I’m heading into the second month of the kids’ RPG journal and kicking it off with a some drawings of items which will play a part in the first mini-adventure and a little bit of the local lore from Saksaland.
Bits of Lore
Gripa was a giant in the mountains. One morning, she was playing with her golden ball when it rolled down the mountain and into the plains. She searched and searched all night for the ball, but could not find it. Unfortunately for Gripa, she tarried to long and was turned to stone when the sun rose over the horizon in the morning. To this day, her weeping form overlooks the vale.
Hugrun’s Cauldron is a swampy mire in the Harg Mountains. Legend says that the giant was brewing a poisonous elixir to trick the gods, but Odin discovered the trick and Thor crunched him with a hammer blow. The remains of the poison sit in the cauldron, leeching it’s way into the depths of the earth.
Bees are messengers for the gods and other wights as they are always buzzing with gossip and tales, if you know how to listen.
Today, I explore the process for making maps for the kids lands in the game.
First, I started through a bunch of my resources on Scandinavian history and legends, including a bunch of books by old historians and story scholars, like A Description of the Northern Peoples by Olaus Magnus, Danish Histories by Saxo Grammaticus, Germania by Tacitus, and Teutonic Mythology by Jacob Grimm. I copied names and brief notes about major land features and countries.
I want to keep some real-world locales in the setting, but don’t want to be a slave to actual physical geography. I more want to honor the stories and legends of places, versus historical accuracy.
Step two, I wrote out some of the names on post-it notes to get a general placement for all of the countries and land masses. Then I took a picture and drew a map over the image.
Here is a first pass at a Midgard map. I’ve already chosen to add/change/remove some place names since making this, but it got enough of the world in my head that I figured I could move on to where the adventures will begin, Saksaland.
In the first adventures, the players will be traveling North in Saksaland to get to their future school, the Kraghall Academy. Think of it like any of the various ways Harry Potter had to take to get to Hogwarts. I already had some local flavor in place for the adventure and now needed a map.
I did a number of sketches on paper until I liked the layout and had everything I wanted to include. Once I had a final sketch, I took a photo and set it as a background in Clip Studio Paint.
I started with the trees first, as I knew they’d be the most time consuming. Saksaland has three major forest types: spruce, beech, and birch. I made 3 or 4 individual trees of each the beech and birch and then copy and pasted them in varied clusters to give them a random appearance.
After lots of copying, I had the forests in place.
The spruce trees were all drawn individually, but I may go back and make some spruce tree materials for future use.
The rest of the map was done in the same ink and dirty wash as the rest of the art for the game.
I am adhering to one of the major tenants of Dungeon World: draw maps, leave blanks. It’ll be fun to see if we can go back to any of these things later on in the campaign.