Summon Cthulhu to Your Tabletop Game With 20,000 Historic Free Maps

Summon Cthulhu to Your Tabletop Game With 20,000 Historic Free Maps

Do you play Call of Cthulhu? Then you really ought to thank the New York Public Library for its generous donation to your nightmares.

If you're the Keeper of Arcane Lore in your Cthulhu-loving tabletop circle, you might want to thank the New York Public Library right about now. Or if you happen to run any kind of historic tabletop setting, or if you're designing a game set in the late Victorian period or earlier, or if you just like old stuff. You want to thank the NYPL because it's just released over 20,000 maps for anyone to download and use, free of charge, under creative commons.

"We've scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people," says the NYPL. It'd be nice if you credited the Library should you use its maps, as that helps the NYPL keep track of who's doing what with its images, but that's not a requirement. The idea is to inspire creativity, not tie everything up in red tape.

Don't think that, just because it's the New York Public Library, that all its images are going to be of the city and the state. Far from it; there's plenty here from all over the world, though naturally a lot of its collection will be New York images.

Speaking as a fella who occasionally writes this stuff, and dabbles in self publishing, this is something I'm going to make a lot of use of. How about you?

Source: NYPL

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I love maps, this is going to be invaluable. I might not set a game in real Earth, but I'm going to glean so much inspiration by looking at the way borders change over time. The best way to populate your fantasy map with realistic countries is to consider the countless examples that this world has provided.

Hmmm...while the title of this article looks 100% accurate (which is something I've complained about in the past), it is oddly specific. Not sure how many people would immediately think of Cthulhu when reading that they can now access old maps.

Sure, there'd be more than a few, but I'd expect they'd be in the minority, even on a gaming site.

I can have topographic maps of the austro-hungarian empire?

Oh glorious day!

I forwarded the link to the NY original source to my history professors of the past - they should love this! Thanks for the news.

thaluikhain:
Hmmm...while the title of this article looks 100% accurate (which is something I've complained about in the past), it is oddly specific. Not sure how many people would immediately think of Cthulhu when reading that they can now access old maps.

Sure, there'd be more than a few, but I'd expect they'd be in the minority, even on a gaming site.

Perhaps the connection was made due to the tendency of quite a few Call of Cthulhu games to be set in New England, and that it was a New York library which published these maps. And then there's also the connection of old to the often pre-modern settings of COC games (or is the term pre-contemporary? I'm trying to convey 1900-1950 ish) and, in my experience, these games often make reference of even further past time periods. Conspiracies and secret societies operating through the ages and whatnot.
It's not much of a stretch is what I'm saying.

Anyway, this is pretty neat. If I ever get good enough to draw maps of my own or make ones through some sort of online program, it really is great to have a comprehensive resource for examples. I could also just find a way to clear off the political boarders/names and draw my own then claim it's totally a fantasy world and not just the topography of New York City sized up to a continental scale. That's always fun.

 

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