Map for campaign setting - please criticise

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In the spoiler below is the sketch of the map I have been drawing for my new campaign setting (coastline is black; mountains, red; and hills, yellow). Although I really liked it at first, I have been really unsure lately, and would like to hear some comments.


I was considering connecting it to another landmass (probably via a isthmus) in the Northwest, but it seems to me this could add too much complexity. Let me explain. I don't plan developing this second landmass right now; it would be the foreign, alien land about which none knows much but legends. But with land, ships could easily navigate along the coast and therefore its probable the inhabitants of my main continent (the one in the map below) would have followed that path long ago (technologial level of setting is equivalent to 8th or 9th century, plus low magic). This would demand that I detailed, at least to a certain level, what is to be found there - a work I'm not interested in doing right now. On the other side, I'm a bit unsure of having an Australia-like continent, isolated from everything. It seems to limit my future possibilities.


I'm aiming at a kind of beliavable setting here: if I can't find any reasonable explanation for why my folks would not have sailed that way, I will have to accept they did.


I would like to see what you guys think about these doubts that have been making me unsure. Any critics to the map itself would also be welcome.

 
have you thought about climate?
nutfreezing cold might be enought to deter any settelers when there is plenty of
more easily farmed land down south.

heat can have the same effect; the more fertile lands tend to be the well irrigated ones.
in fact populations tend to settle near coast lines and rivers.

sailing somehwere is one thing, but one needs a suitable place to go on land.
a mountain range or large dangerous swamp might deter settelers.
the carolinas did that for the scandinavians who found america before comumbus did.

also i would recommend you check out something called: 'the world builder's guide book' if you can find it.
its an old AD&D 1st edition complete guide to creating campaign settings. i think that has exactly the kind of
info you are looking for.

check out the Homebrew Campaign Setting i'm working on, my customised character sheet for the final package, and a numbered index for all the bestiaries.

What about hostile natives? The vikings were master sailors but didn't like raiding Wales as the Welsh were adept marksmen and would just use flaming arrows on there ships before they were able to land. You could modify this concept, and have it be that any attempted expeditions in the past have dissappeared without a trace. Also, this is D&D so you can always use monsters, having the isthmus be the nesting grounds of the local kraken population or similarily unpleasent sea creature would also work.
have you thought about climate?
nutfreezing cold might be enought to deter any settelers when there is plenty of
more easily farmed land down south.

heat can have the same effect; the more fertile lands tend to be the well irrigated ones.
in fact populations tend to settle near coast lines and rivers. 

sailing somehwere is one thing, but one needs a suitable place to go on land.
a mountain range or large dangerous swamp might deter settelers.
the carolinas did that for the scandinavians who found america before comumbus did.

also i would recommend you check out something called: 'the world builder's guide book' if you can find it.
its an old AD&D 1st edition complete guide to creating campaign settings. i think that has exactly the kind of 
info you are looking for.


Yeah, certainly sailling in the North would be hard. The ideas of swamps and deserts is a good one, I might use it. And I believe I have the book, but I haven't checked it recently, maybe I should.

What about hostile natives? The vikings were master sailors but didn't like raiding Wales as the Welsh were adept marksmen and would just use flaming arrows on there ships before they were able to land. You could modify this concept, and have it be that any attempted expeditions in the past have dissappeared without a trace. Also, this is D&D so you can always use monsters, having the isthmus be the nesting grounds of the local kraken population or similarily unpleasent sea creature would also work.


These are two great ideas, man. When thinking of sea monsters, Charybdis and Scylla, from the Odyssey, come to my mind. It has a great flavor too! Thank you mates for the ideas!

How large are those mountains?  Is is the size of Austraila?  If so, most of the continent should be desert, depending on the latitude you put it at.  Depending on the wind-pattern, you should have a lot of rainforests and rain-shadow deserts, mostly in the interior with the rainforests being on the coast. 

If the moutains are tall enough to get snow, then spring-time there will be a melt and you should have not too large (not Amazon or Misissippi rivers), but ones large enough you can get a boat on.  For every one river you put on the rain-shadow side of the mountains, put two on the rain-forest side.

Low-magic is good, and that will limit the number of monsters on the land. 

8th or 9th century can mean a lot of different things: European: Dark Ages; Mayan, a height of a great civilization.

And here's an idea: we all know that European dominated the Americas, but what if there was a more advanced culture found here that in turn would eventually dominate their native lands?

Also, you might have a magical being that fled the old-world living here; they may not like to see familiar-faces...
Famous Athasian last words: "Hey, you're wrong. I know elves, I've played AD&D for eight years. They're noble, sylvan creatures who will honor their word." In the desert, everything's further than it looks.
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