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You might have seen me ask a few questions the last few days. Basically, I'm just looking for advice on how plausible this (very early prototype) map might be. Disclaimer: I unfortunately know rather little when it comes to map-making, so please feel free to rip it to shreds. That being said, I'm not going for pain-staking realism, but as much as possible would be good. I am completely fine with moving things around, changing landforms, altering the very nature of the planet, etc.

To give a brief summary:

  1. The middle, teal area ie Zhin Provinces are supposed to be mostly temperate/warm-temperature zones.
  2. The yellow Talchian Empire is supposed to be more mountainous and cold near the top but more livable near the the area where it meets the purple kingdom. Think almost Canada-like, though perhaps not quite so cold near the top. The triangular shapes in the brown area are mountains.
  3. The purple Dao'umbara kingdom is very much based on the middle-east in terms of climate, but more specifically Egypt for the most part. Desert lands and all that.
  4. The green Tears of the Valaka are a bunch of islands that are mostly environmental anomalies due to them having power over the elements. So some are tropical, others are volcanic islands, and others near the bottom are far colder.
  5. The blue Nirnossi Republic is temperate, almost Mediterranean in terms of climate for the most part, though there are arid areas further down.
  6. The red Vlyasundari Holdings are very similar to the Slavic countries, but I suppose more specifically to Russia itself. As such, it has a similar climate to the Talchian Empire ie Yellow kingdom. The white part is northern barbarians - nothing to worry about for the moment - while the dark green parts around the map are sort of 'Here-Be-Dragons / Unconquered territory due to odd temporal disturbances.'

Some other information about this world, though this stuff is all up in the air right now:

  • There may be twin moons in this world, though one can be larger than the other. I'm not entirely sure how this would affect the way the world should have evolved except for their effect on tidal forces.
  • The two large continents were once, thousands of years ago, attached together both above and below the Zhin Provinces, to essentially put the teal kingdom / Zhin in the middle of a sort of in-land sea.
  • The limits of this program are annoying, but basically the poles start to the North and South, same as a regular map - I'd say the North outside of the visible part of this map, while the South pole starts a considerable distance more away, with a large open area between the green and purple kingdoms and said pole. The equator cuts through the world a little lower than the Zhin Provinces, and I suppose the tropics are around that area as well. Come to think of it, that would likely mean that Zhin = tropical environment...

I can already see specific errors I'll need to correct, such as the climate disparity between the desert kingdom and the Mediterranean kingdom, probably issues with land-forms not being realistically designed or spread out enough, etc - I actually did want to split all of the continents apart more, but this Fantasy Map Creator doesn't allow for that.

I also did not use Plate Tectonics to plan this out. I might redo it with them in mind.

This is the map I am going for - where the six major kingdoms are obviously denoted via different colors.

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    $\begingroup$ Where is North on this map? Where are the Equator, Tropics and Polar Circles? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jul 31 '18 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ I'll edit my post to include this info! $\endgroup$ – doplin Jul 31 '18 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ How large are these continents? $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Jul 31 '18 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ I did some research into climate simulation a while ago. Turns out that if you know the planet's rotation along with it's topography (above and below the ocean) and the height of the ocean; if you take all that and run in through a computer for long enough, you can calculate the prevailing winds and ocean currents. $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 31 '18 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ Trying to get good scientific simulations takes a lot of work. I tried for months to make headway with a scientific computing package and made very little progress. To get really accurate with in this subject area is really hard. Just use the model in head as your guide. The package I failed with is called MITgcm (MIT Global Climate Model). Real scientists do real work with that package. It is not easy. $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 31 '18 at 20:44
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Geography is arbitrary

Geography on earth is the result of billions of years of weathering, plate tectonics, and many other factors. In this regard, geography is much like a story. One can create an arbitrary configuration of continents, mountains, lakes, streams, plains, hills, etc then create a history using natural geological processes to create those features.

Want big craggy mountains? Easy. Have a big ice age or two with plenty of glaciers to cut them through the rock.

Geopolitics not as arbitrary

The geopolitical portions of your map don't make as much sense to me. For example, the green country would have colonies on the shores of the blue and purple countries but I don't see any. This means that there's some kind of political agreement to not have colonies there or the blue and purple countries are strong enough to prevent from those colonies from forming. Clearly, the green country is a seafaring country as they maintain extensive island territories. Why can't they start some colonies on foreign shores?

In general, national boundaries form along natural borders such as mountain ranges (India, Nepal, China) or along rivers (Rio Grande river between US and Mexico) or constriction points. The boundaries between the yellow and purple countries makes sense. The extra long boundary between red and blue doesn't make sense. If I were in charge of securing the red-blue border, I would want it to be as short as possible so I can put more troops in a smaller space instead of spreading them out.

Climate

Depending on where exactly the equator is, much of this planet will be arid or desert. The coastlines where the winds come off the water will be green with plenty of rain. In-land areas (of which this map has many) will be drier or outright deserts. The map has a lot of land and not much water.

Reading up on the prevailing winds on Earth will go a long way towards informing your ideas of which climates will be where on this planet of yours.

Tectonic Activity

Plate movements on the scale used on this map indicate millions or tens of millions of years worth of movement, not a few thousand.

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Judging by the fact that a lot of these are kingdoms or empires, I'm assuming the world is pre-modern.

These factions are much too large for pre-modern control. Modern countries can handle being so large because we have sufficient infrastructure. We have nice roads and railroads which allow our militaries to cross continents in days. We have electronic communication to allow the central government to easily contact the farthest outposts in an instant.

A few additional points, not necessarily problems, just things to consider:

  • None of these lakes have any outlets as far as I can tell; at least some of these will end up being extremely salty and dead. If you add any outlets, note that a lake will only ever have one outlet of any importance.
  • I don't see any fjords, which tells me your world never had an ice age.
  • The mountain ranges don't seem to be placed along tectonic plate boundaries. In real life, most (maybe all?) mountain ranges are along convergent plate boundaries. There might be a mechanism I'm unaware of to create mountain ranges in the middle of a plate, so I won't say it's definitely a problem.
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, this is a fantasy world. Would the inclusion of near-instantaneous communication akin to voice-calling via magical artifacts as well as an invention date for railroads fix this somewhat? $\endgroup$ – doplin Jul 31 '18 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ Near-instantaneous communication might be enough even without railroads. Espionage will be extremely effective and will be how central governments maintain control. Governments would use confidential informants to spy on their people and prevent rebellion, which could allow them to stay that large. $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Jul 31 '18 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ Right - either way I was thinking many of these would be 'Kingdoms' in name only, really. In that they would technically claim a large chunk of the land, but enforcing it would be quite difficult considering how spread out they are. $\endgroup$ – doplin Jul 31 '18 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ Interior mountain ranges can come from compression folding -- a continent is squeezed -- or from extension. The Basin and Range province in the US West was caused by the continent being pulled apart so that some sections dropped downwards (the basins) leaving a series of parallel mountain ranges. $\endgroup$ – Mark Olson Jul 31 '18 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Translation: Learn plate tectonics, Doplin, if you want a map that makes any sort of sense elevation-wise? $\endgroup$ – doplin Jul 31 '18 at 18:03
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The Zhin Provinces would have more extremes between summer and winter. Due to the lack of oceanic currents surrounding the continent / island, the climate would resemble that in Siberia.

January averages about −20 °C (−4 °F) and July about +19 °C (66 °F) while daytime temperatures in summer typically are above 20 °C (68 °F).

Oymyakon is a village which recorded a temperature of −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) on 6 February 1933. Verkhoyansk, a town further north and further inland, recorded a temperature of −69.8 °C (−93.6 °F) for 3 consecutive nights. [...] Each town also frequently reaches 86 °F (30 °C) in the summer, giving them, and much of the rest of Russian Siberia, the world's greatest temperature variation between summer's highs and winter's lows, often being well over 170–180+ °F (94–100+ °C) between the seasons. (Wikipedia)

If you look at a globe, central Europe is located at the same longitude as Siberia, but has much milder temperatures due to the Gulf stream. Your land masses are packed so tightly that there probably would be no big oceanic current between all of the eastern and western land masses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I figured as much - I was thinking over nearly doubling the distance between the three major landmasses in this map by pulling the left continent to the left and the right one to the right. Probably spreading everything else out too. Would that help? $\endgroup$ – doplin Jul 31 '18 at 18:11
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    $\begingroup$ There are still the green Tears of the Valaka blocking the south entrance. Also I'm not too sure about oceanic currents forming in north-south orientation. Most currents on Earth are caused by the rotation of the planet and are east-west oriented. Maybe this could work like the Gulf stream - huge amounts of water cooling down and sinking down in the north, thereby pulling warm water at the surface north. $\endgroup$ – Elmy Jul 31 '18 at 18:22

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