View Full Version : I'd love some advice on my first large project. I'll update as I progress.

02-08-2011, 04:40 PM
I've been running a steampunk world using the PFRPG rules for close to a year now.

The party has finally left the smaller Australia sized starting continent and they're onto more civilized lands.

But those lands aren't drawn out yet!

While they're fine with this, I'd like to get a basic map rolling for it, so that I can show them what the Eurasia sized continent looks like. I'm really like the basic ease Photoshop CS3 is giving me for this part of creation.

This is what I have so far from brainstorming today. It feels like there's too many lakes, and I haven't added rivers or anything. I'm not sure what to do here. I'm new to cartography and not a soul I know IRL is interested in giving me an opinion on it. :\


I plan to use this thread to keep updating my landmass with changes and then create a real WIP once I'm happy with the landmass shape itself.

Help me out here gang, I'd love to take any suggestions or advice.

02-08-2011, 04:56 PM
Just use some white and paint over the lakes to get rid of the ones you don't want. I'd also suggest moving the landmass more away from the edges to give you some working room. Otherwise, a continent is a continent so any is as good as another really.

02-08-2011, 07:15 PM
I don't think you have too many lakes at all. Take a look at Canada or Scandinavia on google maps to see what I mean. If anything, you don't have enough in former glaciated areas. What I would suggest is just working out some basic tectonics and continents, and studying real world coastlines to avoid having your landmass resemble a bunch of blobs. Coasts are usually a lot more fluid in nature at that scale then people generally assume (no puns intended). Also, what Ascension said about centering the continent and giving lots of even room around the Landmass.

02-08-2011, 07:38 PM
go here:
then click on the tutorials link at the top, then download some of the pdf's. I think you'll find these easy to follow with fantastic results.

02-08-2011, 09:58 PM
go here:
then click on the tutorials link at the top, then download some of the pdf's. I think you'll find these easy to follow with fantastic results.

Wow, his end result is spectacular!

Thanks for such a great link, Rj!

I'll get back to work on this tomorrow after I run game.

02-09-2011, 01:47 PM
Ditto Rythal - not too many lakes at all. Unless you're depicting desert ...

What's the desired terrain? Or range of terrains, I guess. If there's some serious mountain ranges, it's not implausible for there to be outright inland seas : with no outlet, size would only depend on rainfall across its basin. If terrain is varied across an area, bigg-ish basins that overflow to rivers headed elsewhere - that's perfectly plausible too. If there's a glacial moraine area, or swamps and bogs, well there's two wildly different climate zones that just beg for a multitude of lakes.

Besides, if you're doing steampunk, don't you need waterways extensive enough for coal-fired, paddlewheeled contraptions to haul people and goods? Inland seas for freshwater Vern-esque submarines?

Nothing at all wrong with your continent outline. Before thinking of rivers, why don't you place the main mountains, hills, plateaus, and such? Once those are in place, water just runs downhill. If your milieu includes airships, perhaps you can think of some of your mountains as outright barriers, others as just high enough to inject a nice degree of peril.

I like the steampunk vibe - I'm eager to see what you come up with.

Ascension's remark and Rythal's echo, about centering... unless you have a naval component to your game, or know that you'll need lots of room for text and such out at sea, that extensive amount of ocean might be useless to your map. On the east side - if you're intentionally not showing "the other half of the continent" are you going to need to put impassible mountains there, or a hostile empire, or some other device to focus your players away from it? Unless they're the types to take "here there be dragons" as a challenge....