I'm limiting myself to the following source material:
Swords & Wizardry Core Rules (4th Printing)
This is my first campaign setting using S&W, and to give it a fair shake,
By Colin McEvedy, this book is a great summary of medieval European History. Each page is a map of Europe, covering topics such as language, religion, trade routes, barbarian invasions, etc. For our purposes, we need only the first 20 pages or so (i.e., up to 528 AD), but the capsule overview provides plenty of information for campaign use—at least enough of a springboard to other research if the GM desires. (affiliate link)
The cartography that started it all. The image at right is a cropped version of the original, showing only Europe (I ditched the two maps of England, essentially because they depicted different time frames). I don't expect to do much alteration on the map. In general terms, coloured areas are "civilised," while white areas are terra incognita, populated by barbarian peoples and terrible monsters. Place names will remain, just to avoid mucking about with the map labels. Due to the detail shown, this is obviously for GMs' eyes only, and I'm sorely tempted to create a Hexographer version for players.
Zak and Jeff
Two blog posts will guide my planning:
- How I Want To Hear About Your Setting - Zak provides a minimalist format that lets me create faster and doesn't impede your creativity
- Twenty Quick Questions for Your Campaign - Jeff urges me to proactively address what PCs really care about.
Next up, let's take a closer look at Shepherd's map.
Listening to: Joe Jackson, Night & Day