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Thoughts about the filling out of Blackheart

by Dek Shari
Honestly I don't understand this map. Blackheart should be the most anarchic of the Alphatian kingdoms, where all most powerful and mad or lunatic or misanthropic wizards dwell and perform unspeakable researches.
I thought the forest was home to two or three hundred Archmages, each hidden in his own dwelling above or underground, and with extreme freedom of action in his own domain granted by the king of Blackheart.
I fail to understand what exactly are the domains depicted in this map. They seem too structured to reflect the flavour of Blackheart as implied by DotE.
Surprisingly enough, no landmark for peculiar magic points is present.
In a forest teeming with magical experiments of powerful mages I would expect to find at least half a dozen mystic locations similar to the Magic Points of Alfheim, yet none is marked. In short: too much political organization, not enough magical weirdness, IMO.

by Thorfinn Tait
I would be the first to agree with you that Blackheart needs more development, Dek. :D

But it hasn't had much at all. This map doesn't really change that. It was pieced together from fragments on the edges of Bruce's surrounding maps, and completed in the same style by Jose, with rivers added by myself.

If it makes it look like someone has regimented and changed Blackheart's fundamental nature, with apologies that would be entirely wrong. In fact, it's only one step less barebones than its 24 mile per hex counterpart.

My suggestion is not to take it as the definitive picture of Blackheart, any more than you would do that with the 24 mile per hex map. Innumerable things are hidden behind those regimented-looking hexes; they're only missing from the map at this stage because no one has cared to come up with specifics yet.

The grey block in this image is the part that Jose filled in. (Sorry it's a bit messy as I only kept the terrain separate as I mapped it, not the other layers.)

As you can see, about half of Blackheart was already mapped, mostly on the edge of the Frisland map, but also small fragments on a few other maps.

by Bruce Heard
Thanks to Thorfinn's quick calculations, we know that Blackheart's total surface is 96,993 sq. miles. With 300 archmages, their average domain size would be less than 20 miles across.. each. I don't find this in the least plausible for archmages.

Therefore, one must assume that those not residing on Blackheart's land itself live elsewhere, including: in the sky, below ground, in microscopic realms nested inside flowers or within magical dew adorning spiderwebs, and in whatever other pocket planes.

Each of the domains shown on the map would feature all sorts of magical spots (ruins, oddly shaped trees, monstrous skeletons covered with moss, the remains of half-buried statues, small haunted bogs, shimmers in trees, bewitched boulders, monsters moving from one domain to another, a fancy button on another archmage's attire, a wart appearing randomly on the noses of unsuspecting residents, some objects hidden who knows where, etc.), all of which serve as hidden entrances to non-dimensional residences. Plus a good number might also reside in the few urban areas in Blackheart, each owning towers and labs there. If there are 300 archmages, there could also be any number of lesser wizards serving them.

All of those strange places should be claimed at least technically as being part of Blackheart, since their entrances lead to the forest there. This way, you can accommodate many more archmages than what the map suggests. In any case, the place being totally chaotic, what the map shows would be a snapshot in time, a mere suggestion of a layout most likely to change as needed by the DM to accomodate what you need. Your imagination is the limit -- not the map.

by Dek Shari
What exactly would these big domains represent? A noble house governing over each chunk of the Ugly Woods?

by Bruce Heard
Various archmage domains...