Mapfolk Profession in Melior | World Anvil


Experienced local guides stationed near rifts who distribute the finest prints of commonwealth maps.


During the last fifty years, since the opening of the rifts to new realms during The Rupture, a new profession has grown in popularity throughout the Melopian Commonwealth. The profession initially grew in popularity on the island of Kweil (the birthplace of the commonwealth), and has since spread from country to coutnry across Orubia and Melopia.  

Dangers of the Job

It's the job of mapfolk to be stationed near the rifts to other realms, particularly those that connect with heavy traffic areas like settlements or urban roadsides, as these have the largest volume of travellers and tourists coming through them to visit and explore Melior.   When the rifts opened during The Rupture fifty years ago, the job was incredibly dangerous - as it wasn't known which rifts were connected to areas of hostility or home to hungry horrors. The mapfolk originally started their role as cartographers, and they were sent armed to the teeth with their own small guard units to safely identify and map out locations of rifts (and where they connected to) on local maps.   The survival rate for this new role was poor, and many Human and Faun folks returned from the other side with terrible conditions like swampskin and humbrain.   When the rift-maps were completed their profession adapted into the selling and distribution of both fine quality prints and practical fold-out maps, and many mapfolk became local guides in the tourism industry.  
Tourism & Trade
Still recovering from the aftermath of the Rupture, the Melopian Commonwealth decided to shift their efforts away from physical warfare against their rivals of The Jolundrian Empire and focussed on replenishing their koinz and resources for rebuilding their infrastructure, investing in the education of the newly introduced magic, and making broader allies in the realms beyond the rifts.   Newcomers used to percieve the mapfolk suspiciously at first, but upon seeing their generous offerings of wealth, style, and education - they are now greeted with open arms and often recieve large discounts when they come to trade if they venture through the rifts.  


Projections & Propaganda

Mapfolk serve two purposes in their career: outwardly, they are guides, navigators and negotiators who help the visiting foreign folk become acquainted with the local customs of the wonderous cities of the commonwealth. Their ulterior goal however is to make sure that the commonwealth maps are so useful that they're spread globally - slowly replacing the map projections used by The Jolundrian Empire.   Despite technically being the same projection in terms of distortion, the common and imperial maps differ wildly in style and function.
Common Projection
by TJ Trewin
The common projection is designed to be logical and accessible for all folk kinds across Melior (and in realms beyond, too). The map is labelled in Rréraliázi, the common language, and displays the Aurus at the top of the map. Furthermore, all local and regional maps are also oriented with Aurus at the top edge.   Instead of taking the opportunity to place the continent of Melopia horizontally in the middle, the equirectangular projection is shifted so that the majority of continents are displayed with as few cut-offs on the map edges as possible. Only the tail end of the Isles of Agatal spreads across onto the other side.  
Imperial Projection
by TJ Trewin
The Melopian Commonwealth is trying to eradicate the confusing projection used by the Jolundrian Empire. In their selfishness, the imperial projection puts the continent of Jolundria centrally in the map - their reasoning for it is that the compass always points toward the Aurus and therefore it should be the absolute centrepoint of all things.   This projection clearly favours the empire and ends up distorting Melopia so dramatically it becomes sheared off the bottom of the map, making it look like two separate continents entirely. This has lead folk of the empire to perceive the commonwealth as "a divided and disorganised land".
Melior common projection map (placeholder WIP, not currently labelled in Rréraliázi) by TJ Trewin
A comparison of common (above) vs imperial (below) map projections.
Map of Melior, imperial projection by TJ Trewin
Alternative Names
Other Associated professions

Cardinal directions
Clock-wise, the cardinal directions are Aurus, East, Selith, and West. An easy way to determine your direction is to know that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
Click and drag to rotate the map, scroll to zoom in or out!
Click the globe to stop it spinning. Wait 5 seconds for it to resume again.
  Alongside the common language and map projection, the Melopian Commonwealth seeks to standardise and simplify as many aspects of daily life as possible, including their common calendar, which is often also distributed by the mapfolk in the form of a large brass coin or medallion along with local maps.   The popularity of hiring mapfolk guides and buying souvenirs has grown the tourism trade massively, and the commonwealth has launched an initiative to fund the construction of "welcome huts" near urban rifts. Cultures on the other side have taken note and are adopting this custom, allowing native folks of Melior to trade maps, stories, and traditions with each other.  
The Common Calendar
Technology / Science | Nov 30, 2022

An inclusive calendar used as a tool to spread propaganda through education.

Cover image: Melior common projection map (placeholder WIP) by TJ Trewin


Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 25, 2021 12:32 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Great article! It's fascinating to see how they used the different map projections to further their political goals :D

Dec 26, 2021 16:04 by TJ Trewin

Thank youu!

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Jan 2, 2022 14:13

This is an amazing article! I love the propaganda and political motives behind the varying map projections, and it's easy to see how much you know your stuff! Awesome work!!

Jan 2, 2022 14:32 by TJ Trewin

Thanks so much! :D

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Jan 5, 2022 23:53

Appreciate the subtlety and suspicious nature of this profession.

Jan 17, 2022 11:06 by TJ Trewin


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Jan 10, 2022 03:56 by Morgan Biscup

So. I love professions in general, I think they really highlight cultures and technologies of the world, and how the average person lives. I love your addition of politics into the mix, and discussions on different map projections. It was interesting to see how other people relate to them as well. Very nicely done.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Jan 17, 2022 11:07 by TJ Trewin

Thank you!

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Jan 19, 2022 16:11

Amazing article! I love the work you have put into your maps to represent these two very different perspectives.

Co-creator of the fantasy worlds Isekai & Seireitei
Co-creator of the TTRPG System Storybook
Jan 20, 2022 08:48 by TJ Trewin

Thanks!! :D

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