Fantasy Mapping – The Cartographer’s Guild

Posted on February 7, 2012


For those of us who enjoy creating our own worlds for the games to take place in one of the most daunting tasks is often not filling the world with people and cultures but creating the land and sea that they occupy. Particularly for those lacking artistic talent or knowledge of geography in general this task can be outright daunting. Luckily for us the internet has introduced a wealth of resources to help. One of these resources that I’m particularly fond of is The Cartographer’s Guild.

The site is primarily a community gathering place for fantasy map makers to gather and share their techniques and creations with each other. In terms of gaming this is a great resource for two reasons:

  1. There are a ton of pre-made maps
  2. You can learn how to create your own

In addition, for those looking for a more professional touch for their campaign, you can commission maps to be made for a fee.

The focus is on digital map making with tools such as Photoshop but many hand drawn maps are posted or discussed. Fantasy maps are focused on as well as opposed to real-world mapping, so there are sci-fi, medieval, and more types available. In addition there are a lot of pre-written tutorials to help you learn the basics. All the resources range from full world maps, to regional and city maps, all the way down to encounter maps – very helpful for those who use a virtual tabletop.

Though the site is a great resource there are some drawbacks you need to be aware of. First, while the site is currently attempting to expand its landing page the vast majority of its content comes through its forums. This means it can be difficult to find something specific as there are several sub forums and many pages of posts in each. There is a search feature, of course, which may help depending on what you’re looking for. Second, the gallery of existing images is primarily user-managed meaning there are hundreds of “Galleries” with only a single image in them. There is no overall organization structure for it, making it even more difficult to find something specific than in the forums.

Despite these shortcomings the sheer volume and quality of the information and maps on this site definitely make it worth a look, or joining and contributing. I have made great use of this resource for my games.

Posted in: Resources