I sat down to lay out what the world outside Tir Thelandira looks like and this is what I came up with. All of this is preliminary and nothing is set in stone. Tir Thelandira is the little island on the right.
I don’t know exactly how long it would take to write lore and draw maps of all the places on all these islands, but I’d guess it would be approximately the rest of my life. That works for me. This feels like a worthwhile thing to spend a lifetime creating.
Of course, it’s not going to be a world for quite a while. It’ll be a number of islands that can be inserted into another setting. That’s what Tir Thelandira is right now and it’s what all the islands will be for a long time. In several years, there may be regions of the map that can be used as a setting by themselves. But the finished world, in which every island on that map has its own story and its own maps? That’s something so far away that you may never see it. I may never run a game in it. But that part of it isn’t for us, it’s for the people after us. It something we can create as a legacy to leave for the next generation of DMs.
Here are a few ideas I had for this world:
- The ruins of an ancient empire, dangerous and uninhabited except for treasure seekers. Littered with colossal statues, crumbling cities and buried palaces.
- An island populated by humans and ruled by vampiric noble families who treat the commoners as cattle. A very bleak place.
- An island of giants who raid other settlements. Basically, super-vikings.
- An island whose people were wiped out by a disease. Now overrun by undead.
- An island populated by humans but ruled by giants. There’s an interesting relationship between the two groups.
- Underwater kingdoms of merfolk and aquatic elves.
- Greek stuff
- Islands with cultures inspired by East and Southeast Asia, India, East Africa and Arabia. And Europe, in case that doesn’t go without saying.
- A Polynesian-inspired region, parts of which are very advanced. Like, imagine the Republic of Venice was built by the Maori.
- Islands at war
- Dwarves living on volcanoes.
- Lizardfolk with an amphibious kingdom
- An advanced society in an arctic climate.
I’d love to hear your ideas as well. I want to make this thing and I think I’ve proven that I can. So, what do you say?
Giltwater is the first Dhasran gold mining colony in Tir Thelandira, marked as “Burned Colony” on this map.
When I finished drawing this, I read back through the lore of Tir Thelandira and realized I’d made a mistake. In the lore, I said that hundreds were killed when the elves attacked Giltwater. But I hadn’t drawn a colony big enough to hold hundreds of people. So what did I do? I did what anyone writing fantasy roleplaying game lore would do. I retconned it. I retconned the absolute living hell out of it.
I think the lore will have to stay a little flexible until the island is done, particularly since there are three locations that haven’t been decided on yet, which makes them hard to plan for. Speaking of which, if you’re a patron and you haven’t cast a vote on the second ballot for location #1, you’ve got one more day to do that.
So, what’s next? Well, I’m sick at the moment and I don’t have it in me to start on a new map today, so I’m going to give myself something easy to do. Tir Thelandira is going to be part of a larger world with many more islands and I want to start laying out that larger world so we can start thinking about where we go once this first island is done. I feel like I’m up to that. I can draw a collection of variously-sized blobs. I believe in me.
I should have that done tomorrow and you can tell me your thoughts about it. After that, I’ll get started on another map for Tir Thelandira. Okay. Time for blobs.
Just dropping this off to give you a look at what’s coming up next. All right, I’m gonna get back to coloring this thing.
First of all, this is what a ptarmigan is. They live in the mountains. The “P” is silent, but is included in the spelling because the English language is designed to inhibit the spread of literacy at all costs.
I really like the idea of a village built against a cliff, but drawing one turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. Still, I do like a challenge and I think I’m happy with it. The hard part was putting this all together in a way that makes sense.
You see, drawing a five-story building is one thing. But drawing 10 different buildings with five floors among them, all tied together with stairs, walkways and bridges… well, that’s a little more complicated. I numbered the buildings on the sideview to indicate which buildings are on which levels and I hope that’ll make it easier to understand. But if you’ve got any questions, by all means ask.
Next, I’ll be drawing another map for Tir Thelandira. Specifically, I’m going to draw the ruins of the burned mining colony. You can see a list of what’s left to draw in this post.
Speaking of Tir Thelandira, the poll for the first of three undecided locations is still open for patrons who want to cast a vote. Since there were 21 ideas submitted for the first location, I’m dividing them up into three votes of 7, then holding a runoff for the winners to determine what the location will be. I’ll start the vote for the second group of 7 in a day or two.
Well, that’s it for now. If you’ve got any thoughts, let me know!
Drawing a village built on a cliff face is a little complicated, but I think this design should work. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what I’m going for here: one, two.
Also, it’s not shown, but there’s going to be a small mine. That seems like one of the reasons you might build a village on a cliff. The other is, of course, just to do it as a flex.
Anyway, I’m gonna get to work on coloring this. Let me know what you think so far!
The Stonestead is a broch. They’re a real thing and there are a bunch of them in Scotland. I drew this particular broch for the island of Tir Thelandira, whose wood elf inhabitants have a distinctly Celtic-flavored culture.
The Stonestead is the elves’ first foray into large-scale stone construction. Built to defend a gap between the northern and southern parts of their forest, it’s meant to ensure that, should the Dhasran colonists or their mercenaries decide to march on the elven lands, they have to either fight their way through the fort or venture into the woods, where they’ll be easy prey for elven archers and ambushers. Neither option is great– but, of course, that’s the idea.
I’ve received quite a few proposals for new locations for Tir Thelandira. If you’re a patron who’s got an idea you’d like me to add to the ballot, you’ve still got time to shoot me a message. Just to recap, the proposals are for either the location marked “1” on this map OR the swamp to the east of Oakenhold. I’ll be posting the first vote in a few days.
Next up is an East Asian-style village built into a cliffside. This picture should give you an idea of the sort of thing I’ll be drawing. Personally, I think that’s nuts. I mean, how is that a real place? What happened there? I don’t know, but I’m glad it did. Because that’s awesome.