Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five Minute Maps: Doctor Teslo's Amazing Circus & Carnival

Matt Jackson over at lapus calumni has done a great thing. Just recently he's started drawing a map every day in a new moleskine that he purchased. He's then come up with an idea to get everybody involved in doing maps and he's called it Five Minute Map Friday. The idea behind it is as simple as the title. You have five minutes to draw a map of whatever you want. At five minutes you're done with it. If you want to share it on G+ use the hashtag  #fridayfiveminutemap. If you don't want to share it, no big deal.

I suck at drawing maps. While they do all manage to convey the information needed (where things are at and how far apart things are from each other) they look awful. Despite this (or maybe because of it) I absolutely love looking at maps. I love maps that are of historical value, I love maps that have interesting information and maps that don't. In fact, one of my favorite D&D characters that I ever played was a ranger who was basically sent out to explore and map new lands.

My goal is to do a map every day. Since I actually want to learn how to make them pretty I'll probably spend longer than five minutes on them, but every Friday I'll do a five minute map. Some of them I'll show here, some of them I won't. 

Today's map is of the traveling circus of one Doctor Teslo. Nobody knows what he actually looks like--he keeps hidden in his big tent all the time. Most of the performers have never seen him because the ringmaster Darakshan Anayis does all the hiring and firing. She's not to be crossed. Foul tempered, quick with her curved daggers, and some say she has magic that she stole from a djinn. 

The circus keeps to it's own schedule. It never posts times when it'll be in town and it disappears at a whim. Sometimes it stays in a place for weeks, sometimes barely 24 hours. Townsfolk will see an empty field one day and then the next a fully set up circus and they'll have no idea how it happened.

Even with the sudden arrivals and departures the circus is always packed. Those who go there are drawn like moths to a flame. Work, family, pleasure are all unimportant--what they know is that something that they must see is in one of those tents. 

They're correct. Every tent has something unusual and unique. The trained horses do impossible tricks. The food stalls sell food that seems to enhance the senses. The freak shows are truly freakish. As special as these attractions are, there are a few tents that are even more amazing and that only a few manage to find.

The tent of Arjeta the Toothless
Arjeta is an old crone with no teeth. For the right price she'll cast her bones and tell your fortune (it's rumored that she yanked out her own teeth to use as her bones for casting) or answer one question. Her answers are always correct, even if the listener can't understand them. 

The tent of Esaro the fat
Esaro is an enormously fat man, but don't let that bulk fool you. He's surprisingly quick and nimble and has prodigious strength. In his tent you can find your heart's desire. If you don't know what your heart's desire is, he'll gladly show it to you. Be careful about bargaining with him, because his price is always the thing that means the most to you. 

The tent of Blanat the Ageless
If you manage to find Blanat's tent then you are a special individual indeed. Those who find her tent have a wandering spark inside them that drives them on. These are they who are not happy with the mundane and ordinary and who want to achieve great things or see wondrous lands. Blanat has the power to send travelers to worlds beyond mortal knowing. She holds to a higher oath and seeks those who will labor for a cause in a strange land. Time works differently in other worlds, so if you accept the call to go and fight if you return you may find that no time at all has passed or that decades have passed. 

Every traveler who has completed a mission she has set them to will find themselves immortalized by the bards and poets of that world.

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