Mapping Malpheggi Swamp (Darokin, 2 2/3 miles per hex)

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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Gecko » Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:51 pm

wow, you've bee busy since I last checked in on this thread.

I don't have time to look the map over in depth right now, but it looks good, except for one thing: That peak we were discussing N-NW of Hinmeet- I guess we were talking about slightly different areas. I would of put it on the other side of the little river, so it's inbetween Hinmeet and the creek (and preventing the road from going straight north from Hinmeet, and probably slightly more east. I'd suggest moving it 1 to 2 hexes south and 1 to 2 hexes South-East (both).

That's would be my 1 cent (only got time for 1 at this time :P )
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:06 pm

Great stuff! I wouldn't want to drink the local special at the Red Duke's Tap, though....
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:02 am

Gecko wrote:That peak we were discussing N-NW of Hinmeet- I guess we were talking about slightly different areas. I would of put it on the other side of the little river, so it's inbetween Hinmeet and the creek (and preventing the road from going straight north from Hinmeet, and probably slightly more east. I'd suggest moving it 1 to 2 hexes south and 1 to 2 hexes South-East (both).

So... in the hex just north of Hinmeet? or did I misunderstand the directions? Given the re-clarification, perhaps south one hex, and southeast one hex from there (basically, flipping its location at the head of the stream) would work?

I don't think the terrain needs to explain the curve in the road. Hinmeet is young (50 years or less, if memory serves), and a Darokin to Athenos road is going to be as old as trade routes between the two cities (and both are fairly old cities). Further, that road should follow the river, since a lot of stuff will be shipped by water when possible. I think the curve came when they decided to found Hinmeet, and I picture an old, ruined track still following the old trail, but no longer carefully maintained. (As soon as I figure out a good way to put dots non-manually, I'll fill a couple more things in...)

That being said, shifting the peak a little to be more central in the hills is certainly reasonable. How would that down and over one look to you?

Seer of Yhog wrote:I wouldn't want to drink the local special at the Red Duke's Tap, though....


I could very well see a local "Blood Wine" there, actually. Maybe a regular red wine with some coloring added to really bring it out... :-)

I sort of see this as something similar to, oh, Darth Vader or Illidan or Arthas. In other words, the horror, as bad as it was, is more than two centuries ago. The cautionary tales are still around, but I can see the folks close to the area having come to terms with it. In that sense, without really trying to undermine the tales, I can see some people coping with the old tales by some combination of mocking and trivializing. In that sense, it would be similar to a "The Drunk Gnoll" tavern somewhere in Traladaran-dominated Karameikos, or a "Slovenly Lizardman" near the swamp.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:16 am

I just realized, I forgot to ask -- any ideas for the river that joins the Mond? It starts from Lake Amsorak, so my first thought was Amsorak. However, there's already one...

Perhaps Sashenta, but I'd think that river would've predated the kingdom by a long while.

Any ideas?
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:28 pm

Bonetti wrote:I just realized, I forgot to ask -- any ideas for the river that joins the Mond? It starts from Lake Amsorak, so my first thought was Amsorak. However, there's already one...

Perhaps Sashenta, but I'd think that river would've predated the kingdom by a long while.

Any ideas?


Good question. I agree with you in that I think Sashenta would have taken its name from the river, not the other way around. I never thought much about the etymological origins of Sashenta, but I suppose it's time to start doing that.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:38 pm

Bonetti wrote:I could very well see a local "Blood Wine" there, actually. Maybe a regular red wine with some coloring added to really bring it out... :-)

I sort of see this as something similar to, oh, Darth Vader or Illidan or Arthas. In other words, the horror, as bad as it was, is more than two centuries ago. The cautionary tales are still around, but I can see the folks close to the area having come to terms with it.


Agreed! In my writeup on the Winnower, I mentioned in passing the ideas that Duke Rudgard lives on as a bogeyman of sorts. "Eat your carrots, Sanda, or the Red Duke will get you tonight!" His infamy might also live on in curses - "Duke's bloody boots, it's hot today!"

But, yes, I definitely see quite a few taverns in the area cashing in on a bit of gallows humour - The Duke's Head, The Bloody Duke, The Beast's Cup, The Bloodied Axe, etc.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:00 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:Good question. I agree with you in that I think Sashenta would have taken its name from the river, not the other way around. I never thought much about the etymological origins of Sashenta, but I suppose it's time to start doing that.

If we call that the Sashenta River, then the valley it runs through should probably be the Sashenta Valley, too.

For some reason, I'm getting a Native American vibe off that name. Did the Oltecs live here once, and were displaced by other humans later? If so, it might be some ancestral name (possibly even a very typical "Well, it turns out 'Sashenta' is Oltec for 'Big River'" moment...) which survived the transition, much as many names in the U.S. have.

Alternatively, it may have once been Sasentos (cf. Athenos, Akorros, Salonikos), and over time "Sashenta" was proven easier on the tongue than "Sasenta". (One of the guys here at work is named "Sasi", but almost everyone calls him "Sashi" because it's easier to say...)

The more I think about the lairs, the more I think I'm going to leave them undefined. Thalkor's ship needed a location, but I don't know of anything else in canon (or fanon) that needs placement. Having the lairs there just gives a convenient spot to drop Q. Random Cave Complex, though.

(And, on a tangent, speaking of doom-inspired drinks -- I think I'm going to create a Nethlinn's Desolation, a high potency drink the miners in Nethilton drink, and almost no one else dares try...)
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:53 pm

Bonetti wrote:For some reason, I'm getting a Native American vibe off that name. Did the Oltecs live here once, and were displaced by other humans later? If so, it might be some ancestral name (possibly even a very typical "Well, it turns out 'Sashenta' is Oltec for 'Big River'" moment...) which survived the transition, much as many names in the U.S. have.

Alternatively, it may have once been Sasentos (cf. Athenos, Akorros, Salonikos), and over time "Sashenta" was proven easier on the tongue than "Sasenta". (One of the guys here at work is named "Sasi", but almost everyone calls him "Sashi" because it's easier to say...)


I see no reason why the Oltecs wouldn't have lived here at some point. Certainly, before the original (smaller) plateau collapsed, Oltecs should have been present in the region. Perhaps, following the creation of the new plateau, some locals were left isolated to the north of it. They may have built a defensible land, protected by the lake on one side and the escarpment on the other, but the population movements over the following centuries wore them down. They may have greeted the Doulakki of Akorros, and later the Eraedans and Molharraners, but before long they were absorbed, but not before leaving some place names.

Just a thought.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:17 pm

I like that -- I'll stick with the Oltec explanation, then.

So, thinking of other place names in the region... does anyone speak Oltec? :-)
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:36 am

OK, a few more quick updates to the map:
  • Adjusted the domain border along the Arbandrine, will eventually re-work all the borders to be less, er, big hex-y
  • Named some geography: Zenos' Solace, Mielo and Nayelo Hills, Karrash Tor, Sashenta River
  • Tweaked the river by Hinmeet... again :-)
  • Named some villages: Norenaal, Ameron, Bethel; and ruins: Siliss'Tar, Thishil'Tar

Also updated the notes with thumbnails for the new locations/areas.

It wasn't really deliberate, but I ended up with 'Tar as a syllable after some reptilian-sounding names (probably because I'd just dreamed up Karrash Tor). I'd guess it means something like "town" or "city", unless the community has already chosen a syllable for that.

Side note:
My assumption is that the Atruaghin clans are mostly free of the obsession to name things in any lasting manner, so their settlements are really just named for who lives there, and the geography is all relative.

So, assuming that the occasional explorer/trader interacts and makes an attempt at communication, things are going to have weird names. For instance, Mielo and Nayelo are (corruptions) of native phrases, such as "What are those hills?" (says the interloper) "Mi'ye'ye'lo <Those are mine/ours>", says the native (misunderstanding the question as a "do your people claim these" query). "And those hills?" "Na'ye'ye'lo <Also those>," says the native. "Mielo Hills and Nayelo Hills," jots down the explorer... (Apologies if I completely butchered the Lakota, I'm open to correction!)
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Gecko » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:01 pm

Bonetti wrote:
Gecko wrote:That peak we were discussing N-NW of Hinmeet- I guess we were talking about slightly different areas. I would of put it on the other side of the little river, so it's inbetween Hinmeet and the creek (and preventing the road from going straight north from Hinmeet, and probably slightly more east. I'd suggest moving it 1 to 2 hexes south and 1 to 2 hexes South-East (both).

So... in the hex just north of Hinmeet? or did I misunderstand the directions? Given the re-clarification, perhaps south one hex, and southeast one hex from there (basically, flipping its location at the head of the stream) would work?
...
That being said, shifting the peak a little to be more central in the hills is certainly reasonable. How would that down and over one look to you?


That one is the NW most of any of the four I was recomending, so it works. But why does the river come from the peak now? is there a gate to the elemental plane of water atop the peak?

I don't think the terrain needs to explain the curve in the road. Hinmeet is young (50 years or less, if memory serves), and a Darokin to Athenos road is going to be as old as trade routes between the two cities (and both are fairly old cities). Further, that road should follow the river, since a lot of stuff will be shipped by water when possible. I think the curve came when they decided to found Hinmeet, and I picture an old, ruined track still following the old trail, but no longer carefully maintained. (As soon as I figure out a good way to put dots non-manually, I'll fill a couple more things in...)


cool. That also means the paved road is a modern addition.

Bonetti wrote:I just realized, I forgot to ask -- any ideas for the river that joins the Mond? It starts from Lake Amsorak, so my first thought was Amsorak. However, there's already one...

Perhaps Sashenta, but I'd think that river would've predated the kingdom by a long while.

Any ideas?


Sashenta could work.

Seer of Yhog wrote:Agreed! In my writeup on the Winnower, I mentioned in passing the ideas that Duke Rudgard lives on as a bogeyman of sorts. "Eat your carrots, Sanda, or the Red Duke will get you tonight!" His infamy might also live on in curses - "Duke's bloody boots, it's hot today!"


nice. those could also go in the Mystaran expressions thread

Bonetti wrote:
Seer of Yhog wrote:Good question. I agree with you in that I think Sashenta would have taken its name from the river, not the other way around. I never thought much about the etymological origins of Sashenta, but I suppose it's time to start doing that.

If we call that the Sashenta River, then the valley it runs through should probably be the Sashenta Valley, too.

For some reason, I'm getting a Native American vibe off that name. Did the Oltecs live here once, and were displaced by other humans later? If so, it might be some ancestral name (possibly even a very typical "Well, it turns out 'Sashenta' is Oltec for 'Big River'" moment...) which survived the transition, much as many names in the U.S. have.

Alternatively, it may have once been Sasentos (cf. Athenos, Akorros, Salonikos), and over time "Sashenta" was proven easier on the tongue than "Sasenta". (One of the guys here at work is named "Sasi", but almost everyone calls him "Sashi" because it's easier to say...)


I have it that the Sashenta was heavily settled more heavily settled by Alasiyans than many other parts of Darokin so i would have the name or at least the pronunciation shift be Alasiyan in nature.

Bonetti wrote:Side note:
My assumption is that the Atruaghin clans are mostly free of the obsession to name things in any lasting manner, so their settlements are really just named for who lives there, and the geography is all relative.

So, assuming that the occasional explorer/trader interacts and makes an attempt at communication, things are going to have weird names. For instance, Mielo and Nayelo are (corruptions) of native phrases, such as "What are those hills?" (says the interloper) "Mi'ye'ye'lo <Those are mine/ours>", says the native (misunderstanding the question as a "do your people claim these" query). "And those hills?" "Na'ye'ye'lo <Also those>," says the native. "Mielo Hills and Nayelo Hills," jots down the explorer... (Apologies if I completely butchered the Lakota, I'm open to correction!)


nice touch, of course that explorer would of had to of come before the arisal of the tiger clan, so it would be very distant and obscure now-days.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:38 am

Gecko wrote:That one is the NW most of any of the four I was recomending, so it works. But why does the river come from the peak now? is there a gate to the elemental plane of water atop the peak?

Pfah! I defy your need for a source!

(I kid, I kid.)

I didn't have anything in mind, actually, I just sort of liked the idea of a solitary peak with a nice hollow at the top, and some sort of stream, puddle/pond, and a trickling waterfall. That was in my mind when I named it Zenos' Solace, actually, but I didn't really want to set anything in stone (or electrons) so it could be tweaked by anyone choosing to use it. So, I didn't bother with an explanation.

Here's a thought, although I wouldn't write it into a DM's guide for the region as anything more than a suggestion: Zenos was a Meruvari wizard (druid?) of some sort who stumbled across the deeper parts of the Elven magic. He always wanted a nice meditation and study location, so he took his favorite rocky area, built a little camp near the top, and hooked into the elven water relocation magics. The drain is virtually imperceptible to the elves (and since he didn't share the secret, even if they realized they probably left him alone), and made a nice, relaxing camp for anyone who feels like hiking and climbing.

Or, maybe, it's just a weird outflow of some bizarre situation with the water table, and there's a nice spring there. I mean, it's Mystara, who knows :-)

Gecko wrote:cool. That also means the paved road is a modern addition.

In my view, it's no older than Hinmeet. There might have been a track of some sort prior to that, for merchants who chose to trade in the area, but it wouldn't really make sense to have the road there until there's a settlement (and, being Darokin, enough trade) to warrant its construction.

Gecko wrote:nice touch, of course that explorer would of had to of come before the arisal of the tiger clan, so it would be very distant and obscure now-days.

Oh, at this point, I imagine it's something the cartographers have handed down over the centuries. The dialog is my personal explanation for the name, so if someone else chooses to keep the name they're welcome to have their own justification :-)

In the end, to me it's all about building a skeleton to set adventures in. I want to keep it compatible with what has been done before, as that makes a richer tapestry for play (and hopefully rewards those who have likewise shared their work), and it makes it easier if anyone else chooses to use the material.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:17 am

Updated the map:
  • Named Highburn, Reddelton, "Ancient Ruins", Karwenna, Arthor's Fall, Sheddahr, Lockport, Monks' Vigil, Futharel
  • Tweaked domain borders to be more logical (following rivers, straighter lines, following terrain)
  • Tweaked labels for readability
  • Added thumbnail descriptions of new locations to the map notes
  • Added some regional adventure seeds to the map notes

I'm tempted to leave the remaining lairs unnamed, unless something comes to mind. That leaves them open for development. So, other than possibly naming one or two more geographic locations, about the only work I see remaining on this map is fixing the borders a little more, and tweaking for readability/logic/consistency.

I picked Sheddahr to replace Shadaa, and must confess that the name is an homage to Cheddar Monks and was chosen solely to incorporate them. (The use of "Sheddahr Cheese" is a bonus bit of silliness...)

Lockport's history is inspired in part by the real town of that name, where the path of the Erie Canal seriously affected land speculation. Jeros Hawlen is an adaptation of Jesse Hawley, a flour merchant (and one-time serious debtor) who argued hard in writing (and lobbied hard for funds) for the construction of the canal.

I'd like to find an excuse to tie the Taymora work into this, so any suggestions regarding Futharel (or other ways of doing so) would just be fun.

I don't really have anything specific in mind for Arthor's Fall or Karwenna, save only both somehow date to Molharran times. Highburn is, in my mind, tied to Irum, and the "Ancient Ruins" are either Azcan or Oltec (depending on what turns up in the campaign).

I'm trying to put enough detail in to give a good feel, without dictating overmuch. So, some things are deliberately just suggestions :-) I expect to make several passes at the map notes over the next couple of weeks, but the bulk of the development's probably done at this point. Comments are, of course, both welcome and appreciated.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:47 pm

I like the most recent changes - the region is really coming alive!

I'd like to see more adventure seeds - maybe I can come up with some. In the meantime, I might suggest modifying the name of the possible Taymoran ruin (good ideas, BTW). I've consulted the Taymoran Gaz on the Vaults (by Giampaolo Agosta, IIRC), but to allow for the passage of time the name should be highly debased, or perhaps derive its name from local lore. For example, let's suppose a Taymoran vampire sheltered there for centuries, preying on the locals, until it was finally killed (or so everyone thinks...) - the original Taymoran name might be forgotten, but perhaps it's now called "Deadman's Wall" (because of a section of high walls that still stand)? Just a thought.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Chimpman » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:03 pm

Hi Bonetti!

I'm just drooling over this map... it's absolutely beautiful.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Hugin » Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:51 pm

Very nice map developing there! Well done.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:57 pm

I've been making passes on the map, so (for instance) the first pass took a straight scaled-up map and integrated the detail map from Vaults, the second tweaked it, the third brought in stuff from Westerlands, etc. I did a couple historical passes (Molharran, Meruvar, Irum) as well. That approach has served well, I think, because looking at it now, it's a much richer tapestry than it felt along the way.

I'm planning on more adventure seeds, those are just the ones which suggested themselves immediately. Obviously, there are many other possibilities, and I'm planning on iterating on them next. Contributions are, naturally, welcome :-)

(I may turn some of the ideas into more complete modules at some point, but I don't want to do more than outline them now. After all, my players will be adventuring here, and on the off chance they decide to Google Athenos and the swamp, I don't want to spoil everything :-) )

Thanks for the thoughts on Futharel. One thing which has been in the back of my mind is that one of the gnoll tribes lives there. What that means is pretty much up in the air. I didn't want a third lizardman ruin, since there are two (one pristine, one weathered) already. I'm sure there are lots more around, but that's enough to build on. I'll probably stick the name Futharel back in the hat and pull it out at some later date somewhere else :-)
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Bonetti » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:34 am

OK, that was a disjointed post. Sorry about that, I'd just come out of an early morning essay test (oh, the joys of part-time school and full-time work), but I think the gist stands :-)

Looking at the Taymoran information Giampaolo did, I'd go with a barely standing tower in the vein of his architecture suggestions. For a tower name, I'd go with something like "Mossy Tower", or maybe "Lichen Spire" or something similar. Obviously, if Taymoran architecture varies from that, those names may not apply. (I'm tempted to save "Deadman's Wall" for an unmarked stretch of ruins... I'm pretty sure there's a good adventure seed in there, but I'm not having much luck teasing it out yet.)

For history, I'm torn between three possibilities.

First, it could be the domicile of a Taymoran who fled the empire's collapse (or society) so he could build his own power base. In that case, it would be a solitary tower or small complex, with a lich or similar still living there. Or, for lower level exploration, he failed in his attempts, but his experiments (lower level undead) are still around. In either case, the nearest lizardman tribe will probably have death/undead influences on their name and tribal symbolism.

Second, it could be the remnants of a Taymoran outpost. There's a statement that they enslave the Malpheggi lizardmen, in which case they might need a slave-trading outpost (similar to the forts along the African coastline in the 1500s and 1600s). Depending on how the slaves are taken (warring factions selling each other vs. Taymorans grabbing what they can), that could have been a large Taymoran stronghold projecting the might of the empire, or it could have been a smaller keep/tower with surrounding generic (or even lizardman) dwellings for the collaborators.

Third, it could be the remains of a dwelling or small complex set up by one of the aforementioned slave traders, to show off his wealth and have a place to live when away from his home in Taymora. In that case, it would be what remains of a wealthy Taymoran mansion. If one uses the communication towers, it should be or have one so he can stay in touch with home.

I'm probably going to put together a brief timeline soon(ish) to cover the history of this immediate area as I see it. No promises on when...

I also did a quick animation)at 50% for file size reasons) showing the development over time, starting with the straight 1:3 expansion from the 8mph map.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:20 pm

I'd go with the moderate Taymoran stronghold option. I couldn't see "cosmopolitan" Taymoran nobles (even minor ones) bothering to set foot in the accursed wilderness of Malpheggi unless they were forced to do so (e.g., pursued by enemies, seeking a refuge from the collapse of the empire, or needing a secret hideout for top secret experiements).

Had a thought about Deadman's Wall - perhaps it was where some locals made a valiant attempt to fight the Red Duke. The Duke won the battle, levelled the keep, and then impaled the bodies on an intact stretch of wall. Hence the name.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Hugin » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:43 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:Had a though about Deadman's Wall - perhaps it was where some locals made a valiant attempt to fight the Red Duke. The Duke won the battle, levelled the keep, and then impaled the bodies on an intact stretch of wall. Hence the name.

I like the way you think! I shouldn't, but I do. :D
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:46 pm

A product of too much HPL, Buffy, and Bond.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:52 pm

Just noticed a pinkish smudge in Malpheggi Bay - due west of Athenos. Is that supposed to be an island, or will it be a perhaps more interesting feature? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Seer of Yhog
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Hugin » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:00 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:Just noticed a pinkish smudge in Malpheggi Bay - due west of Athenos. Is that supposed to be an island, or will it be a perhaps more interesting feature? Inquiring minds want to know.

I think those are hilly or barren islands (there's two of them).
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:02 pm

Ah, you're right. Still, they are begging for some kind of embellishment, if it doesn't make the region too detailled.
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Re: Mapping around Malpheggi Swamp

Postby Hugin » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:07 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:Ah, you're right. Still, they are begging for some kind of embellishment, if it doesn't make the region too detailled.

I don't know, I'd kind of like them to be mostly barren, rocky islands myself; bony remnants of the 1700 BC cataclysm.
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