View Full Version : Greenwall Redux

02-28-2008, 04:56 PM
Hey guys,

thanks to the great criticisms I received on my first map I decided to remake the map and post it here before taking my pen to it.

So, do you think its an improvement?

02-28-2008, 06:06 PM
Certainly does to me. I really like the building distribution outside the main body of the city.

02-28-2008, 06:52 PM
It's looking good rwaluchow. I like how you shifted the market to the main thoroughfair and have placed (what I assume) are large mansions/public buildings on the path leading to the castle. The crumbling wall and the fields around the settlement look much more natural now.

If you don't mind a few more brickbats :), there were a few more things you might want to keep in mind. Again, these criticisms are from a realism standpoint (which is relative in a world with fireballs and dragons) and from the study of history and urban planning. If you look hard enough, you can find examples to prove almost anything, so take these with a grain of salt.

While your medieval city should not have an American style road grid (most European cities had their road grids grow from old cattle and foot paths as well as being shaped by the landforms around them (streams, hills, etc.), you should have a straighter road on the south side of town connecting the two sides of the city (just as the northside has).

There are many examples of roads with crazy layouts, but I suspect a major artery connecting two halves of the city would be more curving and have less 90 degree turns. Hyper efficient road planning like you find in the interstate system and many American downtowns was not a priority in the middle ages, but the people of the time did know the basics of how to keep foot, horse, and cart traffic flowing to and through a city.

Second, while I like the outbuildings beyond the wall (and given that the wall is crumbling, I assume whatever threat the city was settled for has been quelled), kill what I call "tv antennas". What do I mean by that? You've got buildings on streets outside the city that fork and go nowhere. For instance, in the nw part of the map outside the walls, there is a crossroads with buildings on it and one half of the crossroads doesn't go anywhere and deadends--that looks unrealistic. Meanwhile, the ne gate has structures near it, but there are also open areas nearby--unrealistic unless its been cleared for defensive reasons or there's a market/meeting area outside the gates. Most outbuildings in the middle ages tended to cluster and grow out from the gates/entrances/access points (or sites of former gates) that lead into a city.

The best way to think of a medieval city (or a modern one) is a living organism akin to a tree. The organism grows in rings outward. Just as most trees found in nature are not perfectly cylindrical, so the outer growth of a city will be uneven. Have a few densely built up blocks near the entranceways and then thin out the structures as you get further away from the city. Genuine crossroads near a city will sometimes be built up, but most of the structures will be near the entrances.

I hope you find some use out of my advice rwaluchow. Your map looks great as it is, I hope you don't mind if I snag it for a future adventuring session or two :)

02-28-2008, 07:14 PM
I like it. You've done a nice job with the layout of the streets and such, it is compact, but that is certainly no sin in a setting where you have castles and walls and nasty things outside that want to get inside.

This is not so much a critique as a question: do you want to make some of the buildings inside of the walls connected to one another? The reason that I say this is that you do find some buildings made in that fashion in this style of map, pushed rather tightly against one another. It diesn;t have to be all either, in fact better if it is not IMHO.

02-29-2008, 03:28 PM
Once again, thanks for the input.

I utilized some of your advise and now have an inked copy of the map.

I'll post again once I have it coloured.



02-29-2008, 08:50 PM
Looks good... are you inking it by hand with regular pens or rapidograph like pens?

03-01-2008, 07:37 AM
I inked it by hand with a technical pen.

03-01-2008, 09:43 AM
Okay, here is the coloured version.

Snag away, and thanks for the help.


03-01-2008, 10:55 AM
Gorgeous! Lovely inking!

03-02-2008, 05:23 AM
Thank you,

I think my enthusiasm over my first map on this site led to some hasty inking, but my further posts will surely improve.

As long as I receive this honest and helpful feedback, I'm sure to improve my skills (which IS why I'm here); thank you to everybody who has responded.

03-02-2008, 02:20 PM
Great work! I think this turned out very well. Very, very well.

Are you done with it, or thinking you will tweak and play some more?

03-03-2008, 03:14 PM

I decided to play around with some layer styles in photoshop (a concept new to me) and this is what I came up with. I think it's a slight improvement.

What do you guys think the population of a settlement like this would be?

03-03-2008, 03:23 PM
I would estimate somewhere in and around 10,000 adults or so. Not including transient populations, children, outlying farms, etc.

The Castle itself, would easily house 4-500 soldiers alone (archers, infantry, cavalry), plus their support staff (pages, cooks, skullery maids, stablehands, smiths, carpenters, etc)

Again, this is just my own guesstimations, nothing concrete.

03-03-2008, 03:29 PM

that was roughly about what I was thinking, but just wanted to make sure I wasn't way off base.

03-03-2008, 03:30 PM
What do you guys think the population of a settlement like this would be? What is the scale of the map? - I like the new sheet effects, but I think in this instance the added background noise is too much. Perhaps have a play with that and make it more subtle, smaller blobs for the ground (but the trees look superb for it)? Just a thought, but I think it's really just a matter of individual taste. I really like the inner glow thing you've got going with the buildings too.

03-04-2008, 11:56 AM
I think you may be right; I've decreased the noise a touch. I've also added a version with numbering for DM reference.

03-06-2008, 08:49 PM
You used color ink as well? I know that seems like a stupid question, but I was making sure you didn't photoshop it after you inked it... if so, where do you get your inks for your tech pens? I love the colors

03-06-2008, 09:01 PM
No, the colour was all done in photoshop. I just inked the pencil drawing with a black staedtler pigment liner; nothing fancy.

03-10-2008, 09:58 PM
I think 10,000 might be a little high for the total population. It looks like there are about 400 buildings here. Now some of the smaller buildings outside of the city would be granaries or barns, and some of the ones inside the city would be offices and warehouses, and not dwellings. Of course, within a couple of miles of the city there would be an equal population living in smaller farming villages and homesteads.

I would put the population at about 4-5,000, and as for the military, I would put the garrison at about 200 regular troops with another 200 as town guard/militia, and maybe another 300 that can be called up as auxiliaries.

Realistically, the cost of maintaining a large standing army is quite burdensome, so, unless the city is a fairly important border city (which it doesn't seem to be due to the fact that the walls are in such disrepair)

03-10-2008, 11:18 PM
I really like the way this turned out!

The coloring is awesome, and the effects you added really make it pop!

I have one complaint, and one question for you though.

Complaint: The effect you used on the road, judging from the scale of the map, makes it look like the road is sunken in about 10-20 ft! Not really anything to worry about, but just something my brain picked up.

Question: Where is the Graveyard? Assuming that the city has 10,000+ inhabintants, there should be a VERY large graveyard somewhere.

Compliments: Excellent use of color and most effects. Distribution of building is very well done. Important stuctures are varied in shape and size, for easy remembering for people like me.

Overall I'd say this is really well done. Something I would use in my game for sure!

03-11-2008, 10:20 AM

the shadow effect on the road probably is a bit much; I think I'll tone it down. The cemetery is actually the fenced in area north of town (area 39). The structures are mausoleums.

The town was originally built as a military base along a highway that was a major trading route. The wild elves from the Acacian woodlands used to raid caravans and thus the keep at Greenwall was built. The farmers and other citizens of the area naturally flocked to the protection of the fort and a town wall was built.
Since those times a treaty with the elves was signed and the need for military protection wanned. Thus as the town prospered from increased trading along the highway, the need for the standing army and wall evaporated.
Greenwall is now ruled by a bored baron who wishes for the glory days when his domain mattered militarily. He maintains his oversized keep and a standing army (one that's size and cost isn't justified), but the people have no need for the wall and it has crumbled in disrepair over the years being cannibalized for its stone. The crumbling moss-covered wall stands as a testament to an older age.

05-19-2008, 11:20 PM
One issue with your numbered version.

Your numbers are randomly ordered.

Starting in the middle, it goes right, then up and stops suddenly before jumping. Rather hard to quickly find a number if you need it to figure out where a known building description is. It is fine for Map to Key, but Key to Map is annoyingly hard if you haven't studied it before.

I would go with an order like (using the position you have marked now)
1 2 10 3 6 7 8 9 29 30 31 33 32 5 34 4 35 36 44 37 42 38 11 12 14 43 14 15 16 17 ...

And I'm sure you get the idea. Find a way to have the numbers in order snake around. That, or start at the top left, and scan down, The higher and closer to the left it is, the lower the digit. (Maybe small exceptions like the areas around 20, 21, 22, etc, the ones that make a nice line like that, number in order, left to right, even if a righter building is higher than one on the left)

Other than the numbering, I really like that map. Nice simple town, not sure I would call it a city. Have you thought about expanding the map space a little, build up a few denser pockets around the outside of the walls?

05-22-2008, 10:13 AM
I like the background that you have developed. It has a lot of character, and the map itself looks very good!

05-23-2008, 10:21 PM
Other than the numbering, I really like that map. Nice simple town, not sure I would call it a city. Have you thought about expanding the map space a little, build up a few denser pockets around the outside of the walls?

Thanks; yeah the numbering was done pretty haphazardly. I will be sure to correct that in future maps. Also, the settlement is really more a town than a city. I'm pretty happy with it without expanding on it.

I like the background that you have developed. It has a lot of character, and the map itself looks very good!

Thanks :)

05-25-2008, 07:12 AM
~8,000 - how many buildings are there? This is a wonderful map!

05-25-2008, 08:34 PM
Thank you :)