Fantasy map making – The most detailed map of Delfinnia

One of the most fun parts of creating fantasy stories is the worldbuilding. Maps in particular are always a lot of fun and allow the imagination to run free and are a huge assistance to an author. I use maps to know the locations of places, the distances characters will have to traverse and the terrain that will be used for battle and action scenes.

The map below was made with Wonderdraft and is the most detailed map of Delfinnia, the main landmass in the Sundered Crown Saga.

Now, the map below is something special as it finally puts into one image my plans for my fantasy series. If you look closely you may notice that there quite a few lands that have yet to be mentioned and one that is the setting for the Empowered Ones series. Yep, all my stories are set on the same magical planet of Esperia, or the Esperverse as I’ve come to call it.

The world map. Not to scale as the oceans are far larger than depicted here. (I ran out of space!)

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Terran Defence Force (TDF) encyclopaedia

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Buy Terran Defenders:Genesis

The events below follow those that occur in Genesis.

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As of the writing of this manual (Earth year 2032) all alien species within are those that we as a species have made contact with, learnt of their existence or encountered via other means.

This document is given to all new TDF recruits and a test will be given on its contents prior to training. The knowledge within may save the lives of colleagues or yourself depending on the situation.

This first section details the main factions of power in the known galaxy, further details of alien species can be found later in this guide.

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Factions

The Tri Alliance

(Year founded: Earth year 2012)

The Tri Alliance was created after the first contact incident of 2012. It comprises of three species. The Olmeca, Ekahau and Humanity. Prior to 2012 the Olmeca and Ekahau had been at total war with one another for almost 500 years. However due to the events that unfolded the three races had to join forces or be destroyed by the actions of the rouge Olmeca sovereign Itzamná and the mysterious but deadly Xibalba.

For twenty years the Tri Alliance has brought prosperity to its members. Peace between Olmeca and Ekahau was made possible due to humanities actions and efforts. Due to the 2014 technology-sharing act the human race was now able to develop at an astounding pace and within less than a decade humans were colonising the rest of their solar system.

Militarily the Tri Alliance is strong and growing in power. The Ekahau already were expert warriors and command dozens of fleets of fighting ships and personnel. The Olmeca Empire is rapidly rebuilding after the war but due to the enormous effort of repairing the damage caused to its fleet in 2012 and the Ekahau war, it will be years before they are back to full strength.

Humanities contribution comes in the form of the United Nations led Terran Defence Force.

Terran Defence Force

Founded shortly after 2012 the TDF is charged with safeguarding human interests in space and tasked with maintaining world peace on Earth. At first it was predominantly comprised of U.S and Chinese personnel but as the years have progressed every country on Earth has members in service. The force currently comprises of seven sector fleets, each comprised of six frigates, two fighter carriers and dozens of support ships.

List of current operations:

Earth defence patrols: Always the TDF’s priority. Currently the 2nd and 6th fleets are tasked with Earth and lunar defences.

Solar system patrol: The 4th fleet is currently on patrol across the solar system. Split into three it is on station to defend Mars colony and the Jupiter ship yards and moon facilities. The third segment, which is mostly comprised of smaller ships, is patrolling the edge of the system and beyond Pluto. Their primary task is to spot possible dangers and to ensure merchant vessels reach the system safely.

Combat operations: The 1st, 3rd and 7th fleets are engaged in offensive operations in the Alpha Centauri system. Their primary objective is to engage and destroy the threat posed by the Skarin bases in the area. The war has been winding down as Skarin activity has lessened due to the impact of heavy casualties inflicted by the TDF.

Exploration: The 5th fleet is tasked with exploring the solar systems nearest to Earth. So far twenty-five planets have been mapped and six have been colonised by scientific groups or mining corporations. The key objective is to discover natural resources and other useful materials for use on Earth. Planet EN-004 has yielded vast quantities of iron ore and titanium deposits.

Science and exploration ministry (SEM)

Established in conjunction with the TDF the ministry is tasked with the search for new worlds and resources. Its key role is to assist colonists attempting to settle on any suitable worlds. The Mars colony has been a huge success only made possible thanks to the assistance of Olmeca scientists and technology. Often seen as the civilian wing of the space programme, SEM has attracted the most brilliant minds from humanity. SEM also works very closely with other alien civilizations and is home to the diplomatic core that is tasked with handling peaceful first contact situations.

Tipax Imperia

Contact between Humans and the Imperia occurred less than three years ago but from what TDF intelligence and SEM diplomats have reported, the Imperia is by far the most powerful force in the galaxy. Its area of control is vast almost encompassing 25,000 light years of territory. It is home to over ten thousand different alien species and appears to be headed by an Emperor who presides over a parliament. As of now trading has begun between the Tri alliance and the Imperia but it appears that humanity is of little interest to them. The M’iin species is a vassal race of the Tipax.

Xibalba – (Read TD:Genesis for more information)

Virtually nothing is known about this mysterious species except that it was a Xibalba ship that threatened Earths very existence back in 2012. We know they once ruled a vast empire and were vastly technologically advanced. Apparently they were driven out of the galaxy by unknown means; Olmeca legends even say their entire planet was thrown into the void between galaxies.

Reports from 2012 suggest they were capable of mind control or influence. Prisoners from the battle with Itzamná claim that their sovereign had been under the control of a whispering voice, which they claim was a Xibalba spirit.  The Olmeca council saying that the claims were nonsense denied all of that. In 2012 the Xibalba threat was ended after the ship was destroyed and the gateway closed.

Monsters, Guilds and Beasts – The Guilds & Factions – The King’s Legion

Monsters, Guilds and Beasts – The Guilds & Factions – The King’s Legion

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This series of blog posts will focus on the various creatures, heroes and guilds that inhabit the world of Esperia and in particular the Kingdom of Delfinnia. This second part will be split into multiple posts. This one will focus on the King’s Legion.

‘Becoming a Legionnaire is an honour. You get to see the world and get paid doing it. The food isn’t too bad either,’ – Commander Stalvos of the Westerland Legion

The King’s Legion was formed shortly after the Magic Wars to restore order to a land which had been ripped apart by over ten years of conflict. The successful invasion of the Golden Empire by King Marcus of the Delfin tribe and his subsequent assassination led to a period of instability as the tribes and Free-fighters that aided in the downfall of the dark mages turned on one another. Markus’s brother, Riis restored order and took the crown for himself.

In a bid to end the strife he had forged a symbol of the broken alliance of the tribes and freedom fighters, the Sundered Crown. Upon placing the crown on his head, Riis reminded them of all they had achieved together. On the same day he announced the creation of the King’s legion, an army that would answer only to the monarch and no other.

Prior to the Magic Wars, the Golden Empire had been defended by multiple different armies which had loyalties to their respective lords. In theory, the Emperor was to have overall control but by the end of the Empire, the influence of the Emperors and Empresses had waned to such an extent that Wizard lordlings often used their troops to take lands from other lords and force the common folk to serve their will.

The early King’s Legion was a cobbled together bunch of warriors from the various tribes and volunteers; it was far from the elite force it would eventually evolve into. King Riis drilled the new legion himself and led campaigns against the followers of the N’gist that had held out in the east. Over time successive Delfinnian Kings, with the aid of the legions conquered the entire continent which was renamed Delfinnia.

Over the next centuries, the legion grew in size and began to exert its influence over the monarchy itself. There were now ten legions, each designated its own region to defend. Several King’s were assassinated and replaced by legion generals which had realised that they now wielded more might than the king. Their power was brought back under control by King Riis the third after he brutally purged the legion of potential traitors. With assistance from the Knight’s of Niveren and the Mages of Caldaria he brought the legions to heel. From that day on the legion knew who was boss and would never threaten their masters again.

The biggest test for the legion came in the year 620 AGE when the Yundol’s launched their massive invasion of Delfinnia. A brutal, warlike race, the Yundol’s raided the Marble Shore. Under the reign of King Ermin, a vast fleet of Yundol ships landed on the southern shore of Delfinnia. What Delfinnian ships were sent against them were destroyed and the King’s Legion was bested at Plock. The Yundols pillaged without challenge.

Disaster struck at the battle of the Retbit valley. King Ermin was slain battling the invaders in the Valley and the legion was put to flight. The legions failure led to the sacking of the sacred isle of Zahnia and saw the ancient city there reduced to ashes. As Ermin had no heir of age to ascend to the throne, the Diasect took up the regency. With the Legion battered and broken, the Diasect devised a plan. It divided the realm into the baronies of Champia, Bison, Robinta, Retbit, Eclin, Stormglade and Sunguard. Each lord of those territories was granted permission to raise their own armies and so ease the burden on the crown. The Legion meanwhile was restored by General Taman the Blade. Under his leadership, he restored the legions pride and led it to many victories against the invaders. Eventually, the Legion united with the Baronies armies and together launched a massive counter attack. The plan worked and together the barons and King’s Legion drove the Yundol’s back into the sea.

For a hundred years, the realm prospered once more. That was until the king and his heirs were assassinated by an unknown foe and the events of the Saga of the Sundered Crown began.

 

Monsters, Guilds and Beasts – The Guilds & Factions – The Knights of Niveren

Monsters, Guilds and Beasts – The Guilds & Factions – The Knights of Niveren

 

Image by http://www.deviantart.com/art/the-knight-273286408

This series of blog posts will focus on the various creatures, heroes and guilds that inhabit the world of Esperia and in particular the Kingdom of Delfinnia. This second part will be split into multiple posts. This one will focus on the Knights of Niveren.

What are guilds?

‘Delfinnia is a land rich with adventure, gold and opportunity. The various guilds that operate in the realm provide opportunities to the people. Some specialise in making money, others the defence of the innocent. Others appeal to those of a nefarious and criminal nature. All have a role to play’ – Rusay Broadmane, Baron of Robinta.

Guilds are an association of like-minded individuals that have teamed together to practise their chosen crafts or skills. In Delfinnia, the oldest of the guilds was formed in the days of the long deceased Nivion Empire whilst the newest was founded during the early days of the Kingdom of Delfinnia’s founding.

Some guilds have operations in every corner of the realm; among them are the Baker’s guild, Merchant guild, Mason’s guild and the Wood and Stone guild (which includes lumberjacks, carpenters and artisans.)

The major guilds

As well as minor guilds, eight major guilds operate in the kingdom. There are many Knightly orders in the realm but only two have the power to operate on a scale where they can field their own armies.

Knights of Niveren

The Knights of Niveren is the oldest monastic order in the world having been originally founded at the height of the Nivion Empire in the year 2450 OM. The knights were sworn to defend the Empire from all enemies and it was the order that waged many of the old Empires wars. After the devastating battle of the Greenmoor and Danon’s second return, the order was effectively wiped out and any surviving knights were hunted down by the N’gist.

For centuries, the order was forced to hide in the shadows. It was restored however when Zahnia the Great defeated Danon and ended the dark ages. During the days of the Golden Empire, the order was tasked with aiding the Nightblades hunt Fell beasts.

It was during this time that the Knights Vigil was created. Five of the orders most skilled knights was given the title of vigil knight and tasked with patrolling the world for signs of evil. If such a threat was discovered then the Knights Vigil were authorised to do whatever it took to eliminate the threat before it had a chance to emerge. A Knight Vigil slew the N’gist master Ardoman and broke the dark orders power. The Knights Vigil still existed and will continue with their task even if the order itself is destroyed or disbanded.

In the closing days of the Golden Empire, the magistrate and defacto ruler of the Empire, the wizard Sivion ordered that the order be disbanded. Unknown to the knights was that Sivion was secretly the head of the resurgent N’gist cult. His corrupt teachings had spread amongst the wizards and mages of the Empire and the Magic Wars began. Many of the disbanded knights joined the rebellion against the wizards and assisted the Delfin King Markus to invade and conquer the Golden Empire.

In the decades that followed the Knights reformed under a new charter, one that tasked the knights with hunting down illegal magic users and defend the realm from the remnants of the magic wars.

Under the reign of King Alden the third, however the peace was shattered. The remnants of the magic wars swarmed from the north to attack the realm. Un-dead hordes destroyed the city of Eclin and spread as far south as the walls of Balnor.

In response, the Knights of Niveren mobilised, and at the battle of Balnor crossing, the tide was turned. The following century saw the Knights of Niveren launch crusades into the mountains. Eventually the un-dead hordes were once more defeated but the N’gist followers who had unleashed the dead slinked back into the shadows.

Monsters, Guilds and Beasts Part 1 – Fell Beasts of the Void

This series of blog posts will focus on the various creatures, heroes and guilds that inhabit the world of Esperia and in particular the Kingdom of Delfinnia. This first section will focus on the Fell Beasts of the void.

What are Fell Beasts?

‘Fell Beasts are the scourge of this world. Made by a mad god and unleashed by a foolish mage, no other plague has slain so many and brought so much pain to the realms of men’ – Ferran of BlackMoor, Nightblade.

The Fell Beasts were created before man. A war between gods ended in a stalemate. In order to break the impasse the gods made a wager. Whoever could create the strongest creature would be declared the winner. The god of balance and order created men, beings strong and gifted with magic. The mad god Vectrix, however created the Void and the Fell Beasts. The creatures were imbued with Vectrix’s powers, a power that the mages call void magic.

Mankind waged war upon the beasts until finally they achieved victory and the god of balance banished Vectrix and his abominations into the void.

Only two men were left by the war’s end. Niveren and his brother, Danon. As thanks for their heroism the gods gifted Niveren and Danon with wives and created more people for them to share the world with.

Centuries passed and mankind began to forget the tales of old. A mage whose name was lost to history, accidentally opened up a portal, a portal to the void. Fell beasts swarmed through the breach and as more flooded into reality the barriers between the real world and the void fractured. To counter the threat the kingdoms of mankind united to battle the threat. Millions perished and all hope seemed lost until monster hunters skilled with magic entered the fray. With the Nightblades at their side the armies of men culled the Fell Beasts numbers enough to allow the wizard Aljeron to seal the breach. Despite his best efforts however the damage was done and Fell Beasts still slip into the real world from time to time.

Types of Fell Beasts

Fell Beasts come in different shapes and sizes but one thing they all have in common is their lust for human flesh. Normal weaponry cannot slay a Fell Beast, only weapons made of silver, pure metals or magic can do so. A typical King’s Legion soldier is equipped with both steel and silver weaponry. The Nightblades weapon of choice, the Tourmaline blade is perfect for the task. Such weapons are made of pure magical energy powered by the tourmaline crystals affixed to the hilt and summoned to life by the magic of the Nightblade.

Pucks

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Image by http://www.deviantart.com/art/goblin-gang-174538299

Small goblin like creatures that are covered in brown razor sharp fur. Their eyes are bulbous and yellow and their mouths are filled with dagger like teeth. Their small size means that they are not much of a threat on their own but Pucks very rarely hunt alone. Puck packs can number from a dozen to thousands. If a pack descends upon a village or undefended town then it will leave no-one alive.

Banshees

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Image by http://www.deviantart.com/art/Banshee-110302759

Perhaps the most feared of all Fell Beasts is the Banshee. These haunting beasts are more comprised of magic then flesh. They often haunt the moorlands, marshes and woods of the world, praying on any unwary travellers that stray into their hunting grounds. Their most distinguishable feature is their scream which paralyses its prey. Instead of eating their prey, a Banshee instead will absorb the energy from its victim. Banshees also have the ability to turn its prey into another Banshee.

‘You can always tell when a Banshee is near. The air grows icy cold and the hairs on your neck stand on end…then comes the scream’ – Sophia Cunning, Witch Hunter.

Redcaps/Goblins

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Image: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Goblin-Rabblemaster-461666296

Goblins are perhaps the most common of the Fell Beasts and the ones most similar to men. They are quite intelligent and have the ability to craft crude weaponry and perform complex strategies. When fighting Goblins, Legion commanders have compared them to battling human foes. Goblins live deep underground, rising to the surface only to hunt at night. Finding goblin lairs is the primary job of the Nightblades. The most powerful of goblin kind are the Redcaps, these goblins wear caps coated with human blood and appear to act as the leaders of goblin clans.

Gargantuan

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Image –http://www.deviantart.com/art/goblin-gang-174538299

These behemoths are thankfully incredibly rare. The size of a castle and with hides like iron these creatures have dealt untold devastation to cities across the world of Esperia. In appearance they look like massive four legged horned beasts with cavernous mouths full of thousands of needle like teeth. The last to have appeared in Delfinnia was three hundred years ago and was responsible for almost destroying the city of BlackMoor. Whole armies have gone against them only to be consumed. In the Magic Wars it was said that the dark mages used these creatures to assault enemy fortresses.

Negrist

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Image – http://www.deviantart.com/art/1-hour-monster-2-105460483

The ultimate killing machines. These foul creatures are bi-peds that stand taller than a man. They are hideous to behold with features straight out of a nightmare. As well as their deadly jaws the Negrist have razor blades instead of arms and are covered in poisonous hairs. They are also gifted with powerful void magic’s which enable them to blend in with their surroundings and resist magic’s used against them by mages or Nightblades.

Dragons

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Image – http://www.deviantart.com/art/dragon-255850862

Dragons are not true Fell beasts but instead victims of a great betrayal at the dawn of time. Legends say that the mighty creatures were the first to have been made by the first Goddess Aniron. They were gifted with immense magical power and knowledge and defended the world of their creator. Their dominance was short-lived however as Vectrix, jealous of Aniron’s love for them banished them to the void. Due to their immortality it is said that the dragons still live and are biding their time to escape their prison.

Part 2 will focus on the various guilds that inhabit the world of Esperia.

Creating Worlds – The World of Esperia & the Kingdom of Delfinnia Part 1

Creating Worlds – The World of Esperia & the Kingdom of Delfinnia Part 1

Previously, I wrote about the fun of world building, of how real life events and history has inspired me. In this post, I will be going into a bit more depth about how to introduce the little things that can make a fantasy world more believable.

Geography

Ok, ok so geography does not sound the most exciting thing to start with but it is important. If your make believe world is not feasible in terms of things like terrain, climate etc… Then readers are less likely to be pulled into the world.  In the Sundered Crown Saga, the world of Esperia follows what you would expect in the real world. Mountains are part of huge ranges, the coasts are battered by stormy seas and the cities are located in places that make sense.

Towns, cities and settlements would typically be built near to sources of water, or on defensible hills, if you place a city in the middle of a desert make sure you make clear to the reader how such a place is possible. Is there a spring underground? Or is water brought into the city by trading caravans?

In the Sundered Crown Saga, I made sure that when designing the world each place made sense. For example, the capital city of Sunguard is located at the centre of the kingdom, all roads lead to it meaning that trade and supplies are readily available. It is also located on the banks of a river (i.e a water source) and is surrounded by farmland (food).

The good thing about fantasy worlds however, is that you can also include the less mundane into your worlds. Esperia has two moons, which means that the planet’s tides are far higher than what we see on Earth.

At certain times of the year, travel by sea is made impossible due to massive waves. Things like that can be used in scenes that can make a reader think. Imagine being caught out at sea as a hundred foot wave’s tower over you!

Food & Drink

Little things like what food and drink your characters consume also add to the believability of a world. Video games like Skyrim are good examples of how to use simple food products to suck a gamer into Tamriel.

Books like the Lord of the Rings and Patrick Rothuss’s novels do similar things with food and drink. In Esperia the main food producing region is the barony of Robinta, home of the famous Robintan tea and cheeses.

In the second part of this post I will take a closer at politics and factions.

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Image:  http://www.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Landscape-Adobe-Illustrator-Vector-342928253

 

 

Bit of World Building

The funnest part of writing fantasy and science fiction is definitely world building. Making maps or designing fictitious timelines is loads of fun and helps me as a writer involve myself deeper into the story that I am writing. For Heir to the Sundered Crown and my as yet unpublished Terran Defender series I created timelines which span hundreds and thousands of years.

The best way to make a timeline is to look at our own real life history as it is filled with interesting events which have molded and changed the world we lie in. For fantasy you can look at events from the Medieval period or ancient world for inspiration. Epic events have occurred throughout history, from wars for crowns, the fall of empires and the rise of tyrants. For HTTSC I was inspired by many of those events and all I did was then chuck magic into the mix.

Sci- fi is a different thing entirely however as the things your write about have yet to happen in the real world. With Sci-fi you can really cut loose!

As part of the world building process I made a coat of arms for the realm of Delfinnia which is below.

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How do you go about world building? Do you have any tips? Let me know via Facebook, Twitter or leave me a message on the blog 🙂