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the-golem
02-21-2012, 06:56 AM
In an effort to expand my repertoire, I took an unpaid commission to design a coastal city, centered on a river island. I haven't done much work on cities, and the current WIP is more of an exploratory attempt. Expect the design to change drastically over the course of the project. Even though the project states that 600x600 pixels is adequate enough, as it's for web use only, I went ahead and started it in a letter-size format, in case his players wanted to print it out.

For convenience, here's the description set forth by the commission:



Picture the Camwyn somewhat like Venice with a large Senatorial palace near the land side of the city and a large temple dedicated to a God of light at the center of the town. The source for the canals all flows from the temple and all the main roads in town should lead to the temple.
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Camwyn (City of Lights) :

Camwyn is a lot like Vince, it is a city of rivers and canals. It is located on an island in the middle of the Wyn River. The Wyn is broad and deep and the current isn't very fast in this area. There are 4 great bridges from the central city to the shore, two to each side. At the foot of the bridges are small towns that grew over time when Camwyn Island became to full to house anymore people. The richest and nicest houses are near the center of the island with poorer houses along the outskirts and the bridges. The workshops, craftsmen and merchants living in the smaller towns at the foot of the bridges. Camwyn is also a port and ships dock at the southern dock where the Wyn river flows into the Cinder Sea.

At the far north west of town is the large temple of Lights dedicated to the cities patron God. There is a chalice at the center of the temple, which is higher then any other point in the rather flat city, where water constantly overflows in Holy profusion. The canals all flow out from this point towards the south and east and the Cinder Sea. The Wyn River flows south east around the city.

Just south of the great temple is the open air senatorial arena where the city law makers vote twice a year. This area has the only open land in all of Camwyn and there is a great open square between the senate complex and the temple.

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angellus00
02-22-2012, 12:09 AM
the-golem :

Thanks so much for taking this project! Wanted to add a few more details. The city doesn't have walls and the towns at the foot of the bridges are open and don't have walls either. Also, if possible could the bridges be wider? They should have houses and inns and shops and such right on the bridges, I kind of picture them as so wide that they have their own alleys and side streets with big gates at the base where they enter Camwyn. I guess the idea is that the bridges were built with magic long ago, an art that has been lost to the current population.

atpollard
02-22-2012, 09:15 AM
Just my opinion...
the rivers around the city should be half their current width - to balance the flow from the upper single river with the two split rivers.
(actually, the east river might want to be 2/3 if its current width and the west river 1/3 if its current width ... just to add hierarchy and variety.)

the-golem
02-22-2012, 02:05 PM
the-golem :

Thanks so much for taking this project! Wanted to add a few more details. The city doesn't have walls and the towns at the foot of the bridges are open and don't have walls either. Also, if possible could the bridges be wider? They should have houses and inns and shops and such right on the bridges, I kind of picture them as so wide that they have their own alleys and side streets with big gates at the base where they enter Camwyn. I guess the idea is that the bridges were built with magic long ago, an art that has been lost to the current population.

Message Recieved. Like I mentioned, this was more of an exploratory approach mostly just to fetch more feedback from you. I like your idea about the bridges, and I'll definately make them wider. I've been struggling where to put the docs, and I sorta have an idea. How would you feel that the docks branch off of the bridges?


Just my opinion...
the rivers around the city should be half their current width - to balance the flow from the upper single river with the two split rivers.
(actually, the east river might want to be 2/3 if its current width and the west river 1/3 if its current width ... just to add hierarchy and variety.)

Interesting, I never really thought of this. Now that you mention it though, the west bend looks a bit off to me. I feel like it should be straighter, as it'd likely be the main river, whearas the east branch would be a distributary. Thinking about it, if I do narrow them, wouldn't it make more sense for the west river to be the wider part?

I'm not at home right now, so I did a quick MS Paint scribble to illustrate the new river flow ideas:

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angellus00
02-22-2012, 06:07 PM
Actually, I think if the source river was wider this would solve both problems. I kind of picture the island more like...

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Sorry, my paint skills are obviously lacking... if I had any artistic ability at all I lost it :p

The docks and the base of the bridges should be gated from the city in some way. Camwyn has laws against immigration and you have to get a visa at the docks or gates to enter the city proper.

Also the canals in the city might be a little wider, maybe part of the river cutting through the center of the island?

--edit---

I was thinking about this and I really think that the city is in the middle of a wide river, a wide flat island where the river more or less washed over it in areas making the canals. If that is possible? And then the ships would sail up river a bit (not much) to the city from the sea

atpollard
02-22-2012, 11:01 PM
Fantasy allows you to do anything that you want, but pre-steel bridges are generally short.
The original river was pushing a little past historic bridges.
The final sketch may be pushing the limits of even modern technology.

Obviously, you can do whatever you want - I just wanted you to go in with your eyes open.

angellus00
02-23-2012, 01:02 AM
atpollard :

Thanks for the information. The idea is they are magic bridges, wider then modern freeways, and over the years, with no room left on the island people have built houses on them and even shops and inns and the like, and then little towns grew up at the foot of the bridges as well. They would have their own alleyways and basically a street running down the middle, kept clear by the city guard. They were built with magic long ago, the current people don't have access to that power.

Lukc
02-23-2012, 02:53 AM
It looks good :) I'd just warn you to keep scale in mind from the get go, so your buildings don't turn out too large or too small or too ... well :)

the-golem
02-23-2012, 02:26 PM
Were the bridges crafted solely by magic, or with the help of magic? Maybe this is niggling over details, but for a bridge that's crafted exclusively from magic, I imagine something thats more of a land bridge or stone arch. Almost like the wizards just transmutated the surrounding bedrock into the bridge. On the flipside, a bridge crafted with the help of magic could still be made with carved stone or whatnot, and the magic acts as supernatural rebar, allowing the bridge to span longer than normal distances.

While I'm perfectly willing to change the map as you suggested in your sketch, at that scale (as I understand it) you won't be able to discern much of any detail in the island or the nearby gate towns. At best, you'd see that there was an island with canals, and that it has bridges, and that there's some gate-towns.

By the way, while I didn't explicitly say this, when I was designing the canals, I envisioned the thinner canals to be roughly a standard 2-lane road, and the thicker canals to be a 4 lane road.

angellus00
02-23-2012, 05:27 PM
It wasn't really for scale... just... I don't know. I was on break at work and only had time to swipe the mouse a few times.

Oh!! Yeah, 4 lane roads, that's about right.

They were built with the help of magic, by elves. as they built the mages worked with them to make the stones and wood all one piece, as if they hadn't been carved apart to move them and build with them. Kind of like the description of whitebridge in the wheel of time. "yet is so strong even a chisel and hammer will not mar it and despite its glasslike surface, it never becomes slick, even in the hardest rain."

------edit------

I know this is unpaid and I shouldn't be too picky, sorry.

the-golem
02-24-2012, 04:52 AM
It wasn't really for scale... just... I don't know. I was on break at work and only had time to swipe the mouse a few times.

Oh!! Yeah, 4 lane roads, that's about right.

They were built with the help of magic, by elves. as they built the mages worked with them to make the stones and wood all one piece, as if they hadn't been carved apart to move them and build with them. Kind of like the description of whitebridge in the wheel of time. "yet is so strong even a chisel and hammer will not mar it and despite its glasslike surface, it never becomes slick, even in the hardest rain."

------edit------

I know this is unpaid and I shouldn't be too picky, sorry.

Don't worry about being picky, it's your map. I had an idea that might let you have both the overall positioning of the city with regards to the island, and options for detail. In a corner box, we could put the overview as an inset, and the full page could be a zoomed up city portion, ie Center Camwyn, NE Bridgetown, NW Bridgetown, etc. Here's a hobbled example to illustrate my meaning: In this example, the highlighted (red) box in the inset would be the zoomed in area. Of course, this makes more work for me.

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I have a question though. You don't want this to be a fortified city, which is understandable, but you also want strict laws on immigration, and the docks should be seperated from the main city. If there's no barrier or walls, how would the docks really be seperate from the city?

While we're at it, lets revisit scale. What kind of scale were you thinking of for this island city? Venice, Italy? Manhattan Island, NY? I did some googling, and found some island city examples: http://www.touropia.com/island-cities-around-the-world/. I particularly like the layout of Trogir, but it is rather small by today's standards -- population is ~13000 people. By comparison, Venice has a population of about 270,000 and Manhattan is roughly 1.5 million. According to Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm) 13,000 is entirely reasonable for a Large City. (But, so is Venice at +100k as an exception to the rule).

Looking forward to your response, thanks.

angellus00
02-24-2012, 06:09 PM
I really like the idea you put forth RE the example.

I also like Trogir but I'm thinking closer to 100,000 people then 13,000.

I guess I saw the docks as separated from the city by a wall, and saw the base of the bridges that way, but these people aren't warriors, they never needed all the way around walls, the protection of Pelor keeps them safe from their biggest enemies (Theria) and they have to worry more about over crowding on the island (more or less a noble district) and criminals. People boating across the Wyn have to dock at the main city docks and gain the city that way, anyone sailing, paddling, or swimming up from anywhere else is fined and tossed out (first offense)

That doesn't mean there aren't smugglers trying to sneak boats onto the island all the time.

I also don't see any reason that the bridgetowns wouldn't have their own docks, but also be restricted on how large the ships are that they are allowed to have slips for. They also don't have the strict policies on entrance.

As far as size and layout the only ideas I have about layout is that the temple and the Senate building are at the northwest tip of the island. I also wouldn't mind seeing some type of tall lighthouse/tower built down into the water off the island, and that the bridges should basically have their own allies and buildings on them, being very wide.

As far as size, I think around 100,000 including the bridgetowns sounds about right. I didn't name the bridgetowns yet... might just call them all 'Bridgetown' as a collective, and people who aren't locals could all be confused. I really like both Venice and Trogir, I like the green area at the tip and it makes me think of the open park/courtyard space around the temple and the Senate building.

angellus00
02-25-2012, 12:33 AM
I actually just went through the docks in my head and I'll make a sketch when I get home.

atpollard
02-25-2012, 09:26 AM
What about something like an airport check point separating the dock from the city?
Each cluster of docks has an inspector, and part of being a smuggler is knowing which inspectors check papers and which just wave people past with a glance and a nod.

angellus00
02-25-2012, 01:38 PM
atpollard : That is the idea, some kind of checkpoint you have to go through, but how to separate it so people actually have to walk through it. At the airport they have, basically a fence. And since you are inside you can't go around the fence.

I was thinking something like the gate at sea world.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/de/SeaWorld-SanAntonio-933.jpg/1024px-SeaWorld-SanAntonio-933.jpg

There isn't a wall separating the docks and the city, just a big fence, and at the middle some kind of cool architectural gate. Not designed to stop armies, just enough to make it clear obvious if anyone tries to walk past and not through the gate. One person climbing a fence stands out like a sore thumb.

angellus00
02-28-2012, 12:06 AM
The inspectors would give you your visa/ receipt on the docks. They would inspect your cargo, etc etc, and then you would take your receipt to the gate where they would verify it matches anything you are bringing in.

the-golem
02-29-2012, 02:41 PM
Angellus,

My apologies, but school work kinda vomited all over my life, so I don't have much free time currently. I'm sorry that this project has momentarily reached a standstill.

angellus00
03-01-2012, 07:50 PM
That's okay. I know this isn't a paid project and the characters haven't left the first town yet so they wont be getting to either capital for a few more weeks, I think.