25 January 2013

Hareshki heraldry

Just thought I'd post this quick pic of some of the heraldic devices I've been working on for my next regional map (that goes with the history I'm devising for it).

A few pointers on some of the emblems that appear in the shields:
Angel/wing: the region's deity is an angelic figure that appeared around 1500-years ago to a shepherd-girl, who is now revered as her prophetess.
Hourglass: a relic said to have belonged to an avatar of the angelic figure, now carried by a missionary of the faith.
Skulls: a chthonic demigoddess of death common to this and other regions; the skull is a common emblem and appears in design motifs of areas that venerate her.
Pastoral devices: the Hareshk is an uncharacteristically idyllic land, with verdant hills and fertile farmland and as such, many of its fiefs bear pastoral emblems - livestock, seafood, wheat, scythes, sickles etc.

Other devices are more closely associated with their respective fiefs and have little bearing on the region's personality as a whole.

I only need 38 shields for the map, though I'm having so much fun making these that I'll probably make some more, at least 10-more, as i continue fleshing out the region and come up with more historical events or characteristics that i can depict on the shields. I'll then pick my favourite ones (with the aid my my girlfriend! time to give her something to do...)

24 January 2013

world map

Hey all. Just thought I'd post a quick WIP of a world map I've started working on.

Yes, its yet another large wall-map, though i tend to like these maps that show off a large area. At this stage the map is more of a colour and style study than anything else, though it also helps me see the layout of things so I can plot things better. Looking at this, the first thing that strikes me is how long it is. ill probably increase the height of the background, which will also give me more room for other details and information.

It also serves to show off the more distant parts of the world to anyone interested. The projection is stereographic, so there is some degree of distortion around the edges of the maps, though distance is constant throughout, which is generally the point with these maps. It's intended to be a stylistic map rather than a reference one and when done will probably end up being something akin to the map in this link (this link), as well as to this real-world counterpart:

Also, on the worldbuilding front, I'm busy fleshing out another region of the world: the City-kingdoms of the Hareshk. I'm also getting close to finishing a new map for that region (look at me, ever the multitasker!). This map includes something i've never really looked at before: heraldry, and comes after a good few months of research and book-buying (yay! adding to my home library is always fun!). though the world isn't the real world, i like to base some things on reality and the laws and rules of heraldry seemed like something interesting to extrapolate from. Of course I've not stuck religiously to the real-world rules of heraldry (particularly metals and colours), though most changes do have an in-world explanation.

I'll post the regional history together with the finished map, though for the time being here's a snippet of the WIP on the map itself:

09 January 2013

Ryhassharauch - the Stillborn God

Bit of a flash post, this. The world is growing! I have unearthed a new Demiurge: Ryhassharauch - the stillborn.

The story of Ryhassharauch is one of bitterness and a hope extinguished before it could ever shine. This fell thing's life was cut short before it was even born. As its siblings indulged in the hubris of Elyden's Shaping, this palled, bulbous-headed grotesque was already rotting, the seven seeds of what would, had fate dealt it a decent hand, borne seven mortals - four women, three men - in Ryhassharauch's image. 

Yet it was not to be, and as their stillborn father lies in state, its unborn dreams rotting the world. so too do the bodies of its children - fossilised and buried 'neath the chthonic earth before birth could ever bless them...   

I was just sorting through some old notes and came across a throwaway thought I must have jotted down sometime (honestly cannot remember doing this) that says simply 'stillborn god - fetus-deity' . And that was that. 

Now, is this a forgotten 23rd Demiurge, or do i remove one of the Two-and-Twenty (perhaps taking the least-developed one and merging it with one of the others. i like the latter idea more, as it means the imperfect Demiurge can be the 22nd one, meaning that its inclusion destroyed the perfect number (7 x 3 = 21 all seen as symbolic perfect numbers in many faiths, including the Church of the Machine) of Demiurges. Perhaps Ryhassharauch is inadvertently (or not) responsible for the hubris and eventual punishment of the Demiurges and the corruption of the world. 

I also came across this little tidbit: '2-faced god/dichotomy/conjoined twins' nothing too original about a dichotomous god, though i though the image of a conjoined god/s just fit the world of Elyden pretty well. Oh ideas, why must you come to me so close to bed-time (and why must i wake up so damned early for work...)

07 January 2013

back to worldbuilding and cartography

So, after my brief adventure with NaNoWriMo and novel-writing, I think I’m slowly gravitating back to worldbuilding and cartography: my true loves. I’ve been sick in bed for the past week and, though I should have been finishing off the first draft of my novel, which is nearing completion, I've found myself looking at my beloved Elyden and wondering what I can do with the regions of the world I'm not that familiar with.

I have often mentioned the Encyclopaedia Elyden (more on this later), and though the bulk of my notes and established world histories are located here (in varying degrees of completeness), I do still have various far smaller documents and notes that include bullet points with details for distant regions, toponyms and other ideas. Many such notes explore regions without the borders of the Empire and the environs of the Inner Sea. Most established of these places are the lands east of my current world map: the original world map was a smaller scale which meant that there were more lands in it, so places such as Tethysia (Isuras), Rhea, Cuth, Thetis, Commaea and Turcar are relatively fleshed-out (cartography-wise) though haven’t been featured in recent maps, so it’ll be a good opportunity to get to know these places again. I do have small snippets of other places – mostly regional names and some coastal features, which I’ve been slowly collecting over the years, and I feel it’s about time to get these collected in map form.

So far the majority of my attentions have been absorbed by the so-called Empire of Korachan (later sundered into two: the High-empire of Korachan in the north and the Reaffirmed Empire of Sarastro in the south), though I've decided now to spend some time in the so-called hinterlands of the east.

So, please welcome my 2nd continental map of Elyden: a Map of the Hinterlands of the East and other Realms, including the Meniscus of the Firmament:  

This is a W.I.P tracking the progress of my attempts at fleshing out the lands east of the Korachani empire. The map is a low-res version (anyone who's seen the Korachani map will know I like working at high res) mock-up of what I imagine the final product will look like. This may take a while to get off the ground as I only have a reasonable idea of what encompasses the western-most of the two continents detailed here (a dry-temperate and arid land populated by a diapsora of people from more southern lands. The major nation here [Tethysia, to anyone interested, Isuras to imperial folk] is an advanced nation of dark-skinned people who migrated there from the south, sort of a cross between renaissance europe and ancient egypt, with some archaic steampunk elements) – the eastern-most continent across as as-yet unnamed sea, is a big blank canvas save for the so-called Menusics (the wellspring of Firmamental enegries on the planet represented by that broken cracked region to the south of the  continent. Other than that I have very little fleshed out here, so coming up with names and histories will be a return to anembryonic form of worldbuilding I haven’t enjoyed in a long while (working as I am with well-established regions and ideas) and at least I have the graticules and climate bands to guide me now...

The projection is equidistant conic, with quite a bit of distortion, particularly around the north pole and lands south of the equator, though I wanted to keep it in a similar format to the other map, not just style. The scale is smaller than the previous map (ie: there is much more land covered in an identically-sized map).

C&C welcome as well as suggestions  

Now, onto the Encyclopaedia...
I imagine it as an in-universe book, that like the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, collates the sum total of human knowledge in a single volume (or series of volumes). In reality it is a word document that collects my total knowledge of the world in one place, organised alphabetically.

It began life 7-8 years ago now as a small document containing bullet-points of ideas and regions I came up with for my conworld of Elyden. This slowly evolved until it became the somewhat unwieldy 466-page, 500,000-word long word document and is divided in two sections or volumes: The first 241-pages are in an alphabetical format similar to a normal encyclopaedia. The second volume is comprised of appendices like mythologies, regional histories, flora/fauna, languages, timelines, heraldries, economies etc. The document is currently A4-format, and the first volume is in standard 9-point font arranged in 2-columns, with the second volume in 10-point font in a single column (though some parts might be divided into 2-columns). Despite this, it’s not really in a format fit for consumption yet as many entries are just placeholders and some regions are fully detailed (some places might take up as much as 10,000 words despite them being extinct nations that do not even appear on any maps, while other extant places might be little more than a name and nothing else) and some are correct to a previous version of the world (for instance, before I devised the sundering of the empire)

There are no pictures or maps included in it so far though eventually I want to add detailed regional maps as well as some small sketches similar to those in books like the Encyclopaedia Britannica etc. I expect the full thing to grow to close to 1,000-pages when (if) I ever finish it. I’d love to print it out one day with an accompanying atlas, in which case it will take a 3-volume format: the encyclopaedia, the appendices, and the atlas.

I originally wanted to develop a wiki (mostly for my own use) though got discouraged by the mount of hyperlinking involved (as it's a living document, I'm constantly revising and editing and removing parts so if I ever go down the wiki-route it'll have to be after I finish it.

Here is a photoshopped mock-up to show what I have in mind for the finished thing. Size and font might change though this gives a general idea. The below picture is a two-A4-page spread, to give an idea of what I have at the moment: