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Sunday, December 11, 2011

7th Grade Garnia

Back when I was in 7th grade I started farming out work on my "World of Garnia" to my friend Darryl*. He wanted to help out with cartography and I knew my map sucked, artistically inclined I am not; but in our haste to start the project we accidentally created an entirely new world. You see I was on the phone with him and he wanted to get started right away**, so I just described the countries, their relative sizes to each other, and how they were placed in location vis-a-vis one another. Something was lost in translation though and he moved a couple of countries and started some work on some history, and by some, I mean a lot, and a lot of maps to go with the history. By the time I saw what he had started I didn't want to change anything, so a new Garnia was born.

I don't have a lot of early Garnia stuff anymore, but I do have two of his maps from various points in his expansive, and long since declared apocryphal, history. I have a much later map that I drew using GIMP or Paintshop Pro and a hand drawn map that my wife did based off of that too. I once made a pretty cool Civilization II map that I played on a lot, and that's what mine and Mona's maps are based on, sadly, that map is lost now; but this is about early Garnia, so I'll talk about those maps some other time.

What struck me first about Darryl's old maps was the fact that there were entire countries that I had forgotten the existence of, they had been written out of my Garnia canon so long ago I had essentially scrubbed them from my brain. Asros was one, the weird thing about them is that, despite the fact that his maps have the "modern" borders of all of the countries outlined, I honestly couldn't tell you where Asros was supposed to be except to the east of Garnia. I don't remember anything about their history as a people or their culture, although they must have split off from Garnia at some point and it was probably either a religious tension or a dynastic split; that's how pretty much every single human nation in the "World of Garnia" setting was founded. The Halfling Lands I had forgotten about too, but I think that might just be the super power that Halflings have.

Anyway, here's the maps, enjoy our 7th grade creativity!

His 2nd century completely contradicted mine, and the origin stories I had established for most of the nations, but what the hell, he was making lots of maps and writing lots of history!

Allied Progress at the Height of World War Five- I love that this map shows his preferences and personality quirks at the time it was made. He had started taking French so he started naming things in French on the map. My sole requirement in his history writing, at the time, was that all of the nations must be at their present borders and power situations relative to each other at time present in the campaign; that made the past his playground and he spent at least five world wars beating the snot out of Garnia with Frodia and her allies, only to have Garnia come back in the end and retake their territory for a "reset". I think it's quite telling about his preference for Frodia that it refers to 'Allied Progress" in the map title. We debated that out a lot, I knew there must be something wrong at the time, that medieval countries didn't just make NATO and Warsaw Pact style alliances and duke it out until one side or the other had conquered completely. What ever, it was during the cold war and we all grew up watching World War Two movies, obviously a kid is going to think that style of war is how it must always have been. I just chuckle a bit that my beloved Garnian warrior knights got to play the role of the Commie-Nazi bad guys, particularly since Frodia was originally based partly on Stygia.

Actually, looking now at the scale of miles on the old map he set it at 1 square= 100 miles; given that there are four squares to the inch and the paper is 8 1/2"x11" that comes out to a roughly 4400 mile wide continent represented on the map, which is huge, but not Eurasia huge; more like bigger than North America huge. Darryl and I were talking about that the other day and he said he always saw it as a Pangaea type continent. I never gave it much thought at the time, in 7th and 8th grade, when he and I did the bulk of our collaboration on, and arguing about, world building. It does make the countries a bit uncomfortably huge for my purposes though, what I was really looking for was something the size of Europe, maybe a tad larger, and maybe with a connected larger continental landmass that you can't see because the map just ends in the west. That's how I drew it out for Civilization II. Still, I really like these maps, not just because they are gaming relics from my youth and they have a nostalgic value, although they do, but they also look kind of medieval.

Anyway, I need to make some new maps, or maybe farm them out to Darryl or Mona or someone else, but it'll probably be me; and I wanted to make numbered hex maps. Is there any simple way to do that? Any software for Linux? Maybe a GIMP tutorial?

*Who back then was a scrawny nerdy kid that happened to share a lot of common interests with me, I have often wondered if our friendship wasn't originally based on his self preservation instinct. I was easily the biggest 7th grader and maybe the biggest kid in the junior high, and I was also the only big, tough kid that liked any of the nerds. I spent a lot of my time in junior high fighting to protect them from bullies. A couple of years later it wouldn't really matter because Darryl grew to be 6'1" and a fairly muscular 200+ lbs, a fighter and a bad-ass in his own right, but in the beginning, he was one of the smaller, skinnier, smarter kids and other kids seem to hate that.

** Logically, it may have been a Friday night otherwise I probably would have just brought him my map, but that's just conjecture on my part now.


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  2. I like the fact you saerched for a real french name for La Ville d'Ecuyer :)

  3. Those are great! Thanks for sharing.