View Full Version : [WIP] Unnamed continent for Magrathean (my first attempt at regional/world mapping)

06-25-2010, 02:54 PM
Well, I was bored at work and temporarily worn out on my battle-mapping project, so I popped into the mapmaking request forum, saw Magrathean's request (here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10892-Would-someone-draw-a-continent-map-for-me)), and figured I'd give it a shot.

Like the title says, this is my very first attempt at regional/world mapping--up until now I'd only done battle maps, but I'm always up for trying something new! C&C would be welcome, as I really feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.

Attached is my first WIP attempt and Magrathean's original sketch, so you can see what I'm working from. I haven't added the political lines that he requested yet, and I guess there are a bunch of cities that weren't marked on the original map, so I am sure I'll do another revision soon.

06-25-2010, 04:11 PM
Thanks a ton for this, Joshua. :)

I really like the style. It really shows all the different terrain types and elevations. :) I only have a few comments/requests.

This part of the continent lies at the far north of the world, so the entire upper part (from about Hoftz-Kunn up) should be covered in snow all year round.

I'd rather not have the names of the races on the map, only the names of the kingdoms. I really love the red text, though, so if the kingdom names could be in that font and that color it'd be great. :) Also, Throndheim is no longer a kingdom, so i'd rather that name doesn't appear on the map.

I just realized by looking at your map that my handwriting sucks. :D Here are the names of all the places:
- Vasara is the big dragonborn kingdom at the northeast
- - - its capital is called Sva Kihlek (it means "at center" in draconic) (you got that name right)
- - - the other two cities are called Veditoa Qumado ("cold waters") and Skypeak (i think you got those city names right as well)
- Nidavellier is the dwarf kingdom in the mountains just south of Vasara
- - - Hoftz-Kunn is the capital of Nidavellier
- - - the name of the fortress/town/thing in the southwestern mountains is Xanten
- the halfling nation to the west of everything is called Fenrrifort
- - - its capital is called Littleyork (place it anywhere you like within Fenrrifort)
- - - at the eastern edge of Fenrrifort is a village called Finefort
- the main elf kingdom, which occupies the entire east and center of the big forest, is called K'zim
- - - there is a large coastal town (which isn't the capital of K'zim) where the forest river (the one that almost touches the much bigger river to the north) meets the sea; this port-town is called Neresse
- the town in the big northern river (which doesn't have a name on my draft of the map) is called Fallcrest; it belongs to no kingdom, but is rather inhabited by members of all the races and is a sort of safe outpost for adventurers, traders and travellers
- the "town" in the forest (near the river) isn't really a town; it's actually a tiny fortress/dungeon/jail which the humans use to imprison criminals and torture them (even though it lies in elf territory)
- the sea southeast of K'zim is called the Dark Sea
- the sea north of everything is called the Frozen Sea
- the sea west of Fenrrifort is called Wintermist Sea
(more names coming soon; i must rush away from the computer at the moment)

The river at the southeast goes all the way to the coast, effectively separating the rest of the continent from that little piece of land south of the large forest.

The southwest tip of everything, west of the southern mountains, isn't really the end of the continent, but the end of what has been explored. You know how in old world maps made by european sailors a lot of North America was unexplored and so the coastline was suddenly interrupted? If it's not a lot to ask, i'd like that sort of thing, please, perhaps with both sea and land fading into a neutral color (or white or black or whatever works) or whatever effect you prefer.

Thank you once again. :)

06-25-2010, 04:22 PM
That's pretty decent looking. One thing you might want to do is taper your rivers a bit; right now they look kind of chunky and blocked-off.

Steel General
06-25-2010, 04:28 PM
I like it as well - one other thing besides the rivers is the text, you might consider adding a soft white/yellow glow around it to help readability.

06-25-2010, 08:22 PM
Color me impressed. Theres some rep heading your way.

06-26-2010, 12:28 AM
Okay, added political lines and took most/all of Mag's instructions. Hopefully the political line style doesn't cause the "rainbow map" problem that he specifically said he wanted to avoid. Green is Elven territory, red is Dragonborn, blue is Human, purple is Tiefling, Aqua-ish is hobbit-land and brown is Dwarf central. I also added a big 'ol volcano to house the monstrous dragon.

Diamond: I'll take "pretty decent looking" with a smile! You were absolutely right about the rivers, I tapered them a few pixels towards the sources. Hopefully the new version's rivers fit in better, though I am worried that they almost disappear behind the political lines.
Steel General: Thanks for the pointer. I was also using terrible fonts before (I didn't have any nice scripts available to me) so hopefully the new ones are more legible. I also added the glow you suggested.
Redrobes: That means a lot coming from someone who has your talent and experience!

Attached: version with and without political lines. There are some variations between them, I was fiddling with coloring/saturation and was still working on shifting things around to make them match their political boarders. Also noticed I forgot to complete that river to block off the the little landmass south of the forest. I'll add that on my next revision.

Mag: If you want to pull down one of these images and just doodle all the cities/capitals/landmarks/things I missed on it in MS paint or something, I could slap them all on at once. Then I'd be sure to have them all where you want them, rather than relying on a description which I might misread.

06-26-2010, 05:12 AM
Pure awesomeness there, Joshua. Thank you once more.

A few more notes:
- you missed the N in Fenrrifort
- Littleyork is a single word
- You missed the Z in Hoftz-Kunn
- the two rivers in the mountainous region in which Xanten lies don't quite touch the sea
- Finefort appears as a region or country rather than as a town
- you forgot to add the boundaries between the three elven kingdoms (as is, there's only one)
- you wrote "Vediota" instead of "Veditoa" in the northernmost dragonborn village
- i wonder whether it would look slightly better if the Z in K'zim were lowercase; can we try it and see how it looks?

I love the new rivers and lakes, by the way. I don't think they disappear behind the political lines; maybe changing the shade of blue you used for the humans would help a little, though (just a suggestion; it's your call there). Would you mind adding a few more tiny rivers to the Fenrrifort area, please?

Congratulations on that snow effect; i absolutely love it. :) I also loved your volcano touch; makes the big bad dragon look even meaner. :D

I'm a little confused as to what the unnamed, square town icon west of Vasara is. :D

I noticed you did fade the southwestern end. Thanks for that. Some of the dark land-sea boundary lines are missing over there, but it's coming out great. It looks subtle enough to appear natural. :)

I also noticed that you added a greenish mist effect to the eladrin region (whose name i shall tell you shortly so that it doesn't appear as "Eladrin / Astral Sea"). I hadn't thought about that, and i really like the way it implies that the region is tied to another plane of existence without it actually having to be written.

All in all, i'm in love with that map. Can't wait to see the next revision! :)

Oh, i almost forgot! I'll attach a sketch of where some of the other cities lie (there are still many missing). I screwed up the map a little and some of the names may not be very readable, so here's the list:
- Dankirk (human country south of Nidavellier)
- Tanabel (capital of Dankirk)
- Evakyl Rilark (city in Vasara)
- Aussirra (city in Vasara)
- Westmarch (city in Vasara)
- Versveshivi (city in Vasara)
- Ibahaliira Vargach (city in Vasara)
- Usk (city in Vasara)
- Bivnixvi Teiki (city in Vasara)
- Malciv (city in Vasara)
- Vilzriquathtor (city in Vasara)
(all those weird-sounding names for the cities of Vasara actually mean various things in draconic; if you're interested, i can translate them into english for you)

06-26-2010, 07:35 AM
Okay, I think we can check those off of the "to do" list. Are there a bunch more towns in the other non-draconic areas? If so, you should give them to me all at once, and I'll slap them all on at the same time--much more efficient. :)

Think I fixed all the spellings, added the requested rivers, firmed up the coastline of the uncharted area in the southwest, etc.

I am guessing I need a region name for the second human area, the tiefling area, and a whole lot of city names/locations, maybe the mountain ranges. Again, feel free to just slap these on an image in some legible color.

Does this continent have a name yet? I could slap it on in giant script at the top--that would give me a nice sense of completion. Oh, just noticed "Westnarch." Oops.

06-26-2010, 11:28 AM
I love your forests.

06-27-2010, 07:23 AM
looking really good.. nice first overland map :)
comments in no particular order:
- The political borders seem a bit dominating, the actually make some of the land features hard to make out - I'd tone them down a bit, perhaps only have them where borders meet?
- The citymarkers are a bit big, and so are the fonts - they draw away attetion from the map
- some rivers in the top and bottom of the west part of the map still needs tapering :)
nice texturing - good job, recieve some rep from my mace of repping +4 :)

06-27-2010, 10:37 AM

You're always really helpful! I swear that each one of my posts always has a helpful recommendation from you. I'll try to implement those suggestions when I do my next revision (wherever Mags gets back to me with the city list and any other updates).

06-28-2010, 04:47 AM
Sorry for the delay -- today (err, yesterday, i guess, based on the current time) my group (finally) had a D&D session and i was away from the computer all day.

Indeed, there are still a lot of names i haven't given you. I'll send them all to you together, as you requested (below).

You missed the city of Versveshivi (in Vasara, roughly west from Usk). You also wrote Westnarch instead of Westmarch and Maleiv instead of Malciv. Otherwise, you got all of them right. :)

Oh, and you forgot to remove the "Eladrin - Astral Sea" text, but that's okay, since i'll give you the name of the region.

I love how it's coming on. It looks very professional. :) And don't worry about the black fade-border-thingy; as long as it's there in the final version, all is well.

I'm torn between displaying the "Forest of K'zirmyjg" text in another color (not red, as that is reserved for kingdom names) and not displaying it at all. What's your opinion?

I've decided to turn the two smaller elven kingdoms into a single one which spans the bit of K'zirmyjg which K'zim doesn't cover as well as the entire plains south of the forest. I've removed the border between those two kingdoms on the map i'm attaching in order to reflect that.

More names (and attached file with locations):

- Bael, tiefling kingdom
- - - Korvo Ezgh, capital of Bael
- - - Maelbrathir, city in Bael
- - - Val Kragal, city in Bael
- - - Pactum, city in Bael
- - - Thib Emäl, city in Bael
- - - Shadow City / Ethereal City, two representations of a city (in different geographical regions, as shown on the map i've attached) of unknown name which exists in other planes but not truly in the mortal world (i'd like these two city icons to be a little different from the others, please, perhaps using the square icon instead of the circular icon, or perhaps more transparent city icons, or however you think such a "ghost city" should be represented)

- Northrend, northern human kingdom
- - - Duskkeep, capital of Northrend
- - - Northreach, city in Northrend
- - - Portmouth, city in Northrend
- - - Winterhaven, city in Northrend
- - - Draigdurroch, city in Northrend
- - - Guardbury, city in Northrend

- Zelenne, southern elven kingdom
- - - Isyrne, capital of Zelenne
- - - Alberich, city in Zelenne
- - - Eltanin, city in Zelenne
- - - Lorane, city in Zelenne

- Fairun, region where eladrin cities sometimes appear (usually at dawn or at dusk)
- - - Evereska, largest city in Fairun
- - - Aleia, city in Fairun
- - - Dimara, city in Fairun
- - - Narvel, city in Fairun

- Dankirk (already marked)
- - - Tanabel, capital of Dankirk (already marked)
- - - Plainfield, city in Dankirk
- - - Fairport, city in Dankirk
- - - Amberia, city in Dankirk
- - - Eastside, city in Dankirk

- Nidavellier (already marked)
- - - Hoftz-Kunn, capital of Nidavellier (already marked)
- - - Gelderland, city in Nidavellier
- - - Kaltstahl, city in Nidavellier
- - - Neuberg, city in Nidavellier
- - - Loch, city in Nidavellier
- - - Unterwelt, city in Nidavellier

- K'zim (already marked)
- - - Nantir, capital of K'zim
- - - Neresse, city in K'zim (already marked)
- - - Irissea, city in K'zim
- - - Ayrea, city in K'zim
- - - Riverside, city in K'zim

06-28-2010, 01:44 PM
Okay, I think that covers all the cities, and I merged those two elf-zones together. Also tried to taper those remaining problematic rivers, and make some actually run into the seas that weren't already doing so. Let me know if you want me to try anything else with any of the effects.

As far as naming The Forest of K'zirmyjg, if you want to include names for the landforms (mountain ranges, forests, rivers, coasts) that would be totally okay, but I am worried the map would look a bit cramped. I could try it though, if you like. It's just a matter of throwing some text on in PS--not difficult. The only catch is, you'd probably need to name all of them, not just one or two (for consistency). I do have everything on separate layers, so if you want, say, one map with all the political boarders and city/region names, and then another map with the names of landforms, valleys, coasts, lakes, forests, it really wouldn't be a big problem. I've had fun making this, so I'd love for it to turn out just right for you. I'm hoping I'll be able to use this as a sample when trying to snatch up future commissions.

In the mean time, I've dropped the forest name off this particular version and I took Tilt's advice and made the city markers and the font for the city names smaller (kept the capital city names big though). Also made the coloring on the different regions a little more subtle (hopefully not too much so).

I was wondering if you wanted me to drop the 'political boarder' on the area to the bottom left of the map--if the dwarves only have a single fortress in that area, maybe it would be best to leave it uncolored--give the impression they are alone in the scary dragon infested wilderness. Otherwise, maybe I should tack a name on there. Also let me know if you want any labeling/titles on the map. I vote for "The AwesomeSauce Peninsula."

Anyhow, let me know if there is anything else I should fiddle with before I try to wrap up a final version! I look forward to posting this bad boy in the "finished map" section.

**switched the old images to the requested ones in the next post**

06-28-2010, 04:29 PM
You may use this as a sample for future commissions; i have no problem with that. :)

I think i'll go with your suggestion (one map with city names and political borders and another map with region names (without political borders). Is there any chance i might also get one without any text or borders (i.e. just the terrain), please?

I'll send you the landform names shortly.

I'll also take your advice on removing the political border in the southwestern mountain region. Thank you. :)

Crap, i just realized that i omitted the continent's name from the latest version i sent you. I placed the label in big white text, and then i guess i saved it in another file instead of the one i sent you. The continent's name (which doesn't have to be in white) is Droaam; as this is just the northeastern portion of Droaam, you're welcome to include whichever flavor text you think works best: "northeastern reaches of the continent of Droaam", simply "Droaam" or anything else you come up with. Thanks for the name suggestion, but, while The AwesomeSauce Peninsula definitely gives the region a whole new level of awesomeness, Droaam somehow sounds more epic-like. :)

I was wondering whether you'd mind me crediting you un a somewhat unconventional way. Besides your name appearing on the map, as it does, i'd like the story characters to be given the map when they set off on their big adventure and to be told that the map was drawn by a famous human cartographer from Tanabel called Joshua Bennett. Would that be okay with you?

A few notes:
- you forgot the black fade border thingy
- the river in the eastern end of the southwestern mountain range (where Xanten is and all) doesn't touch the sea
- the name of Veditoa Qumado (in northern Vasara) is a little too far from the city icon
- Maleiv (in eastern Vasara) should be Malciv (C instead of E)
- Kalstahl (in eastern Nidavellier) should be Kaltstahl (with a T before "stahl")
- Northrend (the northern human country) should be a single word
- Diamara (in eastern Fairun) should be Dimara
- Everska (the capital of Fairun) should be Evereska (with an E after "Ever")
- Zelene (the smaller elven kingdom) should be Zelenne (with two Ns)
- Neresse (in eastern K'zim) should be a little closer to the coast, being a port city

I don't think the borders are too subtle; they're still quite visible, and, like Tilt said, it's better this way because they don't obscure the landforms. I think they're perfect right now.

I wish i could use PhotoShop like you...

06-28-2010, 10:39 PM
I updated the maps in the post right before yours, one with fixed names (I seem to be good at spelling them wrong). I'll add the title and fix the rivers next time. I also attached a blank terrain map so you can write the different landform names on them. Things you could name: forests, lakes, planes, mountain ranges, important rivers, the volcano, island chains, barrens, wilderness areas, coasts... looks like you've got a lot of naming and draconic translation to do! Good luck.

06-29-2010, 03:38 AM
So when I opened the map I and zoomed in one of the first city names I read was "Gelderland" and I was almost rolling with laughter cause I had just watched "A Knights Tale" and Sir Ulrich is from Gelderland... Sorry, anyways thought I'd let you know either way I like it =D

06-29-2010, 04:15 AM
Beautiful! :)

I noticed the one with all the names has some additional shadows, especially in the southern and western regions. Is there any particular reason for this? I like how both of them look; the shadows especially lend some additional creepiness to the whole region. :)

Not all the names are draconic words; in fact, only the names of the cities in Vasara (except for Westmarch and Skypeak) and the islands near Vasara are. The others are mostly what i (and some of the other players) imagine dwarven, tiefling, elven, human, halfling and eladrin cities should sound like; some of the dwarven names are german words. But yes, i do have a lot of naming and translating to do. I'm attaching the landform names, but here's a list:

- the Forest of K'zirmyjg, the largest forest in this part of Droaam
- the Forest of Urroch, a smaller forest west of the great mountain ranges which house Nidavellier and much of Dankirk

mountains, mountain ranges and volcanoes:
- the Golden Mountains, the central group of mountains in the great mountain ranges of northeastern Droaam
- Kalten Ketten ("Cold Chains"), the long mountain range running from Urroch Forest all the way to the sea and separating Nidavellier from Vasara
- the Black Mountains, a mountain chain east of Wasserruche Lake famous for being made of darker soil and rock than other mountains
- the Iron Mountains, an iron-rich chain of mountains in southeastern Nidavellier
- the Scytheform Range, a crescent-shaped range partially encircling the Green Flats
- World's End, the tallest and northernmost mountain on Droaam
- the Throndheim Range, a large mountain range separating the northeastern portion of Droaam (shown on this map) from the southwestern portion of Droaam (not shown on this map)
- Firebrand Volcano, an active volcano inside which the great wyrm red dragon Ashardalon has built its lair

plains and marshes:
- the Great Northern Wastelands, the vast plains which remain frozen all year long and on which Vasara stands
- the Demonfell Plains, the flatlands in northwestern Droaam which are inhabited by the tieflings of Bael
- the Green Flats, grasslands encircled by the Scytheform Range and K'zirmyjg Forest
- the Black Marshes, the swampy lands in southeastern Dankirk
- the Plains of Zelenne, the small plain south of K'zirmyjg Forest separated from the rest of Droaam by the Lightning Arc River
- the Bloody Plains, a currently uninhabited region near the center of northeastern Droaam which has seen many terrible battles

- Wasserstrom River ("Water-flow River"), longest river in Droaam
- - - North Branch
- - - West Branch
- - - Southwest Branch
- - - South Branch
- - - Southeast Branch
- Veraae River, long river flowing through the northern reaches of K'zirmyjg Forest
- Lightning Arc River, a river resembling a lightning arc separating the Plains of Zelenne from the rest of the continent
- Perilous River, rapids south of the Throndheim Range
- Long River, river in the southeast part of the Fenrrifort region
- South River, river flowing from southern Fenrrifort to the sea
- Little River, small river in western Fenrrifort
- Main River, large river separating western Fenrrifort from the rest of the continent
- Cam River, river in northeastern Fenrrifort
(a few rivers, most of them in the Fenrrifort region, are unimportant enough for their names not to appear on the map)

- Wasserruche Lake ("Water-rest Lake"), large lake in Nidavellier
- Lake Iijärvi, lake in northwestern Droaam connected to Sailorsbane Gulf via a small river

seas, gulfs and bays:
- Frozen Sea, arctic sea north of Droaam
- Dark Sea, sea east of Droaam
- Wintermist Sea, sea west of Droaam
- Sea of Ghosts, small sea surrounded by the Demonfell Plains, Demonhead Island and the Fenrrifort region
- Sailorsbane Gulf, perilous entrance east of the Sea of Ghosts
- Smuggler's Bay, extension of Sailorsbane Gulf northwards
- Shipwreck Pass, narrow bay north of Smuggler's Bay

islands and archipelagos:
- Myvillion Tolgalen ("North Island"), northernmost island in Droaam
- Xarzith Tolgalen ("Ice Island"), island just southeast from Myvillion Tolgalen
- Vilzri Tolgalen ("Frozen Island"), island belonging to Vasara
- Maelstrom, chain of islands off the coast of Nidavellier
- Cyprus, island southeast from the Black Marshes
- Twin Islands, two long islands off the coast of K'zim
- Turtle Islands, compact island chain south from K'zim
- The Dragon's Spine Islands, archipelago extending southeast from the Throndheim Range
- Demonhead Island, large island west from the Sea of Ghosts
- Raum, island off the coast of northwestern Bael

other regions:
- correspondence with Fairun, the region where projection of the eladrin cities of Fairun in the Astral Sea can be seen intermittently

So do i have your permission to give credit to you the way i told you?

Yandor: I know. :D SInce the mountains in which that dwarven city is located are called the Golden Mountains and the german word for 'gold' is 'geld', the name Gerderland instantly came to mind. A few seconds later, i remembered Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein. It's great to know someone else caught it as well.

06-29-2010, 06:48 AM
So when I opened the map I and zoomed in one of the first city names I read was "Gelderland" and I was almost rolling with laughter cause I had just watched "A Knights Tale" and Sir Ulrich is from Gelderland... Sorry, anyways thought I'd let you know either way I like it =D

Oh man, when I was adding that city name I thought "this sounds familiar... I can almost swear I remember hearing this name before..." I couldn't for the life of my recall where. Thanks for removing that thorn in my mind!

Mag: Of course, you can include my name in your story--I'd be honored.

I think I'm about ready to slap the title on the final political map, do some last tweaks (fix those pesky rivers once and for all), and put it into the "finished map" forum, so let me know if you see any last spelling errors or edits you'd like handled. I'll attempt the landform-name version here in a moment.

06-29-2010, 01:43 PM
Oh goodness, I attempted to make the map with labeled landforms, and it didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd hoped--I guess the nice thing about trying something new is that you learn all the things you don't know how to do well... not sure if it is the font, the crowding, my color choices, or what, but I'm not really feeling this particular variation. Oh well, it isn't the main version of the map, so I guess I needn't feel too bad.

06-29-2010, 01:52 PM
I think it's the colors; the font looks fine to me. I know what you mean, though.

You know, it's not a big deal. As you said, it's not the main version of the map. I'm extremely satisfied with the one that is, and you're welcome to call it finished. :) I'd just like to know what you chose for the map's title (simply "Droaam" or something longer explaining that it isn't the whole of Droaam).

I owe you an immesurable amount of thanks, as does the rest of my roleplaying group. :)

06-29-2010, 02:49 PM

How does "The Northeastern Peninsula of Droaam" sound? I put one of Tilt's super cool compass roses on there, slapped on a title. I think I can consider this stitched up and out the door. I'm going to put one up in the finished map section without the label (or my big silly name) which might be better for actual use in your campaign, too. It has been a lot of fun helping you out with this! Thanks for the opportunity.

Finished map without crazy-huge gold label over here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10959-The-Northeastern-Peninsula-of...&p=118202#post118202).

06-29-2010, 07:00 PM
It sounds good. Thanks a ton for that!

Here's a blog-thingy where i'm keeping the novel i'm writing based on the D&D campaign:
Only chapter 1 completed and uploaded, but i've got the outlines of the following three chapters. I'm currently at my girlfriend's, but as soon as i get home i'll upload your map to the blog-thingy.