This is fantastic. I don't have enough praise for it, but I find it interesting, complete and inspiring, I going to vote for it as often as I can.
However, the "articles of note" section seemed to be poorly edited. I am not faulting you for this, it is no small task to get all the errors out of piece of prose. This is why "editor" and "proof reader" are still paying jobs. I hate it when I read one of my old posts and find errors. One of the greatest things I ever got from this website was detailed edit by Moonlake. I am not nearly as strong as she, but I have these notes
I don’t like the subheading “articles of note”, it is too vague, I know we want headings to be general but this is a little much. Famous Examples of Cartiomancy or , while less dramatic would be clearer.
structured conjured-should be “structure”
chose land-should read “chosen land”
and connecting the land to the map-should read “connected”
Abyss of Yaksha-I am unclear on what her goal was, was it to create a metaphysically isolated patch of land that exisisted only on the map (I like that idea) or to build a giant moat?
I hope this doesn't distract from praise for this piece. It really is wonderful, I wish I had written it.
I feel there should be a spell to instantly create a map, based on what the caster sees. Then, using this map which only applies for a short time (up to two hours, perhaps), the caster can then cast using the map. In this way, cartomancers aren't entirely left behind in combat.
I can picture a cartomancer drawing their own battlemap in the midst of a battle and using that to direct their magic :)
Alright, here are a few ideas from my own spells, stripping as much system-specific info as I can:
CONSTELLATION: The caster can elect to view the sky as if it were a celestial map, with lines drawn between the stars to join them into constellations and the names of the major stars written next to their positions. This spell also allows the caster to view the night sky from the point of view of a sky-watcher from another culture of which the mage has heard. In this case, the caster will see the stars arranged into the appropriate constellations and names for that culture.
DETECT CHANGES: The caster may determine what physical changes have been made to a place since he last saw it, even if the changes aren't visible to the naked eye. All changes that have occurred since the last casting of this spell on the subject by the same caster will be detected.
BATTLE MAP: This turns an ordinary map into a detailed three-dimensional topographical rendering of the area covered by the map. It includes the precise location of tactically or strategically important objects such hills, houses, bridges, fortifications, trench lines and formed bodies of friendly troops. Enemy troops or unknown formations are only shown on the map if they are visible to the caster when the spell is cast. Otherwise, they appear as a hazy, but still distinct shape, in their last known location.
VISION OF BATTLE: Observers may view a diorama of toy soldiers as if it were a real battle. When the spell is cast, the toy soldiers begin to move on their own. After a few minutes of careful observation, observers will see not animated toy soldiers on a tabletop but a real battle, with forces of the size of the actual battle depicted (regardless of the diorama pieces previously put into place). Time passes quickly; each battle is over in about 10 minutes, even if the viewers think that they have seen several days of combat.
The scale of the toy figures permitting, uniforms, faces, terrain, and equipment of the soldiers will change to produce maximum realism, including terrain effects, extreme weather conditions, smoke, fire, explosions and gruesome injuries. The caster can recreate a real battle or a hypothetical battle based on historical military organization and tactics. If he wishes, the caster can “change history” at any point in the battle to see how the outcome would be different; the caster can also freeze the battle in place at any stage, at which point the observers lapse back into real time until the diorama resumes. However, the depiction is only as good as the caster’s information; any flaws in the caster’s knowledge of the equipment, troop strength, capabilities or battle plans of all the forces involved are reflected in the presentation.
Excellent idea. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will read again and add to if possible. I would love to add it to new and existing campaigns. I have two thoughts about content. First, is high level cartogramancy, would strip the world of all mystery. No more lost cities, no lost treasures, nothing hidden anymore. This could be cool on the short term but detrimental on the long term. Second, I think that following the rule of precidence, a cartogramancer would not be able to locate traps with his ability unless he had a working knowledge of said trap (what it takes to install/trigger/disarm it) and possibly a focus item. Cool idea. I've got to take it for a spin.
I really ejoyed reading this article, as cartography is one of my favorite subjects, and this is a great rendition of the power of maps and map-making transcribed to fantasy. Just excellent!! And indeed so complete. The cartogramancer's equipment list, the maps and spells, all the wonderful detail! You know, I could never imagine that it is possible to treat this issue so seriously, but now I am all for it)