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Cèsar de Quart

Cardinal directions in the Mortal Realms

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone.

As I've been writing fluff for the Age of Sigmar, I've found myself in a bit of a problem: the way maps are presented (usually azimuthal projections with some sort of pole at the center), there seems to be no true north or south or east or west. Not that they even make sense, considering the way the sun (usually the shine of Hyish, if I'm not mistaken, unless that bit by Phil Kelly has been retconned in some novel) doesn't even necessarily travel the sky, and that some Realms are flat earths, while some are not... it's a bit of a mess.

Now, I've got no problem making up my own deliciously complex cardinal system, but what I want to know is: has this been explored in any way in the novels, or maybe some WD story I have missed? How do people in the Mortal Realms tell direction, measure latitude and logitude and generally say things like "The next big town is one week away, northwest of here"?

Some examples of what I was talking about:

Shyish:

400px-Realmsphere_Shyish.png

Aqshy:

AoSRealms-May12-RealmMap8ks.jpg

Chamon (admittedly, this looks like a zenithal projection, but it may be just that the islands form this spiral form and the Realm itself is... not a flat earth. Honestly, Chamon feels like a perfect concept for a Realm made up of multiple spheres orbiting each other like atomic marbles depending on the stability of the elements they're mostly made from... )

Recomposed_Chamon.jpg.2069917ec0a8fdba78

I don't know of any other complete maps out there. Any input will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Edited by Cèsar de Quart

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As far as I recall, they simply use the same SNWE as we do

How do they define it remains a mystery  

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Cèsar de Quart said:

admittedly, this looks like a zenithal projection, but it may be just that the islands form this spiral form

Those islands are in that spiral shape. that's just one part of Chamon, The Spiral Crux (or something like that), though not the whole of the realm. formed when a big magnetised godbeast decided to nest there or something wrecking what was once a series of straight landmasses (that had been knocked up by Grungi, I think).

anyway, on the subject of cardinal points, I think it's just one of the many, many things they've glossed over for now. add it to the list!

I'm pretty sure in some stories they talk about x being x miles north of somewhere or other but I guess that's just ease of story telling.

there's always the old Discworld formulation of 'hubwise', 'rimwise' and, one sec let me look this up.... 'turnwise' & 'widdershins' but yeah can't see that being adopted.

I think the geography of the mortal realms will pretty much always be a bit of a fudge, but hey it's a magical universe now so just hocus pocus an explanation and you'll be good. I mean we only have a fairly basic idea of the overall topography of the realms as whole dimensions and how they fit together, I think it'll be while, if ever, before they look this down.

PLUS whilst we're still figuring out the realms, remember that each of them in turn has its own sub-realms and pocket realities to contend with. So it's fun to ponder but actually getting it to all make sense, well... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Edited by JPjr
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2 hours ago, JPjr said:

there's always the old Discworld formulation of 'hubwise', 'rimwise' and, one sec let me look this up.... 'turnwise' & 'widdershins' but yeah can't see that being adopted.

I came here to cite Sir Terry as the definitive system for cardinal directions on flat worlds, but you beat me to it!

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4 hours ago, EccentricCircle said:

I came here to cite Sir Terry as the definitive system for cardinal directions on flat worlds, but you beat me to it!

Same! Pretty much what I'd use though maybe with some more Mortal Realms style names

 

Nexus / Realmdust for middle and edge, since they don't spin something like Suntrack (for clockwise), and Widdershins for anticlockwisw

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Tainted Heart featured a character who used celestial navigation to find his way through Chamon's shimmering desert. Not sure if that helps much, but might be a puzzle piece.

 

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Interesting question. It could vary from city to city or realm to realm, but I imagine there being some kind of pull, magnet or otherwise, towards one point. Maybe the center of the realms, towards the allpoint (assuming flat realms  or something) with the same kind of pull being seen across all realms. Sure, north would be at a different angle across the realms, but it would be a good basis I believe. I do think there should be extra quantifiers though, like "edge-towards" or " centerbound" based on where you are in the actual realm, letting you know what you're heading towards

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I assume people just use the same systems we did in medieval times or renaissance, maybe even cave men times depending on the realm.  

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7 hours ago, Wraith01 said:

I assume people just use the same systems we did in medieval times or renaissance, maybe even cave men times depending on the realm.  

So, north, south, east, west? It makes little sense, considering people in our world used directions based on the Earth being round and the sun moving every day from East to West, and in the Realms, the sun is sometimes described as erratic (like in Ghur) or being Hyish (we don't know how it moves), and the Realms themselves are mostly described as flat.

Rimwards, Centerwise and then whatever direction seems to be following the sun sounds like the right call. Some places like Shyish are described as having more than one sun, while others like Ulgu are always in a penumbral shade of dusk (or maybe darkness; I assume Ulgu feels like a very hazy Iceland during midnight sun).

Thank you all for your responses! I see that GW still has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to fleshing out their setting.

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I've a feeling that the job of cartographer in the Realms is likely the source of Chaos infection! Those poor people trying to put order to an insane world of changing shifting magics and realms would likely go all kinds of insane and baffled within hours of trying to produce a suitable map system! This is without considering the shifting nature of the rim where land masses seem to fall and rise at a whim.

 

Citing the Great Sir Terry also makes one wonder if there's a realm where an elephant (god beast) has to ****** its leg to let the sun move past?! 

 

I would wager many of the nations within the realms might also use local systems. When you consider the vast scales involved a local map might be very different to a KO or Realmwalkers map. Indeed their maps and charts might be quite alien to them. A nation within a Realm could easily have a North-South type map because they only have to navigate within a limited range. The only limit is producing something akin to a compass, which likely would result in a "rimwise/hubwise" system replacing north and south. 

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Posted (edited)

I would say keep it simple just like on our planet, at least as far as the Discworld-style realms are concerned. Imagine everything in the red dotted line was a continent the size of the entire landmass of Aqshy, centered over something functioning like our North Pole.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQfREqtnBX6vxp-XZYWETc

North is towards the center.  South is towards the edge.  East is Counterclockwise, West is Clockwise.

 

As large as the supposed realms are, the problem of a place on the other side of the center from you technically being both North and South of you should never be a problem in a human lifetime/travel scale, because according to AoS maps just the red cross on that image is probably larger than North America, maybe even Asia.

 

 

Edited by Aegisgrimm
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Posted (edited)

Up

down

left 

right

over there

that way

 

or sir Terry 

Edited by Praecautus
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Could also vary on whats culturally important and may rely on different referents then magnetism or trade winds that our world uses or be more akin to how early civilizations referenced upstream/downstream, or towards sea towards mountains. Shyish referencing the Shyish NAdir, Hysh and Ulgu referencing each other respectivly;   and with the dangers of the areas the further from the center of realms you get, that may also lead to a big part of how geography and trade are referenced.

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Posted (edited)

The problem with polar coordinates around the center is that it gets really polar coordinates get really non intuitive the closer to the pole you get.

Lets say you're trying to navigate in England, or California, or anywhere a lot of people live. If you were to orient yourself facing North, and walk a mile, you'd still be facing North. East would be to your right, and West to your left. Turn and face East. Now North is on your left. Walk a mile, you're still basically facing East, and North is still on your left.

Now, lets say you're meter away from the North Pole. If you face East, North will be on your left. Go forward one meter. North isn't directly to your left anymore, and your not facing due East anymore. Your facing South-East, and North is to your rear-left. Step another meter, and you're facing South-South East. Walk a couple kilometers, and you're practically facing entirely South. The direction 'North', from your perspective, rotates as you move.

Imagine trying to give directions using that. Mentally trying to compensate for how much or how little the direction East isn't a straight line? 

This works fine on our planet. Very, very few people live and work around the poles. But in AoS it seems the centers are the most populated areas. Having a system that's hard to use around the most important areas seems like a bad idea. A grid layout rather than a polar system would be far more easy to use.

If the sun in the Realms had a consistent path, I'd pick that as one on the primary lines, ie, East/West is parallel to the direction of the sun, and North South runs perpendicular to East West. Set up a Cartesian grid with 0,0 at the center.

Edited by 18121812

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Do we even really know how the stars and sun work in the Realms? I would figure that it would be possible but potentially nightmarish complex; esp when you've got things like the Bad Moon doing crazy stuff on its own! I would figure its the kind of way mages and the elite of the elite of highly educated (with copious free time) could calculate their position, but the average person might have to rely on far off star charts (suns so far that they don't change on a whim) and also a latitude and longitude likely based on the centre of the realm. The minor issues with the centre moving around a bit in relative terms for very close places wouldn't be a huge issue; just a localised aspect of leaving near the core of a realm. 

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This is some of the stuff that's really keeping me from truly enjoying AoS and the Realms. It just doesn't feel like an actual, functional universe inhabited by people to me.

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IIRC there are constellations that are visible in every realm so that would be a starting point for establishing cardinal directions.

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You all are over thinking this.

 

Sigendil, the High Star of Azyr and the brightest of all stars,  It never moves from it's place in the sky like other stars do and can be seen from every realm. 

examples of it's importance are (from  the  short story Pantheon )

1) "Sailors use it to chart safe courses across stormy seas",       2)"Mothers tell their children it is the holy light of Sigmar that protects them in their sleep"

 

So I guess they use  Sigendil to define the cardinal directions. North , East , South , West

 

 

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I think you could see a situation where different regions have their own references for direction, and some sort of racial memory (or meta-translation into earth-English of the spoken language(s) of the Mortal Realms) uses our cardinal directions - but the local North might not point the same direction as the local North in a different region in the same Realm.  So it would be second-nature for local residents, and only confusing for long distance travellers, but probably not any harder to adjust to than timezones here on earth.  "Ok, we crossed the border into The Harvest King's Fiefdom, adjust your compass 12 degrees to the west."

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I figure there'd be several "Levels" of navigation based upon both the locality and size of the peoples

 

At the lower level you've got tribes who would have migratory pathways. They'd likely use stars or magic to navigate, but might also rely heavily upon traditional migratory pathways over the landscape. To them major changes outside of the norm to the local region could be very damaging to them. That said chances are they would roam over very large tracks of land and thus have contact and trade with many peoples (or conquest/battle/stealing/whatever). 

Then you'd have small kingdoms which might have local maps which rely heavily upon fixed terrain and astronomical features - such as the afore mentioned Sigendil star. These maps and charts would only cover the small kingdom and its neighbours and whilst useful to them, it would likely lack any need to position itself, and the people within, on the greater maps of the realm. Ergo they are a people who have little need to travel the vast distances the realm they inhabit offers.

Then you've got much larger kingdoms and alliance blocks. These might well start to need something more than general physical locations and a few stars. They might employ complex astrological charts for advanced navigation. Even in the real world whilst you've got Polaris, you often have to use a lot more than just it to navigate with any degree of complexity and accuracy. If they have a sea then this would be even more important because of the lack of landmarks in the open oceans. 

Ocean born peoples might well have extensive star charts; or, if they have undersea capabilities/allies/monsters; they might well use deep sea currants and other features to navigate. Indeed some deep sea cultures could well be akin to the small kingdoms in terms of the complexity and nature of maps they need use. 

Past that we start to get to trades, realm walkers and generals conducting campaigns far afield. These groups would need methods to navigate that are possibly a bit simpler and more robust for them to use rather than carrying a thousand books on the realms and their various different properties and skies etc... For this group even something as simple as a compass that points to Realm Centre would be invaluable. Though Iv'e also entered the notion that they might use "realmgate" compasses. Which might point to the nearest gate or could even be calibrated by a mage to point to a specific gate. In these cases its more about giving them a single point of reference form which to refer to a map; whilst also having a means to detect that point of reference with a good degree of accuracy. 

 

Further on and we reach the high mages and researchers who might have spells or other means of orientated themselves. Though these means might well be more complex, time consuming and expensive and thus could result in being tricky to employ for all but the richest and most determined. 

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12 minutes ago, Overread said:

For this group even something as simple as a compass that points to Realm Centre would be invaluable.

Maybe some kind of Log Pose? (for those unaware - it's a compass from "One Piece" that adjust to magnetic field of islands, when you spend enough time on one island it starts to point to another. There are also Eternal Poses that only point to one island). As we know the farther from centre you are the more magical the realm gets, so maybe Kharadrons and other realm-wide travellers use special compasses that react to the intensity (or lack) of magical aura, e.g. the tip always points to zero (centre of realm). Of course it gets weirder in Shyish where it's the centre that is the most saturated with magic.

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On 8/5/2019 at 9:49 AM, Cèsar de Quart said:

the sun (usually the shine of Hyish, if I'm not mistaken, unless that bit by Phil Kelly has been retconned in some novel) doesn't even necessarily travel the sky, and that some Realms are flat earths, while some are not...

I was pretty excited to read this thread by the title alone but this bit is ungodly intriguing...where is the source for these so I can read them?

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Posted (edited)

This is absolutely wild to me, why are the Realms not globes? Sigmar even flew through space, and uses that metal planetoid to make sigmarite?? Is it tongue in cheek about us playing on 2D tables, or do y'all think there might be some sort of Realm-fusing event where they turn into a globe.

Is it possible, if using the center as North and the Edge as South, to accurately know which way (counter) clockwise will take you regardless of where you are in the realm? I suppose if the 'sun' doesn't move then it could be done without a compass

Edited by CommissarRotke

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