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Fantasy World Map

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"I wisely started with a map and made the story fit... the other way about lands one in confusions and impossibilities."

Have a High Fantasy story of a group of heroes traveling the world in order to fulfill their quest? Then you must include a map!

Maps of fantasy worlds have been a feature of Fantasy books ever since L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz. A visual reference can be very handy. Often drawn in elaborate script, pointing out the Doomed Hometown, The Good Kingdom, The Empire, various Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, each of the Standard Fantasy Races' lands, many of the Wacky Wayside Tribes, the dangerous Forbidden Zone (Mordor) and the Enchanted Forest, alongside multiple florid warnings that Here There Be Dragons. Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland has a few things to say on the subject of maps, including the fact that if you're on a quest you may expect to visit every single place marked on them.

Fantasy world maps will often have roughly the proportions of a standard book page so that all the places in the fantasy world can fit conveniently on the map — the Law of Cartographical Elegance. Really deluxe worlds are proportioned like two pages side by side, thereby indicating they rate a hardcover edition with endpapers. Fantasy world maps sometimes also have a tendency to make it seem as if the world is literally flat.

If the ocean is on the left side of the map, then it's a Left-Justified Fantasy Map. If the northern regions are cold and the southern regions are warmer, it's North Is Cold, South Is Hot.

When the map doesn't make any geographical sense, it's a Patchwork Map, though these can be sometimes justified by the use of magic. A variation occurs when maps of real places are included in a novel where it helps follow the intrigue.

Sometimes complicated by opaque library book covers that cannot be removed from the book. In that case, there will forever be one side of the map that you cannot see without breaking the book cover, though if you're lucky the map will be on the inside of both the front and back covers, covering up the left and right sides respectively. This may help explain why (with a little monster-powered-by-evil-source-you-are-getting-closer-to-in-order-to-remove Hand Wave explanation) you can't just acquire a boat and kill the sea monster now that the sea storm that it entered by is over.

Also frequent in Tabletop Games for gameplay reasons, and, occasionally, in anime series. For Video Game sub-tropes, see Overworld Not to Scale, Point-and-Click Map, "Risk"-Style Map, and Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is a mature show about employees of a government agency, most of whom are over 30, including the main character. It deals with adult relationships and political intrigue. It also takes place on a continent shaped like a bird.
  • Attack on Titan: Well, the "world" has been reduced to the Three Walls, but we are repeatedly shown the map of walls Maria, Rose and Sina, as well the walled districts made to attract Titans, in various scenes. We are shown the full map of the world in the Chapter 86, it looks like our Earth but mirrored and upside-down, in fact, the Three Walls are actually located in Madagascar of all places
  • The manga series Dragon Knights begins to feature a map of the world with each volume starting around the beginning of the arc when the titular Knights split up on different quests.
  • Fairy Tail shows a large, vague continent map early on, and in a much later arc shows there's a bigger continent across the sea. The original Fiore Kingdom gets turned into a Patchwork Map when a particularly powerful sorceress magically shifts the entire kingdom at random.
  • The map of Amestris and surrounding areas in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood are an important part of the plot later on. In the very first scene, King Bradley stands next to a bigger, more well-drawn-out version mounted on a wall, as he briefs Colonel Mustang on his mission.
  • Hunter × Hunter shows an interesting variation. The world map is made of the continents of Earth, but rotated and given different sizes and locations.
  • The original manga version of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind has a pull-out map section in each volume. They're surprisingly unhelpful in determining where everything in the After the End setting is in relation to the current world. If you squint a bit, it might be the southern US and Mexico with parts of Central and South America thrown in, with the coastlines heavily altered by the effects of Global Warming and/or nuclear bombardment. There is a region on the map called Utah, which just goes to show that the Mormons are really good at surviving the apocalypse.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, during the Magic World arc various maps of the Magic World (global, regional and local) get shown, sometimes with the map of Japan superimposed for size comparison purposes. Actually a subversion as it's actually an accurate map of Mars with oceans filled in which you might notice early if you know some astronomy.
  • One Piece subverts it but makes it a plot point nonetheless: despite how big it is, the world doesn't have a map, due to being mostly ocean with islands and landmasses here and there. Drawing a full map of the world is Nami's childhood dream, which she continues working on to this day.
  • In Queen's Blade, a map of The Continent (the land when the whole story takes place) appears at the beginning of each episode, at least during the first season.
  • The finale of RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio briefly shows a shot of Earth with an approx. Africa-sized extra continent in the middle of the Pacific. Kinda justified since the world has just been destroyed and recreated.
  • Rave Master features an impressively vague map, showing little more than the outlines of continents and locations the characters previously visited, on a single page in one volume halfway through the series. Topography is clearly not Mashima Hiro's strong point.
  • Slayers occasionally shows a map of the world, especially during the opening.
  • Perhaps because of its novel origin, The Twelve Kingdoms very frequently show the map of the world in order to the situate the action. Also to remind you of what the names of all the countries and cities are, since there are so many to keep track of.
  • World's End Harem: Fantasia includes one in tankoubon volume 7. The continent roughly resembles North America in shape, with the villainous Madalis Empire occupying approximately the area of the Louisiana Purchase plus Texas, between two north-south mountain ranges. Protagonist Arc's independent County of Nargala is the westernmost of a group of four semi-autonomous counties on the other side of the eastern continental divide (which is further west compared to the Appalachians).

    Comic Books 
  • Birthright features a hand-drawn map for Terrenos, the fantasy world visited by Mikey Rhodes when he was a child.
  • Bone has had two different maps of the Valley included into the graphic novel editions: the standard map and the one that appears in story that was drawn by a young Thorn (though this one was limited to the earlier volumes).
  • ElfQuest published full-color insert maps of the World of Two Moons (Abode) and its solar system in the 1980s.
  • The Mouse Guard TPBs provide the reader with a map of Mouse Territories.
  • The French comic La compagnie des lames (The Order of Blades) has a map of the world on the inside covers, showing a continent divided by a wall that separates the southern kingdoms from the wastelands to the north.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight had a map for Résurrection in Volume 4, which is basically our Earth, but with land and sea reversed, with several countries positioned in what would be the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Snow Cat Prince: A map of the Three Horizons can be found inside the book cover.

    Fan Works 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanworks:
    • Long before the official map of Equestria came out, a particularly epic map of Equestria and the surrounding world was developed for a fanfic, Where the World Ends, which however was never written. It uses locations that appear in other fan works such as Gildedale, but many of the map's other fantasy elements originate in the lore pertaining to the story it's written for. The map is significantly more detailed than the official one, and includes an enormous amount of fan-made lands, cloud countries, cities, forests, seas and Floating Continents. See that small green country near the lower right corner? That's Equestria.
    • Another pre-official map shows Equestria and surrounding lands as a post-apocalyptic U.S. East Coast, detailing the various countries and the species that live there. It's nearly as complex and detailed as the one above — Canterlot, Ponyville and Cloudsdale are all rubbing shoulders in a tiny patch of the northwest of the map.
    • A fan-made map for RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse (an alternate timeline where Celestia, rather than Luna, went evil) show's Luna's Equestria and the locations of other story-relevant nations on its continent and nearby landmasses. A companion map exists for the canon universe, further including locations from other fanfics like Gildedale and Tarandroland.
    • The Palaververse: A map is included in the changelings' exposition blog post showing the geography of the AU, including two main continents of Ungula (where Equestria and most of the plot-central nations are) and Dactylia, the island-continents of Ceratos and Saddle Arabia and the archipelagos of the Burning Mountains and the Asinial Main.
  • A.A. Pessimal uses the Discworld canonical Mapps, both of Ankh-Morpork and of the wider Disc, for inspiration and research. His stories therefore tend to follow canon; but he will advise readers of where he is deviating from the Mapp. The author is of the opinion that Howondaland should be larger and better defined. The vaguely described "Kingdoms of Howondaland", where the Compleat Discworld Atlas provides little information, have become an analogue of sub-equatorial Africa, with on one side a set of loosely allied Kingdoms reflect an exaggerated version of places like Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana on our world. On the other side of the continent, what was the historical Zulu Empire on our world has been expanded into a wider, thriving concern that takes in what we would know as Mozambique, Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya, shading into Somalia and the Sudan. In between and to their Hubwards, the canonical region called "S'Belinde" (which appears to have a white population left over from colonial times) has been expanded into a portmanteau of places like Rhodesia, Namibia and South Africa. These collectively became The Union of Rimwards Howondaland, or simply White Howondaland. Readers are advised that they will be advised if the stories go seriously off-canon, geographically. Other Pessimal add-ons are Toleda, Paraquat and a very large expansion of Rodinia from the bare bones in canon note .

    Films — Animation 
  • In Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Flip is the only one who has a map of both Slumberland and Nightmareland. Not only that but he's also the only one who can understand it.
  • Wizards: A map of the inhabited parts of the world appears early in the story. The northern territory is called Montagar, where The Hero Avatar the wizard dwells. To its west are the Fairy Mountains, where (unusual for fairies) they have a great hall where their king presides. East of Montagar lies East Elfland, with a strip of barren, toxic territory separating the two provinces. South of Elfland lies the warped and impure land of Scortch, where the wicked wizard Blackwolf plots his conquest of the world. Most of the central region is a sparsely inhabited wasteland, cratered and irradiated from nuclear war thousands of years earlier.

  • Lone Wolf: Each book includes a map of the region where it takes place, justified as the protagonist having been given just such a map as part of his starting equipment. How useful such the map is varies tremendously from book to book.

  • The original releases of the The Adventures of Samurai Cat books featured a map of the areas visited in the book, showing them in relation to each other; they also all including an area labeled "Vermont", with a spot marked "Author's House".
  • Age of Fire: Each book has a map of the region the series takes place in, but each one is varied depending on the book — for example, Wistala's solo focus book only shows the lands between the Inland Ocean and the Red Mountains, AuRon's includes those lands but also spreads further east, and the Copper's shows the underground network of tunnels that form the Lower World, because those are the areas where those books are focused. Also, each map has a series of footnotes marking where key events from that specific book takes place.
  • Each book of The Balanced Sword has a map of Zarathan in the front, and sometimes also more detailed maps of specific regions visited in that book. Zarathan, which was developed as a setting for roleplaying games as well as novels, was created to be large enough that the heroes have no chance of visiting every place on it, and there's room for multiple epic adventures to be going on simultaneously.
  • The Belgariad is especially symptomatic of the "must visit every places on it" syndrome. David Eddings, in The Rivan Codex, argued that an aspiring quest author needed to draw a map or they'd get lost. He also mentions that he started with the map before he wrote a word of the story. Indeed, the map was the inspiration for the story, because he started out doodling a random fantasy map during breakfast with gibberish names for the countries. After cleaning it up a bit, he decided to write a story set in it. He also references Tolkien's words ("I wisely started with a map and made the story fit... ") regarding this decision.
  • Beyond: The series features a map of Orbis.
  • Anne Bishop's works:
    • There are maps in Tir Alainn and The Others Series books which have notes underneath them reading, "This map was created by a geographically challenged author. All distances are whimsical and subject to change without notice."
    • Inverted in her Ephemera books: you couldn't draw a map even if you wanted because two different people can end up in two different places by going through the same gate depending on where the "heart resonates" with.
  • The Books of Pellinor contain a map of Edil-Amarandh.
  • P.C. Hodgell includes many maps in her Chronicles of the Kencyrath series, drawn in a consciously Tolkien-influenced style, as well as plans of many of the cities and fortresses encountered. The most recent book, To Ride a Rathorn, has four pages of maps in the front and eight pages of more detailed maps in the back.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia also inverts the "map came first" notion of David Eddings, since none of the books included a map until they were first bound together in one Doorstopper. As a result, as with Pratchett the land and its environs 'grew with the telling' and were all worked out in the text, so that the map could be drawn with great accuracy and even beauty. The gorgeous artwork of Aslan's face must be seen to be believed.
  • Each of the five books in Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain features a map at the beginning which is relevant to the plot of the story. Since they take place in different parts of Prydain, the map naturally changes; the map also notes what happens where. It should be noted that this map bears an obvious resemblance to that of Wales, though "Prydain is not Wales—not entirely, at least."
  • The map of The Land in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is quite necessary, both because it was reshaped by past events and because much changes amongst the inhabitants in the considerable time that passes between Covenant's visits. Unfortunately, it can be only partially legible in the cheaply printed paperback editions.
  • Tamora Pierce's Circleverse series has its own map showing the location of Winding Circle Temple as relative to nearby cities, but not a perhaps more useful map of Winding Circle itself. The Circle Opens quartet each have a map of the city they take place in as well, and The Will of the Empress has a map, although not a very detailed one, of Sandry's home country of Namorn.
  • Each book in the Codex Alera contains a stylized map of Alera itself and parts of its surrounding lands.
  • The Cold Moons has several maps: a map of Bamber's journey from Yellow Copse to Cilgwyn, a map detailing Buckwheat's sett from before the exodus begins, a map for the initial departure journey out of Cilgwyn, a map of the homeward bound journey, and a map of the winter journey.
  • Robert E. Howard included a map with the Conan the Barbarian stories, though given Howard's rather slam-bang style of world-building, it wasn't so much a physical map as a series of political borders. It's mentioned at one point in "The Phoenix on the Sword", where King Conan adds the northern lands where he came from to the maps of the Aquilonian court.
  • The Discworld eventually had several maps made of it, as did the city of Ankh-Morpork within, even though Pterry said that he never envisioned a map of any kind when writing. (Some of the earlier publications even have quotes from him explicitly stating that "There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humour.")
    • Pratchett has stated that he purposely avoided making a map of Ankh-Morpork until the publication of the Discworld Mappe, ostensibly because the city's layout changes so often that it would be impossible to keep an accurate map. However, he adapted the map to his own purposes when writing the later Ankh-Morpork stories, with the help of both the map and the limited-edition 3D model of Unseen University. In Night Watch, during the rooftop standoff at the beginning of the book, all the sight-lines are purportedly consistent with the model.
    • He's since said that the problem with most fantasy maps is they seem to have come first (*coughEddingscough*). Ankh-Morpork and Lancre were made up as he went along, just like real places are (well, more or less like real places are made), and then Stephen Briggs came along and measured everything up, once it all "existed" sufficiently to be mapped.
      • He's also said that he didn't think about how Anhk-Morpork would map out, but that apparently his subconscious was helping him out, because it does, in fact, map out neatly and logically (for a given value of logically, admittedly).
    • Fans who have studied the original Discworld Mappnote  in detail and/or used it for plotting fanfic have pointed out lots of inconsistencies and scale problems. Rehigreed, noted as a province of Agatea, is as far away as you can possibly get from the Agatean mainlandnote ; Lancre is far too near Ankh-Morpork; the Central Continent appears too big and Howondaland is far too small; Genua appears to be further away from A-M than stated in the text; and so on. Since the name "C.M.O.T. Dibbler" appears on the map, there is of course a Watsonian explanation.
    • Raising Steam eventually did the classic map-in-the-endpapers format, with a railway map of the Sto Plains and surrounding lands.
  • The Divine Comedy: Diagrams of Hell and Purgatory are featured in many translations; some fine ones can be found here.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series has a map showing various parts of the archipelago. Certain editions will include close-ups on the map when the characters are spending time in that particular reach (very very useful!)
  • While Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep is a science fiction novel, it has a map of the galaxy done in fantasy style. It includes a delineation of the "Zones of Thought", which regulate FTL travel, as well as the path the protagonists' ship takes.
  • The former page quote (now on the quotes page) from The First Law trilogy is spoken by a character reading a fantasy novel (in a bleedin' fantasy novel) as a not so subtle Take That! to the entire trope. (Or, possibly, to Lord of the Rings).
  • Le Guin's more recent YA series, of which the first is entitled Gifts, also has such a map, but notably the characters in Gifts only ever occupy a small upper-right hand corner of the map. Presumably they'll venture forth in the sequels.
    • They do, but in Voices the action is confined to the bottom left-hand corner, so there's a city map as well. In Powers there's much more travelling, but no map at all in the British edition (not even a reprint of the large map from the first two books).
  • Erin Hunter:
    • Erin Hunter's Warrior Cats and Seeker Bears series both have two two-page maps per book: One is the "animal view" map, which is more decorative, having houses and trees and everything drawn out, and labeling it with the animals' names for landmarks. The second is a "human view" map, which labels the landmarks with human names. It also looks more like a proper map: rather than drawing the forest, there is a map key, and it just uses the symbol for "tree" lots of times.
    • Survivor Dogs only contains one map that just shows the "animal view" of the world. The map differs between books. The first book contains a map of human places because the book takes place mainly in or near a city, but the third book contains a map of the forest and surrounding territory.
    • The first Bravelands book has a minimalistic map. The map is more-so to look pretty than to actually act as a map, though it does tell where the key areas of the book are.
  • The doorstopper version of the Hurog duology includes a map, which is justified, as there is quite a lot of talking about taking a ship or the land route, and discussions of whether the enemy is good enough at geography to know that this or that distance is too far to get there in a certain period of time. The map only takes up one page, which is relatively small, compared to the LOTR map.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Eragon has a map. It's even drawn by the author.
  • Literature/Imaro The Nyumbani continent, the names such as Punt, Meroe, Nubia or Cush and the resemblance of its general shape to Africa are not accidental.
  • The Katurran Odyssey has a rather elaborate map of Katurra on the endpapers, modelled rather creatively with basilosaur Here Be Dragons and with monkeys on the edges representing the Four Elements (albeit rather randomly). The story locations have rather random distances, unfortunately.
  • Kushiel's Legacy has them, despite it being basically Europe & North Africa with names making the Fantasy Counterpart Culture even more obvious.
  • The map of the Land of Oz is one of the earliest examples of this trope. Since each succeeding book visited a different part of Oz or its environs, the map got an annual update with the release of each new book. Unfortunately, Baum messed up the map's directions, putting West and East on the wrong sides of the map. (While this was corrected in later books, devout Oz fans still embrace the swap; for example, in Robert A. Heinlein's The Number of the Beast the world-jumping main characters use this feature to confirm that Oz really is Oz when they visit it.) The unique colors of the map of Oz forms the basis for the flag of Oz.
    • This was once explained in-universe as inadvertent copying from one of Prof. H.M. Wogglebug, T.E.'s magic lantern slides that happened to be flipped.
    • The simplest solution seems to be reversing the compass needle itself: the Munchkins should be in the East, colored Blue, but the flag (which reflects the four quadrants of the land) has Blue on the left. Hence make East point left and West point right.
    • Related to, inspired by, and roughly resembling this map is the one included in Wicked and the books that follow it. As in the Oz example, the maps change focus and are updated with each volume.
  • The Magic Kingdom of Landover series has a map of Landover.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen likewise has several maps, one for most of the world's continents, although it's not always clear how the different continents relate to each other as there is no official world map. A fan (and troper) created a map showing the continents in several different configurations and Steven Erikson eventually confirmed one as mostly accurate; it can be found on various fan sites.
  • Max & the Midknights: The Tower of Time: On pages 34 & 35 of the book, we see a map of the land that stretches from the Red River to the Blistering Sea. This allows Max to try to figure out the best pathway to take to get to the Kingdom of Klunk from Byjovia.
  • Inverted in Hal Clement's science fiction novel Mission of Gravity. Clement created a globe of the planet Mesklin and wrote the story around it, but the book didn't include a map.
  • The Name of the Wind has a map, but does not follow the "if it's on the map, the characters will go there" rule of most fantasy; many places that are mentioned or visited are not detailed on the map even if they're in the geographic area.
  • The Noob novels. The only media of the franchise that shows the whole thing.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth — particularly apt, as the map exists in-game as part of the mysterious tollbooth's appurtenances.
  • Though not a fantasy series, each book of the Red Mars Trilogy comes with a map of Mars with the locations of various towns mapped out. The map also updates from book to book, showing the changes wrought by terraformation.
  • The Redwall books always have a map of the journey that the heroes will be taking. The map generally includes every place they'll be visiting along the way.
    • It's interesting to compare the variations of the maps' depictions of Mossflower Wood (the location of Redwall Abbey) over time. Some general ideas remain consistent, but others (such as how big/powerful the River Moss is) vary, and the further away from the Abbey things get more impermanent (such as the mountain range between Mossflower and Salamandastron, or the giant lake located far in the south).
    • The biggest offender for inconsistency are the maps from Mattimeo and Loamhedge, which depict the abbey ruins as being on a huge plateau to the southeast that is nowhere to be seen on other maps. Even those two maps have trouble deciding which side of the ravine has the bell and badger rocks.
  • The Saga of the Bordenlands, by the Argentine writer Liliana Bodoc, has maps of both the Fertile Lands and the Ancient Lands, the two continents where the story takes place.
  • Second Apocalypse includes a map of Earwa, the continent upon which all the action takes place.
  • The Shannara series has maps, which show places destroyed in earlier books or, in one of the prequels, a place that didn't exist then.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's The Sharing Knife series of books contain maps of The Wide Green World, becoming grander in scale in each book as the characters do more and more travelling. The maps are based on, but not particularly close to, the eastern half of the USA, particularly Ohio.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several for the different continents, Westeros, Essos and Sothoryos. However, it doesn't completely show any of the continents (northern Westeros, eastern Essos and most of Sothoryos are off the map) and hard geography gets crowded out by half-mythical places and Here There Be Dragons towards the edges, reflecting limitations in the Middle Ages.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger books have a map. At first it covers only the Bellwoods and immediate environs, with an added portion east of Zaryt's Teeth, because that's where the story is focused. (And true to form, while not every place on the Bellwoods map is visited, almost all the ones east of the Teeth are.) Book three introduces a whole new expanded map of the whole world which afterward never changes—although each subsequent book usually includes a secondary map showing what's 'just off the edge' or expanding on a small region.
  • Star Wars got the Fantasy World Map treatment in form of "The Essential Atlas", which is precisely what it sounds like. The authors had to not only go through the six movies, but also the TV shows, comic books, novels, e-stories and video games. All in all this encompasses to a Fantasy Galaxy Map.
    • By 2000, the Star Wars Galaxy had a map establishing the key regions and locations for a couple dozens of major planets. By 2010, it had a full Atlas, with over 60 astro-maps and precise locations of over 4,500 planets.
    • The New Jedi Order series included a galaxy map marked with key star systems and regions in its hardcover editions. The black swathe showing the Yuuzhan Vong conquests was updated as the series progressed.
  • The Steerswoman books have a world map, as befits their fantasy trappings. Since those trappings cover a chewy science-fictional center with lots of exploration, the map gets more filled in as the series goes on.
  • The Sword of Truth had one... because the publisher insisted. Goodkind didn't see the need. He drew the map himself, updated it once for the second book, and never changed it again even when the story went way beyond its borders.
  • At the front of Tailchaser's Song is a map of "Tailchaser's World", showing a map of the area the book covers.
  • The book Take Back the Skies contains a map of the fictional world of Tellus, including the thick, tumultuous storms that surround its islands.
  • Tales from Netheredge have one, drawn by a fan in collaboration with the author, showing most of the places mentioned in the cycle so far.
  • Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker books all include a map of the wildly alternate early-19th-Century North America in which the novels are set.
  • Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm contains a map in each book, which unmistakeably depicts the British Isles. Due to alternate names such as Albangate for St. Albans and Halmouth for Falmouth, it's possible to follow the protagonists' journeys even without the maps (which is good as the maps are small and only show major locations).
  • Wilbert Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, was forced to map out Thomas's 14-mile railway line to prove to his children that a story involving a race between a train and a bus had an equal number of obstacles to both parties. Realizing it could be useful as a means of enforcing continuity he kept it, and decided to expand on it, resulting in him dropping approximately 3000 square miles of fictional island (the Island Of Sodor) into the Irish Sea off the coast of the UK. He then spent decades creating a complete political, social, geological, industrial and linguistic 'Tolkien-lite' history of the Island in collaboration with his historian brother (just for fun!)... and then they got said history published as a book over which collectors now fight to the death. Awesome.
  • Thursday Next: One of Our Thursdays is Missing has a map of the BookWorld as it stands after the version update that gave it some actual geography.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Lord of the Rings is the Trope Codifier. Word of God states that showing the maps in the Film of the Book was helpful in doing all the required exposition to make the story make sense without seeming contrived.
    • And before it, The Hobbit, with two maps.
    • The Silmarillion also includes a map, although there was at least one other, quite different, version Tolkien created for Beleriand besides the one actually published.
    • An actual cartographer (and Tolkien fan) drew the maps for The Atlas of Middle-Earth. In several places she notes specifically that Tolkien's distances and travel times are usually internally consistent, though with enough aberrations to keep it interesting for someone attempting to calculate distances well enough to draw a map to scale (The Hobbit apparently glosses over a lot of Thorin and Company's journey from the Shire to Rivendell, while the journey of Frodo's party is given in more detail which makes it feel like it takes a significantly longer time to get there). However, certain events in The Silmarillion are difficult to reconcile.
    • Viciously parodied in the 1969 paperback Bored of the Rings, whose map of "Lower Middle Earth" includes such features as "The Legendary Drillingrigs", "The Land of the Knee-walking Turkeys", "The Islets of the Langerhans", "The Tiny X-Shaped Forest", and a body of water shaped like the profile of Richard Nixon called "The Bay of Milhous". It also includes a compass rose with the directions Up, Down, Right (pointing left) and Left (pointing right). (This last may be an intentional Shout-Out to the original maps of Oz — see above.) Fortunately for the competency-challenged cast, they didn't have to visit every labeled spot on it, and those they do visit don't have to be in geographical proximity.
  • The Tortall Universe always has maps. It's remained largely consistent — starting with Tortall and its immediate land neighbors, then adding entries as the setting expanded and the plot took characters to more places. There are also smaller maps if the story's setting is in one place, e.g. the Corus city map in Beka Cooper.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland notes that if you see a map at the start of a novel, you can expect to "go to every damn place on it." The book itself has a map which is very obviously Europe upside-down, with all the countries given anagrammatic names.
  • R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War has a map showing the Nikara Empire and the Federation of Mugen, the author has jokingly said that "Any resemblance to real-life countries is mere coincidence" (But we can clearly see a fantasy version of both from China and Japan)
  • Most of Harry Turtledove's Alternate History novels include world maps showing the political layout of the book's timeline.
    • This is common in Alternate History, as it's a helpful way of letting the reader know exactly how the world is different in the novel's timeline. Fatherland, to quote one other example, has both a map of the Nazi-dominated Europe and a map of the central district of Berlin as it would have been had Albert Speer got his opportunity to rebuild the city in his and Hitler's image.
    • Not really needed in his Fantastic Civil War series, which is just a retelling of the ACW in the west from Chickamauga on. Once you realize that the directions are reversed and all the place and character names are replaced by groanworthy literary references and puns, you can follow along with a real guide to the campaigns at hand. Selma, Alabama, for example, is renamed Hayek, and General Rosecrans is renamed Guildenstern.
  • Watership Down has a map, and is fantasy, but it takes place in England and the map is of a real area.
  • The Well World novels by Jack Chalker are a sci-fi example, but also something of a subversion as the Well World is composed almost entirely of tessellated hexagons, the edges of which define not only the borders of the various "nations" but also the larger bodies of water.
  • The Wheel of Time has one for the Westlands, and the Westlands only, as about 99% of the story takes place there. A Manual text was released that includes a map of the whole world. This map is useless to the actual story, but looking at it does reveal that the planet is Earth after massive geographical change, and the Westlands are in what used to be Europe.
  • The map of the continent Pyrrhia in Wings of Fire, which is shaped like a huge dragon.
  • Andre Norton's early Witch World novels had a small world map drawn by Jack Gaughan, showing the three main kingdoms with the ocean to the west. In some of the later novels there are two maps covering a much wider area, one of which depicts the lands on either side of the western ocean, and the other depicting the rest of the eastern continent.
  • Notably averted in The Witcher series: no canon map of the Continent has ever been released by the author, so the large number of maps found on the net are all fan-made approximations based on the geographical detail given in the books. Not even the maps featured in the video games are canon, though Word of God is that they are "reasonably accurate".
  • Parodied in Piers Anthony's Xanth books by using the state of Florida as the map of Xanth.
    • He went on to use Italy, Greece and Korea in later installments in the series, which was hand waved with the explanation that Xanth connects with the real world at multiple places and time periods, but most of the novels use modern Florida as the point where Earth connects to Xanth.
  • Robert Stanek's The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches has a map of the world, which is frankly incoherent.
  • Kameron Hurley started drawing a fantasy map at the age of 12, after many years and multiple modifications, that map served as the basis for her novel The Mirror Empire.
  • Played with in Alexandra Rowland's A Conspiracy of Truths. There is a nicely detailed map at the beginning of the book, but it does not match the actual in-story geography because the mapmaker did not know the area and made a 'shitty damn map'.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones shows a map of Westeros in the opening credits each episode. Although the map doesn't change, the particular places the camera focuses on do depending on where the characters are for each episode.
  • The Legend of Dick and Dom shows a map of Bottom World (conveniently 4:3 shape) over the opening credits, and also uses it during episodes form time to time- both in a mundane way to show where the protagonists are going, but also used for jokes, like Lampshade Hanging when they can't afford to film anything and doing a little animation on the map instead.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power shows the map of Middle-earth several times, mainly when characters travel to new locations. Several locations are canon only to the show.
  • The 10th Kingdom also has a map thoughtfully provided for the viewers' enjoyment, on the wall of Snow White Memorial Prison, so that both the hapless heroes Trapped in Another World and the viewers can learn exactly what the Nine Kingdoms look like. Unlike most versions of the fantasy map, it displays places which are never visited in the miniseries, since the story remains confined to the Fourth Kingdom (with brief forays into the Third and Ninth). It also has the amusing location marker "You Are Imprisoned Here" — this becomes a slight Running Gag in the Novelization with a map in Kissing Town marked "You Are Romantically Here" — and has the interesting feature of being remarkably similar in outlines to Europe... a feature which has led to some interesting Epileptic Trees among the fandom, ranging from the Nine Kingdoms having diverged from our timeline centuries ago to our world being a non-magical, cursed offshoot of the Kingdoms.


  • Popeye Saves the Earth has the Geomap, which shows the five regions Popeye must visit — Aphrodesia, Fashionation, L'Eagleland, Pandamonia, and the Sushi Sea.

  • Obviously you can't actually include a map in a radio show, but Radio Times published a spoof map as part of a feature promoting The BBC's fantasy parody series Hordes of the Things. When the series was eventually issued on CD it included all of the Radio Times material including the map as a fold-out insert.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons' worlds Greyhawk, Dragonlance, the Forgotten Realms, Birthright...
    • The maps of the Mystara setting are notable for almost always being covered in a hexagonal grid to assist the Dungeon Master in determining travel times, or something like that.
    • The maps in the Greyhawk boxed set were made on a hex grid. The maps in the Forgotten Realms boxed set had no grid on them, but did come with transparent plastic overlays with a hex grid on them.
    • The maps in the Eberron setting are thought out well enough that basing travel times ... and costs ... on the provided maps yield consistent enough results to allow a GM to estimate ticket price and trip duration between intermediate stops when not those are not explictly given in the text.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Back in the '90s, Wizards of the Coast released several maps of the world of Dominaria, the main setting of the game, focusing on the continents of Aerona, Terisiare and Jamuraa. There is also a globe of the entire world hidden away somewhere in WotC HQ, although no one outside the company ever saw it until the Dominaria was revisited in 2018. Afterwards, however, the only map published until 2018 was a very sketchy and simplified one of the continent of Otaria, instead just throwing out a new setting every year with no indication of what's where in relation to everything else.
      • Pete Venters (creator of the aforementioned globe) eventually released a map based on it. It only shows one hemisphere and there's a few clouds, but Aerona and other land masses are recognizable.
      • For most of Magic's early history, no complete map of Dominaria was ever published. Almost all the maps showed a single continent or a single section thereof, and the most comprehensive map only showed a part of the northern hemisphere. Then there are the continents with no map at all, which we have to rely on the background story to fathom where anything's located.
      • This eventually changed with the release of the Return to Dominaria storyline, which included the release of a full world map of Dominaria, showing the locations and relative sizes of all of the previous Dominarian lands and seas and made as a result of Magic's worlbuilding department stitching together and synthesizing the considerable amounts of disparate lore that accreted over the game's history into cohesive whole. Among other things, this included the first depiction of the island of Shiv and a much more detailed depiction of Otaria, which included the subcontinent of Tamingazin being retconned to by located on Otaria's northern tip.
      • One of Dominaria's most commonly featured continents, Terisiare, has been depicted on a number of maps focused on various points of its internal history, including one showing it in its original state at the time of the Brothers' War, before the destruction of the island of Argoth (the early expansions such as Antiquities), another set during the Ice Age when much of Terisiare was covered by glaciers and civilization was limited to isolated pockets (The Dark, Ice Age), and a third set in the setting's present day, after the devastations of the Brothers' War, the Ice Age, the floods and storms that came with its thaw and various other minor and major cataclysms have caused the continent to fracture into an archipelago, showing the locations of both newer settlements and areas and the ruins of ones wrecked, abandoned or flooded over history.
    • There is a map for Kamigawa, although it just shows a small, isolated part of the world.
    • The plane of Ixalan also got a map of the eponymous continent and the surrounding seas, showing the locations of various story-important areas such as the lost city of Orazca, the cities of the Sun Empire, the merfolk territories, the conquistador forts and the floating city of High and Dry. Torrezon, the other named continent of the plane of Ixalan, is not shown, but this does not have much of an impact, since in-story it only exists as a place for the conquistadors and the pirates to have come from in the backstory.
  • Drawing up the map is a vital part of group creation in On Mighty Thews.
  • Thoroughly deconstructed by Rich Burlew of The Order of the Stick fame in his (sadly unfinished) The New World series, where he worldbuilds from scratch, basing his map on real rules of geology and then allowing its geography to influence the cultures and countries he overlays onto it.
  • Warhammer has a truly massively detailed one that also looks oddly familiar
    • Each Warhammer Armies book also contains a more detailed full-page map of the homeland of the race it covers (The Empire, Ulthuan, Naggaroth, the Mountains of Mourn etc.). Even the Daemons of Chaos book has a stylised madman's envisioning of the parallel-dimension hell-realm where daemons come from, which cannot be mapped normally as it does not conform to the usual laws of space and time.
    • Likewise, Warhammer 40,000 has plenty of galactic maps and a few maps of individual planets or areas thereof. Most detailed perhaps being the ones of Armageddon's two main continents in various Armageddon War-related materials. The Horus Heresy novel Mechanicum has a map of the (real) Tharsis region of Mars, with all its (fictional!) 31st millennium locations marked.

    Video Games 
  • Strangereal, a parallel Earth in which most of the Ace Combat series takes place, has its own map. It was finalised in Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War, and shown in full at the start of each mission briefing - prior, the series was set on the fictional continent of Usea (which was much smaller in Ace Combat 04 Shattered Skies) on Earth. Ongoing entries have filled in cities and other points of interest, which then appear in sequel briefings - most locations in 04 then appear on 7's map.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura features an expansive map of titular continent, which can be viewed in full here. Interestingly, the map was apparently made by the "Troika Cartography Associates", an in-universe organization that shares a name with the company that made Arcanum.
  • Brütal Legend has an in-game map that you must uncover throughout the game. Here is a complete copy.
  • The enviornments and dungeons of the Diablo series may be mostly randomly generated, but the realm of Sanctuary does have a world map which sets the locations of major things like settlements, islands, mountain ranges, jungles, etc. in stone. That said, the map, which is supposed to be of the same continent over a span of about thirty years, changes rather drastically from one game to the next, although this may be due to a cataclysm of some kind between Diablo II and Diablo III.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a map that you use whenever you choose which location you want to go to next. It's not a real world map, since it only shows one country (Ferelden), which is part of a much larger world (Thedas). BioWare also released a true world map that shows all of Thedas (see it here), but this map does not appear in the game itself.
    • The limited edition also has a Feelie map printed on cloth.
  • Dwarf Fortress, which its creator describes as a "fantasy world generator", naturally starts off by creating one of these through Procedural Generation. Unlike a lot of fantasy authors, however, he read some geology and meteorology textbooks first.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, and most of their related expansion packs/DLCs come with a paper map of the game's setting. Each is designed to look as though it was drawn by an in-universe cartographer, including, in a few cases, a watermark and signature.
    • The series' spin-off Action-Adventure game, Redguard, instead comes packaged with a cloth map.
  • All Final Fantasy games have maps wherein, due to the linear plot, you are forced to visit almost every location on it simply to accomplish the story. The few places you don't visit can be found with simple exploring once the world becomes a Wide-Open Sandbox.
  • Unlike most roleplaying games, most Fire Emblem installments pre-Awakening (with the exception of The Sacred Stones) don't let you move around the world map yourself, so when it shows you the map it obeys this trope.
  • In Gems of War, there's a Point-and-Click Map of the world on which the icons of the various kingdoms you can travel to are displayed, featuring the usual grasslands, forests, mountains, and such. Parts of it which you can't access yet are partly covered in cloud, so there's an aspect of pushing back the frontiers (although you can see the rough shape of the land anyway).
  • Ginger Beyond The Crystal: You can bring up a map of the game world that shows Ginger's current location, and where any gems can be found.
  • The Golden Sun games have a world map you can access by hitting R while outside of cities and dungeons. The Lost Age was sold with a paper map of Weyard and a character relationship chart. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn's map of Angara contradicts most of what was established in the first two games, due to the events of the first two games causing the world to change rather drastically. It's still changing 30 years after the fact, which is when Dark Dawn takes place. Judging by the shape of Angara and surrounds, Weyard is slowly becoming Earth.
  • Guild Wars has three separate maps, one for each of its stand-alone campaigns, with the Eye of the North expansion nearly doubling the size of the original Tyrian Map. Each map has its own separate continent, and players switch from one to another when they travel from to different continents. Each full-sized map only shows an apparent section of the continent (and only half of that is actually explorable) suggesting that the world is actually very large (and leaving room for infinite expansions).
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy has a poster map/game manual in one. The map is bordered with a long passage written in the in-game writing system; those who bother to translate it will find it's full of references to the first game and future storylines.
  • The Legend of Zelda: All games include maps of Hyrule for aid in navigation. While the maps tend to change (sometimes quite drastically) between games, something which can be partly explained by the games often being set up to hundreds of years apart from each other, certain features tend to remain constant: Death Mountain and the Goron lands are always in the northeastern corner of the map, Hyrule Castle and its nearby town in the center, the river where the Zora live runs along the eastern edge, starting at Death Mountain's base and emptying into Lake Hylia in the south or southeast, the desert area and the Gerudo territory are opposite Death Mountain and behind a high rocky ridge, and The Lost Woods are either in the southeast (in the early games) or in the north/northwest (in the later ones).
  • Myst features a profusion of maps and designs describing its miniature worlds, which are themselves literary descriptions made reality.
  • Primal Rage: The Urth map is shaped in the form of a Tyrannosaurus skull. With flames in the mouth.
  • Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion includes a map of Eclisse, the game world. In-between missions, the player is shown his army's position on the map.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has one for Ashina, the fictional region of Japan the game takes place in, which you can access from the fast travel screen. While it's completely unnecessary for actual in-game exploration, it's lavishly drawn and shows you where exotic places such as Mibu Village and the Fountainhead Palace are in relation to the rest of the world.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary includes a map that shows which stages you've cleared, with the option of going back to repeat those that weren't wiped out (although all stages can eventually be replayed after one completes the Subspace Emissary for the first time).
  • Ultima: Many of the games in the series included actual cloth maps of the world as Feelies. Useful for navigation in-game, but they were labeled in a pseudo-runic cypher.
  • Vector Thrust has a complete map of Terra, the parallel Earth which shows the current world after World War III. It also has side maps for terrain, population density and radiological hazards.
  • Warcraft: All three games have World Maps in them. Azeroth's a constantly changing place, though, since none of the maps look like the other. World of Warcraft makes frequent use of the map of the world (in addition to always being able to pop up the map of the area you're in, when you use the flying taxi service you click on your destination in a map of the whole continent). Each expansion has changed the maps, with Cataclysm replacing the maps of the original two continents and all the others adding a new continent-sized area.
  • Wynncraft's map displays the entire hand-built game world, with icons pointing out where special merchants, quest start points, and other various important spots are.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal has a variation: the in-game map is presented as an actual paper map, of which you initially only have the bottom-left piece. As you progress through the game, you recover more pieces that are attached to the map in a jigsaw puzzle manner until it is complete by the endgame. A marker on the map additionally tracks your current location, but only if you have the corresponding piece, otherwise you are wandering through terra incognita (conveniently, though, the map piece depicting each region can be found very close to your most likely first entrance point to said region).

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: The World of Remnant has associated fantasy maps that were created in a restaurant when Monty Oum and his two writers (Kerry Shawcross and Miles Luna) spilled ketchup on a napkin and folded it a few times. Two of the landmasses accidentally ended up resembling dragons (both Eastern and Western styled), having serpentine-like bodies, wings, horns and jaws. They ran with it, making them in-universe Object Shaped Landmasses, where lore, legends and fairy tales help the natives explain these shapes as having been created from two brother dragon-gods.

  • Bits Fair has a map here, featuring the subcontinent where story is set.
  • Irregular Webcomic!: The Fantasy theme has a map on the cast page showing the various locations mentioned or visited so far in the comic.
  • A map of Mystepolia is visible on Laura's wall on Page 1 of Jenny and the Multiverse.
  • Leif & Thorn has a map covering most of Ceannis and some of the surrounding countries.
  • Sluggy Freelance includes some maps of Stuffaroth before and after its expansion pack during the "Years of Yarncraft" storyline.
  • Unsounded: A few maps of Kasslyne have shown up in the comic, the most detailed one in Book I being a map of the northern country Alderode with a bit of its southern neighbor Cresce at the bottom.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, a map covering an area of Cisum that Yokoka's Quest takes place in was first included as an extra in the Yokoka's Quest printed book, and is also shown at the bottom of the Archive page.
  • A map of Wythl (Where Yamara Has To Live) was published in an April edition of Dragon — interestingly, long after they'd stopped running the strip. Sponsored by the drow fast food company Burger Queen, it mostly showed the location of their restaurants, but also such places as the Elven Malls of Ping Forest, the Wastes of the Halflings (the implication being that they'd eaten everything), and the proposed site of an interdimensional spellport.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender shows it in the opening, and the website even shows where the group is in each episode. The Legend of Korra shows the same map in the first opening before zooming into Republic City, the main setting of the series.
  • On Beany and Cecil, Captain Huffenpuff would show a map of the team's latest adventure. The focal points of the map are labeled with some outrageous puns.
  • Kaeloo: Episode 55 had Olaf pull out a map of Smileyland, with places such as an enchanted forest, Wonderland, and Narnia.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: An official map has been present for a while, but has evolved and been added to fairly consistently over the course of the show. The original version released was fairly simplistic and mostly showed Equestria itself and some areas around its borders. The second version, released around Season 5, edited and retconned some of the old geography to include newer locations and expanded to cover some areas beyond what the old map did; the journey to A.K. Yearling’s house in the episode Daring Don't can be retraced on it. The third update, released for the movie, is chiefly an extension of the second, tacking on new lands to the south of the previous areas. As a whole, these maps make abundant used of Here There Be Dragons.
  • Sofia the First and Elena of Avalor has one that debuts in Elena and the Secret of Avalor, although an official one (which labels the locations of the kingdoms) has never been released due to NDAs and Disney not wanting to establish an inconsistent continuity among multiple Disney properties (particularly regarding the locations of Corona and Arendelle).
  • W.I.T.C.H. often shows a map of Meridian early in the series in a lot of key scenes, such as when Phobos is planning his next assault or the rebels are planning their next strike.