King Stépan IV's pleasure dome at Kragoneidin, on the shores of Lake Polishov

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Map for Syldavia

Hello all,

It is has been quite a while since I posted my original Syldavia post – a month already! I am a bit embarassed, I have to say. I have just got through a few wicked weeks of work and I have a moment to take a breath and return to my Syldavia project; I was beginning to wonder when I would be able to get back to this! In any case, it is a slack evening, the baby is sleeping and I have a nice coffee and a few minutes of tranquility. Aaah – back to work!

I have some modest progress to report. In the last few weeks I recieved some newly-painted Austrians and Russians hireling troops in the mail, enough to game some small battles while I paint up the « real » Syldavian and Bordurian forces. I also dug out a long-sealed box (a veteran of a few moves) containing one squadron of Austrian cavalry, one squadron of Russian dragoons and a battalion of Russian jaegers. These long-lost and never-used troops are all French Revolutionary War-era units but the bicorn hats don’t look too terribly out of place if one squints a bit and has a beer… If needed, I’ll press them into service to help get games going while I am building the forces of the major protagonists of this campaign.

The first logical step of my Syldavia project is to lay out the geographical setting for the campaign, the historical context will come next. I have drawn a preliminary map of Syldavia, superimposed more or less over the modern Montenegro region. Superimposed is the key word here, as I have reconfigured mountain ranges, rivers and cultural geography and applied new place names following my own whims. Some of these are lifted straight from Hergé, some from past or present place names in the region and some are from my own poor judgement! In a nut shell, Syldavia measures about 200km across (perhaps this is ambitious for a small Imagi-nation? I'm not sure) and comprises a wide coastal strip of plains and high hills, and three major ranges of mountains running generally northwest to southeast. The major cities of the interior sit within wide valleys between these mountain ranges. These valleys centre on the confluence of the Wladir and Moltus rivers at the city of Klow. The Wladir river eventually runs southward through a mountain pass and drains into the Adriatic Sea at the town of Douma; this valley is the principal communication between the coast and the interior valleys, although there are a couple of additional routes through other mountain passes. The most important port is Dbrnouk, Douma lacks a good deep water harbour suitable for large cargo vessels. The towns of Zlip and Niedzdrow represent the major points of entry to Syldavia from the north, both are situated mountain valleys with fortifications near the border. Ancient but renovated Spinaltäp Grad (Castle) is one of these. Other places of note include two large lakes on the eastern borders; Lake Skutari is home to the Black Pelicans that are the symbol of Syldavia, and the spa town of Kragoniedin is located on shores of beautiful Lake Polishoff.

I have borrowed the cool city and fortification icons from David Linienblatt's Not by Appointment site (; he has vector images available for the asking but I have used jpegs as this is only a first try at visualizing the map. Thanks David!

Note that Borduria's geography is for the moment shrouded in mystery.

Coming up next, and soon is an outline of the history of the region.