Friday, April 8, 2011

Geography of Titan (Part 3)

This has to be the coolest map of Titan I have ever seen (thanks Steve)! Click on it to see the big version - it really is a work of art!

A new climate map of Titan by Steve Luxton.

It's similar to the very rough climate map I made for part two of this discussion, but obviously Steve has put a lot more thought into deciding why and how the oceanic currents and atmospheric conditions actually work. Everything on it looks good and I've just got a few tentative minor issues as follows:
  • Atlantis (the dot on the north-western edge of the map), should be closer to Fish Island and Skull Island on the equatorial eastern edge of the map. The events of Demons of the Deep reveal that these locations are fairly close together. Also, for the final map, we have to remember to change Atlantis to a cross, not a dot, as it is a sunken city not an island (which it looks like now).
  • I like the Hotspot Anomaly of Allansia centred around the Desert of Skulls. Do we have anything from Fighting Fantasy canon that can confirm the Caarth snakemen are engaged in sorcery to expand the desert? I just had a look in Titan but couldn't find anything relevant.
  • The Hotspot Anomaly of Khul is obviously the Wastes of Chaos and the Twin Sun Desert. Case closed?
  • Can we reverse the currents on the east coast of Khul? This area is relatively cooler than the lands to the west (and so is the Arrowhead Archipelago). As these currents then come down from the equator they could bring warm water to the tropical northern parts of the Isles of the Dawn.
  • The south-eastern coast of the Inland Sea could be a shade warmer, as that's where the jungles beyond the city-states of Marad and Shurrupak lie...
What else can we add? Are there any other suggestions?

Part one of the discussion on the geography of Titan can be found here, and part two is here.


  1. Great posts Andy. Very in depth.

    It is mentioned in Titan on page 40 that the Caarth were developing magic to expand the deserts when the Chaos Span in Khul was released so they are capable of such things.

  2. Thanks for the reference Stuart! I thought it was in there somewhere, after Warren brought it up in the comments for part 2. That's p. 40 in the big version, and p. 78 in the small version of Titan, where we're told:

    "In the Desert of Skulls, the Snake People were developing magic which would raise the temperature of the sandy wilderness and cause its sterile wastes to expand."

    Nice one!



  3. Thanks again, Andy.

    The reason I needed everything worked out to this level of detail is because it provides important information we'll need when we start mapping the continents and need to work out explanations for the many micro-climates on Titan. There are just a few things left to do before we get started on the continental maps.

    1. We can't reverse the flow of the gyre east of Khul as it buggers everything else completely. What we can do is simply remove it. On the extreme left of the map you can see that the cold currents from the south pole are moving toward SE Khul anyway. That also means that the warm temperate region extends further north.

    2. The reason that west Khul is warmer is because the prevailing wind has been warmed as it passes over the Wastes of Chaos.

    3. The Isles of the Dawn are too far south and will get moved by about 200 miles. See blog 2.

    4. Atlantis can be moved so it is on the right hand side of the map, north of Fish Is.

    5. Does Allansia need to be closer to the Old World? By about 250 miles?

    When I get an answer to 5 I can start on the draft maps for the continents and the Titan map.


  4. Re: 1 above. For "This also means that the warm temperate region extends further north", please read "This also means that the cold and cool temperate regions extends further north."


  5. My first post has just disappeared!

    I wrote quite a bit, but basically there are no problems left. If you could let me know if Allansia should be moved about 250 miles west, that should do it.


  6. Very briefly, my first post said that the gyre to the east of Khul gets taken out and the other climate issues either disappear or are easily tweaked.

    Atlantis can go north of Fish Island.
    The Isles of the Dawn move about 200 miles N.

    I'll make a new sketch map this weekend.


  7. This looks great! Very nice indeed. Just a couple of thoughts:

    1) We know that northern Allansia is a frozen waste, and I think it says somewhere in the AFF book 'Allansia' about it being frozen the whole way to Titan's north pole. The colour on the climate map makes the northern Old World look just as cold (although the climate zone lines indicate otherwise), but it certainly isn't in Gallantaria or Ruddlestone, which seem to be roughly equivalent to Celtic Britain and England respectively.

    2) Most of Khul is marked as tropical on the map, which isn't right - the east, around Arion (and Gundobad?) is (warm) temperate, and the west, around Neuburg is the same. The Khulian hotspot should extend southwards to near the south coast.

    3) Related to this, Khul still looks like it is lying too far north, near the equator, certainly further north than in the original map. I'm also not sure the warm regions need to extend as far south as the Unknown Land. Moving all of this south again would mean that Khul is less warm except for the anomalous Scythera Desert and Wastes of Chaos, which have certainly been affected by Chaos and magic.

  8. I notice that my first post has just turned up.

    First of all this is not a straightforward climate map, it is a mash up which includes surface temperatures, sea currents, and takes into account prevailing winds (which aren't marked), hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and thermohaline currents in a very generalised way.

    The map key is vague, but the orange arrows denote surface ocean temperatures and currents, and the green/blue arrows those of the deep ocean.

    When it comes to surface temperatures there can be large differences depending on the time of the year, so to map temperatures properly we would need a different map for each season. This map shows average temperatures but is primarily concerned with the campaigning season which I guess would be between early spring to late autumn.

    In response to Warren's notes:
    1. Northern Allansia may be a frozen waste but so is the Arctic, and the extent of the sea ice changes during the year. Titan's size also means that the planet is probably warmer overall and that temperature differences are smaller than on earth.

    In the northern polar region, the amount of sea ice is affected by the proximity of the landmasses, and land absorbs more solar radiation than ice. This warms the rock, the fresh water, and the air. This heat filters down to the sea via rivers, and warm winds make it less cold than it might otherwise be. On earth, the temperature of the Arctic varies between 10 degrees C in summer and -50 degrees C in winter.

    The northern regions of the Old World, at the border of the cool temperate and cold zones, might have something like a maritime climate where temperature extremes throughout the year can range from 23 degrees C to -2 degrees C. The northern region is also affected by colder seas than Allansia.

    2. Khul may be almost entirely in the warm temperate zone, but it extends from the equatorial region to the cool temperate region. The northern part of Khul (including Gundobad)would be warmed by the equatorial currents and prevailing winds, while the south would be cooled by colder seas. Deserts aren't always hot, the temperature can drop below freezing at night-time.

    The western and the eastern seaboards of Khul would be cooled by the prevailing winds coming off the sea. On both sides of Khul the gyres are bringing equatorial waters southwards, while the Wastes of Chaos are heating that continent from the landward side. Add in chaos and magic, and Khul's climate is so confused it's probably unstable.

    3. Having said all that, these tweaks have got the map looking almost right. Given that Warren is usually right about these things I think it's probably easier to move Khul back to where it was before it got moved north.

    All this has taken us just two weeks, which I think is pretty impressive. I think the next revision will be the last for a while, and gets us onto the continental maps. Once we've played with those for a while we'll be able to revise it again so everything fits better.


  9. @Steve: "Having said all that, these tweaks have got the map looking almost right. Given that Warren is usually right about these things I think it's probably easier to move Khul back to where it was before it got moved north. All this has taken us just two weeks, which I think is pretty impressive."

    Warren: I think you've done amazing work on this, and I am honoured that you've taken the time to consider the opinions of old Titan fuss-pots like us, who've spent far too long considering the mysteries of this strange patchwork world!

    @Steve: "I think the next revision will be the last for a while, and gets us onto the continental maps. Once we've played with those for a while we'll be able to revise it again so everything fits better."

    Warren: Heh heh! That's where the fun will really begin of course... Anyone want to work out exactly where Warpstone is in Allansia, for example?!

  10. I think we've all done some amazing work on this and it looks like we're going to be doing a lot more.

    The reason I've "taken the time to consider the opinions of old Titan fuss-pots like you, who've spent far too long considering the mysteries of this strange patchwork world" is that I'm not likely to find a better source of info.

    The revision is on its way to Andy. It's just an outline at the moment, but will get worked up in colour like the map at the top of this post.

  11. Arion's AFF2 goes to the printer's today...

    I'm starting to think about how we can best deal with the continental maps because there will be a lot of information on them. Any ideas?

  12. One way would be to divide them up into sections (kind of like was done with Port Blacksand in the AFF book 'Blacksand!'), so that they aren't so small. You could of course have a single page of each but with less detail, more like the ones in 'Titan'.

  13. Yes, that sounds right. A continental map with a set of regional maps? e.g. The Old World, Gallantaria, Brice, Ruddlestone...

    For the base maps it might be a good idea to divide them into subjects (or different levels of detail) so they can be compiled in different combinations.

    I've done jobs like this a few times before. Graham at Arion wants to publish revised maps, so maybe this is a chance to get Simon's atlas re-presented with the new maps? No copyright issues, either.

    In which case we might as well go for an encyclopedia. Apparently, there's quite a good one on Wiki already.

    I think I've put up a blog (my first ever) at
    It's a notebook for this project, with some thoughts and researched info. You'll love the stuff about projections. Please let me know if it works or not. Thanks.

  14. I got a nice e-mail from Steve Jackson this morning. Once we have a few drawings I think I'm going to be cheeky enough to ask him for a comment we can use for this project.

  15. Great work, keep going on!
    I have one question: Can someone explain me why in the southern part of Khul, near the city of Marad (Inland Sea) there are jungles? Since it's farer away from the equator. Perhaps I've missed the explanation during reading your comments...

  16. Because climate in Khul is a mess! As a result of the world of Titan being put together without enough thought, and the ravages of chaos and magic which have been unleashed on Khul. Note that Arion is much cooler than the Inland Sea, and much the same could be said for Neuburg, Hachiman, Gorak and Kazan, all of which are more or less at the same latitude.

  17. Other reasons for the southern hemisphere of Titan being warm compared to earth is (1) there is no icy south polar continent; (2) there are hydrothermal vents around the southern coasts of Khul; (3) The gyre on the left side of the map is bringing warm equatorial waters south into the Black Sea; (4) Titan's surface (on this model) is just 3000 miles from its molten core.

  18. By the way, Steve, I love the blog! I can't see any way to leave comments though - is there a way you can make that possible for those who don't have a Google account?

    And great to hear SJ is taking an interest in things!

  19. (3) should have read Black Ocean.

    Another reason is that there are some really good pubs near the GW offices in Nottingham :)

  20. Being my first blog I don't really know what I'm doing. It's not for comments. I thought it was best to keep it as a reference-only blog, otherwise there will be too many places where people leave comments. I find it easier to have all the talk on one site.

    SJ got in touch because I was on their list of artists-gone-awol and had sent an e-mail to Wizard. I mentioned this project, gave him the link and said that we would very much appreciate a comment.

    I wonder if Simon is still having problems posting here?

  21. Posting is still not easy.

    Thanks for the name-check on your blog, Steve. It's amazing that a complete amateur like myself is helping a professional!

    Mr Nibbs added: "maybe this is a chance to get Simon's atlas re-presented with the new maps? No copyright issues, either."

    Good grief! An actual, published Atlas of Titan was something I always wanted as a kid. That said, the current Atlas contains >180 maps, so unless the copyright hurdle could be overcome, there's no way it can see the light of day as an actual published tome, sadly. It would be great to have an actual Atlas of Titan, though.

  22. Thanks,Simon. I know what you mean. I was a complete amateur when I started working with Marc Gascoigne. Would be a good idea if you got my e-mail address from Andy or Alex.

    The only way round the copyright issue is to compile new maps and draw them ourselves, and publishers need original material. Graham at Arion is interested in revised maps for AFF2, and I am thinking about a very basic approach to getting things started.

    I have a loose plan for a set of maybe 12 updated and revised maps combined with almanac-type information. It's not an atlas, but more like the handy guide you might get when you join an adventurers' guild. There's probably a page near the front where you write down your blood group and next of kin. In reality it's a limited edition game resource book presented as a collectors' item.

    I've only looked at one or two digital book printers sites, but they make good-looking 24-page books at a decent price on a very short run. I'll price something up soon. If it's affordable I think Graham would consider it. Why not?

  23. BonusPrint do 20 copies of a 24 page 200gsm perfect bound hardback linen cover book with full colour throughout for about £35 each including UK p&p.

    Perfect binding is not really suitable for atlases and reference books as the pages don't lay flat, but the cheapest decent folio binding costs about £80. These are commercial prices however.

  24. As an aside, you could also add Bone Island (Bloodbones) to the Titan world map, to show it has been revised to incorporate information from the newer books. Bone Island is tropical, being largely covered in jungle, and sits 370 leagues east of the Port of Crabs and 460 leagues south, according to paragraphs 156 and 293.

  25. There will be many corrections and updates on the new maps, and we will need to organise the different types of information into sets to keep it manageable.

    I'll be adding a clearer grid reference to the latest base map and plotting the info from the original maps as a start.

    I have zoomed in and cropped a set of continental maps which you can find at:

    Please let me know if you can download them and work on them ok.

  26. Hello! I have decided to give you the Stylish Blogger Award. Head over to my site and take the image to display proudly on your awesome site and check out the fun rules that go along with it.


  27. Hey Andrew,

    Completely off topic, but the soft-shelled turtle in Hoan Kiem lake is a new species:

    Cryptomundo have covered the story this time (because I tipped them off) :)

    Sincerely, Branden Holmes.

  28. Thanks for the award, Stuart! I'll be looking at some blogs and getting a list together before I post it up. Work is still busy here but I'm planning a start on the Allansia base map next week, there'll be a new blog to go with that.

  29. First of all, thanks for all the hard work you all are putting into this.

    Second, I have no idea how the creation of a map is done, so it might be a long shot. I also don't know the exact circumstances of recreating these, but based on the fact that the results so far are public, I guess the final maps will also be free to use by us, fans.

    So would it be possible to create the maps so that all the labels could be removed from them easily? Like putting them on different drawing layers and then creating a filled one and an empty one? I ask this because me and some friends are already planning on how will we be able to translate it to our own language, and given the chance, I'm sure there will be others.

  30. Thanks for that, Heisenberg. The world map we are developing here means that Titan makes sense as a world model and can be depicted on a sphere and as conventional maps.

    The reason for this is to provide a setting for adventure writers and fans of FF and AFF2. Personally I view it as a Titan Rebuilding project to create an FF/AFF2 resource book. It would be nice to get it published, but that's not why we're doing this.

    2. My drawings here are freely available provided that I am credited, and can otherwise be considered as being under Creative Commons license.

    3. Translations. Having text on a separate layer is standard practise for this very reason. Maps with no text can be provided and I suggest you give yourselves a credit for the translation, post a blog and make some links.

    Not only will text be on a separate layer, but so will geographic, demographic and other types of information. These can be updated separately and combined in different ways. All drawings can be made available text-free.

    There are now no-text-versions of the revised climate map and an "in progress" Allansia base map at:
    I assume that you can download those ok.

  31. Hi Heisenberg,

    My drawings on this site are under a Creative Commons license and you can use them provided that the work is properly credited and that you don't make any financial advantage. My intention is that you can add to these maps (which is the point) but not change what's already there (because these maps contain canon-only information).

    "Free to use by us fans" has its limits, and depends on what use you might put them to.
    Obviously, publishing without permission is a complete no-no, as is making money from them.

    Please bear in mind that the maps so far are only sketches to figure out what will go on the proper maps. The artwork for the "final maps" will (probably) be commissioned for publication, so those won't be available here.

    Translations are good. The text for these maps is done on a separate layer anyway so that's not a problem. You can find maps with no text at:

  32. Sorry for the confusion there.

    1. Graham Bottley is "really impressed" by the work we're doing here, which is good to know.

    2. Arion's AFF2 is being printed right now and has a release date of the 11th May.

    3. There will be a new Mr Nibbs blogpage with commenting going up soon. This will be a collection point for map data and will show the updated maps.

  33. Just meant to say thanks for all the comments people - they've been thought-provoking and interesting to read and very helpful as well!

    Keep it up!