View Full Version : Village of Albridge - Developed draft, need input

11-01-2012, 11:43 PM
This is my second crack at using CC3, this time with the City Designer set. Overall I'm reasonably happy with it, but now I need some input.

This map is an expansion of an existing map found in the D&D Adventure "Reavers of Harkenwold" found in the Dungeon Master's Kit in their essentials line. As part of the adventure, and hopefully without too many spoilers, the heroes participate in the "Battle of Albridge" which is a series of three encounters set just to the south of the village. However, in advance of the battle, the characters are supposed to help the raised militia of the town in planning the defense of the town. As such, I know that my crew will want to have much more than just the close-in village map, but rather a larger map that includes the surrounding area, but is still close-enough in to see the various buildings, fields, hedgerows etc... So I started building this map, but am now at a point where I need some critique and input.

Here's what I have so far:

If you want a much larger version go here:

The central part of the village is developed directly from the map from the adventure itself. I imported a bitmap of the town map, and simply drew over top of it. The original map went from just below the dirt road at the top of the picture, to just south of the river with the buildings and fields that hug the shoreline. The width of the map is determined by the inner part of the two forested areas on either side of the town north of the river. Outside of that, the design part is mine, including the hedge-lined fields south of the river.

The scale marker in the lower left corner indicateds 500 feet... so this map is approximately 1 mile x 1 mile in terms of area. The battle in question will involve approximately 200 soldiers on either side, so this is not an unrealistic size for that kind of a fight.

What I want to do is flesh out the map well, but provide some stuff of tactical interest. I'm trying to build in a steep-ish forested ravine in the darker areas on the west side of the stone road so that it gives some focus as to where the battle is most likely to take place (southeast). However, I want the whole map fleshed out, rather than me looking lazy the further out from the center I get.

I'd appreciate any input you might have for me. :)

11-02-2012, 08:21 AM
First, great map!
Looking at the larger version is definitely worth the effort.

Now, some hopefully helpful nitpicks.
The buildings and trees cast shadows from a light source in the lower right corner of the drawing (physically more accurate, but typically less common than an upper right light source). The word "Albridge" casts shadows from an upper left light source. Good job shading the trees, but the darker and lighter greens (shadows and highlights) also indicate a upper left light source. You will want to get all of the light source ques to agree.

Sorry, but I don't know enough about CC to be sure that this is helpful, but I love your color shading work and think that a faint texture overlay would really make the water and grass fields pop. Or perhaps a very faint 'cloud' overlay to provide some variation to the large semi-homogeneous areas of grass. Again, sorry but I described the suggestions in Photoshop Terms (that I know) rather than CC terms (which I am unfamiliar with).

This is purely a personal preference, but I like the clean simplicity of the map rendering and think that the title matches it well, but the compass and scale bar seem a litthe too fussy compared to the clean style of the map ... others may disagree since this is really a personal preference rather than technical observation.

Have some REP for a great map that made me smile.

11-02-2012, 08:33 AM
I'm trying to build in a steep-ish forested ravine in the darker areas on the west side of the stone road so that it gives some focus as to where the battle is most likely to take place (southeast).
I'd appreciate any input you might have for me. :)

A couple of questions.
Is the dark area the limits of the ravine? Would the center of the dark area be the lowest point?
More detail on your intent would help others offer more specific advice.

My only immediate observation is that the road appears to ignore the ravine slopes completely. It should probably do something. A narrow log bridge over it, or a switchback along the slopes or divert around the ravine … something.

11-02-2012, 09:55 AM
The ravine was the most recent addition, so I have yet to adjust the road accordingly. My intention is to heavily tree up the east side of the steep slope to make it difficult for formations of troops to move through and flank. Thanks for noticing the shadowing issue. Cc3 has a global sun feature that you can turn on and off for each layer. I expect that I'll have to look a bit closer with each of the sheet effects to make sure everything is pointed in the same direction.

I'm most interested in how far the cultivated fields should extend beyond the buildings... Or should those areas further out from the buildings be more pasture type land. Thanks for the suggestions so far, this one is still very much under development...

11-02-2012, 11:21 AM
I would say that unless this is the "bread basket" of the region that you probably have enough fields. Pasture or grass lands out side of the immediate area would be realistic. :)

11-02-2012, 12:06 PM
My suggestion is to tone down the brightness and saturation of the River. It dominates the drawing too much - almost like a neon light.

11-02-2012, 02:27 PM
I would say that unless this is the "bread basket" of the region that you probably have enough fields. Pasture or grass lands out side of the immediate area would be realistic. :)

Okay. I still expect to put a few smaller fields around the outlying houses that don't have them. According the fiction info, the primary "bread basket" for the region is more in a village about 10 miles east, as it is very specific about having vineyards, apple orchards, and grain fields.

Hm... maybe I should add an orchard or two as well as some pastureland.

@ravells: Thanks for the tip on the river. It's a texture fill. I can swap it out with a darker water colour... Right now I've not done too much in the way of the river. It's effectively a fractal line with a texture fill that relies on the sheet effects to give an appearance of a shoreline. It's a slow-moving river, about 200-300 feet wide, more typical of those found in England. It does need a bit more character in this map. :)

11-02-2012, 11:30 PM
Right... after taking in some suggestions I've made some modifications and added to the map. Still not done. I added some earthworks in the lower right, but I'm not convinced I need them given that they're not anywhere else on the map. Also, the trees that line the fields are intended to be more hedgerows. I may separate them off onto a different sheet and lower their shadows to make it distinctive that those pieces are short hedges and don't block line of sight as much. Anyway, here's a smaller picture of how it looks:


And if you want to get in really close:

I've also added a spring-fed creek to emphasize the ravine in the lower part of the map. Hopefully that will direct the overall expectations of the battle to the southeast part of the map. Of course, I'll still have some skirmishers try to flank, but assuming the heroes secure an alliance with some elves, they'll be holding down that part of the flank with little difficulty :)

11-03-2012, 12:12 AM
Great map! I like it. I am not familiar with the module but you asked for comments and suggestions though so I shall throw some out there:

You might have some fenced common grazeland for livestock in a village this small. Keep in mind your fallow fields too. You're always going to get a few more fields than are actually used each year. Also you appear to have a paved road which suggests a past or present efficient infrastructure. You may have a building (a waystation, former state funded "inn" or the like) sitting along it.

If it's a frontier village, you might have a bank and ditch on the sider of the river that points towards the frontier. Earthwork defences require less sophistication than palisades and walls and tend to be more common. If there was any defensive structures here in the past, the old earthworks may still be present.

I would ditch the scale bar and just keep a simple compass for direction. If north is always assumed to be the top on your village maps, you may not even need that.

You may have a simple dock or even just posts if there are other villages and such on the same river. The river seems quite big and it'd be used as a transport link. You can move a lot of goods by barge far easier than you can by cart afterall.

To better represent the ravine, you might want a slightly more stone-like effect with appropriate light and shadow. This is a bit more arty though and you'll need to consider light direction and such. Contour lines of some kind or the embankment dashes are another option.

That's quite a bit but really they're just minor things you might consider but don't really need. I think the map is fine as it is. It conveys plenty of information and is clear and legible and it looks good.

11-03-2012, 10:53 AM
This looks pretty good, and people appear to have given you some pretty good advice. Very clear and nicely higgledepiggledy.

There are a couple of things I've noticed though, but they are dependent on the world Albridge is set.

First, I notice that the there is a large paved area presumably for a market. In a medieval setting, that paved area would be very expensive, so the market must bring a lot of business into the village (actually, the number of houses would indicate that it's more of a small town).

Second, whilst there is what looks like a manor (the walled set of stone buildings in the centre) in which the village's owning lord would reside, there doesn't seem to be a place of worship for whatever gods your people follow. Again, this is dependent on the setting, but most medieval villages (especially of this size) had a church.

Third, what are the the little group of buildings in the northwest? It seems odd that they have no fields or pasture around them. Unless they're a leper colony!

Finally, I'd agree that an area of common land and more fields would be a good idea as there doesn't seem to be enough to feed everyone living there and have leftovers to sell at their great big market. The peasants would be alloted their own small plot of land for subsistence farming and be expected to farm the lord's land. Additionally in a medieval village the fields would be mostly strips of land - but that isn't something I'd worry about as it looks good as it is.

Sorry if this comes across as a bit negative, I do actually like what you've done.

11-03-2012, 11:41 AM
No worries about the critique. I am working off of an existing map which had the central portions of the map pretty much as presented. Albridge is one village in a community of several small communities in a small but gentle valley inside a much larger valley/watershed region. As I mentioned, the central parts of the map come with the original design flaws. The Lord of the region dwells in a keep in another village about 10 miles to the south of Albridge, but in this adventure, he has been taken captive by a large group of mercenaries. This village has become the centre of resistance, and the battle in question is intended to draw the mercenaries out of the stronghold... So oddly enough the village's lack of a Lord's manor makes sense. Each village is administered by an elder... As for a place of worship, I know that the village to the south has one, but I have to check the town layout again to see if one of these buildings is already designated as such. It'd be small regardless.

Points about having posts in the river and a small wharf are good, especially given that there is a family of halflings that transports goods up and down the river. Moorings aren't on the original map, but I can certainly add those.

As for the paved/cobblestone road, it is the remnants of an road built by an empire that fell approximately 100 years before the present day. The village has essentially grown up around this old infrastructure, maintaining it as they can, along with other villages in the region. I'd like for a way to show its overall age. Some Roman Roads still exist today, and I see it kind of in the same way, but maybe maintained slightly better.

I still have more fields to put in. This picture shows earthworks that I am not convinced I should keep, but I am happy to add in a lot more in the way of hedgerows. The village population is about 160, but the whole reigion is closer to 2000. The old market square is maintained for the whole region, as the village with the Lord's keep does not have one. It seems as if each of the six villages in the region its own special role, with Albridge being the trade centre.

I will add more in the way of fields... Although what should I do about pastureland? Should it be around the fringes of the map? I will also add moorings for the boat trade as well. I've been looking at historical information on medieval villages, and trying to incorporate some of that as it fits with what was already provided. If I get a moment, I'll post the original map so you can see what I started with. :)

11-03-2012, 12:05 PM
Sounds like an interesting history to me, and pretty much explains away any issues I had. You know, assuming this village survives the battle I'd quite like to see a map of it 10 years on - by the sounds of it this place is going to explode in population and wealth very quickly.

Those little wharfs and moorings sound like a nice addition. As for the pastures, you'd need a chunk of common land near the centre of the village, which is already there in the space between the centre and the cluster of houses to the east. You could also recolour some of the existing fields to look like pasture, as they'd be part of the crop rotation anyway (I think, may be wrong). Otherwise, sheep and cattle are often kept where the quality of soil isn't as good and it's harder to collect the crop. The steep sides of depression north of the river may be a good place for sheep for instance. Dunno, just a couple of ideas.

11-04-2012, 12:16 AM
They're good suggestions. It's simply marking it out. I've had no time today to make any additions or changes. I was thinking of making an old ruin of a farm/fields in the area to the south of the fields south of the river. The idea is that about 90 years earlier (after the Empire's fall), the entire area was ransacked by marauding Orcs... and as such residents had to rebuild once the Orcs lost interest. Much of it was rebuilt, but certainly not all. I'll have to check and see the history to see how much of this particular area was hit in that time period. If it was, earthworks from abandoned farms would make sense.

11-04-2012, 12:33 AM
That sounds like a good idea. Just remember that 90 years is a long time ( I don't know obviously how long it was after that the orcs lost interest. Probably after the last cow or sick orc was done on the spit :) ) My point is that there wouldn't be much in the way of ruins. Most likely a foundation (or a pile of stones that once was a foundation) and a lot of weeds. This is really turning out excellent and I'm having a lot of fun following along :)

11-04-2012, 05:41 PM
That sounds like a good idea. Just remember that 90 years is a long time ( I don't know obviously how long it was after that the orcs lost interest. Probably after the last cow or sick orc was done on the spit :) ) My point is that there wouldn't be much in the way of ruins. Most likely a foundation (or a pile of stones that once was a foundation) and a lot of weeds. This is really turning out excellent and I'm having a lot of fun following along :)

90 year old ruins of farmhouses would likely be grown-over foundations that would appear as nothing much more than earthworks on a map like this. That's really what I'm meaning by that... aerial evidence of some old farmhouses that were never rebuilt after the Bloodspear War. There is the ruins of an older stone square tower just to the south of the bridge, but it's already on the map, and will be converted utilized as a spotting/signals tower during the battle. However, since the objective is to keep the invading force away from the bridge, the tower itself is not likely to see any direct fighting unless things go badly for the players.

Anyway, I won't get to any more developments until tomorrow... but that will include sheep pasture, maybe a few more fields north of the river, some docks and finally a few bits of earthworks and trees to round out the overall look.

11-07-2012, 02:32 AM
Right. Update time. This is nearly finished, except for the labels:

That having been said, after I rendered this, I noticed that the wells throughout the map were on the wrong layer, and so cast a shadow as if they were much taller than everything else. Please ignore that flaw, I've fixed that now :)

Here's a bigger map:

Anyway, any pieces of input to add? I can almost call this one done and put it in the finished maps category :)

11-07-2012, 03:34 PM
Nothing to add criticism-wise, this is coming together nicely.


11-07-2012, 06:10 PM
Looks Great !! :)

11-08-2012, 01:22 AM
...and done. I've posted the new map over in the Finished Maps section. :)