The people at Fire Mountain Games created a fantastic world for their “Way of the Wicked” Pathfinder campaign. The campaign flips the script on the traditional “heroes save the world” story, and lets players take on the role of villains that bring down the Kingdom of Talingarde.
You can follow our own Hammered Knights campaign here: Fall of Talingarde
The story, characters, and events are all top-notch but, the maps seriously bugged me.
Town, region, and continent maps felt lacking in some of the basics of world design: awkwardly laid-out towns, a giant lake with four major rivers draining out of it, a Kingdom with only a handful of cities, a continent that looks like it was drawn around the limitations of an 8.5×11 sheet of paper.
I hate to be critical of Fire Mountain – All due respect to the authors of the campaign. The map is great for the purposes of the story but I just wanted to make the continent better.
So for my group I redesigned the regions they’ve visited, introduced new features, cities, regions, and completely rebuilt the continent while keeping the original shape/inspiration of Talingarde.
Population & Settlements
The Stat Block for Talingarde helpfully gives populations for the Capital (Matharyn – 105,000) plus a collection of notable settlements (Ghastenhall – 82,000, Daveryn – 59,000, Farholde -9,500 , Aldencross – 1,800, Varyston -1,200). This was my starting/reference point.
I approximated the area that the Kingdom of Talingarde occupied:
- Estimated total land size based on map scale = 150,000 sq miles (1.5x British Isles)
- Minus Cambrian Bays (2 bays at 10,000 sq miles each) = 130,000 sq miles
- Minus Lakes and Rivers (Tarik + Northern Tarik + Rivers) = 125,000 sq miles
- Minus Savage North (45,000 sq miles) = 80,000 sq miles
- Minus Caer Bryr (15,000 sq miles) = ~50,000 sq miles (habitable by Talingardians)
I took this approximate size, and using the invaluable Medieval Demographics Made Easy page, worked out the expected population and number of settlements.
- Expected population based on average rolls and habitable/arable island kingdom size (~50,000 sq miles): 4-5 million.
- Estimated population based on provided settlement sizes: 7-8 million.
The numbers weren’t completely off, especially if you factor in Paladins and a Holy Church ruling over the Kingdom. but it was definitely missing settlements. Average die rolls expected 6-8 cities and another 60 towns throughout the country so I added several major new cities and larger towns, and re-distributed the population among them.
The rivers didn’t make much sense. Great for the story-line and moving characters from area to area but rivers just don’t flow that way. And yes, I did read about a backstory of an epic battle creating Lake Tarik but rivers just don’t flow that way. They don’t flow through mountain ranges (with rare exceptions), and they don’t have 4 main exits from a lake. Over time one of those would become the main exit, and the others would dry out.
Several new regions were added in the re-design to fit in with our campaign: Cambrian Bay became its own region after the redraw of the bays. The Moors were added as an appropriate home to Branderscar. Dwarven Ranges were put in since many in the current group have backstories tied to Dwarven Clans in the Savage North. And the Storm Coast just seemed an appropriate name for the NW corner.
I moved the capital of Matharyn up quite a bit too as I didn’t like the placement on the outcroppings of the tips of the bay. It seemed so far removed from the Heartland of the country. I understand how it fits in with the later story but I made it quite bit more central.
Map & Image Credit
The Talingarde Continent Map was designed and built from scratch but uses StarRaven’s amazing “Sketchy” brush set. The Lake Tarik Map used Fire Mountain’s own Lake Tarik as the base before being re-scaled, re-drawn, and labelled (again using “Sketchy” brushes).
The City of Farholde Map started with a base of the Li Jiang Karst formations from Wikipedia, and then layered in a modified “Al’Kor – The Ancient Capital” by Lyno3ghe with blended scraps of other Paizo towns, and water and weather photos.
Since the base-IP is all Fire Mountain Games, I lay no claim on these maps nor do I want any compensation for them. Please feel free to use as needed for your own campaigns and adventures. Just please provide credit!