View Full Version : [Unpaid] Help finishing my DnD setting map

08-03-2012, 10:37 PM
So I've learned a lot from these forums, and the attached map is an example of that, but I find myself uncertain where to put the rivers, and I know I need rivers. So basically, what I'm looking for is someone to help figure out realistic places for rivers. The patch of water in the bottom right corner is an inland sea. I can provide a full Gimp file with all the layers if you want to give me your email, but I don't know if that's necessary. This is a regional map.


08-03-2012, 11:12 PM
Well, start with that mountain range, and have said river flow to the coastline. Think of the river flowing from high to low. Pretty much anywhere will do, as long as they don't branch off or go uphill. You can have multiple rivers start at your mountains and converge, so that 3 start, but join into 1 river by the time they reach the coast.

We have a whole stickied thread about this topic too (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3822-How-to-get-your-rivers-in-the-right-place)

08-04-2012, 12:35 AM
Yeah I saw that, but it still just felt like too much uncertainty, and I'd like the help of someone more experienced.

08-04-2012, 01:31 AM
I'd say just try something out. Then show it to us. Go ahead and ask "do these look right?" If there is something wrong we'll tell you. You can make a layer just for charting river courses. Then if you want to change something, you can do so without messing anything else up. But I definitely suggest trying something out.

08-04-2012, 10:55 AM
Not that I'm more experienced... but here's what I'd do, basically. Started with your major snow caps on the mountains (aside from direct rain and ground springs, snow melt adds a lot of water to river systems) and tried to follow the contours of what looks like low spots on your map. And a lake/pond/bog where there seemed to be a depression. And it's not perfect, obviously. But as for rain, prevailing winds will have a say in which side of the mountain range is most wet. Depending on how tall your mountains are, they might be pretty similar (tall mountains catch rain water and create a 'rain shadow' on the far side, so it's drier). But nit-picky little details aside (sounded like you wanted them), Sera-H has it; start from the mountains and go downhill. ;)


And if you can't open the psd file...

08-04-2012, 06:39 PM
thanks Chasio, using what you showed me as inspiration, I tried my hand at the rivers (getting in real close to find the contours of the land), and then scrapped that and tried again to get a couple features I specifically wanted (mainly adding more space between the mountains and the bottom river in the unforested land. So, I now throw up my creation for critique and advice. Also, I'm thinking of putting a huge network of rivers converging into a giant one on the land mass in the north west corner, since that's where my viking elves are, and it would make sense for them to have a river network and raid each other before they created sea-worthy craft.

08-05-2012, 12:13 PM
Looks good. Suggestions: Try to taper the beginnings of the rivers some (looks like you're using a mouse instead of a tablet, but if you go back in with an eraser - delicately - to the sides of the river beginnings to just taper them a bit, it'll look nicer). Erase the rivers where they overlap into the ocean area. And maybe thin the forests a bit where the rivers run through them... remember it is a map, so it wouldn't be very helpful if you can't see where you're going. ;)

08-05-2012, 02:40 PM
Oh yeah, this is just the general course. When I do the rivers proper it will look at least a little better. Wouldn't have thought of tapering the start though.

One last check before I finalize. It all looks good except maybe the river from the inland sea. It's there to provide a trade route through the forest, but I'm not sure if something like that happens. Also, it would still be salty, yes? Meaning the lake I've added would be salty as well, right?

08-05-2012, 08:26 PM
I'm not sure on those things. Maybe someone else can assist here?

08-05-2012, 08:37 PM
I'd make the river from the inland sea to the ocean much wider than the others. And it would probably be strong enough to carve itself a more direct and less winding path than the smaller rivers (I don't mean a straight line, just that it wouldn't wander around quite so much as a river with less force behind it). And I don't think that a larger, stronger river would just sort of form into a small lake like that, the way the smaller rivers do.

At least that's my take -- I'm certainly no expert :).

Edited to add: Oh, if you save maps as a JPG before uploading, instead of a BMP, it will be easier for folks to view because it won't take so long to load. 8)

08-07-2012, 12:45 AM
Final Map:

Might add civilization overlays later, but this is all I need for now.

08-07-2012, 12:58 AM
Nice! =) That little bevel on the rivers adds an interesting effect.

08-07-2012, 01:04 AM
I would be inclined to place your river layer below your forest layer, then remove bits of forest to have the river show through. I like the look of having bits of forest overhanging my rivers. Otherwise it looks good!

08-07-2012, 03:14 AM
my River Layer is below my forest layer, but I also applied a mask to reveal the river below the forest. Might see about making it patchier.

Cunning Cartographer
08-09-2012, 11:29 AM
I think as long as you get the general idea of rivers then the detail isn't really that important when it is in a D&D environment given the magical setting. In a world where wizards can control the weather, make the ground shake and direct the seas, I imagine that if someone says "Your river is wrong, rivers don't naturally break into a fork for no reason" then "It was done by the Mage Vedis Tang when he tried to redirect the river towards the town of Sommers to drown its inhabitants" is a pretty compelling argument as to the unnatural geographic anomalies that might appear on your map.

09-19-2012, 11:00 AM
A lot of the above maps look wonderful!

I think you guys most def have the right idea going!