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terrainmonkey
01-03-2008, 09:54 AM
hey guys

sometimes i get an idea that won't get out of my head and this is the beginning of that idea. lately, i've been working a lot with layers, border masks, and embossing (still can't get the hang of that) in corel photo paint. here is the result, see if you can figure out the continent i used as an example. shouldn't be that hard.

i'm trying to get symbols that would work for mountains, hills, forests, swamps, etc. still can't get what style i want yet. anyway, if anyone has any thoughts or ideas, let me know. i'm kind of stuck until i figure out a few things:

1. what style of map i want to do. old? atlas? new? FR? old Greyhawk? i dunno.
2. scale. i'm still working that out as well. i'm tempted to go 1 inch = 100 miles. that's about average, i guess.
3. since i'm thinking that this is going to be a map for the new 4th edition, i kind of want a lot of wilderness, with a few scattered duchies around. maybe a small kingdom, but for use with the "tiny points of light" dogma that WOTC is doing for 4th ed.

anyway, you guys have always given me some great ideas here, and also if you want to use this as a base to show me what could be done, go ahead. i'm open for all suggestions here. thanks!

su_liam
01-03-2008, 11:45 AM
Wouldn't call that a continent, really. I once based a fantasy world on the isle of Sodor. The Hackenbeck Horror, The Dwarven City of Culdee Fell, The Catacombs Under Kirk Machan, not to mention Tidmouth which was positively Lovecraftian. I love that place!

Baziron
01-03-2008, 02:27 PM
Heh. You could have fooled me, but being European, I can recognize England even at 90į degrees. I once did a tabletop campaign map with an top-down map of Denmark.

Anyway, 'bout the scale: Maybe it's easier to just say "Hm, I want this roughly equal in length to Europe", then figure out the appropriate length and take it from there.

It will circumvent what happened to me: That you placed spots on the map and then had to decide how away they were from each other...

Redrobes
01-03-2008, 06:03 PM
Arrrgh... I'm feeling as though I am being pulled westwards !

;)

Seriously tho, Just fill me in a little on this 'tiny points of lights' bit... I haven't been riding the 4th ed hype wagon much.

thebax2k
01-03-2008, 08:35 PM
*Threadjack On*

The phrase "tiny points of light" refers to the assumption and tone 4th ed. will have. Its pulled from the Wizards/Gleemax site where one of the designers stated:

"one of the new key conceits about the D&D world is simply this: Civilized folk live in small, isolated points of light scattered across a big, dark, dangerous world. Most of the world is monster-haunted wilderness. The centers of civilization are few and far between, and the world isnít carved up between nation-states that jealously enforce their borders."

As someone whose been playing D&D since the 80's, I'm not very fond of that assumption at all. I've enjoyed Wilderlands of High Fantasy and other "desolate" settings, but I get greater enjoyment of having civilizations, kingdoms, and nations to use as props and background dressing--spy for this country, fight on behalf of that one etc (heck, Paizo is having an rpg designer search contest where one round involved designing a country--my favorite entry was a theocracy ruled by the severed head of its deity). However, I don't want this thread to turn into a rant against 4th ed., so back to the maps.

*Threadjack off*

To answer Terrainmonkey's original question, there are several mapping styles I like: the Harn style of maps are distinctive and nice to look at, Forgotten Realms I find to be quite colorful, and if you have the cartographic mad skillz, the Eberron style of maps are nice as well.

Whatever style you choose Terrainmonkey, I would give the map some type of dark flavor/tone. I'm not necessarily thinking of Ravenloft, but if the heroes in your campaign are tiny points of light in a great dark, the map should subtlety reinforce that notion.

OneSeventeen
01-03-2008, 11:21 PM
In fact... Plan in inaccuracies. Maybe lay down some text that says, "Flabbanabba Mtns." Or whatever, but no symbol because people mostly know that they're, you know... over there... ish. Or just have wide spaces where the only markings are, like, "Werewolves" or maybe nothing at all. Certainly have ruins and such that're unmarked (on the player map). Fail to put a fork in the road down and when they come to it... who knows? Or put a road on the map that, really... isn't, well, a--to call it a path might be generous. It doesn't have to be in a deep dark forest, either. In the middle of a wide open plain that can be just as confusing and signal your distance from civilization.


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terrainmonkey
01-04-2008, 09:54 AM
okay, here it is, with woods and mountains. multiple copy pasting of both, as you can see. hopefully there is not a lot of redundancy, if there is, let me know. for some reason, i don't seem to like anything i've tried up to this point. even this somehow is failing to me. anyway, opine if you want.

OneSeventeen
01-04-2008, 09:59 AM
Maybe its just me, but those symbols suggest to me a scale totally different from what I had assumed you'd be using based on the detail of the coast lines. In any case, if I were you, I'd go in and very carefully erase entire tree symbols, rather than have them cut in half near coast lines and where the mountains start. Just a couple of thoughts.


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Baziron
01-04-2008, 02:21 PM
I think that, if the coastline was blackbordered, like the mountains are, then they moutains/trees would fit in better, but I doubt it works so well with the shore...

terrainmonkey
01-04-2008, 07:55 PM
okay, all this work, done. the trees and mountains are gone. i'm going with a bevel emboss look, trying that perhaps. i don't know. i'm confused. help me......

god i wish i had photoshop. :(

terrainmonkey
01-05-2008, 09:25 AM
okay, so i was playing with textures and found one i liked. here's an update. next comes the rivers.

OneSeventeen
01-05-2008, 12:22 PM
I like the forests. If you wished, they could stand to have some internal texture, but I don't think that's necessary. I notice there are light and dark areas. Are these mountains? If so, they definitely need to stand out more. Also, I'd say that internal texture is necessary for mountains of this style.

What program are you using for this? Whether it's GIMP or not, you might find this section (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=9518&postcount=13) of RobA's tutorial useful.

I think you're on the right track with this idea.


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terrainmonkey
01-06-2008, 02:09 AM
okay, here's one with the mountains better defined, and the rivers. i might do something with the woods, but right now i'm happy with them as a whole so maybe if i get really anal about it i'll work on them.

i'm using coreldraw 12. with a wacom tablet and a lot of trial and error. i must have gone through about 8 dozen looks before settling on this one.

next comes names and settlements. i'm thinking of a grid overlay with this one. i'm scaling it to 1 inch =100 miles, with small duchies and fiefdoms scattered all over in the more fertile areas. the rest will be uncharted wilderness.

thebax2k
01-06-2008, 10:17 AM
Great map Terrainmonkey, it looks very sharp and colorful. Good alteration of "realworld" terrain.

The only criticism/point that I notice about the map is that when you look at it fullsized, the edges of features (forests, the shore of the landmass) look very "fractally" and speckled. If that's the look you're going for, great, but I think the map would look better if there were some way to smooth out the edges.

OneSeventeen
01-06-2008, 11:40 AM
I dunno. I think the fractal edges are alright. Now I'm harping, but I think the mountains could stand to be rougher still. Or at the very least darker brown. My eye has a hard time distinguishing them from an "aged paper" effect.


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terrainmonkey
01-12-2008, 09:44 AM
okay, here's what happened. i took the original map, cut into 4 sections and am now doing the labelling.

here is the southwest quadrant. i'm liking the soft pastel look, and the outline of the coast gives it a bit more contrast.

ravells
01-12-2008, 01:57 PM
I really like the fractally edges to the forest. Really nice.

Gamerprinter
01-13-2008, 03:24 PM
TM - you're getting good at this! The labeling brings lots of life to the map.

terrainmonkey
01-13-2008, 08:54 PM
okay, here's the finished map of the southwest quadrant. i changed a few things, added some more, and there you go. next is the northwest quadrant, which will probably be bigger. comments are always welcome, suggestions too.

ravells
01-14-2008, 06:24 AM
Lovely textures and a great result!

pyrandon
01-17-2008, 10:35 PM
This is wonderful! I very much like the subdued transitions between forests and land. Great work, This may be your best yet!

terrainmonkey
01-19-2008, 09:00 AM
okay, here's the north west section. thanks for the praise, folks. i'm really making an effort to push the limits and learn new ways to make maps. next are hand drawn maps on parchment paper to give out as player handouts. i'll do one of those in a few hours just to show what i'm thinking.

terrainmonkey
01-20-2008, 09:42 AM
here's a player map i designed using a scan of a sheet of notebook paper i had burned a bit. the PCs in my regular game got transported to this world and found a diary of a pirate captain. this is going to be one of the pages.