All the Annuals: Worlds of Wonder (January 2019) by Christina (Lorelei) Trani

In this series, Christina Trani will explore all the different drawing styles available in the Cartographer’s Annuals, starting with Volume 13 (2019).

SUB2019 Worlds of Wonder
Download the CC3+ file here. Note that you need the Annual 2019 installed to view it properly.

Mapping with The Worlds of Wonder Annual

As a digital cartographer, I am not overly fond of overland mapping. I prefer the confines of a floorplan, a dungeon, or I’ll expand my horizons to lovely, little villages. But, occasionally, I am encouraged to map in an overland style. My latest was done in the Worlds of Wonder Annual style. I love it.
Now, since overland mapping gives me anxiety….all the details that geologically accurate minded cartographers have apoplexy over when not done correctly can give me hives, so most often I just “wing it” and to heck with geology – it IS a fantasy world, so why not?

This time ‘round I decided to grab a continent from Fractal Terrains, since my coastlines, in my opinion, are the pits. After generating a landmass I was happy with I exported it to CC3, deleted all the fluff and left myself with a landmass that I copy and pasted into a new map started in the WoW (not Worlds of Warcraft, lol) style. I then began mapping out where my mountains would go….this I did by referring to my original FT map, which shows all the wonderful elevations that I normally have NO idea where to place. I did the same for rivers, to avoid the stress I’d normally have trying to figure out “where they looked best” or “where they should go”. If you don’t have Fractal Terrains, and ARE stressing about your map being geologically accurate, there are a multitude of references out there…but I really recommend just making this fantastical world your own and do what pleases you.

Once my mountains are placed, along with a mountain fill behind them and lakes and rivers, I begin placing my forests. Now, this map has more forests then I normally would place, but that has everything to do with the name… Larothell, The Republic of Songs. So I got the name from one the many online generators I have bookmarked. I use them often as a DM of a homebrew campaign having to constantly come up with original names to people and places, often on the fly. So, the name came up, and I immediately though of elves, glorious elves with a magical world of melody, perhaps that fuels their magic? I don’t know, but I just went with it…and with elves, come forests. I also enjoy mixing shades of greens in my forests, so for this map I mixed the two green trees that came with the annual, but I certainly recommend playing around with the colors and creating your own custom palette.

Of course, naming my cities and towns was easy once I had a theme to my fantasy realm. When labelling cities, towns, key locations, etc. I like to play with different fonts. I have an assortment of hundreds upon hundreds of fonts. Searching some of the free font sites is a great resource – just be sure to note any restrictions on commercial uses as noted by the creators. Along with fonts I am a fan of playing with color of the font and outlines – preferring to having a contrast, usually the map title and the cite labels.

Always remember, stepping out of your comfort zone can produce some amazing work that might even surprise yourself! Go experiment and have fun!

About the author: Lorelei was my very first D&D character I created more years back than i’d like to remember. When I decided to venture into creating maps for my and others rpgs, I thought I owed it to her to name myself Lorelei Cartography, since it was her that led me to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming in the first place. Since then I have been honored to have worked with companies such as WizKids, Pelgrane Press, and ProFantasy. 

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