Tuesday 31 March 2015

The Best: The Maps of Pete Fenlon

Over the years there have been many fantastic maps in RPGs, many have captured my imagination, but none to the extent that Peter Fenlon's maps for MERP did.

These maps induced in me a longing to climb those ranges of mountains, explore the strange towers atop hills, and follow the dotted trails. Features always went beyond the edges of the maps, inviting you to look beyond. Over many years I collected more and more of the maps, always looking to get a complete set, so when ICE lost the Middle Earth licence and there had never been a full-size version of the map of Lindon I was dismayed.

I still wished for a map that joined them all together, but it looked like a lot of work, then a couple of years ago this collage map below appeared on the internet from zikull (whoever he is). A fantastic job!

(It looked like he had a map for the missing north west corner, but sadly on closer inspection it's just a cut and paste of another bit of the map.)

When I played MERP these maps were always something that I loved, but my players rarely saw. With hex maps I knew how to let the players do their mapping, but with these grid-less maps I was at a loss. Now I play with grid-less maps and trace out the features as required, e.g. start with major features such as cities, then fill in the rest as they're discovered. If my own maps ever achieved this level of greatness I could thus share them with my players.

Which leads me to the Campaign Cartographer's Pete Fenlon style. Here is an example map drawn by modric:

(Taken from http://rpgmaps.profantasy.com/?p=1948 )

Now I'm not keen on using computers for drawing dungeons and the like - it seems like 100 times as much work for not enough gain unless you're selling it - but if you have a wilderness map that's part of a long running campaign I can certainly see the attraction.

Feel free to comment about any maps you're inspired by!

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