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View Full Version : May 2011 Challenge Entry - The Western American Empire



Diamond
05-15-2011, 02:54 PM
Since I've got today and then a long weekend next week, I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring too. I'm on a post-apocalyptic kick lately, and this one's not going to be an exception.

Having just read Julian Comstock and Fitzpatrick's War back-to-back, this map is going to draw a lot of inspiration from those two books (which are fantastic, by the way).

...and so it came to pass that after the Great Flowering of the Oil Nations, the world descended into the Resource Wars. Much knowledge from that time was lost, perhaps forever. Entire nations were wiped from the map as stronger predators sucked them dry of their natural wealth. Others grew fat and decadent on the spoils. The greatest of these was the American Empire which, at its peak, stretched across most of the two Western Continents. From the verdant farmlands of northern Canada, warmed by a changing biosphere, the Empire fed a war machine which conquered first the feuding and fragmented states of Mexico and the Caribbean, and then pushed into the vast mountains and jungles of South America.

There they bogged down in a decades-long war against their greatest rival, the United Republics of Greater Brazil. Hundreds of thousands of miles of territory were laid waste - the very land and resources the two great powers fought over were destroyed. Eventually, the Empire defeated Brazil, and its constituent republics were carved up by the victor. All of South America worth having belonged to the American Empire. But it was an ultimately futile victory. As the world's environment slid ever further into chaos, great storms ravaged the land and earthquakes reshaped the coastlines. Chaos and death were on the rise.

The Empire, growing brittle and corrupt and facing threats of invasion from the north as Russian TechNom tribes migrated over the melting remnants of the north pole, split into two halves, the East and the West. The East was administered from the ancient city of Philadelphia, while the West was ruled from the new city of Concordia, built on the remnants of three ruined cities just east of the San Francisco Bay, whose rising waters had already engulfed the city of San Fransisco itself and were spreading further.

Many thousands of citizens fled off-world in this time, to the Empire's Lunar and Martian colonies. There they carved out new lives for themselves and passed out of Earth's history forever. In America, the environment was radically changed. No longer did vast fields of wheat and cotton spread across the MidWest and the South; vast, parched deserts had taken their place. The Canadian Breadbasket, unable to fully support both the West and the East, became an endless source of contention. Wars were fought over it for decades, much as the lands of South America had been fought over centuries earlier. By this time, the Eastern Empire was more barbarian than American; a TechNom warlord and his descendants had sat on the throne in Philadelphia for years, and vassal states were falling to revolution, starvation, and plague one by one.

In the year 2412, the last Eastern Emperor, Vassily IV Marco was killed in his palace by a rioting mob, and the East finally fell. The Western Empire was the last stronghold of American culture and power. Ruling from the farmlands of Alaska to the barren ruins of the Baja Peninsula and the Sonora, the West's clone armies and bioengineered plant Sentinels kept its borders safe. The so-called Green Emperors ruled with an iron fist.

But now, some four centuries later, the East is rising again. New, vibrant nations are rising from the ashes of the old Eastern American Empire, and the West faces perhaps the greatest threat it has ever known as the great kingdoms of York, Carolinia, and Jersey unite against them...

eViLe_eAgLe
05-15-2011, 03:44 PM
D: But I like Alaska being cold... But nice so far!! :]

Diamond
05-15-2011, 03:49 PM
Thanks, Evil. Can I call you Evil? :D

Here's another update, with an inset map from approximately four centuries before the time of the 'main map'.

### LATEST WIP ###

ravells
05-15-2011, 04:45 PM
Really cool framing. You don't often see maps of just one coast of North America.

Ascension
05-15-2011, 05:02 PM
Yeah, interesting composition.

eViLe_eAgLe
05-15-2011, 05:26 PM
Thanks, Evil. Can I call you Evil? :D

Here's another update, with an inset map from approximately four centuries before the time of the 'main map'.

### LATEST WIP ###

Yes. You may call me Evil.
Im also glad to see that my home state of Washington is largely unaffected.

Diamond
05-16-2011, 12:58 AM
Another update for tonight. I haven't decided if I'm going grunge or not. I like the way it looks, but I think I've way overused this particular pattern. I'm drawing all my mountains by hand too, no matter how long it takes. :D

### LATEST WIP ###

Sapiento
05-16-2011, 02:04 AM
A cool idea!

Ascension
05-16-2011, 04:07 PM
Seems fine to me, I wouldn't change anything so far.

ravells
05-16-2011, 06:28 PM
I really like it! Curious to see how you're going to fill the black bit on the right...text?

Diamond
05-16-2011, 11:33 PM
I really like it! Curious to see how you're going to fill the black bit on the right...text?

I'm thinking right now it's gonna be, top to bottom, an ornate title box, a text box with a more condensed version of the wall o' text from my first post, a box with a few flags of various regions, a key box, and the already in-place inset map.

Diamond
05-17-2011, 02:30 AM
Update time. The basic mountain layout is done; to help define them better, I'm going to add some light shadow/crosshatching to them.

I dialed back the ocean quite a bit. Kinda like it better now, but its subject to change.

I also started to play around with some city locations. The capital should be self-evident, and the two other sizes are large and small cities. This is a time where technology has reverted back to 19th century levels (with a few notable exceptions), along with populations. A massive exodus off-world occurred a few centuries back, and plagues, ecological disaster, and massive wars knocked out a whole lot more. So with that in mind, large areas have reverted to wilderness, with the Empire having only nominal control over them. (Think Byzantium's control over southern Spain.)

For labeling, I'm gonna go all out this time. Not only are there going to be a lot of names - cities, regions, natural features, what have you - many of them will be fancy-schmancied with small banners and flourishes, a la Ascension's recent 'practice' map. (Practice. Yeah, right. :D )

Ascension
05-17-2011, 04:07 PM
Looks great, man.

eViLe_eAgLe
05-17-2011, 06:29 PM
I want to argue about how the mountain is laid about.. But I remembered this is a while into the future so for all I know the mountain ranges could have changed.

Diamond
05-17-2011, 10:30 PM
I want to argue about how the mountain is laid about.. But I remembered this is a while into the future so for all I know the mountain ranges could have changed.

Yeah, they're definitely not strictly accurate. For one thing, this is a 'hand-drawn' map, and it's about 800 years from now, after some pretty drastic upheavals.

Please forgive me. :D

ravells
05-18-2011, 05:19 AM
This look fab, really nice feel to it and great composition.

eViLe_eAgLe
05-19-2011, 12:11 AM
Yeah, they're definitely not strictly accurate. For one thing, this is a 'hand-drawn' map, and it's about 800 years from now, after some pretty drastic upheavals.

Please forgive me. :D

Its quite fine. :D

Diamond
05-19-2011, 02:50 PM
Finished all the smaller detail work on the mountains; originally I was going to add some subtle coloring to them also, but I decided to opt for a more clean look, especially since all the labels will be doing the heavy lifting for color, etc. I don't want to clutter things up too much.

### LATEST WIP ###

Ascension
05-19-2011, 03:53 PM
Very nice, very nice. Like them simple mtns, man, and colors are good.

ravells
05-19-2011, 04:35 PM
I'm with big A, that mountain shading looks perfect for this map! Great call!

Diamond
05-20-2011, 03:32 AM
### latest wip ###

Sapiento
05-20-2011, 03:38 AM
What a great update! Where did you get the border, it looks very good - simple but beautiful!

Diamond
05-20-2011, 03:45 AM
What a great update! Where did you get the border, it looks very good - simple but beautiful!

Credit to http://www.123rf.com/photo_7600280_corner-ornament-vector-set.html for that.

ravells
05-20-2011, 05:10 AM
Wow, this is coming along beautifully!!!! I *love* those mountains! (I know I've said it before, but I love the composition too).

Diamond
05-20-2011, 01:51 PM
Thanks, guys! It was a relief to finally do away with that black box... :D

Diamond
05-20-2011, 07:33 PM
Almost done now. All that's left is to finish labeling (there's some more stuff I'm going to add in that'll require labels, and I need to name all those cities), and wrap up the Key, and I think it'll be done.

### Latest WIP ###

jtougas
05-20-2011, 08:15 PM
Awesome. :)

Diamond
05-21-2011, 09:08 PM
One more update and I think that's it. I want to put some hand-drawn icons and notes in there, like someone went in and annotated the map later on. Problem is getting them to look natural without cramping the map.

### Latest WIP ###

Ascension
05-21-2011, 09:36 PM
A+ Tough one to beat.

RjBeals
05-22-2011, 12:03 PM
wow -that turned out awesome! Nice work.

Ramah
05-22-2011, 02:18 PM
Beautiful map, Diamond. :)

Diamond
05-22-2011, 10:44 PM
Thanks, fellas. I'm still hemming and hawing about whether or not to add anything else. I'll let it simmer for a day or two and see if my subconscious shakes anything out...

Immolate
06-05-2011, 05:15 PM
Sorry I haven't been around much lately, but cartography ebbs and flows like a lot of things, but I come back and see this! Outstanding Diamond! Just excellent composition and a demonstrated mastery of the kind of maps we do around here. Wonderful stuff.