Monday, March 12, 2018

Gary Con X Video

Hi all. Here's a  video of a few things I was able to catch while at Gary Con. Some of this stuff is a bit blurry. Sorry -- old camera and all. Hope you enjoy the show nonetheless.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Gary Con X

A few pictures for Thursday March 8th.
One of the private gamerooms

A hallway before the crowd

The Kobold Press gang

All aboard, mateys!

I want one.

HMGS corner. I'll crash the party tonite or friday...

More HMGS ogres...

Looks like a LotR scenario. I'm definitely interested.

Here comes the roc!

Our buddy the ent.

One of the GaryCon gift table

In the exhibitors' room (the entire surface was sold out, so two other rooms had to be added.)

The Heath from down-under (not).  ;)

Wayne Targo hard at work in the Forum gaming area.

Looks like a bunch of Jedi stuck in an arena. Ring a bell?

First time I noticed the "Forum" gaming area, across the parking lot from the hotel lobby.
It's huge. There's definitely room for expansion there. 

One of the upstairs ballrooms.

The view out from an upstairs ballroom.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Thank You.

E. Gary Gygax
My life's a mess. It's all your fault. I wouldn't have it any other way if I had to do it over. Now, please pass that d20. Peace. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

About Reviews

Calidar books have so far been well received. A lot of care and attention is paid to contents, creative and graphic, with text, layout, maps, and art. It has been a slow process, since yours truly has to juggle game design, floor plan cartography, project management, advertising, social media presence, sales, and accounting, while still learning the ropes of indie publishing. The work in these books represents the efforts of more than one person--Thorfinn Tait's contributions with geographical maps and book layout cannot be ignored, nor should the work of artists who endeavored to give faces to Calidar's heroes and villains, the project editor, Janet Deaver-Pack, and more recently proofer Hervé Musseau. Kickstarter supporters should give themselves a major pat on the back as well.

Personal reviews are a way to thank all contributors and to convey constructive criticism and suggestions with the expectation they will help improve future releases. Fans ought to consider this especially if they hope to see future products for the World of Calidar succeed and follow a path that will best address their gaming needs. It's all about communication, hopefully amiable.

What does a review entail? Some can be as simple as a star rating. These can be logged in directly at the source, on DTRPG, where Calidar books come from. It just takes a minute (click here). An accompanying comment explaining the rating would be ideal but not absolutely necessary. That's the easiest approach.

Other methods include more elaborate and effective ways of reaching a wider spectrum in the gaming community. Mentions or discussions in forums are excellent ways to get the word across to other gamers, to the author, and creative contributors. I usually keep an eye on discussions on Facebook, G+, Twitter (#Calidar), and on the Piazza.

One other good place to put in a review is EnWorld's ranking page (click here for the present review status of Calidar books). In order for a title to appear on EnWorld's chart, a minimum of 10 reviews are required. If you plan on posting yours there, a paragraph on what you feel is most important is enough to help readers get the right idea.

Your feedback is important and appreciated. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Flying Circus has Landed

Greetings all. I finally received the much-awaited package from the printer this afternoon -- discovered by accident since the delivery guy at UPS didn't bother to knock or ring the front door bell. Good news: the printer's proof for the hardcover looks great. Bad news: the softcover version was not included in the package. Gee thanks. I placed an inquiry with DTRPG to that missing printer's proof asap.

Overall, the hardcover book looks great. The premium paper stock is slightly glossy and feels good to the touch. The printing is very sharp, which is a relief, considering the large number of maps inset in the text.

I'll start the hardcover's Kickstarter fulfillment first thing Thursday morning (Dec. 7th). This means that many of you will be receiving this book before Christmas day. This might also be true to some of you outside the US (especially in the UK). As for the softcover book, I won't be waiting too long before getting this process started as well. The printing inside the softcover book is identical to the hardcover's. The file is evidently different for the cover, but it is otherwise set up exactly the same way as the hardcover's, so I'm not expecting more bad surprises here.

That's it for now. If you need to find out more about Calidar projects in general (or this one, when I release it for general sale to the public), click the advertising at the top of the blog page. I'll let you now peruse the pictures I just shot of the book. Cheers!

CA1 -- Calidar: Dreams of Aerie

Saturday, November 11, 2017

D&D Ships MV Rates

After reviewing ship movement rates in the D&D Expert Set, I questioned numbers given there (see RC page 71). Being a perfectionist, I decided to update my own numbers, using historical sources. Here’s what I came up with. Let me know if you find better results. This isn’t an exercise in criticizing the venerable old Expert Set, but rather my own take in retrospect. Thanks!

European Medieval Galleys
120 yards/round (sail + oars as needed)
72 miles/day (sail + oars as needed)
150 yards/round (rowing top speed)
32 miles/day (rowing only)
Large (see ref.)
90 yards/round (sail + oars as needed)
54 miles/day (sail + oars as needed)
120 yards/round (rowing top speed)
24 miles/day (rowing only)
War (galleass)
60 yards/round (sail + oars as needed)
36 miles/day (sail + oars as needed)
90 yards/round (rowing top speed)
24 miles/day (rowing only)

Sailing Ships (“Round Ships”)
Skiff (sailboat)
120 yards/round
72 miles/day
Small (caravel)
90 yards/round
54 miles/day
Large (carrack or “troop transport”)
60 yards/round
36 miles/day

Other Vessels
Raft, river barge
30 yards/round (on lake or sea)
16 miles/day
60 yards/round (downriver)
24 miles/day
Towing beast speed (upriver)
8 miles/day

Norse Longship
150 yards/round (sail + oars as needed)
108 miles/day
180 yards/round (rowing top speed)
32 miles/day (rowing only)

60 yards/round (on lake or sea)
24 miles/day
90 yards/round (downriver)
48 miles/day
30 yards/round (upriver)
12 miles/day

Ship’s Lifeboat
30 yards/round (on lake or sea)
18 miles/day
60 yards/round (downriver)
36 miles/day
15 yards/round (upriver)
9 miles/day


Combat speeds (yards/round) are NOT realistic. Their only purpose is to bring ship movement in line with monsters’ MV rates, as described in the D&D Expert Set. It’s a game design decision.  Travel speeds per day are more historical, assuming favorable sailing conditions. Some of my numbers were adjusted to ensure comparisons between different types of vessels remained somewhat logical (I thought that a war galley, as described in the D&D Expert rules, should be able to travel faster than a raft).

Galleys are inherently faster than sailing ships due to the shape of their hulls and lighter weight, despite having less sail surface than a carrack or a caravel. Maximum rowing speed can only be reached for several combat rounds before the crew is exhausted (divide rowing speed by three at least in this case). The Expert Set only provides the slower rowing speed. I switched this around in my numbers, providing a top rowing speed per combat round where it would be desirable, and a much slower travel speed in becalmed conditions. Otherwise, galleys alternated rowing and sailing (or perhaps combined the two) whenever convenient. Under adverse condition, halve all MV rates.

Dubrovnikby RadoJavor

Norse longship end up being seafaring “hot rods” here! Historically, they could reach 15 knots. That’s faster than the other vessels I looked at, where 10 knots for galleys is more likely. So, yeah, Norse-style raiders were a total pain in the real world, and probably in a fantasy game world as well.

Galleys of ancient times were faster than those used during European Middle Ages. So-called “war galleys” probably refer to galleasses, which were indeed slow but carried siege weapons. Galleys are otherwise too narrow to carry more than one siege weapon (carracks, on the other hand, allow for more deck armament—they certainly should in a fantasy setting). Under the best of conditions, medieval galleys could reach an average 115 miles per day (with steady favorable winds and ideal sea conditions). Galleys generally do poorly in bad weather; sailing ships cope much better in rough seas than galleys, and for this reason they are best suited for high seas navigation, not to mention they can haul greater food and drinking water stores. Galleys should focus on coastal navigation; they are more maneuverable than sailing ships and can reach a nearby port more easily when needed.

Travel speeds are historical for sailing ships, under generally favorable conditions. With less favorable conditions, which would require frequent tacking, I’d suggest halving daily travel speeds. Under adverse conditions, sailing ships can’t move or might actually drift with the wind. I lumped together large sailing ship and troop transport. I did not see the need for two types of large sailing ships. I also introduced alternative travel speeds up/down rivers.

Original D&D Expert stats (RC page 71)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Many Dwarves?

In the wake of the previous article on How Many Peasants, out of curiosity I zeroed in on an island that is part of a larger province, to see how numbers stack up in a small setting. I chose Miyuki Island for this experiment. According to CAL1 In Stranger Skies, shipwrecked Kumoshimans settled this remote corner of Caldwen's magiocracy after their fleet crash-landed there as the result of a malfunctioning Kahuulkin gate. It eventually became part of the province of Garamial, in the College of Invocations. What do we know about this province?

Province Surface: 30,880 sq. miles.    Province Population: 1,054,218 people
College Seat: Garamial (14,759 ppl.)     Main Cults: Astafeth 45%, Naghilas 20%
Races: Human (35% Gandarian, 20% Kumoshiman, 10% Norse), 15% shatim, 10% elven, 5% dwarven
Military: Garamial (town) 344 semi-permanent militia (part of the town's population)

Quick measurements and calculations revealed the following information about the island itself:

Island Area: 5,897.00 sq. miles, 60% of which is settled land.
Population Density: 36 people/sq mile
Total Population: 214,651 Miyukians 

Based on original numbers established from Garamial's demography, the island's main town, Hisetsu, is home to 12,299 folk, which includes a local militia of 287 people. The fortress of Yukimatsu houses a permanent garrison 186 strong (they are the brave fellows on the lookout for Godzilla-style visits from the sea). The total number of troops on the island adds up to 473.

Garamial and most of the magiocracy's other provinces provide a certain number of permanent troops to the High Wizard Chancellor in Arcanial (the realm's capital city). In other words, these are like "royal troops" as opposed to local militiae which are paid for and under the command of provincial authorities. These permanent forces form Caldwen's standing army.  They are typically posted to the various out-of-town fortresses guarding Caldwen's coast. This includes Yukimatsu.

I'd established earlier that not more than 3.5% of urban population belong in the military. This means that the island itself supports/provides up to 430 native Myukians (ethnic Kumoshimans) to various military roles. This falls a bit short of the total 473 troops actually on the island. The remainder, 43 round-eyed "strangers," therefore came from the mainland and are most-likely posted at Yukimatsu. If so, then the 186-strong fortress garrison counts 143 ethnic Kumoshimans plus the 43 "strangers" (23% of the garrison).

Since we know from the stats posted at the beginning of this article what the population mix is, we can figure out what kinds of people make up these 43 mainland soldiers, as follows:

19 Ethnic Gandarians (human descendants of Munaan's Nav-Gandarians)
  5 Ethnic Norse (human descendants of Nordheim migrants)
  8 Shatim (half-blood demons, mostly of Gandarian culture)
  5 Elves
  3 Dwarves
  3 Other (gnomes, fellfolk, half-orcs, whatever a game master wants)
43 Total

Voilà! You'll be pleased to know there are exactly THREE dwarven warriors assigned to Yukimatsu, the Kumoshiman fortress in the far-eastern reaches of Caldwen's magiocracy. Bet you didn't know that! The good news is that the general numbers used in the previous article seem to work still when looking at a small area. This experiment is rather obscure and mostly useless, but still interesting at least to me.  

Saturday, October 21, 2017

How Many Peasants?

I had the surprise of finding a good article that suggested averages for population densities in fantasy worlds. This isn't a new topic by any means, but one that has caught my interest during the past many years. Some of you might remember work I did on Mystara's population levels and armed forces. I had used as a starting point material published in the D&D Companion set. This approach worked well for small dominions that player characters might be building in a campaign setting. It broke down, however, when applied to much larger states. 

I then devised numbers that I could use in a more systematic manner, reflecting hex-based Mystara maps, and preserving my mental sanity along the way. They worked up to a point, though the method used involved manually counting every hex one by one, including partial hexes along coasts and borders, and sorting them by terrain type AND proximity to urban centers/water sources. Exhausting to say the least. I ended up with large, multi-page Excel files. Meanwhile, in my constant search for data and answers on a topic that isn't as well documented (or not documented in a way that I found practical at all), I stumbled across this article: Medieval Demographics Made Easy. It confirmed many of my earlier assumptions, but I had the feeling that the population averages its author suggested were too high.

I recently found another article that commented on the older one and reached the same conclusions as mine. I suggest a read through, as explanations and numbers suggested there seem to make more sense. The author quoted a set of average population densities for medieval European kingdoms, as follows:

"France has around 36 people per square mile in 1000, and peaks at about 68 in 1300. Meanwhile, Scotland has 4–8 people per square mile. Sweden and Norway have 1–4. England and Wales have 11–30. Italy has 60–95. In other words, population densities below 30 people per square mile are very plausible, while population densities about 100 people per square mile are not likely for a large country." 

MDME had suggested a range of population densities from 30 to 120 people per square mile. Notes on Medieval Population Geography suggested instead a range of 1 to (somewhere below a 100), which I interpreted as 1-80 people per square mile, deliberately aiming on the low side for my own purposes.

I decided to apply this range to my current designs in the World of Calidar, in particular the realms of the Great Caldera. The next step was to determine which real world kingdoms among those listed above these provinces would best compare with. My assumption is that this range should be actually higher on Munaan (which we know to be overpopulated). So far, the new targets are:

  • Ellyrion: somewhere near 80, making it the local powerhouse.
  • Meryath, Osriel, Caldwen, Phrydias: nearer the mid-range, listed here in in decreasing order of population densities.
  • Alfdain, Narwan, Belledor, Nordheim, and Araldur: near the bottom of the range because of these realms' topographies, vegetation, and prevailing climates.

The next step was to determine square mileages. I made my life a lot easier by relying on techniques I didn't have access to back in the 90s. Thanks to Thorfinn Tait's good work (Thorfinn drafts my maps' finals), accurate numbers can be calculated directly from computer generated maps. Armed with this, the areas of internal provinces could be devised, as well as a percentage of what land was settled (versus wilderness).

Here's a section of the current map developed for Caldwen.
Since I'm working on Caldwen, I tested this new method. Forests and mountains (which are described there as "forbidden to the common population") cover much of the land, so I defined them as "wilderness" (unpopulated), versus the rest of the land (valleys, open plains, and coasts) defined as fully settled (just 60 people per square mile for Caldwen). Once populations were calculated for all the provinces, the total population density for the whole of Caldwen boiled down to... 30 people per square mile, which is where I wanted it to be. Mind you, this still added up to nearly 10 million folk, since Caldwen is a bit smaller than modern-day Germany.

This brought up the issue of how many people actually live in cities. I had assumed up to this point that no more than 10% of the total population should be urban, counting everything including villages (trust me--this was a real pain!) This wasn't quite correct anyway. According to Notes on Medieval Population Geography, villages and small towns should really be counted as rural (they concern mostly farmers, local markets, periodical fairs, etc.) The true urban centers are large towns and major cities. This is actually a good thing since it's impossible at the scale of common fantasy maps (certainly at the scale of Mystara and Calidar maps) to account for all the villages and smaller communities that may exist in a realm. This made my job much easier, since there is a limited number of large towns and major cities in the Great Caldera. What the article suggested was about 5%.

My challenge was to reconcile the population density determined above with the number of relevant urban centers already shown on the Great Caldera map published two years ago. Yes, much groaning and cursing followed while I pulled and stretched numbers to get a workable basis. By the time the smoke cleared, all small towns had grown into large ones. And even with this, Caldwen still ended up with an urbanization rate of 3%. Ouch.

One of the established rules of thumb I tried to preserve goes back to Mystara's older standards, as regards urban sizes. See inset image on right. You may have noticed that small towns now only go up to 4,000 instead of the original 5,000 (for now anyway). I may yet increase the urbanization rate, which will result in major cities growing even larger, without necessarily affecting anything smaller (Caldwen's cities presently range from slightly above 15,000 to 18,000+ at best.)

The purpose of doing this is in part to understand how many troops may be available, at least during peacetime. This leads to another decision. Although Calidar is defined as "medieval fantasy," it is more fantasy than true medieval. In this respect, it stays close to its spiritual kin, the World of Mystara. Medieval warfare involved feudal troops (vassal knights, feudal levies, etc.) Some of this remains somewhat true in Calidar. This world's economy is mostly money driven, which comes closer to Western Europe's late 1400's if not its Renaissance period. It's when permanent armies and professional civil servants became more of a norm, more so than granting offices based on nobility or feudal rights. It's also the general style for the World of Mystara (no surprise here). 

What does all this mean? Realms of the Great Caldera maintain professional, full-time troops during peacetime. I chose this approach for the sake of expedience and sanity, the game masters' and my own. Imagine trying to figure out what troops can be levied from feudal nobility, chart-holding towns, and peasantry, during what season, how far away from their lands, for how long, how many times, and for what purpose, all of which varying with each source? Do alternative scutage fees apply? I'll pass, thank you very much. It's a lot easier for everyone involved if I just say: basic army is "X." Just add more during a war already! 

Once that hurdle is cleared, then it's easy to assign ground troops, seagoing vessels, and skyships to various locations, based on their strategic values. Such kingly troops amounted to about a tenth of a percent of the entire population of Caldwen. I know that's not excessive. As it were, that's actually an average 3% of urban population. To this, I'm adding town militias, about 10% of town populations (lightly armed and trained, for defense only). Even then, much of the militias only gather when summoned, since these are mostly townsfolk with real jobs. Only a few of them are permanently attached to the militia, to serve as guards and for law enforcement. In other words, each town has local forces under the mayor's control, plus a complement of "royal troops" under the authority of a commander appointed by the head of state (who may have been sent from another part of the realm). The latter troops definitely garrison fortresses built to control key spots in the kingdom.

That's about it for now. As I continue designing Caldwen in detail, numbers will probably shift from what I described above. The key to all this is to remain consistent across the board with neighboring realms. More computing on the way!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Calidar Kickstarter Updates

Greetings all.

A few things have been going on during the past several days. First off, discount coupons offered as part of Dreams of Aerie's Kickstarter didn't quite work as I'd expected, failing to accomplish two key goals:  the first was to allow multiple purchases, the other therefore was to bundle shipping costs. The result of this was that the added cost of mailing separate orders exceeded the value of the discounts. Fortunately, I could pinpoint those folks with messed-up orders and at least reimburse them for the value of unredeemed coupons. I otherwise handled the majority of backers' orders myself, ensuring properly redeemed discounts and bundled shipping.

Another issue with these discounts was that they did not allow purchasing privately listed titles (they should have). This forced me to list CST1 & CST2 publicly. This is a temporary measure. These two booklets will be resuming their "private" status very soon. If any backers remain who still want to exercise their options to purchase these books with the discounts offered in their Kickstarter pledges, please contact me. I'll be happy to handle their orders myself directly (forget these coupons entirely). 

A final problem with the coupons was that they were intended to include both printed books with their associated PDF documents. I was able to send the PDFs to a number of backers whose names were listed with their purchases on DTRPG. On the other hand, a number of purchases only showed customer numbers. If anyone has purchased a printed booklet and is missing the associated PDF document to which they were entitled, please contact me. I'll be more than happy to have DTRPG e-mail the appropriate download links. My sincere apologies for the hassle this created for everyone.

What else? Work is proceeding apace on CA1 Dreams of Aerie. Joe Garcia is generating internal art. Eric Lofgren has completed the cover art, shown on the left. Thorfinn Tait is our man for collecting all the pieces and copyfitting everything. Many thanks to all three! Meanwhile, I'll be placing orders at DTRPG for everyone's deck plans very soon. If you are planning on adding deck plans to your Kickstarter pledges, now's a good time to do so. After I'm done with this part of the rewards fulfillment, I will not accept any other such requests as these deck plans will become available to the public. This should happen within the next few days. Deck plans are printed at locations separate from those handling the books, which is why I'm sending them out without waiting any further (they would have otherwise been bundled with the books, in December).

Calidar's system-agnostic game mechanics were released to the public yesterday. These are needed to understand game stats in Calidar books. Some of you are already quite familiar with this material, which was introduced in CC1 Beyond the Skies. The 12-page color booklet also provides an overview of the Calidar universe and a look at its "known world," the Great Caldera. Right now, only the PDF document is available, as a pay-what-want item. Anything you decide to pay for it will help support the product line -- thank you. Digital files have been submitted to the printer for pre-press approval. A printed version of these game mechanics should become available to the public within the next 3-4 weeks.

Thank you for your patience and for your support!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Caldwen Colleges of Magic

In my endeavor to flesh out the various colleges of Caldwen, it became necessary to define what their general disciplines were. For this, I followed existing wisdom, so to speak. I didn't like the original definitions I found, however. They seemed imprecise or flawed in some way. I wrote new ones to minimize overlap, which will cause some spells to shift from what players may be used to, to new groups. That's not necessarily an issue, since Calidar relies on a system neutral way of referring to game mechanics (therefore spell names are never mentioned specifically in the text.) In and of itself, this is a design challenge. Here's the list of my definitions. Feel free to kibbitz!

Abjuration: The will to reject or deny evokes the power to block, remove, undo, dismiss, or banish unwanted conditions or creatures. Abjuration is the primary form of magic for protective spells.

Alteration: The will to change what already exists into something else evokes the power to subtly modify or completely transform a condition (metathesis), an object (transmutation), a creature (metamorphosis), or their locations (transference—generally moving away, otherwise see Conjuration).

Conjuration: The will to call forth what exists elsewhere evokes the power to fetch an object or summon a creature (generally moving toward the caster, otherwise see Alteration).

Divination: The will to perceive what is unknown evokes the power to distinguish what lies beyond normal senses, or attain a higher consciousness to learn and comprehend what lies out of reach.

Invocation: The will to bring into existence something that did not exist evokes the power to create matter, energy, and visible or invisible forces that are tangible.

Enchantment: The will to enable or disable evokes the power to bestow properties upon objects and beings, or manipulate the will and abilities of others (affecting natural senses, however, pertains to Illusions).

Illusion: The will to deceive evokes the powers to control one’s natural perception of reality, to suggest thoughts and emotions, to impair logic, to blur the limit between conscious and subconscious, and to bring to life the imaginary. Illusion parallels Invocation in that effects may be tangible, as imagination, if strong enough, taps directly into Calidar’s world soul—the very source of magic and life itself.

Necromancy: The will to master death evokes the power to control or corrupt the nature of one’s own life or the lives of others, and all that dwells between life and death. It is an essential discipline meant to unveil the fabric and origins of Calidar’s world soul, the netherworld, and the divine.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Caldwen's Wizard Towers

Having completed all the details of Caldwen's climate zones, I followed up with brainstorming about what should go on the magiocracy's map. This process helps me coalesce/solidify in my mind key creative concepts behind designing a Gazetteer. I started out with the map Thorfinn Tait generated for his Patreon, and doodled (literally) stuff all over it. Thorfinn then sent me the map's source file, with all its layers and a correct 10 mile scale hex grid, so I could switch off material I needed to change or remove. This really kicked the process into a higher gear. Working from a finished piece of art (the topographical rendering) is hugely helpful, both for practical and visual reasons. A map that looks almost like its finished version this early in the process is a luxury. Naturally, all of this will be turned over to Thorfinn when CAL2's production stage begins, so he can generate the clean, definitive version.

Among the topics on which I focused were mechanics determining how Caldwen aristocracy is granted titular domains (see CAL1 "In Stranger Skies, page 72). This led me to review and flesh out the way the magiocracy is governed, how the colleges (schools of magic) are set up, and how inheritance laws work. This created a system that is reminiscent of GAZ3 (Mystara's Glantri), with individual estates routinely bestowed to qualifying wizards, reflecting their standings in their spellcasting speciality. There's much more to this than I should expose here, but you get the idea.

This affects directly what goes on the map. I can already see a referee's version showing all the details while a players' map would display much less (especially about the actual locations of private wizard estates which aren't common knowledge to folks living in the country, let alone visiting foreigners).

Wizard towers can come in many forms. The simplest and most common is the free standing structure. It can be a traditional tower or some other elegant manor house with the sort of enchantments one ought to expect from the abode of a spellcasting aristocrat. As it were, contrary to landless sorcerers who typically work for a salary, aristocrats receive a pension from their affiliated colleges along in addition to their titular estates. One concern is moving from a private domain to another, as wizards ascend their colleges' academic ladders or (gasp!) begin the process anew in another college, and so on. Do be aware that academic achievement in Caldwen opens doors to political power.

Another common dwelling is the one buried beneath a wilderness, like a dungeon, or carved directly out of a mountain's face. Fortunately, there are plenty of deserted mountain regions in Caldwen. One might be wise not to wander there aimlessly. Wizardly aristocrats crave privacy, either because they loathe being disturbed or because rivalries among Caldwen's mightiest can be downright deadly. Making one's home hard to find and harder yet to approach is the norm. The terrain and harsh alpine climate keep virtually all commoners away. This also explain why there are so few roads and trails in the country. They connect towns, since commoners have no other option but walking or riding. The proper spellcasting sort flies, teleports, or uses some other sort of transportation. To them, roads are meaningless. No self-respecting mage would ever permit any sort of visible path to his or her domain.

Following the same thought, another sort of tower is the one entirely submerged near Caldwen's coastline. Some are intended to stand at the bottom of the sea, while others may emerge to allow visitors in or out. Private domains typically include surrounding lands, up to 15 miles radius (this may seem familiar to Mystaran oldguard). These estates include a magical dome. Their occupants otherwise rely on magic and submersibles to dwell beneath the waves and interact with wandering wildlife.
Some wizards truly dislike the aquatic environment and its inherent dangers. They feel much more at home in levitating towers. They still can exploit the land directly beneath their abodes, but it certainly makes it harder for mudane visitors to come knocking at the door. Granted, there are random flying monsters, but wizards always have ways of keeping those bay (or using them as a source of valuable components). On the other hand, weather at altitude ranges from fierce to downright deadly

Yet another style of tower can phase in and out of the prime plane entirely. However convenient, there are dangers involved with this too, as outer planar beings can be much more perilous to deal with than Caldwen's common fare. Where these towers shift to is another matter. Some may drop into the netherworld. Others may shift to other places, such as the Dread Lands, any of Calidar's three moons, Kumoshima, Lao-Kwei, Felis Minor, Canis Major, or even (gasp of horror!) Draconia. At this point, anything goes.

The thing about these towers is that they all have an intrinsic ranking. It may have to do with how close to a college's power center they stand, or whether they benefit from some special feature: a source of magical mana,  a haunting, a serving demon permanently bound to the domain, serfs 
(alive or undead) working nearby land, etc. As you may already have guessed, demons are big thing in Caldwen. However sinister the idea, remember that etymologically, the term referred to spiritual guardians and arcane servants who weren't necessarily evil. So, serving imps, devilish familiars, folks with demon ancestry, patron demons associated with towns and villages are all to be expected, along with everything a wizard might want to know about these fearsome critters and how to deal with them.

If you can think of other ideas on how to show wizard towers on a map (did I forget some other type of estate?) do fee free to pitch in! Thanks.