Friday, August 27, 2010

here's a campaign idea to steal

The Antillian Colonial War - 1827

This one requires that we first postulate the existence of Antillia, that mid-Atlantic islandmythical as Atlantis—with which cartographers decorated their maps until well into the nineteenth century. Given an Antillia, what colonial power might be tempted to intervene? Any number would do, but since we are dealing with a mythical isle, I prefer a plausible, but mythical, European power. Let’s say, therefore, that Harold Godwinsson triumphed at Hastings, defeating William the Loser. Given this, we find in the first quarter of the nineteenth century not a Great, but what might be called a Lesser Britain, represented by the Kingdom of Wessex.

Now, let them colonize Antillia—at their peril!

The above quote is from "Up On A Soapbox" by Samuel Gill, Dragon #34, page 14.  Mr. Gill spins out several other alt-history ideas for wargaming, but this one is my favorite.  Somebody could spin this into a nice little gaslight fantasy/steampunk sort of affair.  Make the inhabitants of Antillia into technologically backwards elves, orcs, etc. and Bob's your uncle.  Here are a couple of antique maps of Antillia to get the ball rolling:
Looks like Antillia was drawn with a T-square in this one.

That must be Vinland in the far west.


  1. Antillia is what I call the fantasy North America in my NOD campaign - colonists from all over the Motherlands pouring into the Virgin Woode in search of ancient elf ruins. The resident wood elf tribes are the Madocs and the Skraelings, and they do their best to resist the incursions.

    For folks interested in such a campaign, I would point them toward Atlas Games' most excellent "Northern Crown" setting. Easily my favorite setting from the d20 era.

  2. Where did you find the first map -- the "Pareto 1455" one? I'd like to find out more about it, among other things whether there's a high-res image available anywhere.

  3. @Rod

    I think its from a Portugese Portolan from about 1450. If I was home, with my cartography/atlas collection I could ID it for you. If you havent found it with those two search terms, I'll post the info later tonight.

    About that chart -note the seven bays - Antillia was legendarily inhabited by seven kings in seven cities...may be the origin of the seven cities of sibola.

  4. Got it.

    The main site has lots of cool maps. The section on Portolans has several maps with flyaway islands -

    And, BTW, I mispelled Portuguese. Mea Culpa Mi padre !

  5. This is for you, Jeff.

  6. Ken Hite proposed a similar campaign back in 2008: The Gryphons of Califerne.

    Donald S. Johnson's Phantom Islands of the Atlantic is a good overview of Antillia, Hy-Brazil, Frisland and the Isle of Demons.

  7. @Doc Grognard

    Thanks! Is Jeff's map a modern reinterpretation, then, or a different period map of the same thing?

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  9. Rod, both maps are genuine antiques as far as I know.

  10. Both of the maps are, I'm pretty sure original -they are probably copies of another , earlier one. Not sure though, if these are working charts or just display/academic copies. I suspect the latter.

    The one with Vinland ? 50% real, 50% faked, at least considerable academic research has decided. If its the one I think it is, its a period chart with the western stuff added later to prove a claim to an earlier discovery of the americas. Still, its cool.

  11. Jeff,

    OT, I guess, but glad you enjoyed the pie......

  12. In the Lost Worlds book by Lin Carter he has a story set in Antilla. He talks about it being the beginning of a new series that I don't know he ever finished. The story was a Vancian conclave of magic users. Kinda interesting.