Making Maps

Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 1 October 1997
Last Updated On 1 October 1997
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1997

Having played in Glorantha since 1982, one of the biggest failings that I saw was the absence of a large map of Central Genertela where, let's face it, most campaigns are set. The Genertela Pack gave us maps of all the areas within Genertela, but they were different scales and accuracy, so piecing them together was a nightmare. So I decided to try and put a map together of the most important areas.

My first problem was which areas to include. All of the main areas covered in RuneQuest publications had to be there, so Prax, Dagori Inkarth, Sartar, The Holy Country and Balazar were musts. Now to the East of Prax lie the Wastes and Kralorela, no interest there. To the West of Sartar lies the Lunar Empire which had to be included, which meant that Dorastor and Ralios were also to be included. Further West lie the lands of Fronela and the Western Lands, no interest there either.(1) Further North lie the Wastes of Valind - nothing there but Ice. To the South lies the Ocean. Well that covers the areas to include.

Now for the scale. Many RQ2 publications had maps of 1 inch=30 miles, including Dorastor, The Holy Country and Giantland. Even though the map in the RQ2 rules of Sartar said it was a different scale, I knew better and it was lying. OK so far.(2) The maps in Griffin Mountain are not of the correct scale, but if you photocopy them so that both maps fit on an A3 sheet of paper the scale miraculously becomes 30 miles to the inch. That settled it for me.

The next step was to fit everything together. The Holy Country, Sartar and Balazar are easy to attach, any discrepancies are fixed by assuming that the map in the RQ2 rules is unreliable. The River of Cradles map from the Borderlands pack can be photocopied and reduced to fit nicely over the straight line that is Zola Fel in Cults of Prax. Similarly, the RQ3 Trollpak map can be reduced down to add detail to Northern Sartar and Dagori Inkarth. Once again, any discrepancies are solved by assuming that the more detailed map is the most accurate. More photocopying of the Dragon Pass map fleshed out the Grazelands and Tarsh. Rather than messing about with the maps in the Genertela Pack, I decided to free draw the Rockwoods, Ralios and the Pelorian Basin. Dorastor fitted in nicely using the RQ2 map with the surrounding Lunar countryside coming from RQ3.(3) The Lunar Cities came from the map in Dragon Pass and Wyrms Footnotes. I also used the maps from the Gloranthan Encyclopedia but they were not always very accurate, being from an earlier incarnation of Glorantha. Finally the glued and sellotaped map is photocopied onto A0 paper and it fits.

The next step is to free-draw the whole map in a single style, essential as the maps are in a hotch-potch of styles. I choose a style similar to that of the map of Sartar and Prax in the RQ2 Rulebook as it is fairly easy to use and I have no artistic talent whatsoever. Finally I add details from Tales of the reaching Moon, King of Sartar and any other sources I can find.

When the map is complete, I glance over it and photocopy it onto A0 paper and it doesn't look at all bad. I'm missing the Daughter's Roads (annoying as I was sure I had included them) and a few towns and villages. Prax, Sartar, The Holy Country, Balazar and Dorastor are very detailed. The Wastes are blank, Ralios is sketchy, the Redlands are empty apart from a few rivers and trees, Pent has three landmarks - The Redhair Place, Hell Crack and the Snow Line and the Lunar Empire has only Cities, Lakes and a few Rivers, no other landscaping and none of the Road Network. However, it's still pretty good.

Looking at the map, I see some interesting details which were not apparent before. Web Valley clearly connects into Greatway somehow. Wyrms High Pass stands out a mile. Distances shrink so that you can see that certain towns are quite close together. The kingdoms of Balazar, Bilini and Sartar are contrasted in size and show how small the Orlanthi states really are. A quick run with a tape measure and a quick calculation of terrain effects and I can tell you how long it takes to travel from Prax to Dagori Inkarth, through to Balazar and across the Lunar Empire. I should have done this ten years ago.

Then came the Praxian Issues of Tales of the Reaching Moon with expanded maps of the Wastes. The map of Prax is changed slightly in Oriflam's Nomad Gods and Wizard's Attic bring out The Entekosiad with a map of Pelanda/Carmania at 30 miles to the inch. (4)Can I be bothered to make Version 2 of the map? Not yet, maybe next year - I can't face another fortnight filling in the Forests of the Holy Country and Brolia. Still, I live in hope of Chaosium bringing out a map of Central Genertela, after all if I can do it then anyone can.

How about it guys? I can send you a map if you'd like.(5)


[1]The amount of stick I got from people over this. I did not mean that these lands were not interesting, only that I had no interest in them. They are probably very nice, good neighbourhoods and handy for the shops and buses, but I wouldn't want to game there.

[2]The scale says 1 inch = 30 km, but it really means 30 miles, I know 'cause I measured it again, and again, and again. 30 measurements between towns, calculating the same distances in the RQ2 map, the Holy Country Map, River of Cradles Map, and the Dagori Inkarth Map, comparing the results, taking averages and deviations until I worked out that a 30 miles = 1 inch fitted 95% of the time. That took days and was hell. The drawing was even worse.

[3]I cheated here and drew Dorastor on first, squeezing bits here and there so things would fit. When I drew Ralios and The Empire, I had to cut Dorastor out and paste it back in again. This was not clever. Do not cheat on maps - it is more work later on.

[4]I had mixed emotions regarding these. My first thoughts were "Great, more maps for Glorantha, just what I've wanted for years." My second thoughts were "and they add things to the map which means I have to start rubbing out and adding new things. Oh no!" Still, version 2 will come out next year.

[5]This was meant as a challenge to Chaosium to bring out a map of the area, not as a general offer to all and sundry. However, that is what people thought it was. I had several requests for a copy of the map and some people even sent me money. For an update on the situation, see Making Maps II.