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Flying Towers: A Cartography Contest

Flying Towers: A Cartography Contest

1821 engraving from John Bayley, The Histories and Antiquities of the Tower of London with Biographical Anecdotes of Royal and Distinguished Persons. London: T. Cadell, 1821.People love maps. They come in useful in tabletop roleplaying games, plus they’re just wonderful to look at. They can be a form of art, and they showcase wonderful and sometimes strange worlds and locations.

Recently, we had a poll that asked you, the voting public, what type of map you’d love to have cartographers depict for you in an upcoming contest. Now it’s time to start the contest and see what wondrous flying towers we receive. We’ll share the five best ones with you, which is a huge part of the fun!

How does this work? First, start imagining what sort of flying tower you’d love to map out for us. As with our art contests, you can choose whether you use pencils, inks, watercolors, pixels — as long as you can scan the image in (or convert it in the case of digital format) and send it to us in a jpg file, we are happy. Your submission will be evaluated by a panel of industry professionals and by the fans. As with other contests we’ve done here on the Kobold Press site, fame and prizes play a part in this again. (More on that in a bit!)

So, what do you need to do? First, read all the stuff beyond the jump, then start mapping out your idea of what an awe-inspiring and potentially deadly flying tower looks like. Let your imagination soar!

Contest Entry

Here’s how it works: To enter the contest, your submission MUST…

  • Have been created in the previous calendar year.
  • Be sent to the Flying Towers Contest at miranda(at)koboldquarterly(dot)com no later than September 20, 2013, by noon PST.
  • Be submitted as a jpg attachment.
  • Read Flying Towers Submission [insert tower’s name] in the email’s subject line. Your full name and contact information should be in the body of the email (not in your attachment).
  • Be at least 300 pixels wide, but no more than 1MB in size. (If you win, we’ll ask for a print-quality version of the file, so hold on to that original artwork!)


All submissions that meet the criteria will be entered in the contest and be judged by us, the Kobolds, and our guest judges on originality, artistry, and uniqueness. The 5 best maps will be published here on koboldpress.com and be voted on by the public. Of those 5 maps, the one with the winning votes will become the Flying Towers Contest winner.

So who’s judging? We have a trio of extremely talented and wise judges: Wolfgang Baur, Jon Roberts, and Alyssa Faden. Take a look at their bios below.

Wolfgang Baur is the founder of Kobold Press, its publisher, and general go-to kobold. He enjoys the Gothic style in architecture, the Venetian style of rampant mercantilism, and the Dutch style in gardens and hydroengineering. For adventures, he’s an omnivore. Wolfgang is the author of the Midgard Campaign Setting, the Dark*Matter setting, the Kobold Guides to Game Design, and a smattering of other RPG titles dating from the days when TSR walked the earth. Wolfgang lives in an impenetrable set of warrens near Kirkland, Washington.

Jon Roberts has mapped Westeros and the Lands Beyond the Narrow Sea for George RR Martin, the Milky Way for After Earth, and Midgard for Open Design (twice). He’s a moderator at the Cartographer’s Guild, and runs Fantastic Maps, a blog where he provides advice, tutorials, and videos on fantasy map making. He grew up in an old farm house in Scotland with arrow slits, but is now based in NYC.

Alyssa Faden was originally born in England and had the good fortune to grow up in a Roman town with complete city-walls and a modest amphitheater. Is it any wonder then that she would grow up to be deeply fascinated by history, fantasy, and historical architecture? She was therefore quite the geek and nerd: live roleplaying through Beeston and Peckforton Castles, the first to bring Dungeons & Dragons to her school, and whiling away the summer holidays with sprawling Napoleonic wargames.

With a lust for the unknown and the magical country of “America,” she emigrated in 1998 and has been spreading ‘home country historical goodness’ via the medium of cartography ever since. She considers every mapping commission to be a privileged step into the mind of another person—doing so allows her to see the mystical and fantasy worlds that this person has created. The result is more than a map … it is a living representation of years of imagination and a place where people and creatures roam, ships sail, and armies march. And who can’t get excited by something like that?

Alyssa’s recent mapping endeavors have been for Monte Cook Games, Dragon Kings, Lesser Gnome Games, Kobold Quarterly, R.Scott Taylor, and Postworld Games.

Prizes for the Flying Towers Contest Winner

The winning artist will receive a cartography commission from Kobold Press, plus may be interviewed for the Kobold Press website (more on that later). All five finalists will receive PDF copies of the Zobeck City Map, Zobeck Gazetteer, the Midgard Campaign Setting, and double-ENnie winner, the Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding.

Additional Rules

1. The contest is open to all.
2. One entry per person. The entry must be your own work, which has not been published previously, is not being considered for publication by any other publisher, and is original and does not infringe upon any copyrighted material.
3. Cartographer grants Open Design LLC the right to publish the submitted piece on the Kobold website as part of this contest. Winner grants Open Design LLC the right to publish the winning image in the Kobold Press newsletter and in similar promotional and publicity uses.
4. By entering this contest, you authorize the use of your name and likeness without additional compensation for promotion and advertising purposes in all media.
5. This contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws where applicable.
6. Open Design reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.
7. All decisions of Open Design LLC and the judges are final.

We cannot wait to see what you all come up with for this particular contest. Please spread the word and encourage anyone you know who is a budding cartographer to join in on the fun!

5 thoughts on “Flying Towers: A Cartography Contest”

  1. Hello!

    Would a cross section of the tower be a preferred visual medium or a birds eye view of the tower from above? The birds eye view being similar to the same way most landscape/town maps are represented. Also towers being usually consisting of multiple floors, could we include floor maps of the levels of the tower in corresponding order collected on one page? Would this hurt chances of being considered as a finalist?

    Much Thanks!


  2. Mostly, we’re just looking for a talented cartographer to work with on future projects. So, the judges are looking for both utility and beauty, and you should focus your map as something playable with high visual appeal. A cross-section works. So does an isometric approach, or an exploded view of the levels.

    It’s not an either-or. It’s both, but the levels must work for use in a game.

  3. Very interesting contest. However, as someone that mainly does tactical maps with 1-inch grids, is that a viable option? Or is the contest mainly geared towards non-squared maps? Thanks in advance.

  4. Wow flying towers, I might break out the crayolas just to play with this one. Seriously I look forward to seeing what talented folks create.

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