1. Hugin
    18 February 2016 @ 2:38 am

    Good stuff, Thorf! I think there is a lot of progress here.

    [Just for clarification/correction though, you said that my “calculations were based largely on 72 mile per hex maps”, when in fact they were done using a 24 mile per hex map and counting 3 hexes per degree. Also, having one degree latitude equal 72 miles really has absolutely nothing to do with using 72 mile per hex maps; you could use 8 and 24 mile per hex maps just as easily.]

    And now onward!

    Although I’m obviously biased toward a placement #6 solution (tweaked for a flattened polar opening such as in my diagram), I really do think either that one or #5 are workable and preferable to the previous options.

    Flattening the opening allows the polar lip to go a little further toward the pole. Doing that allowed me to put the lip further inside the arctic circle which it really needs to be in there somewhere.

    One other thing that I don’t think we’ve discussed is the effect on longitudes that increasing the planet to 27,216 miles circumference will have. I don’t believe it’s an ‘issue’, but it does make the Great Sea about 12,000 miles across at it’s closest point near the equator, compared to the Pacific Ocean which is about 12,000 miles across at it’s most widest, thus making the Great Sea larger than the Pacific. But again, I don’t believe that’s an actual problem.

    Anyway, awesome stuff, Thorf! Thanks for all the things to talk about!


    • Thorfinn Tait
      18 February 2016 @ 11:23 am

      Thanks, Sheldon! We’re rapidly reaching the conclusion of this years-long discussion at last. 😀

      One thing about the tunnel is that although it allows the polar lip to start later, it also reduces the amount of space available for folding land into the opening. Well, unless folding into the tunnel itself is okay — but I’d rather not do that. It also makes the curve far less gradual.

      Yep, the Far End Ocean is going to be super-massive. There’s simply no avoiding this. But as I said in one of the Mapping Issues threads at The Piazza, the ancient Earth map on which Mystara is based does indeed have a massive ocean that covers about half the world.

      Besides, when you get to that size, what difference does a few thousand extra miles make? 😉 So I agree, it’s not a problem.

      I’m really glad you persuaded me to check out the PWA2 equator. Regardless of which source is considered to be better, I don’t think it can be argued with that the PWA2 equator makes a better model for the world. Moving the equator north is the only real way to shrink the world from its otherwise gargantuan proportions.

    • Hugin
      19 February 2016 @ 12:39 am

      (I hope this shows up as a reply to Thorf and not to myself)

      It seems people are leaning towards option #5 so that may be the one to use. Although it is my second choice, I still believe it to be an excellent solution to this “years-long discussion” and one I can fully concur with.

      Having the more northerly positioned equator was the only way that I was able to keep Mystara at a “reasonable” size. I was initially shocked at how much land was officially hex-mapped; it appeared to be far more than there was supposed to be! But I’m so glad we’re able to work it out.

    • Thorfinn Tait
      19 February 2016 @ 11:10 am

      I’m preparing shots of placement 5 in the 3D Model for my next article. So far, it looks as if the land will fold down right into the middle of the opening. We could actually reduce this by slightly squishing the protruding bits north-south. It would make them look better, too. Come to think of it, it’s not surprising that we may need to edit the polar areas to make them look right, because this is a very common problem with fantasy maps.

      The main problem with placement 6 is that you have to sacrifice northern Norwold to the polar opening. Even with placement 5, Frosthaven is just past absolute north. With placement 6, it would be on the way down into the hole. It may be possible to get it to work with tunnel configuration polar openings, but I’m not absolutely sure.

      Perhaps we should be thinking about compressing the whole northern and southern areas of the world slightly. I wouldn’t want to touch anything up to Qeodhar, but after that I’d say its fair game — including northern Norwold.

      In any case, more on this in the next article.

    • Hugin
      20 February 2016 @ 1:08 am

      Hmm… compressing the northern and southern extremes could be possible, but is it really a problem to have land (beyond Frosthaven) go into the polar opening? Under option #5 you mentioned that Frosthaven “sits at the top of the world, near or on the point of absolute north”. Having land extend into the polar opening doesn’t seem like an issue to me. What is it specifically that concerns you?

    • Thorfinn Tait
      20 February 2016 @ 4:29 am

      I’ll show you in the next article, but it’s a polar pinching issue due to land compressing east-west as it approaches the poles. The land gets all spindly and weird because it is squashed.

  2. Paul Dupuis
    18 February 2016 @ 4:35 am

    Thanks for crunching the numbers. I am now favoring placement 5. Even though the “official” HW opening is I used the 774 miles at its narrowest point, that just seems too enormous to me given that 100 miles up on Earth and you are in airless space. The placement 5 solution’s 172 miles (at narrowest point) is still gigantic enough you’d never see the other side of the tunnel through the clouds and it does keep the gradual curve people are accustom to from prior publications.


    • Thorfinn Tait
      18 February 2016 @ 11:27 am

      Isn’t there supposed to be airless void in the middle of the polar opening, though?

      In any case, I don’t really mind — 172 miles seems quite wide enough. There would surely still be a pretty airless gap in the middle of the hole, wouldn’t there?

  3. Happylarry
    18 February 2016 @ 5:00 am

    Both 5+6 look good to me

    I prefer 5 on the grounds that it affects the hex mapped areas of the outer world the least. Not so worried about losing a bit of southern Davania.


  4. Skaught
    18 February 2016 @ 5:09 am

    I’m not fully read up on much of the original source material, so this may be a well known point: is there any mention of the near-polar lands being able to see each other across the gap? With the gradually curved model, everything past either 66° latitude is going to have a drastically different sense of “horizon” than we Earthlings do.

    Is that intentional, in keeping with something from one of the Gazetteers that I’m simply unfamiliar with? It seems to me that the tunnel model would be simpler to reconcile (à la Placement 4), and produces a less-weird daily experience for its inhabitants.

    (I feel impertinent even mentioning it; after all, YOU’RE the one doing all the splendid work.)


    • Thorfinn Tait
      18 February 2016 @ 8:24 am

      Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 🙂

      My understanding is that permanent clouds and fog obscure these things, so not only would they not be able to see the other side of the opening, but they likely wouldn’t be able even to see the horizon most of the time.

      You can find more info about this stuff in the Hollow World Set and the Poor Wizard’s Almanac series.

  5. Morfie
    18 February 2016 @ 4:04 pm

    I think Placement 4 is the best so far.
    My only dislike is I think that the latitude lines needs to be brought in a bit to around 68-70 deg, 1 or 2 of the small rectangles. Are you going for a perfect sphere or an earth-like oblate spheroid?

    The clincher for me is having the Equator/Meridian point (0 lat 0 long) landing on Davania, as this fits in with the VotPA article, and there’s still a decent sized hole in the tunnel.

    1 & 2 leave no holes.
    3, 5, & 6 creates too much land past the 60 deg mark. (assuming the small squares are 10 deg increments)


    • Thorfinn Tait
      20 February 2016 @ 4:27 am

      The problem is that lowering the latitudes would mean enlarging the world, and this is what has been causing the most problems.

      I’m curious, why are you averse to putting land near the poles/in the polar openings? The official maps actually have quite a bit of land inside the openings, although how far they extend is a little ambiguous. It looks as though there is not much sea between the limits of Iciria and northern Brun/southern Davania, though, which would mean that the land extends far into the opening.

      I mentioned this already at some point, but I’m sure we’ll have Mystara as a slightly oblate ellipsoid, like Earth, but in fact this makes very little difference at this stage, because the difference in polar and equatorial circumference is minimal. With the Earth, it’s less than 50 miles, I believe. Let’s revisit this at the end of the project. 🙂

      The small squares are indeed 10º. The red line marks 66º (or 76º on Placement 4), and the smaller rectangles from 60º and out are 5º each.

      In any case, I will explore the issue of the extreme north and south lands and the layout of the polar openings in the next article, now in preparation.

      Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate it.

  6. Simone Neri
    19 February 2016 @ 1:18 am

    Great work!

    I’m in favor of Placement 5. I suppose that the tunnel-shaped opening might cause some weird tweak in the climate of the areas within the openings (the Darklands and such), so I’d rather have gradual-curve openings.

    The folding of a bit more land beyond the polar lips at 66°N/S isn’t much of an issue in my opinion, as long as the canon climate of these areas is preserved. I suppose this is still not a problem for southern Davania (about which we know little, canonwise), but might be a problem for the northernmost place described in canon – Frosthaven. Care is to be used because the island – pushed beyond the polar lip – risks to fall entirely within the Darklands area, which might be interesting from a point of view, but it’s not what we know from canon.

    However, I’ve not a clear picture in my head of the exact point where Frosthaven would lay after 66°N in Placement #5, so I only wanted to raise this issue in advance, just in case! 😉


    • Thorfinn Tait
      19 February 2016 @ 11:26 am

      The tunnel shaped openings would definitely be very different from how the books describe the openings, yes. The darklands would surely be increased, with the whole tunnel being in darkness — probably with each end becoming progressively lighter as you near the exit slope.

      As I mentioned in my reply to Hugin, I’m going to explore the polar configurations in my next article. Until then, a question: what info do we have on Frosthaven, anyway? Is it just the few paragraphs in CM1? If so, I really don’t think that the location is going to be a problem, as long as it isn’t too far into the opening.

      I think I’m going to have to dig out my sunlight diagram again and make a new version for the next article.

      What do you think about the idea of squishing the very northernmost areas to make them appear more like we are used to seeing them, by the way? I’m thinking the areas past 65-70º on placement 5’s map. For example, Frosthaven itself appears as a roughly circular (or square) island on CM1’s map. But its latitude means it will actually come out as a rectangle, roughly double the length north-south compared to its width east-west. It gets worse the further north you go, of course.

      Are you happy with using PWA2’s equator, by the way?

    • Simone Neri
      20 February 2016 @ 3:41 am

      I’m ok with PWA2 Equator. Also, I don’t see many more solutions than squishing lands toward the poles, since the square projection of the outer world from Master Set (or Companion Set, for Brun) was not meant to be applied to a globe, clearly. After all, this is the lesser evil – regions which are sparsely (at best) described in canon sources.

      Regarding Frosthaven, its only and one description comes from that short paragraph in CM1. Some lines are also found in the PWAs (“Norwold” entry), but there are no other sources about the island. It’s obvious, however, as Matt anticipated, that putting it under permanent shadow means making it uninhabitable by frost giants.

      Placement 5 is still the best in my opinion. Nevertheless, about the tunnel-shaped openings of Placement 4, are you sure the whole tunnel would be part of the Darklands? It seems to me that light from the HW sun could weakly light the tunnel, and the sun itself might be visible at the horizon, in a sort of permanent sunset (or dawn). Properly-said Darkland phenomenon should only affect the (apparently narrow) spot on the outer end of the tunnel which gets no light from either sun.

      I’m looking forward to your treatment of the Darklands in Placement 5, if that comes out to be the favorite for the final globe. The axial tilt has also to be taken into account when calculating how much light from either sun hits each opening. Michele, years ago, made an interesting analysis of the polar openings (http://pandius.com/clmtpopn.html) which might be of some use to you.

    • Thorfinn Tait
      20 February 2016 @ 4:38 am

      Don’t worry, Frosthaven will definitely not be in perpetual darkness. But it may be in the area that experiences both day and night in midsummer, but constant night in midwinter.

      I’m familiar with Michele’s write-up. 🙂 Actually it may be even worse, because it seems there is no land bridge between the two worlds.

      I don’t know the full details of the makeup of the polar openings. I guess I was assuming they are predominantly fog-bound, but perhaps this isn’t the case. But they are surely permanently cloud-bound, at least, aren’t they? I think the tunnel configuration would lead to decreasing amounts of light as you proceed through the tunnel towards the Outer World, with the clouds filtering more and more light as the angle of the sun became closer and closer to straight on.

      In any case, I hope to go with a gradual curve model, if at all possible. So hopefully we won’t have to deal with this. 😉

      Right now I’m exploring revisions to the world maps based on the Hollow World Set maps. More on this soon.

  7. Carillion
    19 February 2016 @ 4:33 am

    I like the tunnel idea for placement 4, but I think canon material is quite specific that the gradual curve model around the polar openings is what the authors had in mind initially.

    Placement 6 would, in my view, push Norwold so far north that we would potentially have to re-visit the hex maps for this region and make changes to allow for the new colder climate that this placement would dictate. And as Simone mentions above, Frosthaven would potentially be plunged into darkness which would make it uninhabitable.

    Therefore, my vote is for placement 5!



    • Thorfinn Tait
      19 February 2016 @ 11:33 am

      Thanks, Matt.

      I will definitely explore all of this in the next article. Which parts of the opening are in eternal darkness is an interesting question. I think in fact the area of darkness is mostly just the hole itself, and a small area around it on the Outer World. Then there’s an area that experiences both day and night in midsummer, which I guess would make it colder than the next area, which receives constant sunlight in midsummer. Of course, the whole north polar area experiences sunless days in winter.

      Regarding climates, this is why it’s important to think about the latitudes carefully. Farend being at 60ºN is official info, so I guess it should be safe to go by this.

  8. DJ
    20 February 2016 @ 4:29 am

    I prefer option #5 the best of what I have seen. I actually like equator being further north as it makes the climate model work better for the Known World and Norwold. Of the concerns for FrostHaven, I know if it was in the tunnel/dark lands it could be uninhabitable. Maybe the island is a volcanic haven where it’s warmed and perhaps some weird kind of plants/trees thrive there? I know there has to be some kind of solution even it it necessitates magic be involved. 🙂


  9. Lining Up Mystara I – Thorfinn Tait Cartography
    28 February 2016 @ 1:46 am

    […] Latitudes (Lining Up Mystara IX, Lining Up Mystara X, Lining Up Mystara XIII, Lining Up Mystara XIV) […]


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