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How and where are the Forbidden Lands?

Tue 04 Jun 2024, 03:56

I've been looking at the Forbidden Lands world map. And I know nothing about weather, so please correct me! But I have some questions.

(1) Scale

Ravenland is canonically 42 tiles by 50, each tile being 10km across, so I reckon that's 250km North-South and about 350-400km East-West.

Looking at the world map as a whole, it looks to me like it's something like 1,200km North-South and 1,500 East-West (including islands).

Talking purely about orders of magnitude, that's slightly bigger (North-South) than France or Sudan. Ravenland is roughly the size of Bavaria.

This is not a large world (so far).

(2) Where do the winds blow?

The map is pretty clear that there's a large-enough ocean to the east, and then land stretching to the west. The Bitter Reaches are suddenly covered by ice and snow, but AIUI that's a localised phenomenon that has no implications on the surrounding area. Aslene is full of volcanos but sporadic eruptions do not imply a hotter (fire!) or cooler (ash blotting out the sun) climate.

There are, however, spectacular mountain ranges meant to e.g. keep non-Dwarven interlopers out of Ravenland.

If you look at our world's Northern Hemisphere, you can see how in Europe the climate starts off wet and temperate where the coast first meets the incoming winds (Ireland, Scotland, Brittany etc.) and gets more extreme in variation as you go East and the oceanic influence diminishes. Rain comes in from the Pacific Ocean and hits Oregon, Washington State and California so those states are full of rain, and it hits the Rocky Mountains, resulting in rainforests filled with Redwoods; but on the other side of the mountains you end up with deserts (compare Oregon with Utah, California with Nevada).

(3)What does this mean for your game?

Frankly, if you just want to to say "it's basically like Europe", you're still good. A map taking up a handful of hundred kilometres won't see much in the way of climate variation. Especially if you decide "this is a Swedish game, but it's actually set in the Southern Hemisphere; OK, that's funny" and then move on to more important things.

If you decide that the game is in the Northern Hemisphere, though, that implies the climate is more like the East Coast of the United States, which means a lot more temperature variation. Even in coastal areas, the temperature will range from snow to scorching within a year. The inland parts where the ogres and demons live have a climate like Chicago. You may want to adapt the weather rules from Bitter Reach.

But it's more than that, because depending on which way the winds blow, the mountains at the West side of Ravenland are trapping a bunch of water, either to drop it on the far Aslene side (small) or near Ravenland side (probably a fair amount). Looking at the map, and how much water ends up in Lake Varga, I'm betting that Ravenland is in the southern hemisphere; a whole bunch of clouds full of water wander over the entire Ravenlands and then hit the far mountains, the resulting rivers are a sight to behold, and now you know why the ogres are pissed off: because they live in a world of mud.

This also makes the south-east part of Ravenland really good farmland, which fits the stereotypes of halflings.

OTOH if Ravenland is in the Northern hemisphere, the lands in the south-west where the humans have gathered are probably terrible (albeit better than what they had previously), and maybe that's why they're constantly looking for something better.

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