A bit of a follow-up because I was told off-blog that the map is a little hard to read without any explanation… the different shades represent different heights. Here’s the basic idea, not to scale:
The colors are the same as in the map.
As the oceans weren’t as deep as Earth’s, the continental rise also isn’t as deep. Still, with the greatest depth in the ocean at 1-2km, this still means at least a hundred meters for the continental rise, and that’s quite a slope. Places where this slope is greater will be natural barriers for migrations, caravans, and invading armies; locatations where the slope is not as steep, not as high, or where it has been worn down by erosion or other factors will be natural choke points where the before-mentioned can travel, and so they may be of strategic interest. Something to keep in mind when I draw the map in greater detail – and it shows the importance of thinking about such things: The more you work on something, the more ideas present themselves…
Here’s the second draft of the “desert world” map:
The features are a little small, but I think you can make them out. This is the previous map, but edited – I remove the climate / terrain types again and added locations of ancient and modern cities, and I placed the global canal network (the black lines).
I am also playing a lot with “shadows” to make the map easier to read, and I think it came out pretty well if I may say so myself.
Here’s a first glance at Arnâron, the desert planet.
Pretty much all of the once world-spanning ocean has dried up. There are small ice caps at both poles. They will vary greatly over the course of the year. In the local winter they will expand towards the equator to cover most of the zones marked Taiga and Tundra.
The surface of the world is mostly covered in rock and sand – much of it is former ocean floor. In locations with water, sparse vegetation and steppes thrive. The former western continent features the only thick vegeatation on the planet, along a wide river that runs off from the vast mountain range that covers the continent.
A vast salt flat is located in the northern hemisphere, between the two continents. This is the most hostile area on the planet – the absolute lack of liquid water and the searing temperatures mean that nothing can survive here.
The map shows Arnâron without the influences of man… which will be our next map, coming up sometime this weekend.
Humans evolved in the region marked by the big black circle on the eastern of the two main continents. From there, they began to spread out in all directions, first to the more fertile climates, then into arid areas as well. The whole process took about fifty thousand years. The islands in the north of the ocean at the center of the map were among the last spots of land that mankind spread to. Very few islands were missed by humans in pre-historic time.