A few tips for 9th Age world map

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

    Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

    And on December 24th, Father Chaos brought us... A brand new army book for Daemon Legions!

    • A few tips for 9th Age world map

      1: Take note from the very best fantasy maps, and aim to make a detailed world with lots of waterways, isles, peninsulas, rivers and seas that stretches long inland at places, thereby enabling each and every faction access to raid, trade, send out settlers and attack one another via the great highway of the preindustrial world. Water. This is one example of how it can be done:



      In other words, don't make the world just a mass of jumbled-together shapeless blocks without interesting shapes (not that there is much risk of this, but still).

      2: When making up the world, always add more cities, kingdoms, rump states, smaller realms, independent citystates, mage centres, mystical ruins of ancient time, peoples and tribes than you at first stretch might be inclined to. The more the merrier, and the more there is, the easier it is for people to imagine their army's home region to have a place. This drive for lots of small fringe stuff and a varied patchwork of a map should of course not mean that you would shy away from having some large, dominant empires, such as Sonnenstahl, which are major driving forces in the world.

      3: Pirates, sea monsters, cursed areas of sea (magical Bermuda triangle, basically, perhaps where some ancient mumbojumbo lies sunk beneath the waves). These are always welcome. Pirate coves, infamous monster lairs, permanent maelstroms and the like could dot the coastlines and oceans, adding some variety and areas of lethal peril, some of which may be hard to avoid for merchantment because of bottleneck straits. Perhaps even a ghostly sea battle or two raging for all times between zombies and ghasts upon rotting-away hulks at a cursed spot.

      4: Always leave lots of sparsely populated hinterlands, wastelands, deep forests, mountains and other wild areas, where political control might be infrequent and fragile at best, and where often independent sedentary peoples may try to carve out a living never far from a fortified holdfast, while the wilds are roamed by greenskins, undead, beastmen, monsters and whatnot.

      5: Have hints at sunken or underwater civilizations, hints at fishfolk, hints at wars raging under water, hints at coastal villages where the inhabitants disappeared, carried beneath the waves by mysterious sea peoples, according to scared and disbelieved witnesses. Always fun.

      6: Don't be shy of adding colossal monuments. And the odd canal and tunnel. Maybe even warning beacon system(s). And some border walls akin to Danevirke, Hadrian's Wall, Limes, the Sumerians' Amorite wall and the various walls of the Chinese warring states, which predated the great wall.


      Much of these are obvious things, especially for anyone familiar with Warhammer, but it won't hurt to mention them out of good hope for a truly phenomenal fantasy world getting fleshed out by the hard-working 9th Age Team.

      Got any more tips and ideas of your own to share? Then fire away!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Emperor_Zoron wrote:

      I recall that the Dev Team said they were going to use a map closely modeled after the real world...
      Which, unless the map is already set in stone with no changes allowed (and without knowing how that map actually looks), gives us a good example of how to apply the above tips: Make corresponding continents of South America and Africa more interesting in coastlines than they are in reality. Retain their shapes, but break up their coastal areas a bit with jutting peninsulas at odd places and bays and lagoons at others, add some more isles. The corresponding patch of Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Zanzibar could be a narrow, hooked archipelago. The Horn of Africa could be allowed to be well into breaking apart from the continent (since it's a geological process a bit underway in reality; in fantasy you could even have lavalands where the sea rift ends), thereby creating a narrow rift sea as the tectonic plates pull it apart. Leave some softer curves to said continents, nothing should be busy everywhere. Also, the sea and waterways could be allowed to stretch well into the equivalent of Central Asia by having some kind of connection between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, a simple little twist to a real-world based map based on real-world natural history.

      Just some friendly tips, from someone who has drawn fantasy and real world maps since 8 years of age, and has seen a lot of fantasy maps. The aesthetic lessons from it all seem to point in one direction: Do sealines more interesting than this bulk. Basing something on the real world map isn't a hindrance. :)

      The post was edited 4 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • Have no worries. Cartography is one of the skills possessed by members of the B&A team.

      Background Team

      Art Team Coordinator

      Team Croatia ETC 2019 Captain ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ HEROES AND VILLEINS OF THE 9TH AGE
    • Excellent!

      You might also wish to play up an adventurous Age of Discovery/Age of Sail aspect in the background. Think 16th-17th century Europeans, Viking raids and colonizations and trade voyages, ancient Greeks and Phoenicians, the famous Ming Chinese re-establishment of trade contacts southwards during the early 15th century and Polynesians. It need not be given a prominent part, but could benefit the whole background if given a little space in most army books (ideally a little text and at least one piece of naval/seafaring related artwork to hint at something larger beyond the land battlefields), not least for odd encounters such as between Saurian Ancients and WotDG.

      And this not just an advertisement attempt for some boat selling, though as always you're free to use any images and so forth related to my work for whatever 9th Age purposes you may conjure up. ;)
    • Karak Norn Clansman wrote:

      You might also wish to play up an adventurous Age of Discovery/Age of Sail aspect in the background. Think 16th-17th century Europeans, Viking raids and colonizations and trade voyages, ancient Greeks and Phoenicians, the famous Ming Chinese re-establishment of trade contacts southwards during the early 15th century and Polynesians. It need not be given a prominent part, but could benefit the whole background if given a little space in most army books (ideally a little text and at least one piece of naval/seafaring related artwork to hint at something larger beyond the land battlefields), not least for odd encounters such as between Saurian Ancients and WotDG.

      Have you hacked my "sources and inspiration" folder :D



      p.s. I don't think these encounters will be as odd, there is at least one place where they are neighbours :P

      Background Team

      Art Team Coordinator

      Team Croatia ETC 2019 Captain ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ HEROES AND VILLEINS OF THE 9TH AGE
    • Good to hear!

      Furthermore (and you may already have done this excessively), the 9th Age team may wish to contemplate how many exaggerated high fantasy themes you wish to incorporate into the world. Reality, nature and human history are often fantastic as they are and getting imaginative within this framework can carry any fictive setting long distances. Yet fantasy by its very nature can take even wider strides and heavy liberties were it wishes to.

      Although none of the suggestions that follow should ever be common in the humble world of mortals (demons and nightmare visions could be another matter...), the following examples of overblown wonders and rare oddities could still serve to spark the imagination if you want to add a little extra spice into the geography to make your setting stand out. This is however not meant to compromise the historical-realistic fantasy foundations, and all of the below examples should be special and famous.

      - Floating city/ies. Inland lakes and large rivers are obvious candidate locations. An oceanic floating city would be decidedly more perilous and more fantastic, and open for some creative leaps to bind it into the wider world and explain its existence in the first place. Perhaps started life by people driving logs down rivers.

      - City or town built open the back of a petrified titanic dragon, or humanoid titan. Perhaps akin to Atlas? An actual stone monster or a rock sculpted into an outlandish shape by who-knows-what forces or hands? Would depend a lot upon how you imagine the world's prehistory.

      - Slender, pointy elf tower uprooted and standing upside-down, its sharp roof pressed into the ground. The spire still stands after centuries in the same impossible position. Magic, balance act, curse or all three? Local legends perhaps speak of angered or betrayed giant or whatever taking the tower's haughty dweller down to earth by ripping up the tower and spearing it into the soil. Or possible an excessively excentric Elf noble who wished to fool everyone with his new build... Next-level leaning tower of Pisa.

      - Human (or otherwise) city built into and around some enormous ancient Dwarf arches spanning across a valley. Rope bridges, platforms, whatnot.

      - Mechanical maverick creation Colossus of Rhodes equivalent at a harbour, able to spear ships, spit or urinate Greek fire, block the harbour exit with a chain net and emit a booming roar from its mouth, all thanks to engineering. And probably magic, given the improbable excesses involved. Manned by hundreds or thousands of slaves, fuelled by tons of firewood when operated and with large teams of oxens to pull at weights etc.

      - Bottomless pit or well, perhaps in some Dwarven hold, perhaps as a sacrificial WotDG site, maybe something else. Mystic place.

      - Town or refuge place akin to the Cappadocian underground towns, though tunneled into and bridged between the large skeletons scattered about at a dragon graveyard. Still in use by dragons, one would presume. Layers upon layers of bones, with veritable pitfalls throughout.

      - Infernal Dwarf volcano town. Mad smithing mineral extractions, ritual sacrifices, demon bindings, visuals, mad scientist base.


      Apart from local wonders, something to consider would be long since ruined Saurian stepped pyramids covered in millenia's debris and dirt, overgrown yet still lying hidden under a hillock formed upon them. Brooding, waiting with curses and mayhap treasures for Saurian expeditions to recover, or foolhardy tomb robbers/adventurers to brave should a landslide, earthquake or similar lay bare the monolithic monument within.

      List cut short since I've got to sleep now, but hopefully you get the direction with the brainstorming, in case anything is of use (to spark imagination if nothing else). Also, I recommend you to take a look at the wonders and provincial buildings/sites included in the Rome Total War mod Europa Barbarorum (also as an even richer Medieval 2 mod). While much of it will be familiar to those interested in archaeology and suchlike, the very experience of having them all embedded in the strategy map is special. It makes everything live up that extra when visuals, textual fact and sound combine in such a fashion, complete with swarming armies, lots local tribes and bloodshed. (It's quite delightful to take control of the amber route.)

      Best of luck and have fun!

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().

    • robstrachan wrote:

      Am I the only one that is a little disappointed that the map used is basically the same as that other game? When I first read the background in the rules book, I felt that it was such a missed opportunity to do something new and original.
      It's perfectly in keeping with T9A's general design philosophy of being not warhammer fantasy 8th edition.

      :whistling:
    • It's an inherent weakness of modelling the map closely on the real world. This is a ploy in fantasy that's also been used by Warhammer (a ploy common in 1970s fiction or suchlike if I remember Priestley correctly). On the other hand it is quite called for given the directly historically based human factions in particular, and gives this kind of fantasy a supported home. Could've worked very well without it, though, of course.

      Still, there are some noticeable differences already in the world map, in particular the combination of the Caribbean with the Bermuda Triangle in the Shattered Sea and having Avras as the equivalent of Rome at Constantinople's prime location. And the Steel Road and a High Elf colony at the equivalent of Gibraltar. Contents of more detailed regional maps to come may reveal greater differences to Warhammer, though the large outlines are already set.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Karak Norn Clansman ().