Time to deal with the first few issues on the list in the first post of this series.
The Great Waste
The primary issues with this area are:
- Differences between the original X4 map and the Champions of Mystara map.
- How the 8/24 mile per hex Known World, and the 8 mile per hex Gulf of Hule, links up with the area.
A secondary issue is how this all relates to the 72 mile per hex portrayal in Poor Wizard’s Almanac II, but since that source doesn’t provide any new information on the area, I’m not really interested in resolving this; rather I will simply redraw a new 72 mile per hex map to better match my updated 8 and 24 mile per hex maps, and ignore the official hex map from then on. Besides, the 72 mile per hex scale is so imprecise that it doesn’t really matter.
X4 vs. Champions of Mystara
Back in 2013, Carillion brought attention to a discrepancy between these two maps (see also Piazza discussion). Basically, a whole row of hexes appears to have been missed out when the Great Waste was redrawn for Champions of Mystara. Carillion followed X4 in his new map of the Black Mountains.
A close look at this image should reveal the problem. Note how the Black Mountains are in perfect alignment, except for two hexes at the very northeastern end of the range, which are hills in Champions. The shape of the desert in the left hand side of the map is almost identical, with just a few added details.
Now look at the right hand side of the map, and it should quickly become apparent that almost everything is misaligned. The Khurish Massif, the Nemkin Ylaka (Salt Swamp), the Asanda River, Pramayama, the Sea of Dread coastline, and most of the terrain should be shifted a hex to the southwest. Only parts of the Atruaghin Plateau seems to be roughly lined up, and it doesn’t look like shifting it southwest would result in a better fit, but this isn’t the best source for the plateau anyway, so we can safely ignore it.
Here’s what happens when we line up X4 to fit the right hand side:
You can see that now while Sind lines up much better (except the Atruaghin Plateau), the western borders of the desert and the Black Mountains are all out of sync.
So, what to do? Well, as a rule the Atlas of Mystara gives precedence to later sources. Further, Champions details far more of the area than X4, and in more detail besides. For me this is an easy decision: Champions is the better source. Happily, if you prefer X4, Carillion’s maps are available as a great alternative to the Atlas of Mystara‘s version.
To sum up, here is a hacked version of X4’s map, removing a line of hexes in the middle to conform to Champions‘ Great Waste map:
8 + 24 = ?
That leaves us with the issue of linking the Champions map with the adjacent Known World and indeed Gulf of Hule’s 8 mile per hex maps. This is a crucial step in producing an 8 mile per hex map of the Great Waste, which will link the Savage Coast with the Known World.
But before we even start to think about 8 mile per hex maps, let’s try linking up the 24 mile per hex maps.
24 + 24 = 24!
How to link X1 or the Expert Set‘s Known World map with X4 was never completely clear, due to the lack of overlap. I seem to recall reading in X4 that the maps should be placed side by side. Here’s the result:
We can check this with a number of sources which show the link up. First up is X10’s Known World map, which was the first to show the whole Atruaghin Plateau, and which extends west into Sind.
Not bad at all. Other than a few anomalies between X1 and X10 (which can be safely ignored since we have 8 mile per hex maps for these areas anyway), the maps line up well. This confirms the link up between X1 and X4.
Next, let’s see what happens when we overlay the Dragon 169 map of Sind on top of X1 and X4:
Look familiar? It should: this is exactly the same thing we discovered earlier with X4 and Champions‘ Great Waste. This must be where the misalignment originated. Interestingly, one of the results of this is a larger Atruaghin Plateau; the shift one hex to the southwest results in an extra column of hexes in the middle of the plateau.
You can also see on the right that the Sea of Dread coast of Atruaghin was way off. This was fixed in Champions, but the misalignment of Sind was otherwise adopted. And this was once again continued with the Wrath of the Immortals map. So I guess now we know the history of this discrepancy. You can perhaps see why Champions adopted Dragon 169’s Sind over X4’s, because it’s a far more detailed version.
Moving on then, what does this mean for the Known World/Great Waste link-up?
As you might expect, Wrath of the Immortals holds the answer. It’s the only source other than X10 that presents a full view of the Atruaghin Plateau, and as such it’s quite an important source. It’s also one of the most recent maps of the area. Even though it has other problems (offset settlements, questionable terrain), these can mostly be fixed by referring to the 8 mile per hex maps, so the remaining parts can be quite useful.
Here’s Wrath‘s 24 mile per hex map overlaid on top of X1’s Known World and Champions‘ Great Waste. Note how well they line up:
8 + 24 = Bigger 8!
Now that we’ve got the 24 mile per hex maps sorted out, let’s see how they line up with the Known World’s 8 mile per hex maps. This means TM1 and TM2.
This is my best fit of TM1 & TM2 with the 24 mile per hex Known World; putting it over X1 results in very similar results.
This is also the basis upon which I drew both my updated Atruaghin Clans map, and my Sind 8 mile per hex map. Let’s see what happens when we add them in:
As you can see, I actually expanded the plateau a little further still, using GAZ14’s poster map combined with Wrath‘s 24 mile per hex map as sources.
This just leaves us with the linkup between the Great Waste and the 8 mile per hex Gulf of Hule. I covered this previously in a discussion on Facebook’s Mystara Reborn group:
And that should about do it for the Great Waste. To sum up, here is the current state of the world:
My Savage Coast Trail Map, then both maps from Champions of Mystara (which have a very clear overlap and join), then my updated Sind and Atruaghin with TM1 and TM2, and finally the 24 mile per hex map from Wrath of the Immortals. X1’s Sea of Dread (including the Thanegioth Archipelago) should be in here, too.
Until next time!