Mapping Selenoth

JartStar didn’t find it easy to map out Selenoth, mostly because I don’t think in spatial terms.  This map to the right is from a very early version when the book was only half-written and we were kicking around the idea of eventually creating a VASSAL wargame around the story.  I’ve long been interested in combining the zone-based game mechanics of War at Sea with a Divine Right system that combines diplomatic intrigue with battle, and perhaps one day I’ll even get around to designing it.  The primary challenge he faced was translating locations into map terms from my description of events; if it takes 30 days to go from Amorr to Elebrion and one passes through an uninhabited forest, then that provides a certain amount of information about how things have to look.

I’m sure there were times he desperately wanted to beat answers out of me, but the problem was that because I am spatial relations-challenged, I couldn’t really provide them until I had figured out exactly what I required for the story to work as conceived.  Was Lodi travelling west or east?  If Theuderic was traveling to Amorr, why did he have to go through Malkan?  The plot affected the geography and the geography affected the plot; as JartStar noted himself when he introduced the map to his Cartographer’s Guild.

“The map took nearly a year to do as author didn’t know where certain
locations would be until he had worked out the plot! It meant a lot of
revisions all of the way until the day it was literally going to press.”

The particular challenge was how to portray the allies and provinces of Amorr, since they were too small to show up on the continental map.  The first attempt proved a little confusing; the editor at Marcher Lord actually got it backwards. But the zoom lines he suggested worked very well.  It did lead to one minor problem in the text, as Falerum was described at two points in the original text as “the largest ally”, which is quite clearly not the case.  But that was cleaned up in the errata.

As for rivers and lakes, they were left off for legibility reasons.  In general, it can be safely assumed that every major city is built on a river, as is the case with regards to nearly all medieval European cities. Most fantasy maps that contain rivers are entirely misleading, as they only feature one or two rivers when the number of cities shown would indicate the need for an order of magnitude more; for some reason most fantasy lands don’t contain a reasonable number of lakes either.  Given my ferocious hatred for long literary river journeys, it is totally appropriate that the rivers are not shown on the map as they will never, ever, feature in such a regard.

The map of Selenoth can’t hold a candle to the beautiful map of Middle Earth that I once owned in the form of a much-loved jigsaw puzzle.  I can’t think of a single map that does.  But I hope the readers find it both attractive and useful in following the story; thanks to JartStar’s heroic efforts, I think it is more geographically credible than most of the maps one sees in the genre.