D&D 5E An Atlas of the D&D Worlds?

While I like the idea, I don't think every setting ever published is feasible. For one, a lot of them were licensed and they no longer have the rights.

Thanks for the response Lawngnome. WotC owns outright all of the settings I show above, except for two: Dragonfist was reportedly gifted or sold by WotC to its author Chris Pramas, and there are unconfirmed reports that WotC doesn't wholly own the rights to the D&D Cartoon Show. As far as I know, WotC still owns the rights to all the published Blackmoor materials (except for the old First Fantasy Campaign from Judges Guild).

I purposely didn't include the D&D settings which were never owned by TSR or WotC (Lankhmar, Conan/Red Sonja, Diablo II, Kingdoms of Kalamar, Warcraft)

But more importantly trying to put 40 years of settings into one book would be a massive undertaking, not to mention a massive book. Now a book with maps and basic details of all the major campaigns would be more feasible. Basically all the ones that had a boxed set or hard cover campaign setting.

This atlas wouldn't have to be any bigger than an ordinary hardcover. There'd be a two-page spread for each of the major worlds, showing their world map. Plus a solar system chart for each. Then close up maps of the main continents, and country-by-country maps and maps of key locations. There'd only be as many maps as would fit in an ordinary book. The lesser settings such as Jakandor and Council of Wyrms would only be one page each.

It wouldn't have to be that big of an undertaking. Just chain the WotC map guy to his desk and have him redraw all the maps in 5E style. Or if you want to make it easier, just copy and paste the maps as they are. That alone would still be a nifty book.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
It would be tough, but doable.

Back at the tail end of 3E D&D, WotC put out the Dungeon Survival Guide that was, in essence, a spoiler for all the famous dungeons of prior D&D editions - something along the lines of this world guide, but done for famous dungeons instead of worlds. It was very poorly conceived and received; you can buy a copy for about $2.

If they do such a gazetteer, I think it should be done as a sort of coffee table book, somewhat along the lines of the 30 years of D&D, but more of a focus on presenting each in an "in-world" sort of way, instead of discussing how it came to be. Something has maybe, 5-10 pages on each world, with several maps apeice. Perhaps have it written as the remnant of a traveler's log - say, as someone from or ending up in Sigil and writing about his experiences plane-hopping from world to world. With the maps re-rendered in a consistent style.

In my mind, something that is designed as a keepsake or to whet the appetite for a full-blown campaign set would be something that would sell. Not something designed as a "player's guide" to or somesuch aimed directly at gamers, but something informal that would have a wider appeal. For example, I have - and love - the Atlases for the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance world. The are done by and in the style of atlas that was done for the Hobbit/Lord of the Ring books. The FR atlas has many maps that follow the adventures of the novels, as does the Dragonlance Atlas. They're not designed for gamers, but they're still damn cool, and like me, I could see DM's picking them up for reference.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Sounds like a cool idea!

Although, honestly it would probably find more useful to have a comprehensive Atlas for one single setting. For instance a Forgotten Realms Atlas with both large and small scale maps, like a real-world Atlas.

Maybe it should be an electronic product, zoomable and searchable, a sort-of Google Earth for a D&D setting :D
 

Sounds like a cool idea!

Although, honestly it would probably find more useful to have a comprehensive Atlas for one single setting. For instance a Forgotten Realms Atlas with both large and small scale maps, like a real-world Atlas.

Yeah but it's already been done for FR and DL in book form, and also in Campaign Cartographer.

I'm specifically interested in cultivating interest in the Multiverse of D&D Worlds as a whole. 5E is very different than 4E and 3E in that it is bringing back all of the key settings as campaign examples in the core texts, including not only FR and Greyhawk, but also Dragonlance, Mystara, Dark Sun, and D&D Earth (Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Norse pantheons).

Maybe it should be an electronic product, zoomable and searchable, a sort-of Google Earth for a D&D setting :D

I'm not so into electronic products myself. They sound great, but they often end up being ephemeral things (Gleemax, D&D Digtal Tabletop) which are soon dustballed as money sinks and discarded hulks, archived in the Wayback Machine.
 

For example, I have - and love - the Atlases for the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance world. The are done by and in the style of atlas that was done for the Hobbit/Lord of the Ring books. The FR atlas has many maps that follow the adventures of the novels, as does the Dragonlance Atlas. They're not designed for gamers, but they're still damn cool, and like me, I could see DM's picking them up for reference.

Exactly. Karen Wynn Fonstad's atlases would be a great model.

The opening pages could give a map of Multiverse, including all the planes ever mentioned in any D&D (or d20 Modern) book. All the Spelljammer worlds would be in there somewhere too--in the Astral Sea or whatever is going to house "space travel" in 5E.
 
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The FR atlas has many maps that follow the adventures of the novels, as does the Dragonlance Atlas.

That's a brilliant idea Stormonu. For each world which has novels (or choose-your-own-adventure gamebooks), there would be a map which shows where every single story took place, with the route the characters took. That could evoke interest in all the novels again. Nearly all the TSR/WotC D&D novels could come back in print or e-book. Even a longtime D&D aficionado such as myself have little grasp of where in the worlds all these stories took place.

These are the worlds I know of which have published fiction:

  • Forgotten Realms (lots of novels, including the Spawn of Dragonspear gamebook, plus comic books)
  • Dragonlance (lots of novels, including 4 gamebooks, plus comic books)
  • Eberron (40-some novels, plus some comic books)
  • Greyhawk (the old Rose Estes books, the Ghost Tower gamebook, the 3E era Greyhawk-labeled novels such as Against the Giants, plus the 10 "core D&D" Iconic Character novels, and the Knights of the Silver Dragon young adult books, set in the city of Curston. Also the 3E era comic books set in the "core" world.)
  • Nerath (The Mark of Nerath novel and its following Abyssal Plague books, plus the 4E comic books)
  • Planescape (4 novels)
  • Spelljammer (6 novels, plus comic books)
  • Dark Sun (13 novels, plus the Abyssal Plague cross-over with Forgotten Realms)
  • Mystara (the Penhaligon Trilogy, the Dragonlord Trilogy, the Black Vessel, and Dark Knight of Karameikos, plus the Vanishing City gamebook)
  • Karawenn (the setting for some of the 2E First Quest novels. D&D brand manager Bruce Heard suggested that Norwold in Mystara would be the most fitting place for Karawenn. Another First Quest novel was set on "D&D Earth" with talking animals)
  • Kingdom of Ghyr (the setting for the AD&D Action Figures. Bruce Heard suggests that Ghyr is somewhere on Mystara. Besides the XL1 adventure module, there was one coloring book.)
  • Birthright (6 novels)
  • Ravenloft (20 some novels, including some set on Earth, plus the Master of Ravenloft gamebook)
  • Izmer (1 novelization of the worthless D&D movie. Izmer is a variant of the world of Mystara. The director based the Izmer Empire on his home campaign version of the Alphatian Empire. Dave Arneson says that, in his home campaign, Izmer exists far to the west of Blackmoor.)
  • Dragon Strike (the world of the 2E-era Dragon Strike videos, novels, and Endless Quest gamebooks. Set in a crystal sphere called Wild Space. There's a description here.)
  • Gamma World (a few 4E-era novels)
  • Dark.Matter (5 novels. Like Gamma World was incorporated into the D&D Multiverse for 4E, it makes sense to fold all the d20 Modern campaign models into the D&D Earth of the 5E D&D Multiverse.)
  • Star*Drive (8 novels. Each of the d20 Future campaign models would be a future timeline of D&D Earth, within the D&D Multiverse.)
  • The Realm of the D&D Cartoon Show (the six Cartoon Show books)
  • The "generic" world of the Endless Quest gamebooks (and Super Endless Quest, HeartQuest, and Solo Quest).
  • The 2E-era Rod of Seven Parts and sci-fi crossover Tale of the Comet were meant to be adapted to any 2E setting.
  • There were also some TSR fantasy novels which weren't related to any game setting, such as Jewels of the Elvish, the Red Kings of Wynnamyr trilogy, and the Gabria pentad. And until recently WotC had the Mirrorstone line of childrens and young adult fiction that could fit in somehow. Might as well slap together a world map for those too, and bring them fully into the D&D Multiverse. To be complete, all the short stories from DRAGON magazine in years past could fit somewhere the D&D Multiverse.

Here's one of the resources ("TSR Novels") I used to compile this list. Did I miss any?

All of these worlds would have at least one map in the Atlas of the D&D Multiverse, showing the route of the characters.
 
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map of adventure locations

The atlas could show where all the adventures are located. This would be like the Known World map from Blue Box (Expert Set), which shows where all the Basic and Expert adventures are set in Mystara. See the little bullet points:
expert-set-known-world-24-original-colours.png

I imagine a full color, 2-page world map of each key world (with the spine left blank, so that the book could be laid flat and color copied to make a map for display.)

But after that map there'd be a "DM's map" which shows the official location of all adventures, the route of all characters in novels and comic books, and the location of all video games. The mapped out "area of play" of each adventure module and video game would be outlined.

I suggest going all out, and placing every single "generic" adventure, from all editions, on some D&D world. Some adventures (perhaps most) could be placed in multiple worlds, in the same way that the Keep on the Borderlands exists in Greyhawk, Mystara, and Nerath, and the Sunless Citadel exists in Greyhawk (somewhere) and Nerath. Core adventures such the 3E Adventure Path (which began with Sunless Citadel) ought to exist in all the other medieval fantasy worlds too.

Definitively placing these sites on the map wouldn't rub DMs the wrong way if 5E also clearly stated that every DM's Multiverse is an alternate parallel sibling of "WotC's D&D Multiverse".

This would energize interest in the D&D Classics and in the 5E Multiverse as a whole.
 
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Spelljammer:
spelljammer.png
From the Guide to the Spheres.

All 60-some crystal spheres (solar systems) and their hundreds of named planets, and the 40-some "loose" planets not yet assigned to a sphere, could be at least mentioned in the Atlas.

Does anyone know if any of the new-for-Spelljammer planets were given world maps?
 

Blackmoor world map for an Atlas of D&D Worlds

This is the world map for Blackmoor from TSR:

blackmoor world map.png

As far as I know, this is the only archaic age of any D&D world which got its own world map. Or are there canonical maps of Toril or Krynn in earlier ages?

The DA series of Blackmoor adventures are set 4500 years before the BECMI Known World adventures. Before its destruction (500 years after the DA modules), Blackmoor (and presumably all of Mystara) reached 20th century technology. An atomic catastrophe knocked the planet off its axis, rotating the continents.

Here's a couple maps made by D&D aficionados:
blackmoor 2.png

The second map (colored yellow and white) was drawn using a computer program which rotated the globe in a mathematically lawful way, resulting in a map that looks pretty different than the canonical map. Apparently the TSR cartographer who drew the Pre-Cataclysmic map "eyeballed" the continental shift. Still, I think it would be better to "fudge" the rotation to make it better match the canon map.
 

Greyhawk 2000

The Atlas of D&D Worlds could also have a map of the "D&D Modern" World of Greyhawk 2000. Here's a snippet:

greyhawk 2000.png

This is a world of 21st century technology. Urban Arcana in Oerth.
 
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