Tuesday, November 15, 2011

World Maps and Earth

New Scientist published an article in 2007 about various scenarios for continental drift and the reemergence of a super continent.  One of the scenarios results in a super continent named Pangaea Ultima, generated by Christopher Scotese.

I found it odd that the continents drifted back together, when I recall that the mid Atlantic is separating and Alaska is pushing closer to Siberia.  But there is a theory that the continents separate and coalesce back together in a long cycle around what we currently call the Atlantic ocean.

When I cast about for ideas on what my home campaign world will look like, I often turn to what the future continents of the Earth might look like.  My campaigns have always taken place in what I consider an alternate Earth that mimics Earth as much as possible.  That is strange statement in the face of a world that should include things such as flying dragons, teleporting wizards, and talking swords.  But I like to provide familiarity to the player's so they have a lot of "hand holds" and "stepping stones" to use as a base to start building their characters.

It is for that reason that my worlds have always had one moon, and 365 days with a leap year.  Adding a second moon, for example, would just cause more trouble than benefits at the game table (in the kind of game I want to play)  Adding a second moon would cause a list of issues to have to think about such as; Lycantharopes, tides, eclipses, and so on.  And so I keep to an Earth sized planet with the same color skies.  In fact, I like to think of the campaign as more of an alternate reality of Earth; same Sun, same Moon, same planets, just a different history on different land masses.

This is by no means a new idea, the Frank Mentzer's edition of Dungeons and Dragons contained an entire world map in the Master Set of rules (that is the one for level 25-36).  This world was based off what scientists thought the Earth looked like during the Jurassic age-- from my casual observation of newer reconstructed maps of the Jurassic era, it appears the older map did not take into account a different sea level for the coast lines.

Somewhere along the line, the map from the Master Set was taken and thrown onto a map of a globe.  But they took the flat map as it was, instead of realizing it was of a different projection.  The result is a world where the end of the east continent (analogues to Asia) wraps around and nearly touches the west continent (analogues to Mexico), drastically reducing the size of the Pacific ocean.  This world map from the Hollow World Set highlights the issue.

1 comment:

  1. It's actually worse than that — in warping the map of Mystara to fit it onto the pseudo-Robinson projection, they actually stretched it east-west to almost double its original width. This throws it out of sync with all of the maps based on the original world map, which is to say almost every other map drawn for Mystara's Outer World.

    I did an equirectangular version of this map a couple of years ago. You can see it as well as a comparison with the Master Set map here: