rest of the work.
In this particular work my assumption is 3) and I must admit that it is not devoid of its sheer number of issues (most notabily the pre-GROF Azcan and Oltec lands are too close to the ancient north pole, but there are many other flaws). Unfortunately, from an official point of view, the issue of the location of Blackmoor was avoided most often than not and, when addressed, it created canon conflicts here and there.

For these reasons my work does not (because it can not) have any pretension of being "the right one" in terms of Blackmoor placement and so on. It is just an elaboration of mine to see how Mystara could possibly look like if option 3) is adopted and developed. Nothing more. If some other fan likes this placement and wishes to go on with this assumption then I hope my work could be helpful for him, otherwise he will always be free to choose another option and use it as he likes. ;)

I'll never hold a grudge against him for his choice nor I'll bully him to abandon his heretical views and revert to the holy path #3) ! :mrgreen:

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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by Thorf » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:01 am

My 2018 model places Ethengar at about 30º, so we'd be talking about a 60º change, which is pretty severe.

I think I agree with Sturm that the Hollow World Set pre-cataclysmic map is probably the best thing to go by. After all, it solves both problems, doesn't it? Providing the layout of the continents as well as Blackmoor's location.

Having said that, the map itself is totally wrong. The cartographers made a good attempt, but really you need software to find out how the shapes would change on a map projection like this — especially since the actual shapes of the land have not actually changed (much).

I believe I can work up a proper map of this using an oblique projection. Now that I've finished creating my 2018 model, I should definitely do that. The idea would be to then use the pre-cataclysmic map to adjust the continental outlines and such, to recreate that map in a more accurate way.

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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by Sturm » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:43 am

Clearly mine too is just an hypothesis so anyone will pick up the preferred one. Basically as Thorf said I think Option #3 moves the axis a bit too much and also I do not like the ancient Oltec Empire being in a cold climate.
So I ignored it altogether and just tried to save something of Option #1 and #2 by imagining that before the GroF such locations had Blackmoor colonies, and therefore were vaguely remembered as "Blackmoor".
Also as Thorf said clearly the shape of Skothar before the GroF is completely off. In my map I imagined that Zyxl moved down and Skothar moved up, because in the Pre-GroF map of the HW boxed set is clear that they are at different latitudes. Obviously such a massive continental drift in a few years is as impossible as a massive Axis shift, but you just have to choose your preferred impossibility :)

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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by Zendrolion » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:08 pm

Great work, Michele! :cool:
I already dropped some comments in the Drive file you linked, but - thanks to the fact that here schools have shut down today due to snow - I have time just to leave here some further ideas about the remarks made by Sturm and Thorf.

Sturm and Thorf say:
Sturm wrote:While I admire the precision of your work, the idea that the whole south eastern Brun was the north pole just does not work for me and I think it contradicts more canon than it fits.
Thorf wrote:I think I agree with Sturm that the Hollow World Set pre-cataclysmic map is probably the best thing to go by. After all, it solves both problems, doesn't it? Providing the layout of the continents as well as Blackmoor's location.
Well, to be honest the HW precataclysmic poster map is the only canon source showing the KW in an area different from the arctic icecap. Everywhere else in canon the KW is said to lay under the polar icecap during pre-GRoF times. So, it's the HW map which is inconsistent with the rest of canon texts; that said, that map has had the privilege to be the only one map showing the disposition of continents pre-3000 BC - even if it conflicts with everything else - and has since then become a reference for many fan works (starting with Mishler's Blackmoor history).

This does not mean that the canon texts themselves have no internal inconsistencies - they have indeed, and I'm addressing them below.
As a general reference for anyone, I assembled from a number of canon sources the relevant paragraphs describing the precataclysmic world in this Drive file, with some comments by myself.

Issues regarding the "KW was the precataclysmic North Pole" version:

1) Oltec and Azcan Empires in the (sub-)arctic area:

According to the line "Outer World origin" in the sections describing Azcan and Oltec civilizations in the HW boxed set, the Outer World place of origin of both peoples was "Northern Continent (Atruaghin area), 3,000 BC". It takes just a casual look at the "Outer World origin" of the sections describing other peoples to understand that the area and time indicated there is actually referring to the time of their disappearance from the Outer World.

In fact, the Oltec Empire does not have to be located in the Great Waste-Atruaghin area at all, as explained in many other places in canon books (you can take a look at them in the list of sources about precataclysmic Mystara I have collected in my Drive file, linked above). So, this problem is actually solved already using canon sources. Basically, the Oltec Empire during precataclysmic times was located in a tropical forested and mountainous area, far away from Blackmoor (to the south, according to HW) and without any contact with it, where both the Azcan and Oltec civilizations as we know them originated; after BC 3,000, the Oltec and Azcan Empires crumbled, and the surviving Azcans scattered across the world, one group of them reaching the postcataclysmic Atruaghin area and becoming the ancestors of the Atruaghin Clans.

A a side note, even the location of the "Oltecs" tag in HW precataclysmic map is inconsistent with their empire being located in a "lush tropical area" (HWR1), with "rainforest" and "deep jungles" (HW).

2) Beastmen migrations:

This is the inconsistency Sturm mentioned above; it is easily solved if we assume - as it was likely the case - that HW authors used postcataclysmic cardinal points in their descriptions, rather than precataclysmic ones, when writing about the pre-GRoF Mystara. I tried to match conflicting canon sources about Beastmen migrations in the Drive file I linked above, in the green comments under the "Beastmen" paragraph (including two maps for further explanation).

3) Lizardmen tombs in Alasiya:

This is the old problem of the (now undead) lizardman civilization in Ylaruam originating from GAZ2, whose statement is inconsistent in itself, since it says that the lizardmen's homeland was a swampy region, and at the same time that it was buried under ice sheets at the time of Blackmoor. One possible way to handle the issue is having a prehistoric lizardman civilization centered in the Ylaruam region (which maybe millennia ago, much before Blackmoor, was a swampy region), then moved (due to movement of continental plates) into the arctic area (in the "KW = arctic area" version) during Blackmoor times, then transformed into a desert after the fall of Nithia.

4) Blackmoor location:

The only thing we can say for sure is that Blackmoor, according to nearly all canon (except GAZ10), becomes the North Pole or falls under the new arctic icecap after the GRoF. Other canon locations of Blackmoor, which LoZompatore listed above, are mentioned just once or duplicated from one original source (Blackmoor = Broken Lands in DA modules; Blackmoor = Urzud in GAZ10; Blackmoor = mid-Skothar in HW precataclysmic map). Even the location in mid-Skothar has its own serious inconsistencies, since Thonia is labeled north of Blackmoor on the map, while it's known from the DA modules that the core of the Empire of Thonia laid south of Blackmoor (which was in fact the Empire's northern march). From GAZ5, we also know that Blackmoor laid at the "other side of the world" in regard to Evergrun.

5) Temperate climate in the Great Waste:

If the Known World was under the polar icecap, it seems quite unlikely that both the Great Waste and the Serpent Peninsula had a subarctic climate, at best. This is an unsolvable inconsistency in the "KW was the precataclysmic arctic region" version, which could perhaps be resolved by my proposal below.


Both Thorf and Sturm highlight that in the "KW = arctic area" version, the shift of Mystara's axis due to the GRoF would be too much wide and dramatic:
Thorf wrote:My 2018 model places Ethengar at about 30º, so we'd be talking about a 60º change, which is pretty severe.
Sturm wrote:Also the whole Pole shift thing to such an extent really hurts my suspension of disbelief, even this is mentioned often in canon sources, [...]
This is of course a problem. I had previously thought to a possible solution, but I don't know if it really solves things since I have not the right softwares and instruments to tinker with global maps like Thorf and LoZompatore do. The possible solution is this: disregarding the statement "Ethengar was the precataclysmic North Pole" (GAZ12) as a simplification, in favor of "the precatacysmic KW was under the arctic icecap" (which is substantially what all canon says); in this way maybe we could preserve an arctic climate in the precataclysmic KW while reducing as much as possible the axial shift due to the GRoF. I don't have precise calculations to support this solution, however, and to establish if the reduced shift would make Sturm and Thorf content.

Ending this long post with some further comments about a couple of statements by Sturm:
Sturm wrote:I also tend to give precedence to the HW boxed set precataclysmic map because well it is a map devised and approved by Heard and Aalston, the creators of the setting, while the text clearly contradicts itself multiple times (even the HW boxed set timeline says the beastmen appeared in the Borean Valley NORTH of Blackmoor, as Blackmoor was meant to be in the KW as mentioned in some products, and then also says Blackmoor became the North Pole while it does not seems so looking at the map).


What lets you think that Heard and Allston approved the poster map and not the text of the books incuded in the same boxed set? The HW boxed set is one single source, which has internal inconsistencies; probably it was hastly assembled, without much care in regard to reference to previous books, and the precataclysmic map likely suffered from the same problems. I tend to suppose that if Heard and Allston approved the map, they did approve the text of the books as well. This does not solve our problem regarding its inconsistencies, of course.
Sturm wrote:But to me the debate about if it is more canon this way or the other way does not really matters, it is mostly that I find this scenario less promising and interesting than the other one, from a game perspective.
And this is a most respectable position of yours. :)
I also would have put Ylaruam elsewhere, Sind in Skothar, Ethengar in central Brun, etc. etc. and I would have found more promising having M-France, M-England, and M-Spain in the Known World rather than in the Savage Coast. However, even if I find those things more promising as a scenario for my campaign, those changes would likely generate something which would be hardly recognizable as Mystara anymore. So, canon - with all its inconsistencies - is still the common ground on which everyone's own Mystara starts to develop in its own direction. There has to be some "canon" on which we mostly agree upon as a community, otherwise there would not be any one campaign setting called Mystara.

Regarding my tastes, I like trying to do my best to find compromise solutions to inconsistencies in official books; the aim of these attempts is only to preserve most canon intact, in the hope that those solutions might be liked by the community. This is the sort of work Thorf does with his maps, substantially. No one has to adapt to use those solutions, but I - and I'm in good company here - like to do a syncretic work, and strive toward universal peace among Mystara fans. ;) ^_^ :mrgreen:
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Re: A revised Pre-Cataclysmic map of Mystara

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:29 pm

As a general reference for anyone, I assembled from a number of canon sources the relevant paragraphs describing the precataclysmic world in this Drive file, with some comments by myself.
Wow! thast'a very useful reference collection! :cool:
Assume It has just been stolen by me :mrgreen:

I also read your theory about possible humanoid migrations in northern Brun and I mostly agree with it. I'd like to point out a couple of facts:

1) Irrespective of pre-GROF Blackmoor position, it is an established fact that there are humanoids (you had to assume they are beastmen) fighting dvarves south of Blackmoor, so some kind of humanoid migration from their original spawning point should have happened in the BC4500 - BC4000 timeframe.

2) According to HW Pre-Cataclysmic map, the "Hyborean Reaches" are the plains of Brun between the Borea River and the Yalu River, so the tag "Hyborea" is not referred to the northernmost penisnula of Brun only. As this area is pretty large, maybe it could be possible to use some discretion in defining its borders.

3) Notice that HW cataclysmic migration map actually shows a humanoid migration starting from the Splitland River region in 3200 BC, while GAZ10 shows a beastmen migration arriving in the Hyborean Peninsula region in 3200 BC. I guess these are the starting point and the end point of the same migration.

4) So, If you merge GAZ10 beastmen migration with the beatmen presence in HW pre-cataclysmic map and Cataclysmic Migrations map you'll get an overall picture in which the beastmen:
- start from the mid course of Yalu river (BC 4500)
- reach the mouth of Borea river (possibly in a very short timeframe, to be consistent with the 4500 BC tag of GAZ10) where they are discovered
- in BC 3500 Blackmoorish priests begin attacking the beastmen at the mouth of river Borea (possibly the attacks are brought out from across the Frosthaven Sea, to be consistent with HW Pre-Cataclsymic geography)
- By BC 3200 the beastmen are confined to the Splitland River region. There they migrate to the current Hyborean Peninsula. In BC 3200 arctic breeds of beastmen appear (from GAZ10 timeline).
- From BC 3200 to BC 2400 the beastmen stay in the Hyborean Penisula before migrating to Central Brun / Urzud and becoming proper humanoid races.

So, in my opinion:

If you assume the ancient North Pole was close to the Known World then the arctic breeds appear in the Splitland River area.
If you assume the ancient North Pole was according to HW Pre-Cataclysmic map then the arctic breeds appear in the Hyborean Penisula.

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