So here are a couple maps of Kimatarthi. The first one is just your simple, MS Paint version. Actually I scanned a hand drawn version, and then painted over it in Photoshop.
|Players Map of Kimatarthi|
This is another one that I did with a cool mapping program called AutoREALM.
|Kimatarthi Map made with AutoRealm|
As you can see, I’m not a great artist. And you can probably do much cooler things with AutoREALM if you’re skillful. You can definitely do cooler things with Photoshop.
Also, they are not quite the same. So what gives? I don’t think it matters too much because maps are so rarely accurate, so why would I give players a perfectly accurate map? I mean really, take a look at an old map – any old map. Look at how crazy and distorted everything is. No wonder it took them so long to find America – they could barely draw Europe and they lived there.
|The Fra Mauro map - Earth doesn't look like this.|
I feel perfectly fine producing inconsistent maps for players. Not only is it a cop out for me—I can change my mind with impunity—but it also reflects the subjective and imperfect knowledge of the characters and their society.
So the maps are a conversation piece. They are not reality. They're not even fantasy reality.
I think I actually have the original map of this world that I drew up. If I can dig that out, it’ll make another interesting post on the evolution of a concept. It’s DEFINITELY not like these two.