Alt-Athas, in progress

I was a bit less then enthused with the expansion of the mapped setting in the revised edition, The additions always felt less holistically designed and much more pasting ideas onto a board. Besides, it through out the first paragraph describing the Ringing Mountains from the Wanderer’s Journal.

That description set my mind racing with sword and planet inspiration of a region within a massive Martian-like crater made up of the Ringing Mountains. In my Athas, that’s what I still describe to my players.

I recently came across Wonderdraft and began tracing my old maps and I’m really pleased with the outcome. After weeks of tinkering I felt I found a style within Winderdraft’s options that would work for my needs and I began. Still very much in progress, I just want to finish this off before I start thinking too much about beyond this. There is a lot missing, like roads, names. But the alt Tablelands is essentially done-ish.

You will notice some shifts, like Urik, Raam, Draj all nudged north and Yaramuke even further. Space those all out was my thinking. Eldaarich brought south, Kurn shifted northeast of it. Black Spine shifted east and the Ivory Triangle salt flat stretched north. Nibenay nudged a bit east with the mountain range.

Lots of rock outcroppings in the Sea of Silt.

In it all, as I said, I’m trying to evoke a strong sword and planet vibe. Alt-Athas Ringed Tablelands Full Res by AdmundfortGeographer on DeviantArt Putting in a few hours a day working this for the past couple weeks so far, much more to go.

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Very nice! I’ll probably use this map as a guideline for my campaign. Can’t wait to see a zoomed in version :grin:

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This is probably the best concept of what the “explored” area of Athas, as described by the Wanderer, that I have seen in the many years I have been playing Dark Sun (since the beginning in 1991). I really like that the Ringing Mountains actually “ring” the region, that the Sea of Silt lies generally at the center of the region, and that the deadlands in the south are not a vast expanse but rather a defined area.
Lots of areas to explore and expand adventures into. Thank you for sharing!!

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Thank you both!

I’m probably going to bring in many regions within the ring, like the Scorched Plateau and Troll Grave Chasm. But leave the Last Sea outside.

Obviously the Jagged Cliffs will too though I’m leaning strongly to having them be a large region like Valles Marineris, a continental-scale canyon that opens to the Crimson Savannah at one end or another, the bottom of which is claimed by the expeditions of the thri kreen empire of the savannah. The walls and peaks claimed by the halflings.

I’m focused on the ring though until finishing. I’m still adjusting the “ribs” of the north and south. I’m not sure how compelled I am to having a large silt sea to the north outside of the ring yet. I might want to have the Jagged Cliffs fork around the north. Uncertain.

I’m also thinking of putting together another region of trade-linked city states, maybe to be filled by a DM’s choice. With 5E, for instance, introducing so many more races there are excuses for sorcerer kings to have a mission to cleanse them. :wink:

I just added more to my plate by extending 20% north/south and 20% east/west to fit the full ring. I’ll post the next in progress soon.

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Been a couple weeks going but the next In Progress has been posted.

I made the self-sabotaging decision of expanding the scope by expending from 4K x 4K. But I just wanted too much to see what a complete ring might look like. It also gave me more room to drop the Scorched Plateau, Somber Woods, Lava Gorge, and Troll Grave Chasm.

I really want to add more city-states and I started placing a couple in the north east. In my head, with the expanded 5e stable of races I can imagine many many more city states for additional Champions. I’m not in the mode of that aspect of world-building an expanded Athas.

I placed a scale in this one! This scale matches the 4e map’s scale. One tick = 25 miles, so you see a scale bar of 250 miles. A nice number, IMO. But it really gives a scale of the size of this ring!

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This is just great – I’d love to see you expand this and give us an alternative take on the whole planet. The maps that’s been floating around for several years is fine, but it’s a shame to me there aren’t more alternative versions, since that one isn’t actually official, and there are all kinds of interesting things one could do – this structure with the craters like on mars is a really interesting take on the planet’s geography.

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I had unknowable hopes for doing a wide scope, maybe at best a hemisphere. Wonderdraft has an amazing tool for starting with a world map, then making more detailed maps out of small sections to re-render as a continent map, then repeat again by making detail maps of smaller sections of a continent to make kingdom-level maps.

This turned out in between a continent and kingdom in my opinion. In Wonderdraft it is easy to go from large area down to smaller areas, it is not very easy at all to take a small-area map and expand out.

I wasn’t ready to start at a world-scale. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted this Earth-size or different. North or south hemisphere. I feel the equator would be north but I’ll probably decide once Dead Lands is released. So I just started tracing what exists and expanding onto it. It was just for my own enjoyment and practice learning Wonderdraft.

But I also didn’t think I would love the outcome so much. Even unfinished, I wanted to share on my sparse Deviant Art page.

A hemisphere is closer to possible than a world map right now but we’ll see.

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Hey there, myself and a buddy are really impressed with this map you’ve made and we we’re curious about how it’s progressing.

Good question! I just posted an update right after you asked. I wanted to push it out a few days earlier. https://www.deviantart.com/admundfortgeographer/art/Alt-Athas-Mar-24-910932771

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Pretty major progress. I’ve taken to adding a lot of hypothetical city states, villages, forts, ruins, places of interest.

Anyone have ideas for where you would want cities, I’m all ears for suggestions!

I pushed Wonderdraft to its limits with early versions having far too many symbols so I had to cut way back. You can really see it in the forests where I filled the center with a dark green to replace the tree symbols I had to remove for performance reasons. I still have dunes and stone barrens to put back.

The Dead Lands has a near final look now, too. You can see that the western side is the main area to detail. Enjoy!

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Basically nearly completed.

Finished off nearly every inch, short of some detailing of the ground below the Jagged Cliffs. I placed roads and named nearly every point of interest (city, village, fort, ruin, and named oasis). I might have missed a couple.

I skipped naming geographic features for now. In the meantime, enjoy the nearly completed sword and planet Alternate Athas.

Lemme know what you’re all thinking, or how you might use it or develop it for yourself.

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Fantastic job! I can really see the level of effort you put into this, it really feels like pre-revision Athas if we got a peek behind the DM’s screen.

Also thought I should mention that the map zooms in way more when downloaded to anyone that might not have realized.

Re-edit: I also wanted to comment that your placement of Saragar further east was a clever way of expanding the setting east of the Sea of Silt. If I were to change/add anything it would be the placement of the Troll Grave Chasm. Using it (and the lava gorge/scorched plateau) as natural barriers of exploration works well and while I do like the idea that the lava gorge and scorched plateau are barriers around portions of the ringing mountains, I also think that they lend themselves well as barriers to exploring beyond the Bandit States and into Saragar.

I would use the Chasm as a barrier beyond the Bandit States, with all sorts of defiler nonsense around that area. As for Saragar, the Scorpion Plains seems like a natural barrier, though I would also make the mountains around Saragar hellish to cross. Rather than just copying the Valley of Dust and Fire, I’d make the mountains volcanic, but not outright lava flows. Instead the volcanic gasses and constant rockslides would be the deterrents along with the monsters residing within the mountains.

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Thanks!

Regarding the Troll Grave Chasm, Lava Gorge, and Scorched Plateau they are hiding in plain sight. Not sure how well it comes together though. I tried something out!

I always felt all the geographic places to the north were poorly thought out with regard to how each of them related to each other and were nearly randomly assembled. That might have just been limitations of print space thought. Still.

I brought each of those three geographic feature inside the ring but over on the far side as a way to fill up the opposite side. The Chasm is the long chasm on the far east ring with the salt plain on the east edge. Lava Gorge was placed south east of the Valley of Dust and Fire as the long winding lava fissure through the center of the island. If you look close enough you will see the shores of that island that are not hills are cliffs as a way to signify that entire large island is the Scorched Plateau. Notice Magehome, Godshold, etc.?

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Ha, I missed the island entirely! I was paying too much attention to the north :neutral_face:

I definitely like how you used northern territory to flesh out the east more. It does get me musing over what north beyond the bandit states might be like with few natural barriers beyond the mountains. But musing over the world was half the fun of original Dark Sun. My initial guess would be a wasteland not unlike the Tyr region only with no sorcerer kings and far less in the way of civilization.

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It’s an interesting take on an alternate Athas map. While I like it, and can appreciate the work and talent that’s gone into it (I have the artistic ability of a rock!), the words that sprang to mind when I saw it were ‘Late Heavy Bombardment’.

Is it intended that the geographic circle formations are craters? Or just artistic licence?

Definite impact cratering inspiration going on.

Its the impact crater of a larger Messenger comet that brought the first rhulisti to Athas.

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Now I’m getting 2004 Battlestar Galactica vibes: ‘All this has happened before and will happen again.’ :wink:

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Oooh, wild theory!

Of course I’ve peppered tinier (but huge!) craters all over, Mars-like. If I get around to drawing other regions, I can see some areas having more or fewer.

If I go west more, I want to imagine the Jagged Cliffs as one side of Valles Marineris-size canyon.

North, where the Kreen empire is, the Jagged Cliffs canyon empties into a wide plain studded with a string of shield volcanoes, Olympus Mons-like.

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I like how Eldaarich’s placement effectively cuts off Kurn and Saragar from the Tablelands. I doubt either complains too much about that either (assuming alt-Eldaarich is still run by Daskinor ‘Batshit Crazy’ Goblin Death ofc).