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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.




  1. My pleasure, Jim; the map looks good!

    I look forward to hearing and seeing more... :-)



  2. An excellent map, I must say. I'm looking forward to further posts.

    -- Jeff

  3. Good Job. I finished Unkerlant's travelogue a while back. Maybe it will inspire you:

  4. Hello all,

    Many thanks, I promise not to wait for another month before posting again. In fact I have a draft of the next post mostly finished, I just have to write up a pile of student reports and do some marking beforehand...

    David, I have left you a message regarding svg files on your site as a comment to your most recent post there . Thanks again for making the map symbols available.

    BaronVonJ, I recall your travelogue and just went back to have a second look. I think I will follow your good example and do short descriptions of Syldavia region by region.


  5. David, post received!



  6. Welcome back! You have a cool map and I like the place names. I'm looking forward to learning more about Syldavia's history.

  7. Looks like great doings in Syldavia. Your map is excellent and should provide wonderful opportunities for scenarios. Bravo!!!

  8. Most interesting I look forward to reading more and hearing the story unfold. Super ,informative map!
    I will try and post some picies of the Syldavian Freikorps at the weekend...

  9. Excellent start to mapping your ImagiNations! (I love "Spinaltäp Grad (Castle)"!) The Linienblatt map symbols look great!

  10. Such a map will in time allow us to follow the events, but already gives life and substance to your Imagi-Nation: really a birth of a kind. And your map is very pleasant.
    The rocky, divided coast with its glacis of islands explain why a foreign officer with experience in riverine warfare would be more useful than one coming from the Men'o War and the High Seas: typically a shore to be patrolled / policed and defended if needed by oared gunboats, similar to the Swedish kanonslup / kanonjolle / kanonbarkass...

  11. AJ, Capt. Bill, Alan, Fitz-Badger and Jean-Louis,

    Hi and my thanks! I have some revisions to make to the map, all in the good time, but it will probably keep its general form. It was fun to see it come together and I couldn't stop myself from hamming it up with references to silly films and Belgian beer. Goodness knows what Borduria looks like - festering swamps and thorn bushes no doubt.

    I am really looking forward to seeing the Syldavian Freikorps, Alan.


  12. "Goodness knows what Borduria looks like?"
    Borduria? A land haunted by vampires, werewolves and other weird creatures - well, at least according to those old popular tales elderly Bordurians like so much to repeat in the evening, in the cosy heat of the hearth fire...

  13. Thanks to recommend my book on the Ottoman Army; where did you find it in Canada? Bruno Mugnai

  14. Bruno,

    Thanks for your message, I just stumbled upon it, nearly three weeks since you left it. I bought your book through an Italian on-line vendor. It is very useful and informative, even if I can't read most of it, sadly. You have several others that I would like to see as well!


    1. I've really enjoyed your Syldavia map and the accompanying gazeteer entries. I'm currently working on a homebrewed adapation of Hergés' Tintin for a Pen'n'Paper Role-playing system called Savage Worlds. It's a pet project I've been creating with my kids who are humongous fans of Hergé. I've been focusing on the 1st decade of his books, so King Ottaker's sceptre is included as the last in that era. I imagined Syldavia to be quite a bit smaller, but I really like how you've expanded upon it. Nice Work! :)


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