Quite a tour-de-force. I ejoyed reading this, 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 oh so complete. The cartogramancer's equipment list, the maps and spells, all the wonderful detail...
I love this and will incorporate it into the next (and probably every) campaign I run. Quite a sub. Even the comments are great (axle, Redgre, RGTraynor, infested-jerk, etc..)
Finally, I think Redgre's comment regarding the loss of "mystery" is an interesting one to consider (I hadn't until he posted that).
Go to Comment
Dozus, this is awesome.
I like this a lot, I think you could post it as is, but as for advice, I think some of the spells are a little redundant-the slave map, sibiling maps, signal charts all seem to be variations on the exact same power. But maybe writing it up this way is clearer than describing in general the powers a cartogramancer will have over the maps he or she creates. As trade items that adventures might equip themselves with while not themselves practing cartogramancy,slave maps and signal charts and the items that go with them are all useful descriptions.
I like the mount weazel concept, could a powerful enough cartogramancer use this to make islands at sea or streams or lakes in the desert? Could he put a forest over a road or a bridge over a river?
Another area of power you might explore are small scale maps. Could he/she make a map of door or gate to find the weak point? Could he make a blueprint of a puzzle box to find the traps? Could he use his maps like voodoo dolls, if he has a map of a person: there is plot idea the evil cartogramancer is kidnapping important people, drugging them, carefully mapping their body then sending them back in the world. If they fail to obey to he removes their eyes or cuts off circulation to their brain for awhile.
Can he use his power over maps to travel back in time, or at least age the map? Looking at an over grown jungle valley could he map the city that was there 400 years ago? Would this map include who lived where and what buidling were used for what?
Finally I can see having cartogramancer player as being challenege for game planning. You will have to have bunch of hand outs, you can forget the maze or traps you drew up...unless you really want to frustrate your PC by muting his powers so you can drop him in a pit or something.
But I think the idea is great, I had an order or map making clerics once, but they were no where as developed as this. Well done sir.
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 :)