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Diamond
02-15-2011, 08:18 PM
This is a map I started mainly as a way to play around with new ways to create forests - the forests are two layers, the bottom-most just a simple round airbrush, gaussian-blurred, set to overlay, while the top layer is a duplicate of the bottom, slightly offset, set to soft light, with a bevel added. I thought it turned out pretty close to what I originally conceived.

The font is SevenSwordsmen (thanks to Valtharius for using it first so I could see how awesome it looks. :D ) All the coats-of-arms were done by me, using various free clipart pics found around the web.

As I worked on the map, it slowly evolved into a fragmented land - an usurper took over the throne some years back, sending the kingdom into a state of civil war, which is unresolved to this day; the Free West consists of two rebellious Great Houses and bits of a few more who contest the new king's right to rule. This is my favorite kind of map to do, one where I have no real idea of where I want to go with it, that inspires me while working on it with new story ideas, characters, and settings. Thanks to this map, I've come up with what I think is a killer idea for a novel, combining several older story ideas I've had with all-new ideas. Yay!

Anyway, hope you like it.

PeaceHeather
02-15-2011, 09:40 PM
Four things:

First, this is gorgeous - well done! Have some rep.

Second, and this is just a quirk of mine I'm sure, the wording of the map's nameplate caught my attention: "The fragmented kingdom of Gorian/including the rebellious lands of the Free West/and surrounding lands." I'd change one of the "lands" to something like "territories/duchies/kingdoms/nations" just to avoid the repetition. I'd also ask myself from whose perspective and for whom this map was made. Did the new king of Gorian commission this? If so I doubt he'd refer to the rebellious traitors as "free" anything. Was the map made in a foreign land or for scholarly purposes? They wouldn't necessarily be concerned enough to label the Free West as "rebellious". Am I making sense?

Third, speaking as an utterly hopeless nerd who has studied heraldry since I was ten, I'd be willing to offer you suggestions to improve upon the coats of arms. There are actual rules to heraldic construction, and some of your pieces violate those rules - although they certainly do look good enough for anyone who isn't me :D and they do a wonderful job of setting the tone of the entire composition.

Fourth, this is gorgeous. Well done.

Aval Penworth
02-15-2011, 09:59 PM
I love it, really great work.

Easily as good as most of the stuff you see published in supplements.

Diamond
02-15-2011, 10:51 PM
@PH: The wording is a little redundant, but not so much that I feel overly compelled to go back and change it. As for the heraldry... it's not Earth, so I plead extenuating circumstances. :D As for who created the map, I had it in the back of my mind that it was drawn by a Turren, a native of the theocratic realm of Turre. This guy is the servant/mentor of my embryonic main character. And thanks for the compliments!

@AP: Thanks!!

Ascension
02-15-2011, 11:06 PM
Honestly, I'd dump the forests...they sort of look like those posters where you have to weird-out your eyes to see a dolphin. Other than that, it looks really sweet.

Diamond
02-16-2011, 01:19 AM
Honestly, I'd dump the forests...they sort of look like those posters where you have to weird-out your eyes to see a dolphin.
:( I have to disagree with you, Ascended One. I'm quite fond of them.


Other than that, it looks really sweet.
:) Thanks!

Sapiento
02-16-2011, 02:09 AM
Great map, Diamond!

Eilathen
02-16-2011, 06:53 AM
Well, it's a Diamond....need i say more ?! ;) :D

Love it!

Steel General
02-16-2011, 07:02 AM
Nicely done Diamond...

I somewhat agree with Ascension the forests are a bit distracting to the eye, but if you like them that's all that really matters.
For me the text for the 'country' names is a bit overwhelming, you might consider softening them a bit so the "blend" better with the rest of the map.

ravells
02-16-2011, 07:26 AM
It's got a really great 'story book' feel to it. Well done, Diamond, lovely map!

arsheesh
02-16-2011, 11:05 AM
Another great map Diamond! I particularly like Heraldic symbols, and the mountains have a nice sketchy flare about them. I'm not quite as fond of the forests, but like Steel General said, if you like them then who cares what others think.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jtougas
02-16-2011, 11:15 AM
Awesome. I can see the story behind the map as I look at it. :)

moutarde
02-16-2011, 11:50 AM
Beautiful map Diamond! Gonna have to disagree with Ascension and SG though, the forests work wonderfully. They're very simple, and you know exactly what they are without even really noticing them. With the mountains being so nice and simple as well, the two really work together and give the whole map a nice cohesive style :)

GygaxLives
02-16-2011, 01:09 PM
This map is awesome! Well done, sir!

Diamond
02-16-2011, 11:23 PM
Thanks, guys.

@moutarde: Yeah, that's exactly what I was going for, something unobtrusive and simple that worked well with the mountains, rather than using tree icons, which I kind of think can tend to clutter up a map.

rdanhenry
02-24-2011, 12:42 AM
I didn't have any problems with the forests. What I really loved was actually the compass. I also liked that there was story right there in the map. This should be great inspiration as you are writing.

torstan
02-24-2011, 12:35 PM
Really nice work here. It's easy to read, with clear details and you've managed to keep the text distinct but not intrusive. I'm not totally sold on the 3D-ish crests and icons. They aren't in the same style as the compass - which I think integrates better with the map. Love the colour scheme and the story it tells. Great job.

Diamond
02-26-2011, 12:25 AM
Thanks rd & Torstan! As for the crests and icons: I agree that the city/town icons are a bit... much. The crests though, I think work okay. I tried doing them in a more flat and muted style, and they just didn't look right.

landorl
03-01-2011, 10:40 PM
Nice map. I think that the border with the shields and other items really sets it off!

Ramah
03-02-2011, 11:22 AM
Lovely map, Diamond. The colour palette is great.

Although I think the forests don't gel as well as the mountains I thought they worked well enough.

Like Torstan, the only thing I didn't like was the bevelling on the heraldry. Forgetting the forests you have quite a few hand-drawn style elements such as the mountains and the coast and nothing screams digital to me more than a very obvious bevel. They don't gel at all. I'd love to see them redone in a hand-drawn way. But that's just me.

Again though, wonderful map. :)