Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator

Random AFMG Map

I recently discovered Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator which creates a random landmass following your instructions. After playing around with it for a few days, it was updated to version 0.8b which is not compatible with the older .map files. So I had to play around with it some more until I got something of the size and rough shape of what I already had so that I could move the old map over to the new version manually.

It is an awesome tool for a GM or setting creator who isn’t a map maker or a map maker who wants something quick and at least can relinquish control of the size and shape of the landmass. When you have your map, you can change just about any detail, other than the size and shape of the landmass itself. Generally speaking, the tool draws for you based on what you have asked it to do and where you tell it to do that. You can then edit the details after the fact.

So when you create a new map, you get the height of the various cells in the landmass, rivers, lakes, biomes, climate, countries, what they’re called, what their cities and towns are called, their capital, urban and rural population. You can even get a map of any town in Fantasy Cities. The names of countries and burgs, which is what they call towns/cities, are based on the culture assigned by the creation process and what language that culture is using. Each culture has a type and a place where that culture originated.

It is a fantastic tool to create advanced maps quickly! Perfect for a campaign setting map when playing Dungeons & Dragons or GURPS.

But it isn’t flawless. And I discovered some of these flaws playing around with it until I got what I wanted to get. As I discuss some of these flaws, this article will talk more about them than about what it’s good at. This doesn’t mean that this is a bad tool. It isn’t. It is very useful in its niche, but cannot replace the finesse and detail control of a complete map maker such as Campaign Cartographer 3+.

You can move the capital of a state, but even if you do, you cannot reassign the area it was moved from to another state. While the capital in the new area can be reassigned to another state without difficulty. But even if you do so, it remains the capital of its original state. There is a workaround though. If you delete the state, causing all land and burgs (their term for towns) to become neutral, you can then create a new state, with the same name as the state I just deleted if I wanted to, and assign a new burg to be capital or even create a capital at a new location. But this isn’t a perfect solution, as when you do this, the deleted state still is on the list of states in the Burgs Editor, but with no burgs. This may not be a problem if the new state has a different name, but if they have the same name there will now be two states in the list with the same name, one of them empty. And to make it worse, the state list is not alphabetical so it may not be instantly apparent.

Your map is also divided into cultures. If you move a cultural center, the size of nearby cultures change. You can also manually resize a Culture from the Cultures Editor in the same way you can do with states from the States Editor. But doing this and updating the map doesn’t automatically change what culture your state is covered by, you have to change that manually! With all the room for error that entails.

In the old version, you could assign relief icons manually to any area. I used them as mountain, hill, deciduous forest, coniferous forest, jungle, swamp, and sand. In the new version, you cannot assign them directly, you have to assign biome and hope that you get what you want. So I used the “Tropical rain forest” biome to mean swamp in the map I made.

And the quick start tutorial it links to is the one for the older version. So there is no quick start tutorial for the current version (when I’m writing this). So let’s go through it.

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