The Chosen Cartography Of Blackbloom

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I asked you to describe for me one aspect of Blackbloom’s geography.

And boy howdy, you answered.

I chose ten.

I could’ve chosen them all, honestly — and maybe should’ve, but I felt inclined to narrow down instead of painting with too wide a brush? Another fascinating experiment, a glimpse into the weirdness of worldbuilding.

Two things are becoming abundantly clear:

First, we’re eventually going to need to track all this stuff. A Wiki, maybe. I have zero experience with that and, further, zero time to deal with it, so that’s maybe wishful thinking.

Second, we may eventually need a map. Same problem: I am no cartographer, and my time is zilch-o.

My fear — and it’s a good fear, in a way — is that eventually this thing will get too big and cumbersome to even continue building, but for now, we’ll just keep on trekking forward.

(Which reminds me, this week’s worldbuilding challenge — “Tell Us Three Things About Blackbloom” — is looking light. Go over there and fix that, will you?)

Anyway –

The Geographical Selections

The Ghost Marshes stretch for 500 miles in the south of the foggy island of Iertu. It is a fertile land of hidden swamps, where every step can mean an eternity trapped in sludge. The lucky ones are absorbed, turned into peat; the unlucky ones find their bodies everlastingly preserved while their souls wander the black-green morass. The tribes of Iertu avoid the marshes if possible, using ancient roadways visible only to those whose eyes are blessed by Tallyr if necessary. Rumors say the rare Blackbloom grows at the center of the marshes, guarded by the spirits of the Bog-sleepers. — Daniel Perez

The End Of The World – the name given to the southern hemisphere saltpan 75 miles long. Frequent but light rains maintain a surface of water around 8 inches deep; high salinity means there isn’t much more than insect life. Old roads once bisected the lakebed, now flooded; between the roads that disappear into the lake’s mirrored surface and the salt winds, the pan’s given name is understandable. Folklore suggests that the lake was formed by Torrda’s tears as she wept for daughter, Diome, and her fate; given that very little that we know of grows here, this is suspect. — Liam K

The Exomorphic Archipelago (more commonly called the Kinnis Maw) is a series of 60 or so geographic formations stretching off the western coast of Blackbloom. The formations are composed of brittle rock that stretch hundreds–even thousands–of feet in the air but are only a dozen or more feet wide. The brittleness of the rock makes them essentially unclimbable. Moreover, periodically a tower will snap and fall back into the ocean. Scholars hypothesize that they are the result of a burst of volcanic activity many ages ago. Common folk have more … colorful … explanations. — Justin Jacobson

Ringing the equator of Blackbloom are towering volcanoes called the Inferno Tors. Rivers of lava paint their slopes, exuding noxious gases and blistering heat. Creatures of fire live here, known by different names as they age: newborn Sparks; young Flames; adult Blazes; and enormous ancient Infernos, for whom the crags are named. In the dark season, frost falls constantly from the air and unseen entities roam the world, feeding on hope and thoughts. The fire creatures, which dispel these dangers, entice hunters known as Firechasers to travel to the Tors in hopes of snaring a valuable Spark or Flame. — Angela Perry

At the top of the world, if it still exists, you’ll find Pure. The air is clean and grass still grows knee-tall. They say this is where the sky is sewn to the earth, where the rivers pour down from the great mountain, and where you’ll find the caves that descend into the underworld. — Josin

The Chasmlands comprise a 1,000 mile stretch of land punctuated by hundreds of deep sinkholes. Some of these pits are only a dozen feet in diameter; the largest is almost half a mile across. All are thousands of feet deep; the larger holes contain their own unique microclimates – and ecosystems – that change as one goes deeper. The Chasmlands extend through a range of geographies and climes. The sinkholes are joined at the bottom by the deep, slow river that runs beneath them all. Many cities sit along the edge of these pits, and more than one has disappeared into them. — Kraig

The Delves of A’kaar are vast caverns that riddle the world of Blackbloom. No human has ever come close to accurately mapping these immense passages. Even were it not for the insane, twisted monstrocities that dwell there, there is a single facet which keeps peoples of all cultures from the Delves. Those who travel within, return… changed. There is something within the caverns which slowly and subtly, twists, depraves and pollutes the minds and bodies of all who have traveled within. Most believe that the inhabitants of the caverns were once humans, who simply journeyed too deeply. — JM Guillen

Glanworn Isle, once the abode of Osren, God of the golden breath: this small island, (362 miles in length, 60 miles across at its widest point) lies midway between Tears and the Feral forest. A citadel island, crumbling barricades rise and fall along the slopes and cliffs of its 1,766 miles of coastline. Magnificent groves of orange and blue Pocker trees touch the heavens on its mountainous north coast. Glanworn loses its island status—and much of its soil—twice yearly during the great Bidal Tides. An endangered herd of silk furred tri-horned flacs survive on its eastern shores. — EC Sheedy

During the three months of Dark, the Shining Hills become either a pilgrimage site or a tourist attraction. Comprising quartz-shot granite and covered in a phosphorescent lichen that may be distantly related to Maritae’s algae, the Hills are dank and forbidding in the Wet season, and dusty and drab in the Dry. But in the Dark, the quartz collects and magnifies the lichen-glow, green or pink or purple or blue, until the Hills shine with a shifting kaleidoscope of color and light. The lichen is poisonous to touch. The pilgrims know this. The tourists don’t. — ChiaLynn

Few features on Blackbloom baffle thaumatologists and technoscientists alike more than the Wandering Bayou, a large patch of creeks, marshy lowlands, riparian forests and mangroves that seem to permanently evade the dry season. The Bayou moves around the globe in no predictable manner, disappearing from one place and gradually reappearing at another locale, where it stays for the duration of the wet/dark season. There’s no record that the Bayou has ever settled itself down either on Blackbloom Ridge or the sentient cities. Its flora and fauna are well known, and the screeching water-puppy is sought for as a weapon component. — MC Zanini

11 comments

  • Oh, boy, now I’ve got to make up a weapon that includes screeching water-puppies as a component…

    *Grinning from one ear to the other!*

    Chuck, a friend of mine could help you with both the wiki and the cartography. I’ll see if I can talk him into it.

  • And, of course, congratulations to everyone who’s suggested features for Blackbloom. I was secretly rooting for the Exomorphic Archipelago, and yay!, it’s there!

  • This stuff is great! A wandering Bayou, Ghost Marshes… I am not going to live anywhere near Blackbloom any time soon. But, yes, a map! Please. :-)

    And thx for nod to Glanworn Isle.
    EC

  • Blackbloom has a wiki. Right now it’s blank as I am still adding pages but it exists. The gods, culture, peoples, geography, cartography, rumors and whatever else you add can be presented in it.
    blackbloom.wikia.com

  • Congrats for those who got chosen. Its looking like a scary but fascinating place.

    Will be really excited to see things start to pull together to paint a full on landscape.

    As a side note: Has anyone else noticed the tiny smiley face at the bottom left of the website? I just noticed it hehe.

  • Chuck, All,

    Am a great lover, and spare time (rarely) amateur practisioner, of cartography. Would love to map Blackbloom at some point, when the geography begins to coalesce a little more…

  • When it comes to a written narrative, having a world map is useful but I’d imagine there are some pit falls in doing one. As the story progresses the map can either be generated over time through the story or already be in place in which case the writter will have to keep track of distances etc.

    I’ve found for RPG purposes having the map pre-generated helped tie things together that I would not have done otherwise. It gives the world some life but it takes a lot of effort to put things down that make sense. Why would they live there? What grows naturally in that region, what items would they trade, and who would they trade with? Does trade put pressure for different regions to cooperate? At times of war how do these things interact and the list goes on.

    I might be hesitant to do a full scale map until things get a little more fleshed out for the setting. For example how technilogically advanced is this planet? As of now its still a little vague which will dictate how things are on a map. For example transportation will play a huge part in how the map turns out. Are there horses or something similar? Do trains, planes, cars, etc. exist? Do other non-traditional forms of travel exist (teleportation, magical travel, portals, etc.)?

    Love the progress and hope it keeps chuggin along steady. Blackbloom has a great deal of promise :)

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