Flanaess & Hepmonaland 576CY Map - 2022 Edition

Here is the final version!!

You can get them here: https://www.annabmeyer.com/576cy-download/

Only recommend the PDF version for those with really powerful computers, the size of this map is in many ways too big for the PDF format. It has layers like older PDF versions.

Thank you all for supporting this project, it took a bit over a year and a lot of long hours of work but I'm really pleased with the result and it is a good leg to stand on until all the content can be migrated into a GIS based map.

Here is a list of the changes:

Changed the internal borders of the Duchy of Urnst to provincial.

Blackfriar Manor  --> Blackfair Manor

Shield Reclaimed - From Bastion of Faith

Removed misplaced Jewel River text label

Changed Fleichshriver to Freehold

Tweaked the roads of Freehold

Densac Gulf, Pearl Sea and Vohun Ocean labels placement adjusted

Johnsport, river and road adjustments

Blemu Castle added

Old Town of Blemu renamed to Harrowkeep

Knurl moved and border adjusted

Nivlek moved

Roads around Knurl adjusted

Named the road from Harrowkeep to Spinecastle, The Harrowing Road

Wild Coast, Town of Blue Bay added

South Olman Isle, added Atloxtin and Mahuatl

Narisban, added heraldry

Ratik, added Cavrik's Cove

Added Boval Islands

Added Estold Islands

Fharlanst Castle, moved a bit south

Mansbridge, moved east and changed to a small valled town

Hochoch moved to west side of the Realstream

The Docks added next to Stoink

Goldchasm moved further into the Adri

Adjusted Great Kingdom Adri border

Nanonshaven changed to Nannonshafen and moved westwards

Added Flosh Crossing, from Saga of Old city p259

Agnelford renamed Ongleford and moved to the Tessar Torrent west of Knurl

Oddgave Hill added from Saga of Old City

Sharpwall removed

Downslope removed

Adjusted Almor western border

Druid's Well moved further into the Adri

Added Ripper Hills

Changed Blemu Uplands to Tessar Uplands

Len Lakofka's elven town Labelas Grove and Treant Moot added in Axewood

Lo Nakar relocated a bit to the west to better match Amy Crittendens OJ35 article

The Eddri Line of keeps in Idee are now labeled

Heraldry added for Sybarate Isle

Sheldomar River, the first part renamed Kla'arkash River

Shiboleth moved north and roads rearragned

The Black Obeslisk site added in the Rushmoors

Riddlings Pass moved north

Added Rutherton and Mt Rantoloch in Tehn

Changed Sterich from a March to an Earldom

Uskedge  and its  Marchland added to the North Province

Red Falls changed to large town

Baronies of Highlander added

Split Rock added in the Rovers

Legend updated with Imperial borders, edited text and new sea depths

Lo Reltarma moved to Len's original locations on the small island

Pel Reltarma added

Lake Farmin removed

Garrotten moved to Lake Farmin

Manville moved to Garrotens old location

Asmogorgon upgraded to a town

Removed a few roads and sea lanes in the SW

Galesford added in Nyrond

Cepentar added in eastern Hardby territory

Macroom renamed Gysselen

Shanscross added in Veluna, from Saga of Old city

Road from Veluna city to Littleberg via Shanscross added

Stump in Furyondy moved north to the road to Laurelinn, from artifact of Evil

Pen-Wilds area added in the northern Barrier Peaks, from Sea of Death

Hardby heraldry updated

Bardillingham added in the Vale of the Mage, from Sea of Death Gord book

Added Jotslpat heraldry, CASL

Applebee removed

Ruined city of Zinbyle in the Sea of Dust is named

Added Jungle of Lost Ships

Added Turucambi

Dustbrigde heraldry added

River changes on the terrain map

Franz river and its tributaries


Nesser River


Added rivers along the cost of the Gulf of Ghayar

Chanded the small river flowing through Innspa

Read More
MeyerHawk - Shield Land Campaign Heraldry
Time for a first in depth MeyerHawk post, there will be many more coming as I present my campaign and content from it. First I just need to say that this post is delayed by about a week due to the tragedy going on in Ukraine, my thought are with everyone who are suffering and have lost family and friends due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. War and atrocities are a vital part of the fun in fantasy games, but in the real world is something completely different and horrifying.  I hope that you and everyone you know are safe and unaffected by the war. Now lets travel to my version of the Shield Lands in 598CY, and things in this article is written to depict my campaign and its history and current events. Your campaign might be drastically different, so pick the things like find useful and discard the rest! Iuz have held the territory for  more than a decade and before then the Shield Lands was attacked by the Horned Society - Bandit Kingdom force. So when the Hordes of the "Old Empire", which is what Iuz calls his lands in an attempt to remake himself as  an established power and not the upstart newcomer to the Flanaess her really is. The Old One has competition, public visible in the form of the knights of The Holy Shielding based in Critwall, the Kingdom of Furyondy and its allies in the form of Veluna and the Elves. A number of more or less hidden powers working various ways without directly announcing  their goals or even presence, but if you know where to look you can find traces of them, in courtrooms, in the shadows, in places forgotten due to distance or time. Their symbols can be found if you know where to look, and this article will present some of these factions at least some of their symbols. Shield Lands had its beginnings on the big island in the middle of the Nyr Dyv  that was settled by a minor noble Aerdy family the Walworths early in the westwards expansion of the Great Kingdom. When the Earldom of Walworth was established on the island that from then on was going to be called Walworth Isle they adopted the heraldry below. It depicts the white walls of Admundfort, the red of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond and the blue of the Great Kingdom. A link across symbolising the importance of the isle and Admundfort as a connection between the halves of the empire, and the Aerdy Sun at the top shows in serves under Rauxes. After 250CY when Ferrond struck it out on their own the Earldom of Walworth wasn't sure which way to go, so more and more got left in the middle so gradually they dropped the Aerdy Sun but kept the rest intact. After 350CY the Shield Lands was formed and the Earldom became the capital province if the newly formed realm and adopted a new version of its heraldry to display its status as a part of the Shield Lands. Later Critwall became the capital and biggest settlement in the realm. Critwall started out as a ringed hillfort common in the area long before the migrations when this was a northern borderland of the Flan. A few old symbols exist from these ancient times, and there are still ceremonies done by some old faith adherents using shield like this to show their reverence for Mother Beory. From these ancient times there are other relics still kept in places seldom visited by those not seeking out the old and often wicked. From a time of witchcraft, undead lords and worse hails this cult symbol. Despite its age the symbols have enough potency to still linger. Two millennium ago it would have been much more potent and looked something like this: When the modern Critwall was founded on the old ruined hillfort by the conquering Great Kingdom it quickly became a bastion for a group of knights following Heironeous and they adopted a clean steel shield with the tower that was clad in dark stone from Rauxes and so the Black Tower symbol was born. The Aerdy Sun was of course included to show that Critwall served the overking. The dark stone from Rauxes was removed from the tower when signs of evil was reported taking hold in Rauxes. The political fallout from this made the now growing city to adopt new heraldry, to show the increased defenses and the closeness to Admundfort the same white wall and colors was added. The tower became white and a slightly smaller Aerdy Sun remained. Much later when the Order of the Shield was formed and became the leaders of the realm the Black tower was reintroduced this time on top of red symbolising life with a border of white or metal symbolising Heironeous. This shield are now the symbol of both the realm the order and the capital. Two of the many temples in Critwall have guards that use heraldry to show their mission and status, the Pelorian and Mayaheine guards. After its founding the Shield Lands expanded eastwards  along the coast towards Radigast City and the core lands of the Empire. A town grew at a bay that had the shape of an axe and Axeport was born and adopted a simple shield with the blue waves of the Nur Dyv under the tower of Critwall. A small town at the mouth of the Sanstin River was founded, Delard. A place of fishermen and bridge guards making sure land based trade could move safely across the river. Delard's heraldry shows its location west of Axeport and that it is a place centered around water and fishing. Delard was a part of the former Earldom of Axeport and are now included in the Iuzian client state known as the Barony of Axeport, and have thus both kept using their old heraldry, pretending to be a civilized realm. Just west of Delard is the town of Auldet, which before the wars was a stopover along the road between Delard and Southkeep. Catering to travelers was the main business, but the high meadows of the Serion Hills with its blooms produced legendary honey which made it onto the towns shield in the form of daisies and oak leaves as an homage to the magnificent old oak that still stands out side the town walls. Auldet's shield is topped by the black tower of Critwall to show its allegiance. Gensal was an important settlement in Shield Lands famous for its orchards and the wonderful fruit and cider that came from it. The herladry of Gensal therefore has a rich tree with the life giving red apples said to have given the red color found on the banner of the Shield Lands banner. The tree didn't look good towards a red background, which is the reason the top part of the shield are red behind the tower instead of the customary white. The town and fortress of Southkeep was built to protect the passage across the Sente rivers and the road east from Critwall. Originally it was part of the Earldom of Axeport and therefore adopted the blue beneath the white and the tower. The first commandant had a pet Dyv Cat also knows as an otter cat, so of course his bellowed animal made it onto the crest and have been there ever since. After the Iuzian invasion Gensal was taken over by a hoard of hobgoblins originally from the Horned Lands given the task of keeping the knights in Critwall at bay.  The hoard are now lead by Glushnag the Mighty, a 7 foot tall earless hobgoblin wielding a mighty spear. Their banner are two large horns with the Iuzian bone face in between them. It is rumored that the face is later edition to their banner and it used to be the two simple horns but Glushnag is wise enough to keep any old versions of the shield hidden. Similar to Axeport, Ringland have been revamped as an Iuzian client state and also kept ts old heraldry, a wild black boar on red background beneath a wall with three towers. Ringland is a ringed hillfort that have survived into modern times and that had, of course, to be shown off on their crest. the style are black and made so there are little doubt about what realm they used to belong to. Stahzer started out its life as an important guard post  along the Great Northern Aerdy Road that stretched from Urnst to the Ritensa River. As it grew to become a border town on the Great Kingdoms northern frontier in central Flanaess heraldry was developed to show its significance and standing. It had the  base red of Ferrond with a golden row of runes taken from the locals meaning home hearth and safety. It was topped with the Great Kingdom blue and the Aerdy Sun. The example above shows one of the few aged shields still in existence from so long ago. The blue have turned mostly corroded green and it is tarnished, but still have a bit of the flare of the then vibrant and expanding Great Kingdom. After the formation of the Shield Lands the heraldry was updated to reflect this, but the bottom colors and runes stayed. Stahzer today is a staging point for Iuz presence and control, and a wall is being raised to protect the the empire's core lands from incursions across the open grasslands. The new heraldry depicts the horrors of the Old One's deeds with a wall, bleeding skulls and fiendish creatures guarding it. Weslan was for along time only a keep that provided a safe haven for the many herders threatened by marauding bandits from the north or west. There where many of these old flan hillforts that got modernized and upgraded i the early years of the Shields Lands establishment, and Weslands location turned it into a hub of north central Shield Lands.   The tall keep had sturdy defenses and a sizable presence of Heironeous knights of the Shield so Weslan adopted heraldry a modified version of the Critwall tower on a silver metal background. After the Iuz invasion a mockery of the old shield was adopted by Vayne who know control a large potion of former Shield Lands from it. Hallorn used to be a small town twenty years ago, but now it is turning into city and a major center of power within the empire. Advisors in neighbouring courts is stating to see it as a new centrally located capital of the empire. The symbol used by the troops guarding it signals the connection to Dorakaa using a very old symbol, the world wyrm of very ancient origins also used on the sign of the Old Lands of Iuz. The Old Empire uses a series of symbols to intimidate, and signals its various factions. First is the sign of the empire, a grinning skull on a blood red background. The elite forces of the Empire are the Legion of Black Death, and it has the grinning skull on a black background. It is rumored that the skull on each shield is made up of bone fragments of slain enemies and the agonies of the fallen victims gives each of the shields great potency. Iuz runs a gamut of secretive organizations along the ones on public display, one of them are the secretive Shadowclaw. The Claw are Iuz's organization for destabilizing his enemies.  It consists of a menagerie of highly capable characters willing to lie, murder, steal and more on Iuz command. Their symbol are a set of bones derived from a demon skull of some sort. The symbol is rarely seen unless it is to intimidate and terrify Iuz opponents, and then usually carved into a dead victim. The Boneshadow is well knows to all Greyhawk fans who have read the Gord novels, with Obmi and Keak. They are members of an Iuz group tasked to carry out missions critical to Iuz and the have a symbol never really seen by outsiders, but victims of their deeds have been heard talking about it, most often after their death. The commander of the Black Guard and Iuz commander in chief are General Sindol, a cambion like Iuz himself and his sign have been seen at the battles during the war and occasionally since then as well. Below is his shield. There is rumors that a very special group of critters sever Iuz and Sindol as body guards and as ultimate guarantors of the empire, called the Old Phalanx. Their shields where first reported to be pure black, but that was only from a distance. Up closer you can see some sort of fiendish face. The fiendish visage can come to life and intimidate and even send weaker souls straight to the abyss. Never seen but rumored is that the fiendish shields can distort reality and literary turn the surroundings into the abyss and consume enemies in an instant. Some sort of hellish mockery from Iuz maybe? This is by no means an complete set of heraldry of the area but a good start. More to develop are Law's Forge where the Shield Lands was constituted, Westfield and the baronies of the eastern Furyondy and more needs to be looked as well. I hope you might find these shields and symbols useful for your games. Thank you again for your support!! Here is a link to a RAR file with all of the images: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bd2ajn3gfcs25g5/MeyerHawk.rar?dl=0
Read More
Project Idea: Blackmoor in Arneson's Honor
Blackmoor is a forgotten place in more ways than one, it is one of the most remote realms of the World of Greyhawk. It has also lost most of its lore and history, and even the geography have been lost over decades of remakes of the Greyhawk setting. I played my part in this  as well, when I mapped the area over a decade ago my only sources was the Darlene and PaizoHawk maps, and the few paragraphs in the setting books to guide me. Thanks to the dedicated work of others like Dan Boggs researching the work of Dave Arneson and the role of his Blackmoor in the history and development of the Greyhawk Setting. You can find out more here: https://boggswood.blogspot.com and support Dan's work here: https://www.patreon.com/HiddenInShadowsand a blog post about this here: https://boggswood.blogspot.com/2021/07/the-blackmoor-greyhawk-map-anniversary.html Blackmoor has a rich and extensive lore and geography that was developed as a part of the original Greyhawk setting, but got lost, for the most part, when turning Greyhawk into a commercial product.  What we got instead was a simple barren and boring geography that doesn't make much sense and are not very supportive of interesting game play. An urge to try and improve the area and try to bring back the rich features of Arneson's Blackmoor grew on me. My Oerth planetary mapping project and a renewed interest in the whole planet and its history recent and ancient led me to a conversation with Dan Boggs. He has already researched a lot about Blackmoor and Greyhawk and begun the process of trying to unify the terrain and lore. I'm going to concentrate on the geography part in this project, but as usual with an eye on the lore as well. The goals are to try and create an updated version of my Flanaess map with a geography that are both much more in line with Arneson's Blackmoor and also helps improve the geography of the area. The main problem with the geography as it is on the Darlene map is the fact that the Cold Marshes extend almost all the way to the Icy Sea, but drains all across the subcontinent and reach the ocean through the Nesser and Selintan rivers thousands of miles away. Arneson's Blackmoor also has a bit of weird system of lakes and rivers, originally based on amp of the Netherlands that was altered to fit into the Castle & Crusade Society Great Kingdom campaign map. What I will try to do is to add another adjustment to try and merge the Arneson Blackmoor terrain into my model of the Flanaess terrain.   Below is a first test to see how that can be done: This can work really well I think since Arnesen's Blackmoor is not very large to begin with and a fair bit of enlargement is needed to make the terrain work as a Flanaess Blackmoor replacement. One thing have to be adjusted and that are to separate the Cold Marshes from the wetlands in the center of Blackmoor, if the Cold Marshes are draining south through Dulsi it cannot also drain north. I have accepted several marchlands draining in two directions, but this is a bit too much for me..lol.  So I took Dan's work and tweaked it a bit more and here is a first look: This is a workable solution I think that could make for an interesting upgrade of the area improving it both for us Greyhawk players, but also making it more compatible with Arneson's Blackmoor. Another (older I think) version of Arneson's Blackmoor show the water system more to be more of deep saltwater system of bays, rivers and wetlands : You can find a thread on Piazza about it:  https://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2976 This geography is very appealing to me with a depth of rich waterways in a more natural layout, which is due to the fact that it is based on a map of the Netherlands.  There are several different Blackmoor maps out there that are more or less close to the original map. Further research and discussion is definitely needed, and there are lots of people in the community that know more about Blackmoor than me. This is a very interesting project that I'm sure would be an enhancement to the map, and make for a more interesting geography for both Greyhawk and Blackmoor players.  My plan is to read more, talk to other and be open to input. then when I have more to go on in a few months its time to take some time to move it to the next level and start on a more detailed concept. Like almost all my projects it starts with an idea, initial research, sketches followed by more research and discussion to find out if it is something to commit time and effort to. I think a Blackmoor upgrade can be worth it. What do you guys think?
Read More
New Year - New Horizons 2021 - 2022

Intro - Project Lag, Pandemics and Understanding

2021 was a year of  projects that refused to die, my two big commissions faced delays, retractions and restarts multiple times, derailing my planning for large parts of the year. Despite all this 2021 was a year with reasonable amount of progress. For the first time in my Greyhawk gaming history I'm really starting to feel like I starting know the setting in depth.  For decades I've been nose deep in all types of Greyhawk related material trying to absorb details for my Flanaess map, now I'm starting to connect the dots and my Oerth Project have made me expand my horizons both in space and in time.

Shield Lands - a new generation begins

After spent twenty years of working on the same map using, for the most part using the same tools, 2021 was the year I broke new ground both in technology and scope. I started a new campaign in 2020, running a campaign online for the first time and I wanted a new set of maps to bring out the landscape and to be a detailed canvas for my ambitious campaign. I've spent almost five years trying to figure out what kind of map would work best, level of details, what data and so forth. I settled for the "Porta Potty ScaleTM" with 5ft/pixel, detailed enough to show individual trees and buildings and still be able to cover many hundreds of square miles  per individual map. A height map as detailed vertically as horizontally and full realism in things and drainage, foliage and texture was the goal. The hardest nut to crack are rivers and there are still parts that have to be made manually but the result with some tedious work is good enough to make me happy and a model of Shield Lands are now taking shape that are a dream come true, a landscape detailed enough for me to act as a canvas for campaigning for years to come. Pouring over the details have inspired me to reach deep into both history and contemporary Shield Lands Content to create my version of the lands and continue the story with my gaming group. We have fought over and liberated Auldet from the clutches of Iuz and are now heading off to the Dragon Hide Caves to find the characters past as well as their future. Along side the campaign map I'm also developing a standard for encounter maps at 20 pixels/5ft to be used in VTT's an printed for in person games.  To map using standards is important for me so when I create things like textures, props, templates etc that can be reused, tweaked and inserted in new places over and over again with minimal fuss.  Over time this will speed up things and improve quality making it possible to map as part of game prep with out it taking too much longer. Most VTT maps out there are 100px/5ft or more and look much better than what I have decided to use, what are my rational behind the low quality. I've found (the hard way) that relying on digital sketching abilities  to be much faster than using a specialized mapping software. Tools like Inkarnate, DungeonFog or Campaign Cartographer can produce fantastic results, but they are fiddly to use and brake my flow and they have a hard time to cope with my existing content. Photoshop and Krita have become my go to tools for this, giving me power, speed, flexibility and compatibility. Krita is an open source drawing tool with lots of innovative tools perfect for sketching and painting and a good complement to Photoshop's technical arsenal of sometimes overly complicated tools. For me Krita is a tool I will use mainly for creation of  props and decorative elements for maps and other graphics. The Shield Lands will be a big project this upcoming spring and early summer, and I need to have maps and prints ready for my D&D in Castle Campaign in England. All the material will be available for download and you will be able to order prints of them as well.

Oerth - a first model

It was with trepidation I took on the task of creating my first model of the whole planet Oerth, a simple and more sketch-like one, but covering the entire planet. It was very much unchartered territory when I started planning for it a couple of years ago, first reading what little material I could find and study what others had done. My approach was to concentrate on the physical aspect of the planet and try to create a "best of" version and be inclusive, Oerth is a very big place with room for a lot. I started with the rightfully terrible Dragon Annual map and a few extras like Frank Menzers Antaria (or Aquaria) that I have chosen to call Menzeri in his honor. After months of sketching and nearly a hundred versions later I felt I had  transformed the "DA1 cowhide" into something I felt I could progress with. After that my Oerth project took on a life of its own with a deep dive into what kind of planet could have generated the Flanaess and its cherished stories. A climate sketch and historical variations opened up a huge rabbit hole for my imagination and a series of articles that are the most interesting thing I've done so far. The geography and its history are a skeleton for a deeper historic series of articles I intend to develop for my own campaign and share with you all.  No time plan for completion, but snippets are being created already and its is a lot of fun and make me feel at home in the setting. Ancient Flan history is what I have begun with and it is one of the main plot lines of my Shield Lands campaign. A line of events that can trace its origins to Keraptis, Dragotha and the worship of undead, fiends and worse, at a time when wisdom was scarce,  knowledge deadly, lives short and brutal, in the time of the Ur-Flan.

Streaming - Legends & Lore - Gabbin - Fantasy Mapping Show

From humble beginnings with the Legends & Lore Show a few years ago it has with the help of Mike Bridges and Jay Scott grown to more than I dared to hope for. We have lots of fun every week and now almost a hundred or so of you tune in every week, thank you so much the  talk shows means a lot for men and are a great way to stay in touch with the community and force me to try and stay on top of a myriad of topics. The Fantasy Mapping Show is of to a good start thanks to my great co-hosts Alyssa and Jay, and we will try and improve in 2022. My vision for the show is for it t be a place to get ideas, inspiration and information about fantasy cartography to help beginners and seasoned veterans alike. We will try and stay away from turning it into a "How-To"" show, and not get bogged down in menus and detailed workflows. That is a side of the craft best suited for Live Mapping Streams, which I had a test run with on YouTube. To my surprise it was way more popular and rewarding than I thought, so it need to come back in 2022. I had a very problematic last try, due to both bad connection and an overloaded computer. I streamed in 1440p which seems a bit too much for my 5 year old computer, so worst case scenario I have to go down to 1080p until I get a better computer. It will be a pain to work in, but for a couple of hours a week I'm willing to sacrifice some ergonomics for a stable stream. With Jay having acquired Twitch partnership for his LordGosumba channel,  I'm going to try and use Twitch for my Live Streams and piggy back on his fame a bit as a part of the Greyhawk Creatives Group. Live Mapping Streams are something I will make into a regular feature for me with a weekly session. I need to invest in better gear like a better webcam, lighting and a capture card s I can separate the burden of video encoding onto separate computer and maybe a greenscreen to make better use of  the screen real estate. I will try and hang it behind Minnie so she can still be a part of the show, we will see how it can be done best. The live streams can be deep dives into the minutia of the craft of fantasy cartography, and be a good compliment to the Fantasy Mapping Show and Legends & Lore. Centered on techniques and How To, but with room for how that ties into my campaign and Greyhawk in general.


Heraldry have become a new cherished field for me, and something I love to dig into a few hours a week, and the updated "Real Shields" series have been a huge success with lots of great feedback, so more is coming, way more in fact. I have a new batch almost ready to be published, about two hundred more of the existing shields to make over and a list of new design to do so it will be a regular part of my patreon going forward. I plan to expand it into tabard and battle stands as well. A Heraldry Compendium is in the works for nest year. Format still TBD, but  my thinking is along the lines of a series of 11x17 inch PDF like the atlas and a 24x36 inch poster sized PDF or two as well in print ready quality.

Map and Atlas Update

In the middle of the biggest map update since I started mapping the World of Greyhawk over twenty years ago, with a Hepmonaland and Ilse of Dread expansion as well as some small expansions in the other directions. The 576CY version is well under way with a few more sessions left before it is ready. I have a list of a bit over 50 items plus an experiment, I'm going to try out a set of Imperial borders  for the Great Kingdom. That way I have  four levels of borders instead of three which means I can divide up the North and South province into a bit more detail, this so the mentioned local baronies and similar divisions can be better visualized. The start of the Atlas work is delayed a couple of weeks due to a Kobold Press emergency commission, and a delayed Griffon Lore Games commission. This has been a recurring theme last year and came back one last time during the holidays, but hopefully that is all done now and I can concentrate on Greyhawk for a couple of months getting it all done. This includes the Flanaess & Hepmonaland Map in both a 576CY and 598CY versions, and Atlas versions of both of them. Will probably keep me occupied until Gary Con, but will be worth it I hope. A good set of updated maps that can serve the community well until a new generation of GIS based maps are ready to replace them.


The massive undertaking to convert the existing maps into proper GIS (Geographical Information Systems) maps will begin in 2022. How long it will take depends on how many hands will work on it, and it will b an ongoing task from now on. First it will be to georeference existing data and associate proper symbols and texts to it, and then when that is done create style templates and then publish templates for different scales, sizes etc. I have only done small tests so far, so it is too early for me to say how long it will take. One of many benefits with using GIS is tat once its done you can re-use the information when needed which will make future maps make direct use of the existing data. for example my Shield Lands maps will be able to import and then add detail to the large set of data created for the Flanaess. My goal is to dedicate capacity on my webserver to host map data than can me imported straight into QGIS and other GIS tools by anyone as a base for their own versions of Greyhawk.

Better Tools

After years of waiting it looks like 2022 might be the year when a new generation of terrain creation tools is coming. I've just downloaded a new alpha build of Gaea that has tiled builds and proper river tools. I know they are no stable and fully featured yet, but it is a start and I'm very eager to put them to the test. Both World Machine and Gaea now comes with PBR (Physics Based Rendering) materials so you can create texturing and export it properly to other tools like Blender and Unreal. Game engines are coming of age in 2022 as well with Unreal Engine 5 coming out, and a voxel add on that might be the way to go is here as well. Voxels are bit like fancy Minecraft maps with higher resolution, and the  nifty thing is that they can be changed easily afterwards. Things like digging a cave, carving out a road through the mountains and more can be done "in game" which might be very handy in a world management tool.

Hire Me a Day per Month

This spring when the 2022 editions of the Map and Atlas are done I will launch a new Patreon tier for those who want to have  and maintain their own custom versions of the map for their own campaigns. I've been doing it for Jay, and I will open up 5 Patreon memberships at $50/month special tier. It is a lot of money but I think it can be worth it for some DM's who doesn't want to get and learn Adobe Creative Suite, and instead hire me a day er month to do the work. It can include anything from terrain edits, settlement changes, heraldry etc. You will hire me a day a month do work on your Greyhawk Campaign map! If this is successful I might open up more than five spots, or it might not work out and have to be cancelled, we will see. Hopefully it can be a useful service for a few DM's  who want to invest a lot more in their cartography. I'm regularly being asked to do this so I think it is worth testing out in a more formal way.


My Greyhawk campaign have existed as loose notes and sketchy maps along side my on and off playing for over thirty years, but now it is starting to take shape in a more organized way. Area and Settlement maps, NPC's, heraldry and history will be published regularly for my mid tier patron members and up. 2021 was a start with Auldet and Bogford, this year look forward to Dragonhide Caves, Serion Keep, Delard, Axeport, Critwall along with old Flan lore and NPC's from my Shield Lands as well as my take on ancient history of the Flanaess.

Thank you!!!

My goal was to reach 300 patreon members this year and thanks to you we exceeded that a little bit, thank you so much for making a dream come true for me - to work on Greyhawk maps every day!!!! :) Lets make 2022 a great Greyhawk year!!
Read More
More Updated Heraldry
Here are the next batch of updated Greyhawk heraldry, and it is a big and diverse bunch this time! Since I'm doing them alphabetically (for the most part) they are from all over, and now I'm really getting into this and feel that my Photoshop mojo can be applied in full. As so often, what was supposed to be a small fill out project  have turned out to be a very interesting rabbit hole. This is so much fun to do these, ad they take around half an hour each so I do one or two most days in between things. Perfect to get creativity back again! Special note are the Fell Ichor Kobolds that wasn't that inspiring to start with: but with about an hour of editing I really like how it turned out: A classic that got a facelift (litterary) this time is also from the Pomarj, the Goblin shield: and her is my new version: It is not perfect, still need a bit of more work to work out a horned white nose, but not a bad start. Other favorite in this batch are Fort Gellner and Dumadan, they now look authentic and interesting. I'm surprised how cool the colors of the Dumadan shield came out. The boring pale purple loos great in the back of a golden harp.   A series of heraldry from my Rel Deven campaign are here and I'm happy with how the Aerdy sun and crown turned out. Even the Baklunish got in here with the shield of Ekbir. I hope you like these as much as I do making them, thank you all for making this possible! :)
Read More
The Big Picture...
Time for a look at where things stand on things when it comes to my mapping projects.  Flanaess - Hepmonaland Update Things are just a little bit behind due to a hard drive failure and me eating some bad food and missed my con save. This have put me about a week behind which is not terrible bad and I'm trying to catch up. In the image above you can see an overview of the area covered by the update, whe highlighted area is the existing area. Expanded a bit in the north and west to integrate the Flanaess into my planetary model better, and also give me a bit more flexibility in the Atlas layout. The big addition is of course in the south east with the addition of Hepmonaland. The terrain of Hepmonaland is probably about 80% done and  ready for the final editing. I'm happy with the result and the time it took to make it. It is about a quarter of the Flanaess in size and took me about two months to do. The Flanaess took me over 5 years in full time work, so experience and better tools really pays off. The success wit Hepmonaland have made me rethink my approach to expanding the map. With GIS based mapping in order to get geo-referencing right and the abilities of Photoshop, and upcoming versions of Gaea and World Machine some really cool stuff can be made in the not too distant future. The other side of this is community acceptance, which might take some time and tweaking of the planetary model further. The possibilities in this direction looks much more promising than I thought. December will be the moth for all the text, symbols and other corrections to be made. It will be a VERY labor intensive month, and I might cancel all my game sessions to make it happen in time. The updated Atlas might slip into next year so I think it is better to start re-labeling this update to 2022 and have the new Flanaess and Hepmonaland maps ready first week in January, and the Atlas a few weeks later. Pre-release versions will come to you guys on a weekly basis or so during December, with a public release candidate around Christmas, so I can get feedback to correct typos and the like a week or two later. A full resolution first look at the whole new terrain map, including Hepmonaland will come soon, a week or so. Heraldry This project is much more successful and popular than I could have ever anticipated, and fun and quick to do as well. This means I will keep doing a batch every week and  hopefully have them all done in a couple of months. Not enough time for this map update, time will tell, but the new heraldry will be a great material for a Heraldry Compendium and poster in 2022. I have some ideas for that, share more on that when we get closer and have to make decisions.   There will also be a series of MeyerHawk heraldry for mid level patreon memebers.  Shield Lands Campaign Project My Shield Lands Campaign and the mapping that came with it was off to a great start with the best work I have done so far. The problem is that it takes a lot of time to create maps at tis level of detail, most of this is the fact that is it a prototype and I'm learning as I'm doing it. It has also showed the weakness of my almost 5 years old machines, I need WAY more computing power which is very costly and hard to come by at the moment, so new hardware has to wait a bit.  The project will be in the back burner until the map and atlas are done in January and then be the main focus for a month or two to create the maps needed for but the campaign I'm running and the one I'm planning for D&D In a Castle 2022 in England in October next year. I want to have all the maps dune in the spring and then I can develop all other stuff during the summer. This content will be available to mid level patreons as soon as I've used it in England and for all Patreon members later, and then for everyone after that.  Live Streams The number of viewers and positive feedback I've gotten from my Live Streams have really taken me by surprise. This means that I need to do more and better live steams! I'm going to figure out how to best improve my setup, and when I get a new computer I can start streaming all sort of stuff including 3D terrain creation. I'm going to test green screen and better lighting next year. Special Patron Only live streams is definitely something I want to do, working on things that are still secret for the public.  Patreon Thank you all for your support, you make this possible, thanks to you I can work on this on a professional level, and for over a month it has been a full time undertaking, which I intend it to be for the rest of the year as well. Next spring I have set aside time for a commission, but with more Patreon support that might become time spent on maps for you guys! I plan to introduce a $50 per month tier for those who want to have their own version of the map. For that price you hire me for a day per month to work on a custom edit of the map just for you! I will offer five of these memberships for those who want me to keep working on a custom version of the map.  If it works well and the spot fill up I might open up for more slots in the future, it is a new concept so it needs to be tested. 
Read More
Hepmonaland - Design Decisions
Hepmonaland is coming and here is a first look at my version of it, focusing on the lakes and rivers. The best published map of the continent we have are from TSR11374 - The Scarlet Brotherhood, a sourcebook I really appreciate but the map leaves a lot to be desired. Remember that this is a work in progress and my map is not finished yet! My main problems with this map are not the styling, it is a good looking map, it is the geography that puzzles me. The rivers are sometimes missing and at other times they slip into two on their way to the ocean.  Lets start when the Flanaess map ends at Tchlapac Lake. It has two rivers flowing into it but no run-off which is unusual in most places, but highly unlikely in a tropical rainforest climate. If the lake had been closer to the ocean I would have assumed that it was connected to it through tunnels, in this case I  added a river flowing north west into the Pear Sea. This decision I made when mapping the northern Hepmonaland around 15 years ago, just filling in the rest and realized that it needs a bit of widening. I've made highlands "blend in" with the surrounding lands much more using foothills and gradual tapering of the landscape and also working with different general elevation differences in the landscape. The TSR map lacks the dimension and depicts a flat looking landscape with some hills and mountains protruding here and there. In reality landscapes are much more undulating and gradually shifting with high plateaus, mesas and plains that are sloped in various direction. All of this without really qualify as hills or mountains. The Ikani and Ibaz rivers have been given lots of tributaries and neighbouring smaller river systems. Jungles also don't stop growing 76 miles from the coast. I know it must be tempting for a traditional illustrator or artist to accentuate the coast like this to make them look pretty, but in my project we are out for a bit more accuracy, so the equator jungles extend to the coast for the most part. Especially on the eastern coast of Hepmonaland due to the more humid climate further south. The Iyapo area wit its Adaro forest presented a challange. I see the southern, and especially the south western Hepmonaland as dry and hot desert with  band of savannah south of the jungles near the equator. To try and fit a huge forest in the desert presented me with an interesting challenge to try and bring  water to sustain a forest to this dry land. Thankfully the TSR map has no rivers at all in the SW Hepmonaland, so lets assume the western coast is of the more high and cliffy kind redirecting the flow from the western Kelo Hills mainly south. The rivers drain into a large shallow depression on a plateau creating a huge wetland that will be mainly overgrown with forest. Due to the tropical and humid climate in the region where  some of the rivers feeding the Adaro it will receive at least some water all year round. A small runoff meanders down the mesa to the north west, filling up only only occasionally when the rains are extra abundant in the Kelo Hills. The TSR map has another conundrum,  Lake Keli. The Keli lacks a runoff, which I added  flowing to the SW into the ocean near Byanbo. Just like the Adaro, Lake Keli in the hot climate probably evaporates way more than it dilutes into the ocean. So the river valley I have added will mainly be dry. Water evaporation creates a regional climate wet enough to enable the Tabo forest to grow and create very favorable conditions for agriculture around the lake. Byanbo and the Ino Hills are said to have volcanoes in them so I made them a bit more impressive since Hepmonaland highlands are not described as either tall, great or in any other way significant. I'm taking this as a sign of interest on the writers and not a lack of geographical significance. Here is a typical example that from a geographical view, the name being the most interesting bit of information. The TSR map is just a blank and what I've done so far is only the start, this island requires some more work to try and create a landscape with black rock pillars that can sing!
Read More
Quick October progress report
Work on the Map and Atlas 2021 updates are under way, and here is a work in progress screen shot of the Isle of Dread. I'll keep working on the terrain for another couple of weeks and hope to be able to get some more area covered. Ocean depths are almost done and terrain is progressing well, and I have a ton of settlement and symbol updates ready for November and December. I'm so glad you like the my new take on heraldry, I think they are really cool and heraldry have become more and more a passion of mine and a topic that needs more attention. I made new versions without the edge and rivets which I think looks better, what do you guys think? My Shield lands stuff will be simmering in the background until next year, but a few cool things will be coming in that area as well. More locations and heraldry at least, but main focus is on the updated main map and atlas.  When it comes to heraldry I'm thinking it might be better to skip the heraldry appendix this time and concentrate on the map and index parts of the Atlas. Might be better to save the effort for a dedicated Greyhawk heraldry compendium next year, what do you think? 
Read More
Mapping Shield Lands Part 11: VGHC2 Points of Interest Slides

Here are my Shield Lands Campaign slides from my Virtual Greyhawk Con presentation. It nearly finished set of point of interest maps for the Southern Shield Lands.

The buildings have no height yet but apart from that they are almost all in a finished state. I'll be back with finished versions with more backstory and heraldry in a couple of weeks.  

Read More
Oerth: Human History - a scenario example
When I started my Oerth planet model project it was to try and place the Flanaess position on the globe for my transition to use GIS. Then the more I got into mapping Oerth the more interested I got  and starting to see possibilities and overlooked connections with the familiar stories of our favorite game setting. The geographic dimension of most fantasy setting seems to be rudimentary at best and Greyhawk follows that tradition of taking geography lightly and as a "mood setting backdrop" rather than a key aspect in shaping the stories. Science is telling us that the planet and its geographic aspects plays a central part in shaping all life, I think that should be the same for fantasy worlds as well and this project have given me a good opportunity to  do some "Oerthly fantasy science"! I've modeled the planet as I see it during the time of the Greyhawk campaign in the late 500's CY, as well as an version of Oerth in an ice age as well as during a hot climate. When and if you want to make use of ice ages and warmer periods in your campaign history will vary, but if you do there are some very interesting possibilities present themselves. Almost all fantasy setting comes with mysterious ancient cultures present in relics, sites in remote places and monuments hidden away in now inhospitable realms. Why these civilisations choose to build in the far off hostile regions  the stories rarely tells, and here I think a geo-historic approach can be very helpful in both inspiring and explaining  stories like who built the cairns in the Cairn Hills for example. So lets take a deeper look at what Oerthly geography has to offer! Civilizations need favorable and stable conditions to persists over long time to develop and thrive. In the map above I have marked out areas that are the most favorable over time for human like habitation, having a non arctic and non desert climate, and that are not prone to flooding in times of higher ocean levels. Interestingly the southern Flanaess, northern Hepmonaland and parts of the Amedio are well represented. This makes this region a prime candidate for the earliest civilizations, so maybe there are something into the idea of a human origin here evolving into Olman, Touv and Flan cultures. With the data of were the best long term areas for a human like civilization are, lets plot out good locations for city building in these areas.  Access to waterways are a key fact in this, and below is a map where I have done this for Oerth. A number of familiar locations show up, like Greyhawk, Chathold, Prymp, Rel Deven, Irongate, Pontylver and Lo Reltarma. It might not be a coincidence that the eleven cities of  Enstad, Courwood and Tringlee all are in this very stable and favorable location, the long lived elves could very well have used heir historic knowledge. Today there are many other places in the Flanaess that are better locations for a major settlement, the strength of these locations are  that they remain usable even in the case of a drastically changed climate. Lets look into how a hotter and colder climate will affect settlement patterns across Oerth beginning back in early human history and try look at Greyhawk history from a geographical perspective. Cold periods in history gives primitive humans and other civilizations new opportunities to expand across the planet in areas otherwise inaccessible, ocean levels are much lower creating land bridges, and the deserts are both smaller and less hot. Early hominids can begin spreading west and diversifying, this early ice ages is the first time of migrations, land migrations due to both lack of technology and large parts of the ocean are frozen over. Then the Oerth climate begun to heat up... A new world emerged where the oceans opened up and the land was often turned into scorching hot deserts. The western humans turned to the sea and migrated away from the heat towards the newly opened up north. A seafaring culture was created around what is now the western Dramidj, and back then is was connected to the tropics across oceans that have previously been deserts and steppes. This is the beginning of the Suel, the first great sea farers of Oerth. The Ur Flan where happy ruling the best lands on the planet with scant interest in exploring other parts of the world. The Olman world was thrown into the sea, literary, and large parts of what was left was turned into desert. This delt such a blow to Olman development that they haven't really recovered from it since. The Olmans of the southern Hepmonaland was isolated giving rise to a new off-shot culture, the Touv. The Touv used favorable winds and ocean currents to reach both the great southern continent and Mentzeri in the middle of the Solnor. The people that lived along the northern coasts of what would become the Baklunish lands enjoyed a favorable climate but the expanding gulf of Ghayar separated them turning them into the precursors of todays Baklunish and Oerids, the Bakluni ancestors on the wester side and the Oerids on the eastern. Life like this went on for a long time but big changes where coming, winter was coming. Oerth was dragged into a new ice age with a cooling climate. This meant problems for some and new opportunities for others.  the first to be hit by the oncoming cold was the Suel in the far north. They were forced to relocate south and came into conflict with the Balkuni, and to a lesser extent the Oerid that held lands further east. This meant hard fought battles for survival and the Suel was the less experienced in land warfare and was often driven to flee. The Suel fled in two directions, one smaller group of eastern Suel settlers along the Corian polar coast decided to try their luck and fled eastwards to the Thillonrian Peninsula and ended up occupying a group of larger islands in the northern Solnor east of mainland Flanaess that where exposed due to the sinking ocean levels. This group would later colonize the Thillonrian  when the climate warmed up again. The main part of the surviving Suel ended up on a plateau south of the Suel that was turning from being a desert into fertile lands with a set of large lakes and decided to stay. They would form the pinnacle of Suel civilization over the next 5000 years, but their memories of the wars with the Baklunish would remain in their tales... The Oerids and the Baklunish divided up the  tundra, steppes and huge forest of the Baklunish basin. The Oerids had their back towards the glacier covered Yatil, Crystalmist and Sulhaut ranges develop a fierce stance towards intruders so the Bakluni opted to spread west and south instead. In the Flanaess the Flan now came into their cultural zenith developing large settlements and a multitude of large and powerful realms whos names have survived all the way into modern times. Conflict broke out with the demi humans and the Olmans in the south and a darker warlike side took hold. Then winter began to ease its grip and the Flanaess we recognize is starting to emerge. The Balkuni had picked up strength and numbers in the west and south, and when the lands they where living in again turned to deserts, they moved north to reclaim their ancestral homelands. The Oerids were surprised by the renewed vigor of the Bakluni,  and also tempted by the very promising opportunities in the east and north that the warming climate created.  Instead of defending the lands turning into desert they stated migrating in ever larger numbers north and east through the newly opened Thornward gap. The Suel saw their arch enemy move in north of the Sulhauts, their plateau was fast turning into the desert it used to be and plans for a revenge started circulating, and the rest we know.. This is far from complete story, I have left out the humanoids and several other actors. It shows an interesting way you can use geography and climate to inspire, support and help out in creating a more interesting and deep fantasy world. Let's take a closer look at the Flanaess and how we can use this. Below is the Flanaess in cold times with good sports for settlements  in the cold and persistent times. Then a look at hot Flanaess and then combine all of the info on the current map and we get some interesting results... Now we can see likely ancients site and the period they hail from. I can see interesting backstory possibilities  for the lair of Dramidj, the Egg of Coot, ruins in the Barrens, the Land of Black ice and the coast of the Tiger Barbarians where Myrlund resides. I'm sure there are more interesting connections to get from this, time to get creative! This is going to be one of the topics for my seminar on Virtual Greyhawk Con on Friday. Thank you again for making this possible!! :)
Read More