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Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Map of the Isle of Mordol

Jerry Stratton, June 27, 2010

I just finished scanning all of the pieces of the Isle of Mordol island map today. Here’s a rough patch-up of it. It’s kind of exciting for me—despite all the time we played in it in high school, I don’t think I ever saw the whole thing at once. (This may be why many of the sides don’t exactly match up.)

They’re taped together as vertical scrolls. It was always easier for me if the player characters went north/south rather than east/west. On the lower left, you can see that I originally planned to use one piece of tape across the width of the paper; I decided that two small pieces instead would be more flexible.1

Over on the right, you can see a river, going from the ocean in the northeast, to the ocean in the southeast. That makes it not really a river, but more of a different island. There is no mountain between those two locations.

There is a mountain on the island, though. In the lower left, just west of the city and the empty cove, that white space is a snow-covered mountain range. Given that each paper is about half a mile wide, the entire mountain range is no more than a mile long. Each square is fifty feet; that makes the “mountain” about 600 feet wide.

There was a wide variation of geography on Mordol. That brown stuff on the map is desert. The green stuff is forest. And the diagonal lines are grasslands. Look closely enough, and you might be able to see blue with green slashes. That’s marshland. And the yellow is perpetual fire.

While piecing them together, I notice that it looks a lot like I completely forgot about the roads on the north side of the map in E3. They go up—and then they don’t continue in E4.

Props to GIMP for making it relatively easy to put the maps together. It uses up all of my iMac’s 4 gigabytes of RAM and creates a 900 megabyte file, but as long as I quit all open applications it works pretty well. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a 17,840 by 16,538 image before.

I have already typed in all of the text for the island. As soon as I get around to sizing each section of the map and matching it to its text, I’ll put that online, too. It’ll probably go over on Highland Games since it really isn’t anything to do with Gods & Monsters, but I’ll post a notice here as well. Here are a handful of my notes placing the map in perspective:

Mordol is a tiny island on its own, about 2,000 miles west and 200 miles south of Specularum—very close to the equator.

I’ve tried to discern the original whenever possible; in college I went through and bowdlerized it by reducing the treasure haul, as well as the bonuses on magical treasure. Fortunately, I only got about a third of the way in before I gave up. It’s an unbowdlerizable text.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you don’t have to unroll a five-foot by five-foot map (seven sheets wide by five sheets tall) to get an overview of the island. In the original, I don’t think I ever saw the island as a whole. Each section was a strip of five sheets of 8.5x11 paper taped together vertically. When the player characters went horizontally instead of vertically, I had to unroll another sheet.

The maps were all drawn with color pencil. This makes it virtually impossible to use Inkscape’s tracing function to get a simple vector-based map. Maybe someday I’ll go through by hand and trace over the maps to get smaller, higher quality ones. Don’t hold your breath.

Each square is fifty feet on a side. That makes each sheet about half a mile by two-thirds of a mile. That makes the entire map about 3.5 miles by 3.2 miles. Tiny island. Big map.

Remember, as you laugh, that a real person played this, even if I can’t remember much about him thirty years later. The characters returned to Specularum with their newfound wealth and power; by this time they were all evil. One became evil during the adventure due to injudicious use of one of the magic items. One had already been evil; he’d been acting awfully good while adventuring with the other good characters, so the alignment gods sent him a test to see if he would be punished for being too good; he passed the test. So, in Specularum, they were contacted by the minions of Hell and forced2 to recover the Gem of Kerouac3. After that, memory fades.

If you enjoy looking at this map half as much as I do, seek professional help.

  1. At the time I did it the tape was clear, so I wasn’t worried about covering up the map.

  2. One of the nice things about an evil game is that while good NPCs request assistance, evil NPCs demand it.

  3. No idea. I had not read On the Road, and tended to confuse Kerouac with Charles Kuralt.

  1. <- Fight On! #9
  2. Cave of Chaos ->