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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Megarry's Copy of the Great Kingdom Map

Dave Megarry's Copy of the Great Kingdom Map

Above is a scan of a map from the early '70s showing Blackmoor and the Great Kingdom. This copy was recently uncovered by Dave Megarry, creator of the Dungeon boardgame, and a player in Dave Arneson's original campaign. Thanks to the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary (who will be posting the map on their FB page) and Dan at Hidden in Shadows I have the opportunity to take a look at this version here. Update: Dan has made a related post over here.

I've written before about another version of this map. Back in 2014, Jon Peterson gave us a glimpse of it in his video, a "History of D&D in 12 Treasures", where he labeled the map the 1971 Great Kingdom Map. Based on the video, I wrote a post titled "The Land of the Great Kingdom and Environs" (quoting the original D&D preface), where I noted similarities to the setting as finally published in the 1980 World of Greyhawk Folio (these notes are repeated below). I also back-annotated the details from the 1971 map to the original, more artistic Great Kingdom map published in Domesday Book #9 and reprinted in Jon's book, Playing at the World. Also see the even earlier post, "The Weird Enclave of Blackmoor".

Megarry's copy gives us a clearer view of the map than the glimpses in Jon's video. Each clearly originates from the same source, but Megarry's has some additional writing in colored pen. Much of it is just to darken the lines and/or writing, but there is at least one addition to the details, noted below.

Here are the features I couldn't see on the version in the "12 Treasures" video:

Keoland: This is to the southwest of the the Nir Div (later Nyr Dyv), as in the WoG Folio (1980), which notes that it was "the first major kingdom to be established in the Flanaess". Grodog's Greyhawk notes that Keoland was named for Tom Keogh, who Gygax elsewhere mentioned as a friend from his teen years. In Quag Keep, Chapter 5 there is a Keoland (once called Koeland) to the southwest of Greyhawk City.  It is mentioned that Keoland has "three tributaries of size feeding the main stream" (which may be called the Vold), which fits the map above showing three waterways running north in the Keoland area to join a larger river.

Eastern Ocean: This was "Western Ocean" on the Domesday Book map, but since it's to the east of the continent the revised name makes sense.

Nomads: This is written twice just to the north of the Dry Steppes and south of the Paynims. These possibly became the Tiger and Wolf Nomads in the published setting, although those groups are much further north. Another possibility is Ull, which is in a similar position relative to the Paynims and the Dry Steppes in the published setting, and is described as a "strong tribal clan of the Paynim nomads". Quag Keep mentions the Nomad Raiders of Lar who venture into the Dry Steppes, which fits with this map having the Nomads right next to the Dry Steppes. 

Contested Area: This label is south of the Gran Duchy of Urnst, west of the Kingdom of Catmelun, and east of Keoland. If Catmelun is Nyrond (see the earlier notes below), this might be analogous to the County of Urnst, which in the WoG Folio is an area fought over by the Gran Duchy of Urnst and Nyrond. Dan at Hidden in Shadows suggests this area might be what became the Wild Coast, which I agree is another possibility. It's relatively close to Greyhawk as in the WoG Folio, which says that "Portions of the area have been under the control of Celene, the Prince of Ulek, the Gynarch of Hardby, and the Free City of Greyhawk at various times" - certainly a "contested area". The name also predates the Folio, as the Wild Coast is mentioned once in Quag Keep, in a description of a battle between a demon and a dragon "from Blackmoor, out over Great Bay, down to the Wild Coast" (chapter 3). Looking at the map above, there is a great deal of territory between the Great Bay and the Contested Area; it's possible Norton was using the term simply to refer to the entire eastern coast.

The Great Kingdom: Visible on the "12 Treasures" map, but here we can more clearly see the 18 regions of the Great Kingdom, plus a "Royal Demense" [sic] in the center. The WoG Folio refers to the "Royal Demense surrounding the capital" as part of the area of authority of the Overking. The Domesday Book version of the map has an asterisk in this region, just south of the lake and possibly indicating the capital. It's situated a bit like Rauxes, the capital in the Folio, which is near where two rivers come together in a "V", but without a lake. Over in a sister post on Hidden in Shadows, Dave Meggary suggests that "the numbered areas were districts within the Kingdom which had their own Dukes and such". Some of these areas may have become the former holdings of the Great Kingdom noted in the Folio, including the nearly autonomous North and South Provinces, the Prelacy of Almor, the See of Medegia, the several member states of the Iron League, and possibly even Bone March.

Kingdom of Botulia: This is another island nation, near the Duchy of Maritz (see below). I can't find any names similar to "Botulia" anywhere else. These two nations perhaps became the island nations of the published setting: the Sea Barons and the Spindrift Isles.

Egg of Coot: On this map this region has an addition in blue marker: an 'X' labelled "Capitol". There's an asterisk-looking mark near the "F" in "OF", which could be another city, but there's no other label.

County of Hither Body (?): This region is east of the Hold of Iron Hand, northwest of the Egg of Coot. I'm not sure about that last word. In Quag Keep, there is a mention of the Hither Hills (thanks to Timrod's Quag Keep Companion for this info), which makes sense as the area is surrounded by hills. 

In view of these, I've updated the annotations on the Domesday Book Great Kingdom map:

Great Kingdom Map from Domesday Book #9, annotated in view of the 1971 map

For reference, and ease in reading, here the notes from my previous post:

Perunland is between the mountains to the northwest of Nir Dyv lake, as with Perrenland in the published Greyhawk map. 

A Paynim Kingdom is further to the northwest, south of the Far Ocean. In the published Greyhawk this becomes the Plains of the Paynims, south of the Dramidj Ocean.

The Hold of Iron Hand, north of the Paynim Kingdom on the Great Kingdom map, likely became the Hold of Stonefist. In published Greyhawk it is not anywhere near the Paynims, instead being at the western base of a northwestern peninsula in the same position relative to the Barbarian Kingdoms. Gygax seems to have split the northern areas of his Great Kingdom map, putting the the Hold and the Barbarian kingdoms on a great peninsula to the northeast, and leaving Perrenland, the Paynims and Blackmoor in the northwest.

A Grand Duchy of Urnst is to the immediate southeast of Nir Dyv lake, as in the published World of Greyhawk. A Kingdom of Catmelun is to the southwest of this, possibly where the Kingdom of Nyrond is in the published version.

A Grand Duchy of Geoff is to the west near the mountains, as in published Greyhawk.

Where the City of Greyhawk should be, there's C. of Yerocundy [sp?] and to the west, a Kingdom of Faraz. There is the possibility that these two were combined to form the Kingdom of Furyondy, which in published Greyhawk is to the west of the lake like Faraz.

Interestingly, Andre Norton's 1978 Greyhawk novel, Quag Keep, uses similar but not identical names for two kingdoms: 

"We shall have Yerocunby and Faraaz facing us at the border. But then the river will lead us straight into the mountains" (Chapter 6).

A Duchy of Maritz [sp?] also appears as an island on the Great Kingdom map.

Quag Keep further mentions:

"In addition he saw a dozen of these silver, halfmoon circles coined in Faraaz, and two of the mother-of-pearl discs incised with the fierce head of a sea-serpent which came from the island Duchy of Maritiz" (Chapter 3)

This warrants a closer look at the geography mentioned in Quag Keep versus the Great Kingdom map. Andre Norton consulted with Gygax in writing Quag Keep so she possibly saw an earlier version of Greyhawk using these names.

-Neron March (possibly "Nekon") might possibly be a predecessor of "Gran March". 

-In the comments Jon mentions Walworth north of the lake and that In published Greyhawk The Shield Lands appear in the same location and are ruled by the Earl of Walworth. In the video, Jon mentions that Gygax was named the Earl of Walworth in Domesday Book #2, and Walworth represents his holdings in the game (and is also the name of the county that Lake Geneva is in, in Wisconsin).

-I left out material from the map in the video that I couldn't read, and several small areas around Blackmoor that don't seem to correspond to anything significant: March Slove, County of Celate and County of Stabilny

Note: I have moderation set up for comments made two days after the initial post. This reduces spam comments. So if you make a post it won't appear right away, but as soon as I get a chance to check the pending comment queue I will approve it and then it will appear.

See the following related posts:


  1. I really appreciate all these historical perspectives you post, Z. Thank you.

  2. Nice! The placement of Keoland and the three tributaries of the "Vold" definitely fit with Nortonian Greyhawk. Also, as you mention, the Hither Hills.

    I was really hoping that Narm would show up but I suspect that the "-ar-" placenames--Lar and... Plarth? being two others that come to mind--are Norton's own invention.

  3. Amazing! Love seeing that! I always thought Dave would not give away his maps. Thanks for sharing it. Do we know how old this map is?

    1. Havard, there are too many David's in this story/history. Which one are you talking about? Megarry

    2. Havard, as to the date of this map, I run into the problem of timing of creation and timing of my getting it. I think I got this map late in the game, almost to the point that I got it after the first D&D was published. But that does not mean it was created at that time. I think this was created earlier; the copy I have is on a mimeograph type paper which would have been available to us at the University of Minnesota as we were students (and a dim memory of me trying to do copying on a mimeograph of something is starting to come back to me). Arneson's Father worked for IT&T and had access to Xerox technology which is why later works are done on regular paper. When Father Arneson started to do copying for DArn is unclear to me, but it did start to happen.

      It wasn't until I showed Arneson Dungeon! that we became closer in our friendship (the same goes for Wesely) as a mutual recognition of talent was established. Until that point, I was just another player in his campaign (though Wesely says he noticed me before that point..;) IMHO. I think I got a copy of this map after that point. If I did the mimeograph of it, it would have been after July, 1971 and before Jun 1972, when I no longer had access to that technology. Otherwise if would have been later, maybe in 1973. The copy I have is not folded, so unless DArn sent it to me in the mail in a manila envelope while I was living in Boston 1974 - 1975, he might have given it to me in Lake Geneva in 1976 when I moved there to be the Treasurer of TSR.

      I wish I had been more prolific in keeping a journal at that time; it would make this memory journey so much easier.

      But I am rambling at 2AM in the morning...

    3. David, thanks for responding to my question! :) What I meant was that I thought Arneson was keeping the maps from his players. But it is interesting to hear your story since it could mean that the players he considered closer friends (more regular players?) were given more information.

      Do you know if the labels written in blue and red ink were also added by Arneson? Or are they your own notes added through what you learned in the game?

      Thank you so much again for sharing the map and stories! I am enjoying this very much! :)

    4. It now appears to printed on electrostatic paper not mimeograph. I will investigate that technology to get a time bracket of use. It may not be specific enough, however.

    5. Havard
      I think the numbers and outlining was done by Arneson. There is an implication that the Duchy of Ten was encroaching on The Great Kingdom and cutting off Blackmoor from The Great Kingdom. The only writing that could be mine is the word "Capital" The beginning of the word is something I would say is mine but the 'tal' seems not to be. I am leaning towards the interpretation that it is all Arneson. The map was given to me as a FYI activity. I don't remember ever using it in my game play, but my impression is that other players were more intimately involved with it.

      You must understand, I was mostly a loner in the Blackmoor Campaign. To give you an example of this fact I will relate the Temple of the Frog banishment and my relationship to that event.

      Apparently the other players had depleted NPC's from the town of Blackmoor and the surrounding villages in their adventuring. This incensed the character played by Arneson (the Earl or Duke, I can't remember what title Dave A. used) and he banished all the players to the Swamp. I am fairly convinced he wanted us to play test the Temple of the Frog scenario he had created. So everyone left. Arneson told me that I was not subject to the banishment as I had never used NPC's in my adventures. But everyone was leaving Blackmoor. He told me I could stay and continue in Blackmoor but I would be out of the mainstream of what the rest of the players would be doing. I could go the Temple of the Frog but would have to make the journey on my own. I choose to follow the group.

      I "cleverly" decided I would travel there as a leper and acquired a robe and bell. Unbeknownst to me, I choose the wrong color for the robe! So I followed the group, ringing my bell, thinking I was being a leper. Pete Gaylord, the Wizard, was part of the rear guard for the group. He finally noticed me and Arneson explained to him that a figure in a white robe with a bell was following the group. (Leper robes are supposed to be yellow!)Pete looked at me for awhile, and decided I was some powerful Wizard and decided to leave me alone, as long as I was keeping a safe distance from the group. I, of course, am keeping a safe distance from the group as I don't want to get involved with "imperial entanglements" to coin a phrase. I was revealed when we finally got there, but was told that Pete was on the verge of throwing one of his "fireballs" at me, but decided that if I was a powerful wizard, I could harm him, so he didn't do anything! How much Arneson dissuaded him by his description of my actions, I will never know: he did not really tell me what he told Pete...

      So my "lonerness" put me into a special category and it was a role I kept in all my characters (except the Scholaress, who was part of Arneson's court circle). Which character went to The Temple of the Frog is not clear to me, so dating this story is still part of the "fog of war"...

      FYI, the electrostatic technology ran from the 1950's to the 1980's so it doesn't help us date this map.


    6. David, thanks for continued commentary and fascinating stories!

  4. Just expanded the notes for the Great Kingdom, with regard to the "Royal Demense" and the provinces.

    1. Expanded the entry for the Contested Area in view of Dan's suggestion that it might be what became the Wild Coast.

  5. Great stuff, some nice updates to the map. I think w/ the new notes you could run a campaign on this map pretty nicely.

  6. Zenopus Archives, It is somewhat interesting to push this material out to the world to discover that I was part of a bigger gaming system than I realized. It is like going to Rome to meet someone in my backyard from Minnesota. I do appreciate your analysis and am glad I have pushed the limits of our understanding of this marvelous phenomenon I was part of so early on...

  7. Thanks for crossposting this at the Greyhawk forum at The Piazza:

    I am still improving my Greyhawk-fu, so I'm not yet aware of all the exact differences between the map Dave Arneson gave to David Megarry and the official Greyhawk maps that came out later, but this is a historically important document and I'm very glad that you drew my attention to it.

  8. Wow, awesome map! Seriously, I find this map much more to my liking than even the published World of Greyhawk (which I adore). I would love to see a Darlene rendering of this map in fact. It seems to have just the right amount of nations without feeling cramped (as the published Greyhawk does in some cases).

  9. Fantastic stuff - I just finished reading Quag Keep for the first time and connections between the novel and this map were quite apparent. Norton even gives a couple of shout-outs to the Temple of the Frog.

    Thanks for posting!

  10. Zenopus,
    We've been really excited about the work you and Dan Boggs are doing on this map.

    We were halfway into writing a comment to your article, when we realized that our reponse WAS an article.

    We'll post a link instead:

    Thanks for the inspiring blog post!