CA136_DyranorFor the April issue we are looking up into the sky to view the stars and find the patterns they make.

Inspired by the work of Alastair McBeath (Wyvern) and with his permission, we have taken the star charts he created for the Community Atlas project and converted them into templates, drawing tools and symbol catalogs for the Star Charts mapping style. These allow you to map out the night sky spanning over your fictional world and connect the different stars to form constellations, adding to the myth and wonder of the world.

If you don’t want to place hundreds of stars by hand, the Star Charts style makes special use of the new Symbols in Area command to let you automatically and randomly fill the sky with stars of different magnitudes and colors. You can then use the included drawing tools to connect the most significant stars to form constellations that spring out from the jumble of lights in the sky. Check out the issue’s details on the Annual 2018 web page.

MyrklundAlso see a preview of the Annual’s May issue and its Myrklund overland style by Glynn Seal.

You can subscribe to the Annual 2018 here. Once you have subscribed, the April issue will immediately become available for download on your registration page.

Attention: This Annual issue needs the latest update for CC3+ to work. Please log into your registration page to download and install Update 15 for CC3+.

The Art of World-building author and blogger Randy Ellefson was so kind to write the following guest article for the rpgmaps blog. Enjoy!


When drawing maps of continents, being realistic is a good idea even when inventing for a fantasy or SF landscape. We’re not freed from plausibility unless we’re purposely throwing out the laws of physics and nature. Most of us are probably creating reasonably Earth-like terrain, but even if not, there are natural forces at work on most planets.

The following tips can not only prevent mistakes but give world builders ideas. Sometimes we’re not sure where to put a forest or desert, or why. Maybe we’re not sure where to even begin. The answer is mountain ranges and a decision on which hemisphere our continent is on. This will determine prevailing winds and, as a result, vegetation. If you don’t understand why, read on.

Mountains and Rain Shadows

Mountains cause moisture-carrying winds to rise. The clouds dump all the rain on one side of the mountain range, causing plants and trees. On the mountain range’s other side, there’s no water left to fall. This causes a “rain shadow,” an area that receives little to no rainfall. Deserts are the usual result.

The below image of the western coast of the United States shows the sudden onset of desert on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains, which are also causing the forests to their west. Not only is this not peculiar, but it’s a common and expected result that plays out across the Earth. Not knowing this, we might try to justify such a thing by saying a supernatural or technological event caused it when nature will do it.

Rain Shadow

A rain shadow can cover a huge area, such as the Great Plains of the United States. This isn’t a desert, but grasslands, but the same effect is responsible. The Rocky Mountains have taken much of the moisture out of the air, just not all of it. Some moisture is also coming up from the Gulf of Mexico to the south, so there’s enough rain to cause grass, just not lush vegetation. Generally, desert-like conditions occur closest to the mountains. As we progress farther from them, desert may give way to grasslands and finally forests.

How do we know which side has the desert or forest? We need to know about prevailing winds to answer that.

Prevailing Winds

On a world that is spinning on its axis, like Earth, there will be winds. Which direction these winds flow depends on latitude (distance from the equator) and which way the planet is rotating. Earth rotates counterclockwise and in this article we’ll assume your world does, too; if not, then reverse every mention of direction made below.

On Earth, the rotation causes winds from the equator (0°) to the tropics (up to 40°) to travel east; on the map below, yellow and brown arrows indicate this. In the temperate zones (40°—66°), winds travel west, as indicated by the blue arrows on the map. In the polar zones, winds are again eastward but are light. On the first map above, this explains why the forest is on the westward side of the mountains: the wind is westerly.

No Deserts near the Equator

The world’s deserts aren’t within 30° of the equator due to an atmospheric phenomenon called Hadley cells (there is one in each hemisphere). This weather pattern means most deserts, especially the large ones like the Sahara, start around 30°.

It also means there’s heavy precipitation from 0°—30° and this is too much rain for deserts to form. There’s one exception to this, at least on Earth: Somalia is located at the equator and is mostly arid. The reason? The elevation is between 5-15,000 feet. This changes what would be a tropical climate into a temperate one, and that’s exactly where rain shadows cause deserts. In this case, the Himalayan Mountains are the likely culprit despite how far away they are.

Putting it Together

How can we use this information? We can follow these steps when planning and creating a continent map:
1. Determine which hemisphere our continent is in, and how far from the equator (or even whether it spans it)
2. Decide which parts of the land mass are in each latitude/climate zone, noting the prevailing wind direction:
a. Between 0°—40°, winds are easterly
b. Between 40°—66°, winds are westerly
3. Add mountain ranges where desired
4. Plan where your deserts and forests are:
a. Between 0°—30°, no deserts except in highlands
b. Between 30°—40° forests to the east of mountains, deserts to the west
c. Between 40°—66°, forests to the west of mountains, deserts to the east
Remember that a desert may give way to grasslands and then forests, farther from the mountains that cause a rain shadow. This can give us a line, from left-to-right (or right-to-left) of forest, mountains, desert, grassland, forest. This depends on mountains running north-to-south, as this is perpendicular to the wind direction and therefore blocks the winds. An east-to-west range may cause this but on a smaller scale.

Also, note that winds are westerly or easterly but not perfectly so. They move slightly toward or away from the equator, as the above image illustrates. We don’t need to be super picky about this, however, partly because the vast majority of people have no idea about any of this. We always have the caveat that no one from our imaginary world is going to show up on Earth and announce to our horror (and the delight of our critics) that there is, in fact, no desert or forest at a specific location despite what our map says.

We may not know where 40° latitude is on our maps, but as long as we’re in the ballpark, we’re okay. The goal is to be plausible, not necessarily right.

Hopefully all of this informs and inspires your work, rather than inhibits you. If you’d like to learn more such details, they can be found in my book, Creating Places (The Art of World Building, #2).

A Quiz

Based on the image below (from my world Llurien), see if you can answer these questions (answers at the article’s end):

Question #1: based on where mountains, forests, and deserts are, which direction are the prevailing winds?
Question #2: how far from the equator is this region?
Question #3: which hemisphere is it? (hint: look at the vegetation icons)
Question #4: If you know the answer to the first three questions, what explains the existence of the deserts on the bottom area of the map?

Article Quiz Map

About the Author

Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website at, where dozens of maps, all made with Campaign Cartographer 3+, can be viewed. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

He’s the author of The Art of World Building book series, podcast, and blog. More details can be found at This article is drawn from information found in Creating Places (The Art of World Building, #2).

Quotes about The Art of World Building Series

NY Bestselling author Piers Anthony: “It is exhaustive, well written, and knowledgeable…I, as a successful science fiction and fantasy writer, have generated many worlds, so this material is familiar, but it would have been easier and probably better had I had a reference like this. It is realistic, recognizing that the average writer may not have the patience to work out all the details before getting into the action…”

Ed Greenwood, inventor of The Forgotten Realms: “With CREATING PLACES, Randy Ellefson has penned a sequel to his CREATING LIFE that walks story creators through worldbuilding along an entertaining road that runs everywhere, making sure nothing is missed. Plentiful examples are provided, and a veteran worldbuilder can find just as much fun and comprehensive reminders in these pages as a novice. Some books are nice to have, and a rare few are “must haves.” Like Ellefson’s preceding book, CREATING PLACES is one of that rare breed: an essential reference work. Unlike most references, this one is fun to read. Not to mention a goad and spark for the imagination!”

Quiz Answers

#1: east
#2: not very because easterly winds are nearer the equator
#3: this image is in the northern hemisphere. If we can see the tree icons (they’re a little small here), rainforest icons are used on the southern half, implying the equator is to the south (it’s just off the bottom edge of the map).
#4: since this is near the equator, there can’t be deserts, except that those areas of the map are above 5,000 feet (called the Marulan Highlands)) and are therefore a temperate climate. This lets the mountains on the right cause a rain shadow.

Spinning Globe

The community atlas project is a project where the ProFantasy community comes together and maps out a complete world for everyone to use. Here, we provide all kinds of maps, from world maps to continent maps to area maps to city maps to dungeon maps and much more, and they are all hyperlinked together in an interactive atlas.
Remy Monsen

Over on the Profantasy Community Forum a group of mappers has come together for a huge project: They are mapping a whole world of their own, collaborative design, and you can join the project if you like! It is a great opportunity to share world-building and map-making techniques, as well as learn a lot about CC3+ in the process.

Remy collects all the maps available on the project website, where you can view and download them at your leisure.

Here’s one of the contintental maps of the project, Kumarikandam, by Charles W. Robinson.

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

Author Nat Russo posted the following great article on “A Writer’s Journey” and graciously allowed us to repost it here. Enjoy his excellent advice and check out his book “Necromancer Awakening“.
Continue reading »

The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding is out, and we have a special discount code for the ProFantasy community: go to the Kobold Store and use the code CC1PFWB0 at checkout to get 25% off any of the following titles: 

Below is an excerpt from the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding: Wolfgang Baur’s essay “How Real is Your World? History and Fantasy as a Spectrum of Design Options.”

CA76 ExampleReal Worldbuilding

There are at least two clear traditions in fantasy worldbuilding: the real worlds and the pure fantasies. Fans of the two approaches are usually split and sometimes react violently to the wrong flavor. As with all matters of art and creative endeavor, this is a matter of subjective judgments and personal preferences. The quality of the execution carries a great deal of weight as well.

To put it simply, the competing traditions are these: some fantasy worlds are built more closely on real European legends (such as Conan’s Hyborea, or an Arthurian variant, or Golarion’s many Earthlike cultures), while others are built more clearly on a premise or a conceit (Barsoom or Dark Sun or Spelljammer). A few fall somewhere in between, but let’s pretend for a moment that these are entirely different schools of thought with respect to worldbuilding.

Hard Historical Fantasy

For the historical fantasy settings, I’m thinking of things like Jonathan Tweet’s Ars Magica, Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne, Chad Bowser’s Cthulhu Invictus, Sandy Peterson’s Pendragon, Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and the related RPG, White Wolf ’s World of Darkness, and Scott Bennie’s Testament. These are excellent fantasy worlds, with a specific character, a specific time period, and are built on the firmest ground of realism you can imagine for something that is still clearly a fantasy setting.

This approach is a powerful shortcut to familiarity. It makes these worlds easy to explain to players, and Hollywood uses this formula often as well (“It’s the Wild West—but with UFOs!”). This makes it easy to get buy-in from players or readers, and it simplifies your workload and enriches your storehouse of reference material.

But the style also creates its own limits. Once you are committed to King Arthur and the Round Table, it’s tough to work in Cthulhu (though hardly impossible—Mordred and Morgan Le Fey were clearly cultists!). Once you are discussing wizards and medieval Europe, it’s hard to suddenly bring in wuxia martial arts. A known setting can be bent pretty far, but must never violate the mysterious line where disbelief creeps in. The approach often taken for this sort of design is to declare that the history of the world is well known—but that there is also a secret history, known only to vampires, or Templars, or wizards.

Because this clarity of focus makes the game easy to explain to others (“It’s

the Crusades with magic” or “It’s the Chinese Three Kingdoms with secret Lotus monks”), know in advance that your audience may be small but intensely loyal and likely includes many experts in the period in question.

“Real Fantasy”

Which brings us to the world that is clearly full of the echoes of history and reality, but divorced from it to a greater or lesser degree by its fantasy conceits. It’s one step more fantastical, if you will; its magic is bigger and brighter and its history and sense of earnestness about itself is one step less, while still respecting the roots and traditions of fantasy. There’s more Cthulhu, more fireballs, more giant robots, bigger bets on dragons and monsters and the fantastical coming into the open, rather than the Secret History approach.

To quote particular examples, I’m thinking of settings like Robert E. Howard’s Hyborea, Jeff Grubb’s Al-Qadim, Suleiman, Kenson, and Marmell’s Hamunapta, my own Midgard campaign setting, Bruce Heard’s Mystara, David “Zeb” Cook’s Kara Tur/Oriental Adventures, Tracy Hickman’s Ravenloft, John Wick’s 7th Sea, Games Workshop’s Warhammer RPG, and Greg Gorden’s TORG. Some of these lean more heavily on the real and some more on the fantasy, but in each case, the designer clearly has a shelf full of real-world reference books. Others, like Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber, Richard Baker’s Birthright, and Paizo’s Golarion, all lean fairly heavily on Earth and its cultures, so they seem to belong here as well.

Each of these owes a great or lesser debt to the real world’s cultures and societies, and the usual points of departure include the world’s great mythologies and legends, such as the Egyptian mythos, the Norse sagas, the 1001 Arabian Nights, the tales of Stoker and the stories of Atlantis and the Song of Roland, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, pirate tales, the tales of Baron Munchhausen, and the Holy Roman Empire. They’re all built on the assumption that the real world is worth embellishing, and that fantasy is a matter of making real places or real legends more exciting. If dragons were real . . . life would be more exciting.

In each case above, it’s impossible to imagine that fantasy setting without the body of lore that undergirds it. As the designer of such a setting, you must understand what makes that mythology tick, and why it appeals to a modern audience. Once you understand it, your work is to make it both accessible and playable by lifting the best parts of it and making them irresistible to gamers. The more of the obscure points you know, the better off you are.

At the same time, it’s very easy to get trapped in excessive research that players won’t care about, and your prose and descriptive detail can become dry and academic. In a historical fantasy, that’s more acceptable than in a real fantasy, where the goal is not so much “simulation plus a little fantasy” as it is “experience an improved version of the tales.”

That’s right: your goal is to do a better job on the Arabian Nights, to improve on the Brothers Grimm, and to swipe the best bits of ancient Egyptian lore from 5,000 years ago, and make it compelling reading for teenagers, college kids, adults of all ages in the 21st century.

No one said it was easy.