Mapping the World

I’m not terribly happy about the maps in my current novels.  When I created them I had no intention on publishing the books, so the map I created was really just for my own purposes – a way to keep track of places and distances. As such they don’t “print well.” Shading for mountains and forest compete with text for roads, towns, and regions and worse yet, if you tried to put the book on a “spread” the most important areas are right in the seem!  Doh!

It was created in a map generation program that is so ancient that I don’t even remember its name and the business has long ago gone out of business.  Basically I created the land forms, oceans, mountains, forest, lakes and the like and then I “generated” a colored version out of that program.

From that point I brought the map into Photoshop where I could add layers that would divide the land into areas that would be dominated by different people and rulers.  Riyria has the following regions:

  • Estrendor: Northern wastes
  • Erivan Empire: Elvenlands
  • Apeladorn: Nations of man
  • Ba Ran Archipelago: Islands of goblins
  • Westerlands: Western wastes
  • Dacca: Isle of south men

Apeladorn is then divided into 4 nations:

  • Avryn: Central wealthy kingdoms
  • Trent: Northern mountainous kingdoms
  • Calis: Southeastern tropical region ruled by warlords
  • Delgos: Southern republic

And then Avryn is further divided into 9 kingdoms:

  • Ghent: Ecclesiastical holding of the Nyphron Church
  • Melengar: Small but old and respected kingdom
  • Warric: Most powerful of the kingdoms of Avryn
  • Dunmore: Youngest and least sophisticated kingdom
  • Alburn: Forested kingdom
  • Rhenydd: Poor kingdom
  • Maranon: Producer of food. Once part of Delgos, which was lost when Delgos became a republic
  • Galeannon: Lawless kingdom of barren hills, the site of several great battles

The map in Riyria is indicative of a world dominated by “man” in a Medieval-type political system ruled primarily by monarchs.


The world of The First Empire is a much different place. There are no kings, multiple races are competing for dominance and because horses are not domesticated travel is far more difficult, keeping people isolated and in general they don’t often travel far afield. 

When starting this series, I basically removed the overlays with all the towns, roads and regions.  Some structures exist in both.  For instance The Crown Tower is the last remaining portion of a much bigger fortress from long ago and Drumindor, which was created by elves, pre-dates even the time periods of The First Empire. 

But beyond just wiping everything out and then starting to add the details for how Elan is divided in the time of The First Empire, I started from scratch (black and white rather than colored) and all in all this version of the map is “much prettier” and will “print better” than the maps I’ve done in the past.

For those who like maps with their fantasy I think Rhune will have a vast improvement over what you have in Riyria.  I’m not posting it yet, because it is still in flux.  Whether I should expose it “early” I’m unsure of. On one hand, I’d like to share it so people can start “thinking” about what some of these things mean.  On the other hand, I don’t want to get “too locked in.”  

5 thoughts on “Mapping the World

  1. If you decide to share the map, while this is still a relatively closed blog, just not it is in flux. Call it Alpha or Beta, or “may change a lot”, etc. That way everyone understands it’s not a fixed version.

  2. How does the Legends of the First Empire relate to this map? Like where Dols are. Where was the area which Wraith’s father was killed?

  3. For instance The Crown Tower is the last remaining portion of a much bigger fortress from long ago and Drumindor, which was created by **elves**, pre-dates even the time periods of The First Empire.

    where I have the **, did the elves make Drumindor or did the dwarves?

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