Monday, 23 January 2023

GURPS Banestorm - Hex Map of Ytarria

 I have been meaning to post these maps for awhile now.  The GURPS was always the favorite RPG since it came out in the mid 80s, but sadly I could never find any interested players.  Their fantasy world of Yrth (specifically the continent of Ytarria) was intriguing since it used real-world religions.  

Unfortunately, there were never any good maps of Ytarria ever released.  All of them were very abstract and did not give a good feel on just how big Ytarria actually is.  They all used oversized graphics to represent terrain and major cities, which while visually appealing is just not really usable for GMs running an actual game.  

Nice map.  Useless in play though.

Years ago I overlayed the color map below with hexes in Campaign Cartographer at a scale of 24 miles per hex.  It is possible to convert this file to PDF and zoom in and print off the needed areas.  I have done this a few times on 12x18 paper and it works well enough.  I have unlimited access to a full size color laser printer free of charge so I am a bit spoiled.   

However, recently a chap over on Deviant Art created a true hex map of Ytarria (God bless him/her).  I have added some settlements and ruins (taking artistic license on their locations) via Inkscape.  I am sure it would be possible to port this over to any graphic program and add terrain, or, just print it out and use pencil crayons or whatever.  This map is also scaled at 24 miles per hex.

The original hex map is here:

GURPS Banestorm -- Yttaria 24 Mile Hex Grid by SinLeqiUnninniMaps on DeviantArt

GURPS Ytarria

GURPS Ytarria - Its a damn big place!



GURPS Ytarria with hex overlay

Blank Ytarria Hex Map




2/1 - Attached below is a more or less canon version of Ytarria.  I have added a few small minor rivers and lakes, mainly to form the headwaters of the actual major rivers of the continent.  Keep in mind that the number of rivers and lakes on a continental scale would be huge.  Far more than can be shown on this map.  

GURPS Banestorm - Ytarria with minor forest terrain (added for aesthetic purposes only)



The lighter colored forests represent sparsely wooded areas, which are a mix of plains and small corpses of trees.  A typical sparsely wooded hex would comprise no more than 50% of woods, with the rest taken up by plains, lakes, bogs, low rolling hills, ect .  

The darker forests represent the dense woodlands.  These are much harder to traverse and are likely largly unexplored.

Northern Megalos is mainly pine forests, interspersed with grasslands.  Nomad Lands is a mix of heavy pine forests, which thins out to steppe as you reach the northern coast.

Caithness receives more rainfall than would normally occur (via the Banestorm), allowing for slighly more flora than central Ytarria.  

Most of the rest of the continent is either steppe, plains or cultivated fields.  With each hex being 500 square miles, there is a lot of room for topography variation.  

Here is a version with no minor northern forests in the Nomad Lands, northern Megalos or Caithness.

GURPS Banestorm - Ytarria with no minor forest terrain represented



Here is a link to a post on the GURPS forums regarding the areas of the various regions.

Cardiel is slightly bigger than France.  Like I have indicated, Ytarria is HUGE!


Area of regions/nations
-----------------------------------------------------------
Megalos: 1.241 Million + Island: 56,762 square miles

Al-Wazif: 302,712 square miles

Al-Haz: 639,992 square miles
Al-Haz without Mountains:424,236
Great Valley Mountains: 215,756

Cardiel: 274,169 square miles

Great Forest: 153080 square miles
Caithness: 581,473 square miles
Caithness less Great Forest: 428,393 square miles

Sahud: 106,505 square miles

Zarak: 436,362 square miles

Araterre exclusive of Bilit Island or ring islands: 77,169
Bilit Ilsand: 38,319

Great Desert: 294,978 square miles
.  









Friday, 20 January 2023

Malestrom Fantasy Campaign by Darkfuries Publishing

Some may be surprised, but my wargaming roots began in fantasy roleplaying, specifically original Dungeons and Dragons back in 1981.  Sadly, during the years I have played less and less than I would like.  I have since moved on, with Savage Worlds replacing my RPG of choice.  

Your first D&D experience can be a very personal thing, leaving a lasting impression and laying the ground work for how you visualize and internalize the game.  For me my roots were laid in the Known World of the BECMI Expert Set, later known as "Mystara".  I will not go into the history of that world, but suffice to say that I thought that I would never find another setting that would capture my imagination like Mystara did. 

I was wrong.

In 2002, while browsing the Drive Through RPG web site I found the title linked below,  "Maelstrom Fantasy Campaign Setting".  It was reasonably priced so I took a chance and picked it up.  The setting, while made for the d20 system has no stats or game mechanics, making the book essentially System Neutral.

The World of Roil

Written by a fellow named Brian K Moseley, this world was his own D&D homebrew setting for almost two decades.  Consisting of 148 pages of content and 23 maps, it details the world of Roil, with the continent of Kaladia being the main focus of the book.  A second volume, 46 pages, was released alongside the core book, detailing the various pantheons and deities of Roil.  

Maelstrom is a traditional fantasy world set against the backdrop of an ever changing magical phenomenon called "The Mists" which can change/destroy geography, climate, civilizations and lifeforms at will.  It is very similar to the plot device used in the new RPG called "Worlds Without Number", by Kevin Crawford, called "The Legacy": a pseudo magical-technological rationale for events/plot devices which defy conventional logical/explanation.  Pockets of this substance roam the planet causing whatever mayhem the DM can envision.   

The world of Roil is what I would classify as a Post-Post Apocalypse Fantasy setting: lightly populated after a fantastical disastrous event (called the "The War of the Winds") which destroyed much of the previous world.   The Maelstrom timeline is set almost 400 years after this cataclysm; new civilizations are building on the ruins and bones of their forbearers while at the same time multitudes of new monstrous creatures have made the wilderness a perilous place to tread.  Roil is now wild and untamed, waiting to be filled with whatever fantastic elements you can imagine.  

All is not barbarism however.  There are a variety of cultures spread across the continent of Kaladia.  The human cultures, and their many sub-cultures, have no real-world analogs which is refreshing.  There are of course some racial analogs (Caucasian, African, Asiatic, ect), but you will find that in any RPG.  The cultures themselves are detailed enough to provide a springboard for the DM without being trite in their presentation.  

Author’s Introduction

The Maelstrom Fantasy Campaign Setting is set within the world of Roil, a powerfully realistic setting for role-playing games. Roil is most appropriately utilized as a realm in its medieval era, with an added element of magic. However, the information in this volume is tremendously flexible, and may be used in any genre role- playing game. While there is a great amount of data, it is my intention that anyone using this volume can start their own campaign upon Roil within an hour of beginning their journey. 

The primary subject of this work is Kaladia, the largest continent of Roil. The continent is showcased in twenty-three highly detailed maps. The summaries of Kaladia's countries contain a substantial wealth of detail without being overwhelming. 

It isn't necessary to study all of Kaladia before undertaking a campaign upon it. Peruse the countries or the maps, choose one that intrigues you, and start your adventure. From the sweltering sands of the Lyrmaddyn to the frozen wastes of the Rhul Nugath, the world of Roil awaits.  Begin your journey and unleash the magic!

Brian K. Moseley


The continent of Kaladia
9 million square miles of howling wilderness.

Chronicler’s Foreword

“ Set forth within this volume is a compilation of accumulated knowledge of the continent of Kaladia, the largest and most prominent land of the world of Roil.  Roil... as it is called by most of the peoples of the world.  Shaydaera, as it is known in the elfanir tongue. Arthe, as it is named by the dwarn. But in any language, the maelstrom that is Roil is a realm everchanging, twisting and shaping to the will of those commanding the Mists, the essence of Makyah.  

The maps and text contained herein are of unparalleled completeness, both for Kaladia and Roil as a whole. And they well chronicle Kaladia's history and current state of affairs. To both the scholar and student this work provides invaluable enlightenment into the most intriguing land - and the most marvelous age - ever seen upon Roil.  

It is a time of restless awakening in the world. We hail a golden era of renaissance that rivals the greatest achievements of Ruthanland, the ancient world, before her fall. In this day, we bear witness to events foretold by ancient legenders. The Corlennian Empire, the Dark Dragon of Roil, slowly releases her talons from the throats of civilizations. Where once the shadow of her great wings blackened the face of the world, now the aged evil lies weakened, stirring only in the heart of her lair.  

Magic, once used solely by the Dragon to rule the world, is now the tool of restoration. Old lands long held by the Dragon breathe new life, throwing off the yoke of subjugation for a newfound freedom. But even as the Dragon rests, nations still wage war against another, and the races still hold prejudice toward their brothers.  

And yet, it is a miraculous age of kingdoms and powers great and terrible to behold. It is a time of wondrous aspirations, of fabulous achievements and  horrible failures. It is a time that will test the mettle of any that dare risk any dangers to share in its rewards.  It is a time for the courageous and the cowardly, the valiant and the dastardly, the bold, the timid, the veteran and the novice. It is our time...”

Nyn' Thuvir the Legender 

of the 

Calthayes Citadel of Knowledge 

7th of Cold Winds, 1021 KY


The book covers the basics of Roil: history, cultures, languages, currencies, calendars, nations and geography.  In the back of the book is an index covering the named geographical/settlement features of the continent of Kaladia, including a pronunciation guide for each (I have never seen this in any published setting...it was appreciated).  There are hundreds of entries and illustrations of currencies and heraldries of the various nations.  

Humans are present in their many forms, as are your typical demi humans.  A non-human humanoid race, called Corlennians serves as the basic bad guys of the setting (very similar in appearance and temperament to the Melnebonians of the Elric Saga).  Lead by a Demi-God, the Corlennians, through magic, airships and martial might once controlled all of Kaladia.  That greatness has waxed however and as the Corlennian Empire recedes new nations arise to fill the void.  The setting is malleable enough to accomodate anything you might want to add.  I have ported in a new lands and ideas from the recent release from Kevin Crawford, "Atlas of the Latter Earth", the companion to Worlds Without Number.  

Each of the 40 civilized nations presented in the world book is given at least a single page, detailing their history, government and population centers.  They do require some fleshing out, but that is not unwelcome.  There are some familiar tropes to get you started: the classic medievalism of Western Europe, classic Sinbad/Arabian  and your typical Sword and Sorcery barbarian areas where Conan would feel at home.  In addition to those above there are many demi-human and barbarian realms in addition to Free Cities which stand alone, forging their own destines.  

Corlennian Empire

The Kingdom of Dholvey.
The Pirate Lands of Quelschenda

"As can best be determined, the sheer number of humanoids and non-humans upon Kaladia vastly exceeds the total population of every civilized country even combined with all of the barbarian lands. It is accepted fact that the more common species of humanoids and non-humans breed far more quickly than even humans. With this consideration, it is plausible that humanoids and non-humans might someday become the overwhelmingly dominant races of Kaladia.  

Fortunately for our civilizations, most of these creatures are brutally savage idiots, wholly incapable of overcoming their racial prejudice to collaborate together. It is true that the Elder did forge the Corlennian Empire, and brought into it all of the evil of Kaladia. Together, these forces defeated all the strength that the armies of light could muster. Now that the Corlennian Empire lies in disarray, the tribes of humanoids and non-humans have scattered across the land. Let us all hope they never again join together..."

Nyn' Thuvir the Legender


Examples:

Bune [Boon] Mountains between Nirinthine and Pirrindall. They begin at the foothills of the Crystalrock Mountains, and border the northeastern corner of the Lyrmaddyn Desert. The Bune Mountains have extensive deposits of iron ores, silver, platinum, and precious and semi-precious gemstones. Though the Bune Mountains are actively volcanic, many humanoids and non-humans inhabit the mountains. There are seven to ten major humanoid states in the Bune Mountains. Frames C2 and C3.

Ka' Lageri [Kay - Lah - gare - e] Island offshore of northwestern Kaladia. Largest of the great islands surrounding Kaladia. It is a cold, miserable land bordering on the Arctic Circle. The island is claimed by the Corlennian Empire, but jurisdiction is shared by the Drandolm, Grenn, Ivinjarin, and Yurr'Zonn Territories. Ka' Lageri Island is populated almost exclusively by humans. Most are a mixture of Belaran, Lornkira, and Tulmarian whose ancestors were brought to Ka' Lageri as slaves by the Corlennian airships. Major settlements on the island include Galestorm, Lodin, Myrnth and Wyrn. Frames A1 and A2.

Tylyryn [Ti - Lir - N] Sea between the Northern Reaches and the eastern grassland. The Tylyryn Sea was named by the elfanir of the Greybark, a name translating as "timeless pools". But the Tylyryn is anything but timeless. The sea was dramatically altered by the War of the Winds. There were five large, forested islands in the southern sea that were inhabited by elfanir clans, all are gone. The Welgredd peninsula was broken into an island, and its population too was destroyed. Many of the pirates of the Tylyryn believe that the riches of these lost cities now lie at the bottomof the sea, waiting to be claimed. Frame C5.

Gary Gygax himself made a comment on the content:  

"Having spent countless hours doing this sort of work, I must say that I am very impressed with what has been accomplished here. this is an excellent resource for all FRPG enthusiasts! Gary"

What you will not find in this material is any sort of pre-made plot point(s), a Big Bad or any adventure ideas (well almost none).  This book is strictly a canvas on which to draw your own adventures on.  The cartography is beautifully presented on 23 black and white Indian Ink maps at roughly 150 miles to an inch.  Sorry, no hex maps here.  

However, the good news is that Brian also produced the maps in full color.  Those never made it into the book, however they were downloadable from his old web site.  Sadly, the files are no longer available (Brian informed me years ago that the original electronic files were lost).  They are the same scale as the black and white drawings, but done with much more granular detail: additional geographic features such as villages, ruins, castles and settlements are shown on these maps.  Those features are also listed in the World Book Index, so having both sets of maps is very useful.  

TThe color maps are quite easy to both zoom in and to print off to whatever scale and region you are interested in.  I have ported these maps into Campaign Cartographer and overlaid them with hex maps easily enough.  You can also use programs like Inkscape to edit the files as needed, renaming regions, adding villages, cities, ruined cities or other features.  

Map C7 zoomed in.
A reasonably size starter campaign area.  Adventure awaits!


The two books mentioned above were not the only content produced for Kaladia.  Various supplemental materials were added to the line: a city supplement, airships and various types of map books (castles, temples, ect) were released.  All are worth acquiring.

Finally, during the early 2000s Brian emailed out a weekly newsletter called "Unleash the Magic".  Over 180 issues were sent, each detailing a nation on Kaladia, going into minute details similar to the D&D Gazetteers from TSR.  Brian was active on the net and would answer questions about Kaladia and provide insight into the huge world he created, including details which never made it into the main book but were in his own private DM notes.

Sadly, Darkfuries no longer publishes new material and I have found it impossible to contact Brian by any means.  Additionally, I lost almost all my copies of Unleash the Magic, which was quite a shame.  If anyone out there has access to them I would appreciate those being sent to me.  

However, all that aside I highly recommend this setting.  It is fresh and provides just enough detail for a DM to create some exciting campaigns without being shoe-horned into a pre-defined plot.  

The color maps are posted below.  Consider them my tribute to Brian and his incredible imagination.  He made them open source years ago, along with his art work.  A fine gentleman.  

If you are an DM you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of Maelstrom and in Brian's words, "Unleash the Magic".  

Black & White Map Example


Here are some links to the various titles.

Maelstrom Fantasy Campaign Setting Worldbook - Darkfuries Publishing | Campaign Sourcebooks | DriveThruRPG.com

Maelstrom Campaign Setting: Pantheon - Darkfuries Publishing | Campaign Sourcebooks | DriveThruRPG.com

DARKFURIES.com - Resources for Role-Playing Games

Old Web Site Link

Maelstrom Campaigns: Continent of Kaladia (oocities.org)


Kaladia Map A1

Kaladia Map A2
Kaladia Map A3

Kaladia Map B1
Kaladia Map B2
Kaladia Map B3

Kaladia Map B4
Kaladia Map B5
Kaladia Map B6
Kaladia Map B7
Kaladia Map C1
Kaladia Map C2

Kaladia Map C3
Kaladia Map C4
Kaladia Map C5

Kaladia Map C6
Kaladia Map C7
Kaladia Map D2

Kaladia Map D3
Kaladia Map D4
Kaladia Map D5

Kaladia Map D6
Kaladia Map D7


Friday, 23 December 2022

A 2022 Merry Christmas


No I'm still not dead, but 2022 has been a write off for painting projects.  However, I did pickup a brush in December and I think some new projects are on the horizon for 2023, which will end my painting slump.

My queue includes a large amount of Perry Miniatures Agincourt figures that I have been meaning to finally paint for years, as well as a healthy batch of Brigade Models vehicles and buildings.

A special mention needs to go out to Matt Slade of Glenbrook Games Painting Service and Dan Dunbar down in Australia.  Due to my laziness they both painted large batches of 15mm Sci Fi figures for me (Khurasan Garn and an assortment of GZG and Alternative Armies Laserburn characters)this year and did a great job.  Their figures will be featured in January 2023 in separate posts

In any case, Merry Christmas to all!  See you in 2023.

Friday, 2 September 2022

15mm Figure Display/Storage Solution: Letterpress Drawers

Good day.  Yes I am still alive.  Nothing really to report on the painting end of things.  Maybe later this year.

I did come up with another storage/display solution for my 15mm Sci Fi figures, this time from an Antique Shop: old Letterpress drawers, used by printer companies of ages past.   They come with various internal designs, but all are basically 32" x 17".

Purchasing two, I hung them on my wall and presto, instant display cases.  


Each slot holds either one or two figures.  I could get three but I prefer not to have them crowded.  Eahc drawer holds 210 figures.  


For $55 each it was a good deal.  

Saturday, 28 May 2022

2022 - A Slow Year

2022 has been a very slow year for me, painting-wise at least.  My desire to start new projects died in January.  Perhaps later this year I will focus on something new, but until then I am taking a bit of a hiatus from painting....until the creative spark strikes again.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

15mm Sci Fi - Old Crow Provider Transports aka Space Trucks!

 Yesterday I had (you guessed it), more free time.  So I decided it was a good opportunity to finish off the last of my Old Crow vehicles, three wheeled Provider Transports.

Provider Transports deliver vital supplies to the distant US Marine outposts on the planet Glory. 
The fight against Space Communism requires a never ending stream of beans and bullets.

Join the US Star Marines and fight for freedom across the galaxy and defend against alien invaders!

There is a saying: Amateurs study tactics; Professionals study Logistics.  While its great to have tons of combat vehicles, transports and logistics vehicles are also very important (game-wise).  They provide excellent objectives, to both save, capture and or destroy, turning an otherwise boring meeting engagement into something actually interesting.

The ADATS (Air Defense/Anti-Tank System) provides protection against attacks from the Democratic People's Republic of Glory's aerospace forces (DPRG). 
Communist aggression must be thwarted!

The missile system is removable and easily replaced with cargo containers.


Ammunition must be unloaded and secured.  It will be used soon.  Medical bots prepare to load wounded heroes for return to rear area hospitals.  


The vehicles were painted in the same scheme as my US Tomorrow's War forces.  The blog post can be found here: 


The convoy CO oversees all aspects of the delivery.  
"Fuel and ammunition are needed!  Move quickly!  Hurry!"

The cargo pods are of course removable.  

Aerial Drones keep watch from above and beyond....

Another productive mid-week.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

15mm Sci Fi - Old Crow 6mm Buildings

Last night I had some free time available (on a Monday no less), so making use of that I managed to bang off more of my WIP pile: several Old Crow 6mm buildings that I had lying around, specifically a habitation block and two communication towers.

Venturan Star Marines patrol the Endurium fuel processing plant on Hades III

    I have found that certain Old Crow 6mm buildings work very well at 15mm scale, specifically as both scatter terrain and as smaller specialized buildings (communication hubs, power units, ect).  Typically I paint these in my standard sci fi building pattern: Tamiya Medium Grey, highlighted with Tamiya Royal Light Grey and Vallejo White Grey.  


The buildings scale well enough, and many are modular so you can attach additional blocks if you wish.  

Warbots provide the squad with the necessary heavy firepower.

Endurium is vital to interstellar travel.




 Now I have to start working on the huge pile of Brigade Models vehicles and buildings that I got during their Christmas 2021 sale.  Stay tuned.  




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