View Full Version : July Entry: Nexus of Fire

07-09-2010, 03:51 PM
Thought I'd get a placeholder up here for my intended entry. Looks like someone already grabbed "Earth," so next up is fire!

I figured that the logical place for the power of fire to flow out of the earth is, of course, a volcano. This much is obvious (so much so, wasn't it
one of the examples in the description?) but I got my mind thinking about how one would harness flame--the wildest of the elements.

I've decided that the Pyromancers who embrace and worship the consuming power of fire would not so much try and harness it (why, that would be disrespecting the raw force of nature) but rather would choose simply to devote themselves to stoking the flame, consequences and goals be damned--even at the risk of being consumed themselves (indeed, this would be considered a worthy way to go).

So, the basic layout is this: The pyromancers have established four (for lack of a better word) temples. Just as smoke (fire's offspring) winds upwards into the sky, so too do the temples gradually rise up the sides of the volcano, each at a higher and higher elevation. The higher and closer to the locus the temples get, the more powerful their connection to element.

Farthest from the smoldering peak lies the Temple of Ash, where visiting mages and adventurers are allowed to come bask in the heat and learn what they can. Bandaged mages in red robes prevent any outsiders from progressing, but the initiates of the order may continue up the mountainside to the Temple of Embers, in which lies a vast repository of arcane knowledge. Above this structure sits the Smoldering Spire. It appears to be the oldest structure on the mountain, and no one knows how tall it once was--the layers upon layers of cooled magma have long since encased the base of the tower--it is anyone's guess how deep into the volcano it truly goes or, indeed, if one descending the tower into the rock would ever find a bottom. Almost nothing is known about the mad mages who reside here, nor the armored sentries that stand vigilant atop the battlements, their soot-covered armor making them appear as shadows against the smoke-filled sky. Only the blades of their halberds glitter in the red glow of the mountain, seeming themselves to be glowing with heat.

Nothing can be said of The Fortress of Flame but whispered stories of a blackened throne and the King of Fire, whose charred-black face haunts the nightmares of every child in every village within view of the vast plume of smoke that stretches into the sky.

It is known that this order will one day be consumed by the angry Mountain, but indeed, like a wildfire, it is difficult to extinguish: curious wizards and sorcerers tempted by the consuming power will always return to rebuild, to stoke the furnace--is has happened before and it will happen again.

07-09-2010, 06:40 PM
Wonderfull lore!

07-09-2010, 10:14 PM
Excellently told!

07-10-2010, 01:03 AM
Absolutely love it! Can't wait to see more of it with such a vivid description.

07-10-2010, 02:11 AM
Working on the volcano itself...

07-10-2010, 02:23 AM
looking really good - good height on it ... like the orange glow on the inner walls, but somehow I'd expect the lava to me more smoldering :)
and nice backstory :)... elequently put.. you should teach english :)

Steel General
07-10-2010, 08:44 AM
A fine start.... volcanoes can be tough.

07-10-2010, 09:14 AM
some good stuff happening here too. I am curious about the height of the volcano because just one spiral trail around it makes either the "trail" too steep to be easily passable or the height is not that significant... then again, maybe we are only looking at the very top of the volcano... love the looks of this one though. bet you are getting tired of looking at volcano pics.

07-10-2010, 11:50 AM
Thanks for the comments on my off-the-cuff lore, guys. I like to write (definitely my strength over mapping) and since I like comic books and RPGs, I kind of like embracing the "low fantasy" cliches and trying to develop them into something fun.

mmmmmpig (did I get the right number of M's?) you do have a point, I didn't really think about the size of the volcano. I have hiked a fair number of them in my time, and the ones I have been up tend to be really wide and relatively short, compared to mountains. As a locus for fire, this would probably be of pretty epic size though. Hopefully adding the buildings will give it a nice sense of scale... Hm. I'll consider smaller, more winding paths, but I'd be sad to let the symmetry of a spiral path go. Thanks for the advice.

Tilt - thanks, as always, for the encouragement and the kind words. I know I should probably be doing the 'lite' map challenges before stepping up to play with the big boys here, but this subject interested me a lot more. I almost did the lite challenge with a map of a modern day, inconspicuous suburban house with a basement 'kill room' a la Dexter. I guess there are no rules that say you can't participate in both... darn it, I already have too many projects going on! As for smoldering, I think I have some ideas for that. I'll finish up the basics before I do the dressing though... :)

SG - thanks! This is the second volcano I've mapped (the other was a tiny tiny one for the Droaam regional map) and you're right. They are always fun though!

I tried to taper the road a bit to give a sense of height, also roughed up the rock a little to make it look a little less smooth. I'll focus on the buildings next...

07-10-2010, 11:54 AM
You might try a little blur to the base of the Volcano and more clear and sharp near the mouth. That might look good and add more depth to it....just depends on if you are going for photorealism or usefulness.

07-10-2010, 03:12 PM
Excellent call, Jaxlion. I'll have to add that at the very end, but I included the effect it in this WIP post to see what you think (and if I did it right).

Did a couple buildings and the big platform, suspended by chains, hanging over the middle of the 'cano. I put an enormous crystalline... thing in the middle as a focus point for the energy. Not sure I like it, might remove it later.

Added a weird effect on the edge of that center platform too--made it wavy and a bit blurry, hopefully to make it look like the air is superheated. I also decided I'd add giant braziers on the top of each building, going up in number as they ascend, to give a sense of increasing power/importance/connection to the element.

07-10-2010, 03:26 PM
RE: a bit too much of the water ripple effect on the lava I think. It should behave more like a thick mud than a liquid, and be opaque. So far the overall effect of the project is very convincing.

07-10-2010, 03:48 PM
in a lava shield volcano such as this one (one that is low and actively flowing with a runny liquid lava, like in Hawai'i {as opposed to a cinder cone or a something else}) you might want to have an active lava run out of the caldera (maybe it goes underneath on of the outer temples). That makes the volcano caldera be a bit more stable and also makes the volcano type be low and relatively flat. Anywho... maybe the magma in the caldera should have some crusty areas as well. dark/black with cracks along it etc...

I love this idea, and I think you are going about it really well. Great stuff

07-10-2010, 08:29 PM
What Pig said, your lava needs more color variation as right now it's just red, yellow and some white.

07-11-2010, 12:46 AM
Thanks for the input guys. I can't seem to make (or find) a texture I am entirely happy with for the lava... What do you think of this one? Tried to add more color variation without making it look watery/transparent, also tried to add rough cooled 'skins' or rock on the top (like on pudding!).

I think those are all the buildings I'm going to add. Now that all the elements are there, I can figure out what I do and don't like...

07-11-2010, 12:43 PM
I really liked Gameprinter's border thing, so I thought I'd try including informational stuff too. So, I whipped up some burnt parchment texture and stuffed all that silly lore I wrote onto it, along with some desaturated versions of the buildings...

07-11-2010, 02:26 PM
Good idea but you might want to shrink things down cuz those sides panels overwhelm the mappy bit in the middle. Super cool, though.

07-11-2010, 02:43 PM
Your shadows are going every which-way. Shading on the mountain itself, shadows cast by buildings on the ground, by features of buildings on the buildings and by chains etc should all conform to the same angle and relative height. Remember that a 20' tall building casts half the shadow of a 40' tall building. Shadows cast up a slope are shorter, down a slope are longer. Also, the sun may be your primary light source, but be conscious of others. All of those fires and the lava create light as well. I would pick a light angle for your primary source and stick with it. It will make your map easier for the brain to accept.

07-12-2010, 12:02 AM
Ascension - Thanks for the encouragement. I have no idea how/if I will fit the papers onto the final map, but you're absolutely absolutely right--the map should not be 1/3rd of the image... hmm.

Immolate - You're right! Thanks for calling me out on that--I am going back in and attempting to fix that now.

07-12-2010, 02:42 AM
That looks really cool.. eh.. hot ;) ... one thing that struck my mind is the size of the path - its rather wide in comparison to the buildings (and the volcano), maybe you could have it 1/3 - 1/4 as wide but instead circle the volcano 1-2 times more? :)

07-12-2010, 10:44 AM
I would also add a strong rim highlight to the caldera openning, as it is the edge of the volcano lip is a bit muddied. I agree with the above posts as well. This is really shaping up well though

07-12-2010, 11:35 AM
Mmmmmpig - Good call. I'll see about adding more highlight. I am still thinking about how/where to add some lava leaking out the side, as per your suggestion--it might add some color which is one thing this map is really lacking.

Immolate - I think I've made everything more consistent. If you still see anything that looks wrong, please call me out on it.

Tilt - Also a good idea. I've shrunk the path in this new version and looped it around beneath too.

Took some of the sage advice of the forum members, corrected some spelling errors (thanks StillCypher) also trying another configuration for the parchment thing on the side.

Steel General
07-12-2010, 04:25 PM
Here's a volcano that I did a few months back <CLICK ME> (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7061-September-Entry-Unexpected-Int-Eruption), if nothing else maybe it will give you a little inspiration

07-13-2010, 08:35 AM
That's really nice, SG--definitely impressive.

Half of me wishes I'd done a scale that included more of the volcano, maybe some rocky desert around the base, but too late to turn back now...

07-13-2010, 04:27 PM
Maybe not, just create a new document of the size you wish for and drop this down in the midst of it and go to town. You can always scale everything down later if you need to? At least theoretically that's how it could work. I'm not really experienced enough to say for sure but I'm willing to let you find out for me, LOL :)

07-13-2010, 04:45 PM
Hot damn!:D
(I can't really call this "cool", it's giving me sweats just looking at it!!! )
I think shadows would be the big issue for anyone here, the balance between external light and the light from the volcano itself... with those balancing against the "darkness" for emphasis.. It's really well done!

Aval Penworth
07-15-2010, 08:37 PM
Jeepers RE! You are getting really good!

07-16-2010, 12:04 AM
Aval and Crayons -- I really appreciate the encouragement. I still spend most of the time thinking "I have on idea what I'm doing." :)

07-16-2010, 02:45 AM
I have to say it -- this looks flamin' awesome. :D

Love the description/story, too, but you might want to check some spelling. ("...is has happened before." "Though it seem that no living man..." "...leads up the the very lip.." "...reletively..." "... the volcanos eruption...") :o

07-16-2010, 08:36 AM
Thanks, StillCypher! I'll fix those up for the final image!

07-20-2010, 02:04 PM
Dark, broody and full of atmosphere! Great entry, RE!!

07-26-2010, 10:15 PM
Thanks Ravs! Okay, this is the last update, I think. Really enjoyed this challenge a lot!

### Latest WIP ###

07-26-2010, 10:34 PM
Looks great, RE! Love the textures.

Aval Penworth
07-28-2010, 09:43 AM
Fantastic work dude. I LOVE it.