View Full Version : Redo of an RPG city

09-15-2011, 08:06 AM
Hello folks,

I'm currently planning a campaign but unfortunately the map provided by the sourcebook is less than terrific. It is just too small- how would you squeeze 5000 people into 80 houses and call that a major city? (Due to copyright I cannot show you the original map, I'm sorry, but trust me- it looks like a deserted little village and not like a city)
So I decided to come up with my own map of the town. I tried to change some of the most important things:

-make it bigger
-give it a scale
-make the Roman-like culture that founded the city more visible (e.g. grid-like street layout)
-lighten the whole thing up so players can write on it (original was pretty much grey over a greyer grey)


So here's what I've come up with so far. I think I'll make a coloured version just for the sake of pretty pictures, but I'd really like to know what you think should be added to enhance usefulness for players (apart from the scale on which I'm working! for a measure: the forum in the middle is about 100 metres long and 50-60m wide) I consider changing the water but I don't know whether to make it dark and the land white, or vice versa, or something completely different. What do you think?

09-15-2011, 08:22 AM
This looks really good! What software did you use?

I think it looks great in grayscale as you have it now, with the water dark and the land white.

09-15-2011, 08:25 AM
Photoshop, as usual. I considered drawing it by hand but then I would've had to know the exact shape of the street layout and stuff...

Would you make the water darker? Atm I don't like the contrast. I have also added shadows to the roofs but I'm not sure whether to include them or not- might become difficult to write on it when half the house is grey.

09-15-2011, 09:08 AM
Wow it was so crisp it looked like it was drawn in vector, hats off to you!

You could darken the water....maybe add a bit of monochrome noise to it to give it some texture?

09-15-2011, 09:18 AM
No, I've never settled my differences with Illustrator. It just never does what I want it to do. Photoshop is the only tool I can handle, but I'm glad it doesn't look to bad either.

Noise sounds like a good idea, I'll try that one once I'm done with going colour-crazy on the other version of it ;)

09-15-2011, 09:49 AM
I only add that you really made it looked as a roman city. Words from a Ancient History Teacher =). Congrats!

Goblyns Hoard
09-15-2011, 09:50 AM
Really like the map - and the vector-like style you've gone with - I think that will make it really useful as a player aid that they can scribble on or colour code to mean things. My only thought is actually dependent on the setting a bit - I'm making an assumption from the RPG in the heading and the walled town with keep, etc. that its a fantasy setting. For me the grid structure that dominates the town just looks odd for a fantasy setting. I would have expected more of it to be disorganised, having likely gone through a more organic growth process rather than being a laid out town. Maybe the setting is a bit more organised than I'm thinking, or maybe it's not even a fantasy setting, so it may be entirely invalid, but thought I'd mention it.

09-15-2011, 10:18 AM
Actually it's a mixture of Medieval fantasy and Roman times. The original map was far too fantasy-ish for my taste, so I changed as much as I could, but I couldn't just remove landmarks, e.g. the fortress. The setting is not 100% historically acurate, so the map is stuck between the two extremes. Can't help that :( But thanks for mentioning it so I could point that out.

@Mateus: Thanks :) I watched the Yale lectures on Roman architecture a while ago (they can be found somewhere in the resource section of the forum). They really helped a lot!

09-15-2011, 04:53 PM
The only thing I think you could do is add the ole "important places" markers with a legend/key. I like the water as is if you intend for people to write stuff on it. You could do some light shading to enhance elevation but not real important. I'm with Goblyn there, it looks very rigid and not very organic. It looks planned out instead of natural growth of a city. To fix that all you need is a few more angular streets and some curvy streets.

09-15-2011, 05:00 PM
The streets have to be planned, the Romans (aka their ingame equivalent) just plan their cities this way. I already added some curvy streets in the bottom right corner, but they main impression should stay that of a Roman city.

Goblyns Hoard
09-16-2011, 07:08 AM
Ahh - with a 'Roman' town then yes you would get much more planning and organisation of the layout - makes perfect sense. So other than a legend as Ascension mentioned it's looking really good. One thought - do they cremate their dead? Can't see a cemetary anywhere - though that may not be needed. Always like to have a nice clear cemetary on my city maps - where else can the local necromancer source his body parts.

Entirely irrelevant aside - this would be a good arguement for cultures in magical worlds adopting cremation.... no more 'corporeal' undead.

09-16-2011, 09:44 AM
The fact is that people living by the seaside prefer to be bury "in the sea", and those who can afford it are cremated and placed in urns in the homes of their families. It is actually due to the "popularity" of necromancers throughout the country that this measure was taken. Perhaps there are leftovers of the original cemetery, but I don't want to indicate that on the map- some things are best not discovered by gamers ;)

09-16-2011, 04:52 PM
Here comes my next draft: Colour! And some minor atmosphere items (trees, boats, grass) to spice things up a bit. I'm not entirely satisfied with it yet, but I cannot really figure it what still puzzles me about it. Anyway, I guess I'll start lettering now.


Sorry for the file size, still working on that problem. Guess that's the occupational hazard of working with PS...

09-16-2011, 05:56 PM
oooooooohhhhh.......I'm sorry to say this, I'm really sorry....but the grayscale version looks miles better to me. Just my pov of course!

For me the grayscale one looks really sharp, with the colour it looks clunky :(

And I'm sorry....because I can see the amount of work you've put in the shading.

09-16-2011, 06:06 PM
Shading was actually pretty easy oO I also like the greyscale better for playing, this is more like a test of styles. Sad you didn't like it.

09-16-2011, 07:37 PM
question, why use pdf, and not jpg, png or whatever, for showing your map here? Besides that, very nice work.

Goblyns Hoard
09-17-2011, 05:53 PM
I agree with Ravells - I like the grayscale style more - maybe it's that old school, simple feel to it, I don't know. But as a player aid I think it's the better option. Not that I dislike the new one, just the preference.

As to some comments on the coloured version... I really like the fields and the other out of town areas, but in town something looks odd, and like you I'm not sure what. I think it might be the roads - maybe a little bit of a cobblestone texture or something on them just to put them more in line with everywhere else where colours have at least some variation. And the sharp line between the light grey of the streets and the dark grey of the quay-side looks a little odd - is it supposed to signify something?

A part of me wonders why the town hasn't fortified the uncultivated hill just east of the keep - seems the obvious place for an enemy to try and mount siege weapons to me. Might be worth a small tower? Though that may also be constrained by the fact you're fitting this map into an existing setting.

Alorin Dawn
09-19-2011, 03:27 AM
The original city you speak of must be Loudwater in it's D&D 4th edition craptastic map.