If you’ve been following the blog posts collecting user maps from the Profantasy forum, you’ve no doubt come across the maps of Charles W. Robinson who has been meticulously mapping his game world in CC3+. We asked him to write a few lines about his world and mapping project(s). Thanks, Charles!

PerinusaThe Ramblings of an Old Gamer

My name is Charles W. Robinson. Ralf recently asked me if I would like to submit an article for the blog about my world, and I am so honored to do so. I did not really know what to talk about and Ralf said to simply talk about whatever I wanted, hence my title above. I have only been mapping for about a year, and I really like the new Campaign Cartographer 3+ software. I also love the interaction and the great new friends that I have made on the forum.

The History

The name of my fantasy world is Kelleemah. It was originally created way back in junior high school in 1982. The original world was slowly built up from a host of regional maps that I created for my gaming group. Each region was created as the group explored the world and we played all the way through high school. I had joined the military in 1986 and I made my first world map for Kelleemah in 1987 for my new gaming group. It was a paper and pencil map and I placed all the regions that I had created before, within this new map and made changes as needed. I also added a lot of additional regional maps. All of these were done on the old square grid paper that was popular during the heyday of fantasy roleplaying. The world map was huge and consisted of several sheets, duct-taped together. I had army green duct-tape all across the back. We jokingly referred to it as green dragon skin. After many years of running campaigns and building up the mythology and history of my world, I finally put it to the side in 1996. It had become harder and harder to find gamers.

I came back to fantasy roleplaying in 2007 during the 15 month surge in Iraq. I had ran into some fellow old school gamers and we started up a campaign. I had my spouse send me all of my old roleplaying stuff and I redid my world using a spreadsheet program of all things. My green dragon skin map was reborn. We had a lot of fun and I continued to play when I moved to Hawaii. I have retired from the military now and live back home in Southern Illinois. I have not had time to play since retiring, but I still love fantasy roleplaying.

I had originally found the Profantasy website while I was in Hawaii, and I purchased the old Campaign Cartographer 3, but I did not do much more that make a couple of islands. When I saw that the new version had come out, I decided to purchase it. Since last year, I have been remaking my old world again. As such, I have been exploring the software to see what I can do with it and have been making a lot of regional maps. So far, I don’t have a group of gamers yet. I have just been too busy. I really like the software and have been having an absolute blast!

I have become known for my detailed maps over the last year and have been working at a small scale. Some really like my maps and others have not. That is okay. Everyone has their own tastes. As a piece of advice for mappers out there; I say, make the map for yourself or your client. If it meets your/client’s needs then that is what matters. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone. A second piece of advice is; make it your own. Explore and find out what works for you. Develop your own style.

PengailanSetting the Stage

I went through a very specific design process for my gaming world. During the mid-80’s, roleplaying games were under attack by many religious leaders that did not really know much about it. I am a Christian and have obviously played for a long time. As such, I wanted to design a world that my religious friends could feel comfortable in playing in. This overriding goal drove the creative process and overall theme of Kelleemah. In addition, I also wanted to represent several historical cultures in my world. My father was also military and I have lived many years of my young life in Europe. For me, I felt that developing the mythology was central to creating the maps. I wanted the maps to reflect the cultures and their mythology.

The following is a very abbreviated overview of the key mythologies that I developed for my world. The central concept of my world is focused around the Grigori. For those who do not recognize the term, it relates to Christian mythology about angels that rebelled against God and took human wives among men. They brought a lot of bad things to the world and God had to send his angels to defeat them. In my fantasy world, the Grigori, which means the watchers, were banished to this world after they were defeated. This world was cut off from the rest of the Planes/Worlds and the Grigori named it their Kelleemah (their Shame). Most of them repented and tried their best to atone for their sins. The reason for this design idea was simple; this gave religious players that did not feel comfortable having their characters worship “false” gods to be able to worship the “Hidden God” of the Grigori. Since this takes place before the coming of Christ, it worked well for my Christian, Jewish, and Muslim friends. This became my Creation Mythology.

The second part, I call the Migration Mythology. This covers the arrival of four groups to Kelleemah. The central concept is that a great earthquake struck Eden and a great chasm swallowed up the tree of knowledge and damaged the tree of life. The tree of knowledge has never been found and the tree of life has been slowly dying. There are no longer any leaves upon the tree. It is believed that this event may have damaged the barrier between worlds. After the earthquake, dragons and giants appeared in the lands of the Kelleemah. Since this first event, a great storm of heavenly lights has enveloped the world three times. The span of time between each of these events has been hundreds of years. With each one, new beings are drawn onto Kelleemah. The first one brought the beasts and their gods (Such as Centaurs and Minotaurs), the second one brought the fey and their gods (Such as Elves & Dwarves), and the last one brought man and their gods. In addition, several foul beings were also drawn to Kelleemah along with their gods during these events (Such as Goblins and Orcs). This Migration Mythology brings the other races, besides the Grigori into the mix.

07_WesternTipofSutheimrAnother aspect of the Migration Mythology are the Shedim Wars. Shedim is the term used for Devils and Demons of all kinds. With each migration, Shedim have also come into the lands. But, unlike the other races, the Shedim came organized for war. Never has Demons been known to work alongside Devils, but this has been happening here in Kelleemah. Each time, they came from the most southern lands. Hordes of Demons swarming out in front of organized formations of Devils. The Demons wreaking havoc and panic while the Devils enslaved survivors and destroyed any organized resistance. Some believe that the Shedim actually arrived the same time as the Dragons and Giants, but used dark magic to hide, plan, and organize. Each time, they have been defeated, but at terrible costs. The first Shedim War was led by the Devil known as Satan. He was killed by the “Sleeping” god of the Centaur upon the Blood Fields. According to legend, Satan spread his arms wide accepting the blow with a smile. The power that was unleashed destroyed the gods axe splintering it into shards that scattered all throughout the world. Since then, the god has never awoke, instead laying in eternal slumber. Some believe, that Satan’s spirit lives on, and has become evil incarnate. The Devil known as Lucifer took the name of Satan, using it as a title of Kingship. He was Lucifer, the Great Satan. He was not destroyed as his predecessor was, but simply disappeared. Once he disappeared, the Shedim fell into disarray and fled the lands of Kelleemah. The third Shedim War was led by Asmodai, and he took on the title of the Great Satan as Lucifer did before him. This time, it was a mysterious hero who saved the world of Kellemah. It is said that a band of heroes had infiltrated the lines of the Shedim. Asmodai and his guard were caught unaware by this band and was ambushed. In the end, Asmodai and a man shrouded in a grey mist were all that were left. These two fought back and forth with neither landing a cutting blow for hours. Asmodai could not be killed by a mere mortal, and was surprised when the shadowed man finally struck him in the leg; for the blade bit deep. Asmodai new fear at last, and he fled along with all of the Shedim armies. It is said that the wound has never healed and Asmodai sits crippled on his throne. Mephistopheles disdainfully refers to him as “The Devil on Two Sticks”. It was during this route, that Mephistopheles, a Captain of Lucifer’s guard, decimated the armies of the fey by sinking the southeastern portion of Kelleemah beneath the ocean and drowning them.

Next, is our third part. It is not so much, a mythology as it is history. My world history is divided up into Ages, with no set time for each Age. They simply represent major events. As such, the age between the 3rd Shedim War, and the present, the Chess Wars, was known as the Faith Wars (You never do see an Age of Loving & Peace in these kinds of stories). The concept that drives this time period is that Deities draw their power from worship, and therefore, the more worshippers you have, the more power the Deity has. Because of the barrier between worlds, the Deities that have been drawn into Kelleemah have been cut off from most of their worshippers. As such, they are not as powerful. This led to the Faith Wars, were Deities and their followers fought for control of Kelleemah. Many Deities were destroyed, and it only ended when the Grigori known as the Lords of War stepped in and ended it by force; for the Arch Angels of the Grigori are as powerful as any Deity in Kelleemah. A number of major Deities still exist, and a large number of minor Deities as well. A major Deity is very powerful, immortal, and cannot be harmed by mortals. A minor Deity, is far weaker, but is powerful compared to most mortals, and is immortal in the since that it will not die from age or illness, but it can be killed by mortals. The major Deities have agreed to withdraw from world, living in lands that can only be reached through great magic. Only avatars of the major Deities are allowed among their followers, and even then, there are rules as set by the Grigori. The minor Deities were allowed to stay in Kelleemah among mortals if they wished.

Finally, we come to the fourth part. This is the Prophecy Mythology. This centers around ancient artifacts that are themselves gods, twenty swords forged from the axe shards of the “Sleeping” god of the centaurs. These are the gods of the Fee Peoples, and are said to hold the souls of their greatest heroes. The Prophecy Mythology speaks of the fate for each of these god swords. Many believe that if the fates of these swords come to pass, so too will the end times. My many campaigns are centered around these swords.

AllhardrlandHow Mythology and History Relates to My Maps

I believe that often, the world history and its mythology should drive map creation. The oldest ruins should be named by the oldest races. It explains why the races of man outnumber the others, for the other races have suffered more from the Shedim Wars than the newly arrived mankind. It explains the many demon infested areas throughout Kelleemah. It also helps to explain unnatural phenomenon on the maps. I researched (and continue to research) the mythology of my human cultures, and incorporate them into the world of Kelleemah. My last fantasy map that I did, Niflheimr, is a good example of this. It represents the lands of Hel from Norse Mythology, which the Vagoth are based on. Where Niflheimr would normally be on another plane, here it is actually part of the world. I will eventually have several maps of Kelleemah, with each one representing a particular age. This is because, some of my campaigns take place in different time periods. The map that I am working on now is the present, during the Chess Wars, an age where mortals have been carving out their own empires in the aftermath of the Faith Wars. There is far more mythology to this world that has been built up over time, but it literally fills up books. This allows me to be very detailed for both the maps and the stories that go with them. I always post stories with my maps. For me, it breathes life into them and gives them context.

What I have done as far as mapping is concerned, is that I have started in the top left corner of my world and I am branching out from there, building regional maps. This means that I have started with the Vagoth, which are modeled after the Norse. And, you get to meet the Dwarves of the Sellevokian Colonies, and the Light Elves of Perinusa and the Hidden Folk. As the map expands, more and more cultures will be revealed. Even among the fey, there are many elves of different cultures, as well as for dwarves, and gnomes, to name but a few. There are over 20 cultures of mankind within Kelleemah. I also intend to create the maps for my campaigns, 21 and counting, using the other mapping tools that Profantasy provides. I also will be getting Character Artist 3. It will help me to really showcase the different cultures of Kelleemah. And, I am really looking forward to the underground style that comes out in June.

Hardrada's StrongholdFinal Words

Writing this has been a real treat, thank you Ralf! I think the biggest struggle with writing this is has been trying to figure out what not to put into this. Like I said, I have books of notes, stories, mythologies, history, non-player characters, and campaigns. And, I keep adding to it. I hope that this has made some kind of since and did not bore you too much. I just want to thank everyone that has taken interest in both my maps and the world of Kelleemah. I hope that you find inspiration from these for your own creative efforts, and that you enjoy, and maybe even adventure in the world that I have created.

Thank You,

Charles W. Robinson