19 January 2019

UPDATE 1 - Charting The Flanaess: a Settlements Distance and Mileage Chart

In May last year I began work on building a Settlements Distance and Mileage Chart for the Flanaess, but the project has lain fairly fallow until recently.

Greyhawk Seminar at GaryCon 2019

A crew of six of us will host a Greyhawk seminar at GaryCon XI in March 2019, focused on the state of the state of Greyhawk fandom.  The seminar is titled "Celebraing Greyhawk: A Fandom Renaissance" and the event description is:

Greyhawk fans have been creating and sharing content online for 25+ years, across many platforms. Join Bryan Blumklotz, Mike Bridges, Allan Grohe, Carlos Lising, Anna Meyer, and Kristoph Nolen as we celebrate and showcase Greyhawk resources created by the fans who champion one of D&D's oldest settings. Reference handouts will be provided, and perhaps prizes if we get our act together!
Additional informationabout the seminar  (including a recording of the session and any distributed handouts) will appear on Greyhawk Online at https://www.greyhawkonline.com/seminar.

Charting the Flanaess Update

One of the seminar handouts I'm planing is a working prototype for the mileage chart,  limited in scope to the Central Flanaess in and around the City of Greyhawk, so I’ve been working on that recently by measuring out the distances from city to city on the Darlene map, in millimeters:

Flanaess Settlements Mileage - Raw Darlene Map Distances in mm
grodog at work -
measuring the Flanaess in millimeters

Once the measurements are complete, I enter the raw data into Excel in the first/upper set of cities listings.  The green, red, and yellow highlighted rows are my fact-checking:  I want to insure that the figures true-up across each row and column, and then in total as well:

Flanaess Settlements Mileage - Data Entry for Distances and Converting mm into Miles
grodog at work -
fitting the Flanaess into spreadsheet cells

The second/lower set of cities listings is where I convert the measured distances in mm into scale miles (I’ll eventually do kilometers as well), based on this data and formula logic:

  1. One Folio Darlene hex = 55 mm across = 10 scale leagues/30 scale miles
  2. Convert the raw distance between each city into a ratio relative to the hex sizes on the Darlene Folio maps:  (X mm/55mm). 
  3. Multiple the ratio by 30 miles to derive the final distance figure
Like in the first/ upper set of cities, I also fact-check the figures to insure that they match properly. 

I think I’ve also found a good methodology for how to manually count out of the Darlene map mileage distances:  I’ll simply print a copy of the “Index to the Cities & Features of the Flanaess” page from the Glassography and measure out the distances for each listed city, one city to a sheet.


Interesting aside #1:  of the 130 settlements that appear in the Glassography index, about 50 appear in the general region of the Central Flanaess.  That’s 38% of the cities squeezed into an area only that occupies only 25% of the Darlene mapspace. 

Interesting aside #2:  looking at each page of the original maps to calculate the settlement density will also be an interesting exercise to go through, I think. 

Minor Complications

One of the major issues I’ll want to call out in the data is a possible discrepancy in measurement when the distances span both of the Darlene maps:  maps can shift around, the hexes could be misaligned, etc., so measuring across both maps will be more challenging and more prone to error than when measuring within either map alone. 

In my prototype data set, only Luekish, Radigast City, and Riftcraft appear on the right-hand map, so I calculated all of the left-hand map’s distances first, then measured the right-hand ones back to the left, and wrapped up with the right-hand-only mileage. 

Next Steps

Once I have a better understanding of the scope included in the map handouts that we’ll distribute at the seminar (and we will post all of the handouts to Greyhawk Online, and at minimum an audio recording of the seminar as well), I will update the list of cities to feature any other major ones that aren’t already included in the chart, which will finalize the initial prototype data set. 

Sometime after GaryCon, the rest of the long-haul work will begin, likely to occur in three phases: 

  1. Count out all of the distances in the left-hand map.
  2. Count out all of the distances in the right-hand map.
  3. Count out all of the distances that span both maps.

I’ll continue to post updates here as I make further progress!


  1. I'm happy to have stumbled upon this, both because I've wrestled with gauging distances in the Forgotten Realms for some adventure crafting I'm doing, and also because I'd love to explore Greyhawk. I've only played one session in Greyhawk as an adult (clearing the ground floor of the infamous Moathouse) and not even sure if I got to it as a kid in the '80s (my DM & I remember bloody Ravenloft, but the 25 intervening years has erased the other title or two). My tastes story and setting-wise skew a little oldschool, although happy enough with the 5E rules, so I've not drifted far from the current adventures out there. Now that I'm keener at crafting my own, I'm leaning more towards the sketchier and grittier setting that is my impression of Greyhawk, a world open for adventure and the unknown, rather than bogged down by an overwhelming amount of someone else's canon. Although, speaking of canon, it sure would be nice to have a map, a geography, so beautifully canon as Darlene's map for Greyhawk. As much as I love Mike Schley as a cartographer, he wasn't working with the best of information, and the scale is way off on different maps of the supposedly same continent of Faerûn. Look forward to seeing your project develop...

    1. I hope the information proves useful and inspiring for your games, Anne. I think your general impression of Greyhawk sounds pretty accurate, and the setting certainly inspires crafting your own canon as well as remolding existing canon, too. If you're looking to learn more about the setting, we're in the process of revamping and updating https://www.GreyhawkOnline.com as a general-purpose fan resource site for the setting, so it's worth a look if you've not previously visited (and if you have, it's worth a look if you've not been back recently!).


  2. I would love to see an equally scaled map of the USA overlaid onto the Flanaess map(s) to help image the what the actual distances would be.

    1. I'm sure I've seen maps like that over on Canonfire! in the past, WFTA. Will see if I can dig them up.

  3. I am very excited by this project and I'm astounded no one has tried it before. I did try to make a population density map once for the Great Kingdom based on 83 stats. I chose that nation mainly because of the high pop totals and large cities made it worth my while. It was raw though and not something I'd present today.

    1. Mike: this still sounds like an interesting "heat map" view of the population to me. With appropriate colors and layers, I bet all sorts of interesting relationships would be revealed by such an analysis! Have you talked about this concept with Anna at all? ....allan

  4. I really wish I was going this year. My budget got thrown off last Sept. But 2020, I plan to go for sure.

    1. Looking forward to seeing at NTX at least, and GaryCon in the future; hopefully we can game together too!


Please be respectful and civil in your commentary. Inappropriate comments may be edited or deleted as dictated by the whims of Balo, Chief Jester and Editor for the Lords of Chaos.