View Full Version : The Docks of Haibianr

08-08-2010, 12:43 PM
Hi all,
This is a map that will appear on the inside rear cover of my upcoming adventure Curse of the Emperor's Stone. The basic premise is that the PCs have come to Haibianr as laborers aboard a ship (Scalante) - they're "Westerners" in an exotic "Eastern" city and soon find themselves in a bit of a sticky situation:

Curse of the Emperor's Stone is an adventure about an artifact: The Emperor’s Stone. While this long-lost treasure of the First Emperor offers its bearer, over time, great power, it often brings more woe than weal. When one of the adventure’s heroes, through an unfortunate series of events, winds up becoming the artifact’s “Chosen One” he and his associates quickly find themselves on a run-away rickshaw ride that just won’t end…at least until they find a way to rid themselves of the Emperor’s Stone once and for all.

So, this is the map of the docks area where the PCs arrive. They'll spend a couple of days in this area as the situation builds and then set off at some point to deal with the Emperor's Stone...and all of the folks that want it. Most of the buildings will be detailed (with at least a basic description, if not NPCs, etc.) for the GM to use in running encounters in this area. The final map will have a key overlaid.

I want to thank everyone that commented and made suggestions on the WiP thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?11272-Haibianr-docks-area-WIP). You guys were most helpful! Hope you like the map.

08-08-2010, 01:32 PM
Excellent indeed! If my reppy thing does anything worth having, you have it!

08-08-2010, 02:29 PM
Love the compass rose. Lot's of little details. This is the kind of map that inspired me to make maps in the first place. Repped.

08-08-2010, 04:24 PM
This looks real good! Well done! I have not followed the WIP so I just see the result. I love the original map and have nothing to critisize except the ship's decks seem too simple. A bit of structure would be more consistent with the rest of the map IMO.

08-09-2010, 03:37 AM
Thanks all for the comments...and the rep. Actually I noticed some problems with shadows after I posted this and so took the opportunity to fix them and a couple of other things (including adding a couple of bits and bobs that I think improve the look). Hopefully it's not *too* unorthodox to replace a map in a finished map thread.

Steel General
08-09-2010, 11:22 AM
I dub thee newly repped *bonk*

08-09-2010, 09:36 PM
wow...i only hope that one day i can create maps of this stature...excellent job, man

08-09-2010, 10:17 PM
Wow Mear - that really looks excellent! The water and the docks themselves are so nice. The shadows from the masts of the ship on the pier is awesome as well.

08-11-2010, 04:11 PM
This map is truly amazing. Just curious what resolution you create this in? The file size must be massive.

08-11-2010, 05:25 PM
Thanks, guys! Appreciate the comments and the rep!

@RjBeals: It's not so large actually. I posted it at 75% so the original is 1,700 px x 2,200 px or 8.5" x 11" at 200 ppi, as I am intending to print it on a single page but wanted a bit extra in case I needed it. The file is 89.1 MB on disc. I was working slightly larger when I started (same print size at 300 ppi) but the file size kept creeping up (especially before I collapsed some of the layers) so I reduced it.

08-12-2010, 01:18 AM
That's a great map. The docks look almost like a real photo, snapped from 100 meters above.

08-12-2010, 02:45 AM
I have one serious complaint about this map.

I keep trying to scroll off the edges to see more! You have any idea how frustrating that is????


Nicely done sir. *bowz to your skillz*

08-12-2010, 03:57 AM
Hah! That's quite a compliment. If I ever start talking about doing the whole city to this level of detail you just come on down here and put me down like the rabid dog I will have become. :) I would go quite mad!

Edit: You know, I keep going back and looking at it realizing that it needs fixes and more details: shadows still aren't quite right in several places, it needs more docks activity (and loading cranes!), rickshaws, baskets of stuff, little stone walls, chimneys, ruts in the road, a couple more ships and some small boats, heck maybe even a few crab cages or fishing nets. I might put some of this in if I get some time between now and when I publish (late fall, I hope).

08-12-2010, 05:37 AM
You could certainly do that.

I don't think it needs it. That would certainly push it further into the realm of art, but as a *map* I find this to be quite wonderful as-is.. clearly laid out, and enough flavour to give it a sense of being a real place - but not so much it clutters.

That having been said, I would be happy to ooh and aaah over any thing you add :)

08-12-2010, 09:43 AM
This is really great. I love the careful texture work on the roofs and the detailing on the ships. The shadows sell the piece. The ships sail shadows are wonderful - with those in there you can actually get away with a lot less detail on the shadows elsewhere as the viewer has already decided that that you've done them well. The feature that reall grabs me though is the waves. You've done a great job of taking the pattern of breaking waves and placing them on the map. That's just gorgeous.

My one issue is with the wall. If this is a working defence then there has to be some sort of gatehouse. At the moment you have a group of people who had the resources and the effort to create a massive fortification, but then forgot to plug the hole :) There should be some form of gate, or ideally multiple gates on a wall that size. Also, if this is a working defence then the trees would be cleared within a bows shot of the walls. At the moment an enemy can walk right up to the city in full cover. Now I hate to say that as the trees are truly lovely, but it does raise a few questions. On the other hand, if this is peace time, then the gates might have been removed, and the forest allowed to grow back.

It could do with a scale as well - especially if this is being used in a game product.

Anyway, it's a great piece of work and you should be very proud indeed. Good stuff!

08-25-2010, 03:35 PM
mearrin - i'm curious if you can help a fellow cartographer out. I love your map - and the detail you were able to achieve. I see your resolution settings above - but am still amazed at the detail you were able to get. Are there any secrets you can share on how you create this? Like the barrels on the docks, or the waves - do you just zoom in and use a pen/tablet? Thanks - again love the map - it's my wallpaper :)

08-25-2010, 05:43 PM
@Torstan: Thanks for the input. Some good points about the wall. It's not really for defense, as such, having been built more as a prestige factor and to control commerce and immigration more than to prevent invasion. The city's location makes it pretty difficult to invade by land (though it has happened in the past) and it is well-defended by sea. This stuff will get explained in the city setting book, but isn't apparent from just looking at the map. Definitely going to have a scale...and a new compass rose (the one I used for House of the Four Winds) because the rotated dragon ain't pretty!

@RjBeals: You just made my freakin' week! :) When I started coming here I saw Aerius/Terry Maranda's Carthusal (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5920-Carthusal-by-Aerius)map and fell in love with it. It was my desktop wallpaper the whole time I was working on my Haibianr city map. So, to have someone grab this n00b's map for their own desktop wallpaper is truly an honor. Thanks! And, just for you, I'm going to do a tutorial on this style. Looking around I don't really see anyone doing maps this way so I reckon I may have inadvertently created a style I can call my own...for a while anyway! I'm going to start it tonight, but I'm not sure how long it will take (it will be my first tut). But you have my promise that I'll get it finished. If you don't see it within a week please repost here and shame me into hurrying the hell up! Thanks again.

08-26-2010, 12:50 PM
take your time mearrin. I know mapping is no quick task - especially tutorials explaining the process.

And not to steal away the direction of the thread....

But my father viewed my desktop about a week ago and asked where that was. He thought is was an actual satellite image. He was blown away when i told him it wasn't.

My father is an avid fly fisherman in the North Carolina mountains. He's asked me to make some stream maps for use in his next Trout Unlimited meeting. And asked if I could do them in a style similar to your map. It's a bit of big step for me, but here's what I came up with. Basically I just opened your map in Photoshop, marque-ed a forest area (cause I have no earthly idea how you created those tree's like that), and used PS's pattern maker to create a forest on the whole page. Then I just masked out areas around the river, and some bare areas to create the land. It's a start, but he was impressed.

Thanks for the inspiration - and really looking forward to whatever tips you can provide.


08-26-2010, 01:03 PM
Hah. That's great...and quite a compliment. Looks like you did a pretty good job with your trees in that map and your technique is close to the one I used for the forest. It'll be in the tut (which I actually *did* start last night) but here's a quickie:

I used a tree texture (from an aerial photo) as a "pattern overlay" layer style on a blank layer and then just painted into that layer with a hard-edged brush. I turned on brush dynamics and messed about with it to get a brush that dropped random, blobby shapes (tip: looks better if you leave little "holes" in the tree areas...so the bevel can affect more than just the edges). After that I just added a bevel (tip: use light and dark green for the shading, not white and black). To get the shadow I duplicated the layer, added color overlay in black, flattened it, blurred it, and shifted it in the right direction. There are some other fiddly bits (e.g. getting tree shadows on some roofs, etc.) but that's the basic process.

08-26-2010, 01:26 PM
thats a beautiful map mearrin - have some rep :)

08-28-2010, 01:38 PM
Thanks, Tilt.

BTW, I made a start on this tutorial. Decided to do it piecemeal instead of putting together a monolithic document from scratch - which I would likely never accomplish. Here's the thread: