Friday, March 23, 2012

Beyond the Flanaess: Zindia and the Golden Jungle

As promised, I'm continuing to undertake my mapping project, doing the lands beyond the Flanaess in the Darlene style (nowhere near as cool as the original, of course, but a close enough approximation). Today I present the lands to the southwest of the Sea of Dust; the many kingdoms of Zindia, the Ryuujin Dominion, and the southeastern reaches of the lands of the Celestial Imperium.

I've also redone the first map in the series, making some corrections and changes. The rivers in the jungles look much better now, and I've added "Raj" ("kingdom") to the names of the Zindian lands. As always, click to embiggen:

Most significantly, I've changed "Nippon" to "Woguo". The appearance of "Nippon" as the name for this nation comes from Dragon Annual #1 and it's famous map of the lands beyond the Flanaess, but explicitly states that this is probably not the right name. Some GH fans use "Ryuujin", from an article in Dragon #277, but nothing explicitly ties Ryuujin to the Nippon on the map other than the fact that they both sound Japanese. Given the fact that Ryuujin loosely means "dragon king" in Japanese, I object to it as the name of the place for the simple fact that it would render the names of the two seas surrounding it (the Sea of Nippon and the Sea of the Dragon King) superfluous. So, given that there is no real canonical name for the place, I'm going with Woguo pending a more authoritative ruling.

I didn't update the small gazeteer I did earlier, but Zindia as I envision it is not one monolithic empire, but rather a mixture of several different independent states. Some, the various Raj's, are more traditional feudal-type realms. Others, the Ashrams, are communal realms where everyone is, in theory at least, of equal rank and peaceful co-existence is paramount.

The Golden Jungle is a land of dinosaurs and ruined cities. Shemri-no, the free city, is a land of legend, where powerful priest-mages supposedly keep the very multiverse itself in balance. Visitors to the place are rare, visitors who return from it are almost unheard-of. I deliberately did not place the lands from the "Sagard the Barbarian" books here as was done in Oerth Journal 26. If one looks at the maps in the books themselves, it's really a poor fit, and despite the existence of a place called "Ratik" in the first book, they aren't really set on Oerth, but Yarth, and I prefer to keep my 'rths separate.

The Celestial Imperium of Suhfang (Shufeng) is also seen, at least in part, in the latest map. While the central Empire is still solid, consisting of a number of different provinces, the outlying regions have fallen away and become independent states unto themselves. Thus we see kingdoms such as Yanjing and Yuyuan. Some of those breakaway kingdoms on the far side of the Tsangling Mountains have themselves been conquered by the expanding empire of Woguo, and are now part of its Dominion on the mainland.

Aside from the overall geography and a couple of the place names, little of these maps is canon. But they're useful (I hope) and certainly fun to make, and I certainly don't mind giving a slightly different take on the lands beyond the Flanaess.

EDIT: If you look over to the right in the "Free Resources" section, you'll now see links to the full-sized .png files. That should quiet all you who are demanding larger versions of the maps; that's as big as I've got on my hard drive! ;-)

Next up: I'm either going north, and covering more of the Celestial Imperium, Orcreich, etc. or going even further west and covering Erypt and the eastern reaches of some far-fabled lands such as Lynn and the Red Kingdom. We shall see.

Maps done using the superb Hexographer mapping software. Check it out if you haven't already!


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