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Old 09-21-2012, 04:50 PM   #21
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Mateus View Post
Not exactly on topic, but this is my actual approach in doing a map to give the players to follow. The distances are distorced in relation to my real map and not everything will be where it is in the "real world". It is a earlly build and I am still finding the best way to put the rivers, vegetation and the effects on the text.

Here is the link:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/37717003/PAN...0200%201.0.PNG
That's not off topic! The link doesn't appear to work though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
The ancients had plenty of scale maps (a sketch of Middle Bronze Age Nippur, Ptolemy's world map, the forma urbis Romae) and building plans. I'm not sure which imaginary continents you are talking about, but keep in mind that ancient natural philosophy predicted that there was a southern continent to balance the northern ones, just like ours predicted the Higgs Boson without actually seeing it.
It's mostly the presumption of balancing continents that I was talking about. They decided that it should be that way and it's only by luck that a Terra Australis actually existed. There is also Hyperborea.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:20 PM   #22
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
That's not off topic! The link doesn't appear to work though.



It's mostly the presumption of balancing continents that I was talking about. They decided that it should be that way and it's only by luck that a Terra Australis actually existed. There is also Hyperborea.
Australia and Antarctica make crappy counterweight continents too - there is simply a disproportionate amount of exposed landmass above the equator. The base theory that there are continents below the equator to counterbalance the continents above the equator is bunkum, and provably bunkum. It's within screaming distance of the truth ("There are continents below the equator") but purely by accident.

Never mind that the earth doesn't need counterweights because The World Doesnt Doesn't Work That Way.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:32 PM   #23
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Cross oceanic travel is definitely more TL 4+ let alone hitting near the port you were aiming at. I assumed they hit land and just slid along the coastline until they got to where they wanted to go.
Incidentally, there's an old hiking trick I believe was also used at sea back in these times. When traveling long distance toward something on a linear feature (a camp on a river, or a port on a distant shore) don't aim straight for it. It's hard to navigate to a specific spot, and when you reach the feature without seeing your destination, how do you know which way to turn?

Instead, you do the much easier task of reaching the feature to the right of the destination, and turn left.

Just make sure your offset is greater than your error.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #24
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Australia and Antarctica make crappy counterweight continents too - there is simply a disproportionate amount of exposed landmass above the equator. The base theory that there are continents below the equator to counterbalance the continents above the equator is bunkum, and provably bunkum. It's within screaming distance of the truth ("There are continents below the equator") but purely by accident.

Never mind that the earth doesn't need counterweights because The World Doesnt Doesn't Work That Way.
Fair enough, but believing in an incorrect theory is not the same as being a fantasist. I'm not an expert on ancient geography who can tell you why they believed in a southern continent, but Tzeentch might be able to explain since he is doing graduate work in that areas. I'm also unaware of any ancient maps which showed such continents ...
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:36 PM   #25
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

I haven't actually handed out maps to my fantasy players but I did have a plan for it. Maps (sailing charts in particular) were rare in history and jealously guarded by their possessors, so player maps were not going to be formal, accurate maps. They were going to represent the individual player's character knowledge of the world, i.e. very accurate within a day's journey from home, fairly accurate in terms of the general location of major rivers and big towns and cities that everyone has heard of for the rest of the kingdom and for most of the big, close (at least on the same continent) kingdoms, they'll likely pass through them in the rough directions and order shown but the distances might be way off, and anything beyond that you take your chances and the players were going to be told so.

As for the 'they must have had maps in order to do this or that thing' argument, let's look at a couple of examples I was given many years ago in high school history class.

A rutger (sailing directions) for getting to the New World after Columbus had discovered it read, "sail south until the butter melts, then sail due East." This at a time when Mercrator was making an accurate globe of the Earth.

As late as the U.S. Civil War, it was still a common thing for generals to send a messenger to find the opposing general's forces and invite that general to engage him on a suitable battlefield that he had located. In other words, armies did tend to blunder about looking for each other to give battle. Cavalry in the reconnaissance role could help locate an enemy force but without that knowledge from combat, all an accurate map was good for was letting a general see all the places that the opposing general could strike next based on his last known position.

As for guides, while they weren't needed on main highways or the open ocean, guides were certainly needed on roads which might not have signposts at crossroads and even in the nineteenth century steamboats on the Missippi required local guides (called pilots) to navigate the river hazards, so from a historical point of view, we can say that guides are very appropriate additions to a traveling party.

The experiences of European explorers would suggest that once native guides have warned the party of a danger, they aren't particularly likely to stick around if the party insists on walking blithely right into it.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:15 PM   #26
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Australia and Antarctica make crappy counterweight continents too - there is simply a disproportionate amount of exposed landmass above the equator. The base theory that there are continents below the equator to counterbalance the continents above the equator is bunkum, and provably bunkum. It's within screaming distance of the truth ("There are continents below the equator") but purely by accident.

Never mind that the earth doesn't need counterweights because The World Doesnt Doesn't Work That Way.
Don't you know that the Counterweight Continent is made almost entirely of dense Gold ore? That's why Two-Flower had no concept of the value of the gold he carried when he visited Ankh Morpork.

Wait. Which world are we talking about again? =P
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:29 AM   #27
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Fair enough, but believing in an incorrect theory is not the same as being a fantasist. I'm not an expert on ancient geography who can tell you why they believed in a southern continent, but Tzeentch might be able to explain since he is doing graduate work in that areas. I'm also unaware of any ancient maps which showed such continents ...
The theories didn't really have any basis behind them besides "Obviously the globe must be balanced". Like many of Aristotle's theories it's something that he came up with because it sounded sensible and then got passed on. There wasn't any real theoretical framework that supported the idea of Terra Australis. Ancient maps beyond decorated schematics are being debated in the thread but historical maps with Terra Australis or Hyperborea aren't hard to find and Hyperborea doesn't appear to have any supporting theoretical framework at all.

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
A rutger (sailing directions) for getting to the New World after Columbus had discovered it read, "sail south until the butter melts, then sail due East." This at a time when Mercrator was making an accurate globe of the Earth.
Hah. Yeah crossing the Atlantic by means of going until you hit coast is functional even when Mercator is making his more accurate maps.

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
As late as the U.S. Civil War, it was still a common thing for generals to send a messenger to find the opposing general's forces and invite that general to engage him on a suitable battlefield that he had located. In other words, armies did tend to blunder about looking for each other to give battle. Cavalry in the reconnaissance role could help locate an enemy force but without that knowledge from combat, all an accurate map was good for was letting a general see all the places that the opposing general could strike next based on his last known position.
Well there are reasons for pitched battles besides finding the enemy.

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Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
Don't you know that the Counterweight Continent is made almost entirely of dense Gold ore? That's why Two-Flower had no concept of the value of the gold he carried when he visited Ankh Morpork.

Wait. Which world are we talking about again? =P
Weren't there historical beliefs that some metals were generated or drawn up by sunlight? If I run a Discworld game I might postulate that something related to the curious nature of sunlight on the Disc is the explanation behind the Aurient's bountiful gold.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:52 AM   #28
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
That's not off topic! The link doesn't appear to work though.



It's mostly the presumption of balancing continents that I was talking about. They decided that it should be that way and it's only by luck that a Terra Australis actually existed. There is also Hyperborea.
My bad, now the link is working. I will also put it here again:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/37717003/PAN...0200%201.4.PNG
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Last edited by Mateus; 12-11-2012 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:22 PM   #29
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Mateus View Post
My bad, now the link is working. I will also put it here again:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/37717003/PAN...0200%201.2.PNG
Cool map. It's interesting comparing it to the other one you've posted once you manage to track down where it is.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:41 PM   #30
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

I tend to drive my players nuts when it comes to maps; half of the fun is figuring out how the silly thing is supposed to be oriented.

In my Tir Afon setting, most local maps are oriented to the East, since that is where the sun comes up in the morning. The significant exceptions are the Aztecah Empire, which orients all maps in the direction of Tenochtitlan, and Zarahemla, which orients maps to North.
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