Monday 20 February 2023

Hither Rumelia, around Velbazhd

Seems somethings always in the way.

I know, I haven't been working on these maps.  The priority is the book, it's that simple.  But I'll go on making maps as I'm inclined.  The above is working along the western edge of Bulgaria, though the civilisation here is hemmed in by tall mountains to the south, cutting it off from Greece except along the narrow, wild course of the Isker river, shown flowing off the bottom edge of the map.

Thursday 16 February 2023

Added North and East of Munich

Looks so much better when it's fleshed out:

Wasserburg is a county attached to the Bishopric of Trier, way the other side of Germany ... so, managed by religious entities.  This is part of the reason why it's infrastructure is lacking, as reclusiveness is the order.  The land further on is a part of Upper Bavaria, controlled by Munich, but is isolated by the geography and distance from the central province.  Once again, it produces that effect where a heavy infrastructure evaporates like night and day.

I failed to mention last week that I've been working on these maps for just one year.  The first day I started was Feb 9.  I'd say it's been successful.

On to other things.  

Friday 10 February 2023

Hither Rumelia, around Pernik

Reached the western border of modern Bulgaria at last:

Remember when we were just trying to go east through Ukraine?  That's a long way north of here.

The Sofia cluster extends outwards to the south, but it stops dead at Macedonia (which is why the border is there).  The isolation of that group of mountains adjacent to Sofia is more obvious now, with the plain encircling it.

Not much to say ... I've got to get back to the Streetvendor's Guide, while getting ready for running D&D tonight.  Sorry if I'm not going too much in depth into these parts.  The Balkans are not a fascination for me, just a series of isolated social cultures that were kept at each other's throats by the Ottomans for 600 years.  Converts to Islam tended to be mountain people, who had a distaste for the plains-people already ... and those hatreds between highlands and plains continue to this day.  Moreover, the Ottomans kept the various Christian churches of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and such isolated (and played off against each other), so that even today there's no solidarity between either the various Orthodox or Catholic churches.  It makes for hatred, violence, constant squabbling and institutional backwardness.  And it's been going on a long time.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Hither Rumelia, around Razlik

More of the Rhodope Mountains:

It's been 3 months since I started this blog, in central Hungary.  Since, I've moved around in a circle through Slovakia, Ruthenia, the Ukraine, the Black Sea and Bulgaria.  I'd hoped to complete a circuit by this time, but there have been distractions.  I have to post a complete map, though the scale challenges the eye ... but not just at this time.

There's still some Hither Rumelia to do, but it's much smaller than the further province; we'll be in Macedonia on the weekend.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Hither Rumelia, southeast of Sofia

Real mountains, now:

The above features the central massif of the Rhodope Mountains, shown with the double-peaked mountain icons on the bottom left.  These are 8500 ft. above sea level or more, which is staggering as the plain eastward is just 840 ft.  As such, although they may not be as high as the Alps, they look as though they are from the plain.  But what's truly amazing, from someone who can see the Rocky Mountain chain from where I am, is that the whole massif is just 33 miles long.  That's less than the distance between Cincinnati and Dayton, or Salem Massachusetts and Worcester.  The whole range would tuck neatly into the San Francisco Bay Area.


Tuesday 7 February 2023

Hither Rumelia, around Sofia

Into the heart of Hither Rumelia:

Several people have remarked on the stark break between civilised and uncivilised places ... and there may be some imagination that this is a phenomenon I've incorporated for my 17th century setting.  True enough, my populations are a fifth of the modern equivalents, or less.  But have a look at the above on Google Earth, with a little wider frame:

It can be seen clearly that even in the modern day that there's a sharp line between "civilised" and "wilderness."  Imagine what this must have looked like before the tractor could plow this much field, before the dam that makes the large reservoir bottom centre, before the spreading suburbs of Sofia, when the population density was much higher because there were no roads or even horse carriages for most people.  The old saw is that most peasants never went more than 7 miles from home; imagine these places, where 7 miles puts us behind a mountain 7,000 feet high.

In running as a DM, do make the most of that transition.  Say directly to the players, "As you watch the last house disappear behind the screen of trees, you realise that there isn't another living soul in the woods ahead of you.  From here out, you're on your own."  Stress it.  Make them really think about the lack of support networks and last minute cavalry arrivers.  Make that distinction real ... and with the distinction, that you as DM aren't here to save them, but to run the wilderness AS IS.  "Sorry, guys.  I'm going to have to run this savage land for what it is.  A place no safe person would go."

Monday 6 February 2023

Mameceqtaw, around Wahkayoh

In response to Discord's request for more Michigan:

Not marked this time around, but the west part of the map between the dark yellow boundaries is an Ojibwe "tribute state" of the Memeceqtaw Country, what's known today as the Menominee native tribe.  Reflecting the Upper Peninsula, population continues to be minimal and the infrastructure reflects that.  Practical roads are local and specific between hamlets and thorps, rather than part of a widespread trade system.  Trade is carried on over water, along the coast, this being more practical than cutting a road through Michigan's rocky, forested wilderness.  Valuable products are furs, game meat, unique woods and canoes.

Sunday 5 February 2023

Hither & Further Rumelia, around Filibe

At last, done with Further Rumelia:

Here we buttress against the Rhodope Mts., significant in ancient history in that it cramped the Greeks against the sea, the same way the Appalachians confined America to the Atlantic seaboard for two centuries.  It meant that the thinly scattered tribes north of those mountains received little culture until much later, when the Romans came over the mountain passes and annexed these rich farmlands.  The development of Byzantium allowed constant access and transport in and out of these plains, elevating them to a rich province of that empire, and of the Ottomans later.  These latter control all of this in the 17th century.

The next stage is to build out Hither Rumelia, which is another densely infrastructured valley, but narrower, surrouding the Isker River that flows south through the Rhodope into Macedonia.

Saturday 4 February 2023

Hither & Further Rumelia, west of Filibe

More of that semi-wilderness cutting Rumelia in half:

Still, this is the western edge of the Maritsa valley, the river flowing through Filibe.  There's still more of it, but it'll soon be a memory until coming 'round this way again, when we map northern Greece.

Not much time today, and not much to say about the map above that I haven't said already.  Sometimes, it's all about plodding on.  

Friday 3 February 2023

Hither & Further Rumelia, east of Sofia

Having not heard from anyone, I'll continue with Bulgaria:

Sredna Gora is a small mountain range, just 40 miles wide, with four peaks rising above 4,800 feet, with locations all shown on the map above (they're not just symbols!).  The elevation on the left-hand hex assured it's lack of infrastructure ... remembering that it would be even more wild in the 17th century than it appears on GoogleEarth.

There's a gap in the infrastructure that runs south from here, dividing "hither" Rumelia on the west from "further" Rumelia on the east.  Then it's dense infrastructure again before getting out of Bulgaria and into Macedonia and Serbia ... which are just more wild mountains surrounding densely populated valleys.  It's a crazy place.

Thursday 2 February 2023

Provence, north & east of Marseille

Context is everything.  I added the 2-hex section north of Marseille:

Then the two hexes east of Marseilles:

The environs around Pourcieux feature plenty of disrupted terrain, a high elevation and thus a low infrastructure (only 29), despite the surrounding density.  Just south of this section, the easier route between Marseille and Brignoles is found along the coast.

Here's a complete map of all that's been done around Marseille so far:

Builds fast.  Here's the same map with the background of the 20-mile hex map that it's been created from:

There, Maxwell.  There is a small error; the road south of Brignoles should have a thin black line running through it, as it's a trade route into Toulon.  I've fixed it on the map; say the word and I'll fix the post here ... otherwise, I'll leave it until next month.

I still have six other former requestors to hear from, plus anyone else making a $10 donation to Patreon who'd like to see some other part of the world.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Further Rumelia, around Stanimaha

Bit late today.  More of the Maritsa valley.

The infrastructure density is getting me down a bit, but making progress.  The above map in southern Bulgaria completes the sheet map M.27e - Varna for the present.  Here's a shot of the whole map:

I'll match this up with the next map to the west, when I complete that one.  This covers virtually all of eastern Bulgaria.