So when I was writing that previous post about Anbennar lore intro I realized that its pretty hard to convey info without proper maps, so I changed up my worldbuilding/modmaking process a bit: instead of fleshing out Lencenor completely I decided to fill out the rest of the main parts of the map, namely where Gawed and The Empire of Anbennar would be.
This post details some of the provinces I’ve done just now, namely Lencenor’s northern neighbour: The Dragon Coast, the Lorentish Approach which is the border between Lorent and Gawed as well as the Gawedi Moors, a moorland area where a bunch of rebellious moor lords against Gawed would rise.
Hopefully this post will show a bit more in the processes I undertake when adding new provinces.
In short: Green = Flatlands, Dark Green = Hills, Brown = Mountains, White = Mountain Peaks, Blueish = Marhsland
So as a general overview here’s both the terrain map and the provinces map. Since the terrain for this region is pretty much sorted I can use it to influence where I place provinces in addition the rivers map which you’ll see below.
The Dragon Coast
The Dragon Coast is named that because when I randomized the terrain a bit it like a dragon or some sort of beast at the western end (see the jaw?) and I decided to just roll with it – I figured, like the Dameshead, that any cartographers (mapmakers) would see the similarities and just go “Oh it looks like so-and-so so lets name it that”.
This region was mainly inspired by the highlands of Scotland so you can see the majority of the region is hilly along with the smaller shattered islands like the Hebrides. From my research apparently this was because of the ice age, and as glacial ice melts we get mountainous and jagged-coast environments like this – which is the same as how you get fjords over in Scandinavia.
In terms of lore I decided that the Dragon Coast would have some sort of hill-dwelling folk. I opted out of just regular hillsmen humans and I looked into the Forgotten Realms wiki and realized that fantasy creature kobolds would fit the bill.
I also read that kobolds were the main enemies of gnomes, so decided that gnomes could live in the lower hilly areas as well as the flatlands. From that the gameplay element/objectives came in: for gnomish players they would have to fight back the kobolds and unify the Dragon Coast.
With that I added history around this, that the entire region had been controlled by the Gnomish Hierarchy before the Dragonwake (when dragons woke up essentially, more on that later!). But when the Dragonwake hit it also woke up the kobolds (who were often servants of dragons and reptilian themselves) and they ended up invading the gnomes, destroying the Hierarchy and banishing the majority of them outside the Dragon Coast to Portnamm and Nimscodd (which are already existing countries as seen before).
When creating provinces for this I decided that it shouldn’t be as dense as for example Lorent or The Empire, so provinces are generally larger. There is a higher concentration of provinces in the flatlands (as you can easier develop urban areas there, see Italy’s northern flatlands) with a lower concentration of provinces up in the hills and mountains.
The Lorentish Approach
Across the Widderoy River (that dark blue river) is the Lorentish Approach – which is basically named for what you’d expect: to get into Lorent you need to go through this place.
This area is also part of the Small Country (ie halfling land) but instead of being part of Lorent its part of its rival, Gawed. I figured as Gawed is a less urbanized and not as rich as Lorent that the provinces here would be bigger as well. Lorent had owned the majority of the Small Country for longer (as this is their native land of Lencenor) whereas Gawed’s gains in the Small Country were from failed invasions of the past so I figured they wouldn’t have as much time to develop their provinces.
At the top of the Lorentish Approach and at the tip of the Dameshead is that little dark green provinces with a river going through it: that’s Vertesk.
Vertesk is Gawedi by culture but their ties to the rich Dameshead sea and the other city states there made them align with the Empire of Anbennar, so they are an imperial county instead. This adds a hook for Gawedi players as they will start without any sea provinces, but conveniently there is a very rich naval city-state right on their southern borders which will surely drag Gawed into war with The Empire.
Gawedi Moors (The Westmoors)
Above you can see a slightly different view, with shows my provinces being slightly transparent. This is my default view when I’m adding provinces so I can use the terrain as well as the rivers to influence where the provinces lie.
Generally if a province is a border between two countries I’d stick to natural borders such as rivers or mountains (as you can see in the Lorentish Approach above, Lorent and Gawed’s border is the Widderoy river) but this also goes for just generally distinct areas. So here in the Westmoors the provinces go where I put the blueish marshland province color, as the Moor Lords are very territorial against their Gawedi kin.
My main inspiration for Gawed was England, specifically the North of England (and I guess in proxy, The North in Game of Thrones). It’s a gruff land full of gruff people. I read Wuthering Heights back in school so this was the main inspiration for the Westmoors: a vast track of land that can be barely controlled by man (and therefore the Gawedi King).