Walking Fantasy Maps

I’ve hurt my knee. So, in the time honoured tradition of one making an epic journey, I will use my convalescence to catch you up on events so far.

One bright and shiny morning, my fitness group discovered a link to the map of all maps, the spreadsheet of all spreadsheets. Distance plotted, days calculated. We were going to walk to Mordor—taking heed of all warnings, of course.


It’s 1779 miles from Hobbiton to Mt. Doom. Over the past twelve months, I’ve walked 996. And now my knee is buggered. Thankfully, three days ago my party took to the river and we’re currently drifting toward the flats to the north of the Field of Celebrant. Really, I timed it all rather well. The orcs aren’t due to attack for another five days.

My Fitbit has actually recorded enough lifetime miles for me to have reached Mt. Doom and I really think that should be a badge. The badges they do offer are fun, if rooted in this world. I earned the Great Barrier Reef badge while traversing Sydney airport over the summer. I’ve always been one of those people who like to look between the trees on the side of the road, though, and imagine that I’m running between them, either away from a monster, or toward some important destiny.

Obviously, I’m supposed to be living on another world, or in another time.

So I decided to imagine that instead of walking to end of the neighbourhood—again, and when is number twenty-five going to do something about the swamp that is their front yard?—I could be traversing maps of fantasy. All when my knee is better, of course.




In my role as moderator of the Warden’s Vigil roleplaying community, I created a number of tables and charts covering the distances and travel times between map points in Ferelden. For the uninitiated, Ferelden is the principle territory in the game Dragon Age: Origins. Because I’m a stickler for realism, even when playing make believe, I wanted to know how long it would take my characters to travel from Highever to Denerim. It’s 162 miles. About a week’s travel—if you assume I’m not as fit as a hobbit and can only walk about twenty-four miles a day.

Ferelden isn’t a large country, though. In my eighteen months of walking the mean streets of Middle Smithfield township, I’ve managed to circle Ferelden one and a half times.




Faerûn, on the other hand, is huge. Granted, Ferelden is only a small part of Thedas and if I were to map my journey from Denerim to Val Royeaux, I’d be covering an appreciable distance, about the 800 miles.

The same distance would get me from Neverwinter to Baldur’s Gate.

If I were really keen, I’d map Drizzt’s miles—that elf has traveled. He’s also long-lived and extremely sneaky. I’d probably have died somewhere in Icewind Dale…assuming I made it out of Menzoberranzan alive.




I lived in Pern for a number of years. Really and truly. I put one book down and picked up another for a long, long time. I knew all the halls and holds—major and minor. I had flown between with dragons, and I had my own horde of fire lizards. Basically, I was Menolly.

When I started roleplaying online, I played in Pern. I never really mapped the distances between points, though. Time sort of adjusted according to the requirements of our adventures. Handy, that.

Taking my current miles, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 800-1000, I could have walked from High Reaches Hold to Benden Weyr. That’s pretty much the breadth of the northern continent.

Alas, alack and all that, I live here on Earth, where my miles are less impressive. In eighteen months, I’ve walked from New York to Abilene, Texas. I’m not sure what my final destination is, but I should have timed it better. August is not the time to be south of anywhere.

Maybe when my knee is better, I’ll veer north a little bit and aim for somewhere pleasant like Santa Barbara. It’s only another 1300 miles.


Published by Kelly Jensen

Writer of love stories. Bibliophile. Gamer. Hiker. Cat herder. Waiting for the aliens. 👽 🏳️‍🌈

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