View Full Version : Port City

03-11-2008, 06:51 PM
Hey everyone,

I've been working on a large port city for my campaign setting. Here is the pencil drawing so far.

Do you guys see any glaring problems? What do you think?



The Cartographist
03-11-2008, 07:32 PM
rwaluchow - My one thought is that it is too sterile, too neat, too orderly. Cities don't happen like that, unless they are planned, and even then, not really. It's nice, but it doesn't look real to me.

03-11-2008, 07:51 PM
With that many buildings running right up to the wall, this city looks like it's experiencing some crowding. I'd expect to see more structures crowded around the gates.

There should also probably be some wide empty spaces for shipyards or dry docks. A port this size would need to have the capability to at least repair vessels, if not build them entire.

How high are the cliffs? You have some major streets running perpendicular to them, and if they're very tall at all, those streets are very steep.

I like the topography of this city, and the forts on the cliffs' edges are a nice touch. I can see where this city might have been a hotly contested site--maybe with rival nations holding opposite banks of the river and building their castles in an attempt to control the shipping going upriver.

03-11-2008, 07:53 PM
Though i agree that it is a little "orderly..." If the roads and ground work were laid out ahead of time, then it makes sense that it would sprout up just as planned in the richer districts.

I would add a sort of "Shanty town" area that would be a little more hecticly laid out.

I like the island in the middle alot though. There seems to be a rather large temple next to the grave yard.

I just like the fact that I would assume those are drawbridges, and the instance of the temple there might mean the grave yard has the tendancy to "come alive", when this happens the drawbridges are pulled up and the inhabitiants of the temple help to keep them in line.

Perhaps an event that happens once a year, or whenever there is a lunar eclipse?

Anyway I like it and i'm looking forward to seeing it in color.

I'm giving you some rep for making something that sprwals across 2 pages :)

03-11-2008, 08:53 PM
Lookin good to me too :)

03-11-2008, 09:33 PM
Got a quick question for you.

How do you scan in your pencil sketches so well? Mine are turning up really bad...

03-11-2008, 09:48 PM
You've made a good start rwaluchow, I'd be curious to see what this looks like when fully illustrated.

I agree with the Cartographist that the road grid is too orderly and neatly laid out. I'd also "scrunch" up many of the buildings in the regular parts of town (excluding the wealthy areas) and increase the building density--space inside medieval city walls was at a premium and people built wherever they could (including up and over existing streets--in some parts of medieval Paris and London the crowding was so bad that laws had to be passed banning "overbuilding" on streets beyond a certain point since some streets stayed dark in daylight due to the overhanging structures). You even might want to think about having structures on the bridge (similar to old London Bridge).

Also take a look at some real and fantasy city maps for inspiration on how to lay out a grid--Ptolus, Freeport (especially the revised version), Waterdeep, Greyhawk, Istanbul, old maps of London and Paris, Rotterdam, and Hamburg just to name a few.

03-12-2008, 03:14 PM
Thanks guys,

I didn't really think the street structure was all that orderly, but I'm going to go back and restructure things a bit. I'll also add to the building density and throw more communities outside the walls.

03-12-2008, 03:18 PM

that was totally the idea behind the island cemetery. The catacombs have run deep to serve the needs of the city over time. It will be a dungeon area ripe with adventure opportunity.

As far as scans go, what dpi are you using? I use 300 dpi and have never had a problem.



03-12-2008, 04:07 PM
If you are looking for a final style, this map by Butch Curry would work well http://picasaweb.google.com/butch.curry/Maps/photo#5145768661183153922

-Rob A>

05-05-2008, 08:09 PM
Hey guys,

although I'm not entirely satisfied with it, I've finished up my port city map.



05-05-2008, 09:22 PM
A jpg or png, please?

-Rob A>

05-05-2008, 10:12 PM
Sorry, here you go.

05-05-2008, 10:16 PM

That turned out quite nice. I might suggest increasing the colour contrast between the blue water and green, as I have trouble differentiating them.

05-06-2008, 02:05 AM
Great map rwaluchow. Maybe try what Rob suggested, but I kinda like the blue/green finish. It gives the map a unique look and some good styling. I notice it is not labelled, is there a reason for that? We are looking for sharp city mappers over at the CWBP. Why dont you pop in a nd grab a city to map?


05-06-2008, 05:21 AM
I really like the composition of this map. There is something compact and complete about it. Lovely work! Have to say, I kind of like the water / land colours too - but then that's probably just me!

05-06-2008, 12:10 PM
Thanks guys,

although I kind of like the muted colour scheme, I have increased the saturation of the green. I haven't got around to labeling it yet, but I'll share when I do; there is much more work to be done in defining some of the places of interest (this will be the big city of my D&D 4e campaign setting).

CWBP looks intriguing, I have very little time for mapping these days though.

05-06-2008, 05:41 PM
That does look much better!

05-06-2008, 07:32 PM
What is the original size of the paper you hand drew that on? and what is the size of the finished png?

05-06-2008, 07:42 PM
Beautiful map, btw. Sorry.. forgot to mention that little tidbit... but I'm a fan of your work and I sometimes forget that people don't automatically know exactly what I'm thinking .... but they should!

05-06-2008, 08:02 PM
Thank you,

I hand drew and inked it over two 8x11 sheets of paper. The size of the working psd is 4998 x 4812.