View Full Version : Throneport: Random WIP city for a possible setting.

05-27-2008, 02:14 PM
The goal of the style was to try and match the "World Map" I have going in the Regional section, which was to make it look like a hand drawn and illuminated image.

ThronePort.jpg (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v175/Andel/ThronePort.jpg)

Now, I think I'm going to end up reworking most, if not all of this city. The brown area is open land, the white is 'buildings'. Heavy black lines are the main walls and towers/wall keeps, and the red lines are the main streets/markets.

The Geology I see behind the city is a large river flowing down to what was a very slight ridge of harder stone trust up across the path the river would eventually take. It built up a basin behind the ridge, and eventually cut a few channels through it to the open sea. (This gives the barrier islands at the mouth of the bay, but not in their current form)

The founding of the city was with a fortified point, defended with moats dug from the slightly marshy area which originally served as drainage channels for the fields around the hill of the settlement the city grew out of (The walled area in the middle of the left hand side.)

After founding, the first expansion was to provide a walled area protected by the two rivers (the minor river to the north, and the larger main river to the north east/east), the existing drainage canal and city walls to the west, and the bay itself to the south.

Eventually several small forts were bulit on the islands in the bay, and small villages formed on them. The town grew out to the west/north west of the starting city, eventually being walled in at the same time causeways were built across the shallower parts of the bay openings, and walls were put up on the sea side of the shield islands. As more wealth came to the city, the older portions were swallowed up by the working class, and a larger, more planned and grander city was built on the eastern bank of the bay. The waterfront is a poorer warehouse/ poor working class district, the area inside the circled roadway is the upper middle class and wealthy district, and the parts next to the walls are the more lower middle class.

The river island is mostly wealthy housing, with a few servant quarters. The north bay island is the new Royal island, housing the King's main castle, and most of the wealthy lords. The South Bay island is for lesser nobles and wealthy merchant elite.

The Eastern Shield Island is a poor district, while the eastern part of the west island is another higher class area, and the rest of that island is mostly lower class, or professional soldiers.

The outlying areas are mostly poorer slums, and businesses that can't afford taxes inside the walls.

Thoughts and comments? Issues you see with the map? For the issue of the current around the opening, the causeways were made as a a series of small islands from dredging, as well as arched sections, basically a low bridge that water can still flow under.

I'm not sure if I really like the style, or even the layout of the city, I basically layed out a few hills on the generated landscape, and put a small village down on a hill, and kept expanding it out in rough sketches, and this was what came of it.

05-27-2008, 04:49 PM
Talroth, you are off to an excellent start. The layout is interesting and varied, and I'm curious to see how this map develops. I like the spiderweb like tracery of the smaller roads--well done.

Now, for a few brickbats ;) First, I'd change the color of the grounds around the city from brown/tan to green. Why? Brown, black, tan, and other darker colors are typically used to depict the building and roads of cities whereas green and the lighter colors typically depict the outlying farms and fields. Its a convention to be sure, but I think using green or some other lighter color on the non built up areas would provide better contrast and a better look to the map.

Second, too many walls. Unless this is your fantasy version of Malta that is exposed to some massive seaborne threat, the number of walls can be reduced greatly. Why? In the middle ages, massive iron chains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoros_castle) (see history section in the article, 2nd paragraph down) could be extended across rivers and the entrances to bays, preventing the passage of ships. Unless your city is threatened from both the river and the sea, it looks highly defensible, as the exterior walls and chains across the marine passages can block most entry and exit. I would keep the walls on the outer islands and the river island which are part of the perimeter defense and the kings island (security, no doubt), but tear down the inner walls that border the port areas and the walls on the south inner island. Yes, nobility and wealthy merchants live on that island, but boat patrols and guardsmen are far cheaper than the maintainance and upkeep on the walls around the island. City walls, in a sense were the medieval version of the strategic defense initiative--a very costly defense system taking years to build with significant sums of money required to upkeep. Unless your kingdom is fantastically wealthy, I don't see them maintaining any more walls than they have to.

Third, while I'd keep the wall around the castle in the west city (sort of a bastion of last resort in case the outer wall is breached), I'd knock down the walls that separate the two districts there and link the northern parts of the districts up by road (the south district near the islands looks like an add on, keep the wall up between it and the rest of the city). Given that the west city is primarily poor and working class now, I just don't see the nobility and the king spending money to maintain the interior walls (except for the one around the castle). Also, although it could take decades to occur, as cities expanded they would sometimes knock down and enclose larger areas within their walls. Given that your city has grown since it founding, I see interior walls existing within in for one of three reasons--defense/guarding a major fortification or bastion, security/keeping the riffraff out, or social control. If a wall doesn't meet one of those criteria, knock it down.

Fourth, where are the piers? I know we are looking at your city from a really high vantage point, but given the riverine and maritime commerce present in the city, it is likely to be very busy and have a lot of port facilities (think New York, New Orleans, Hamburg or Shanghai). There should be quite a few piers and areas to tie up boats present. Also, I would "thin" out the spiderweb road grid in some parts near the water where you want port activity (ie near the piers)--because instead of the usual residential or commercial blocks, you would have warehouses, seinyards, shipbuilding facilities as well as fish salting and processing facilities that take up quite a bit of space.

Fifth, what are those hexagonally shaped buildings near some of the circular street junctions--mini keeps? Towers?

Sixth, while I assume the circular street junctions can function as market areas, it would be realistic to have an "extra large" circular or square area on each side of the city functioning as a market. In fact, given the size of your city, I would not be surprised to see 3 or 4 markets service different areas of the city.

Lastly, where are the bridges? Given a city the size of yours--if its a half mile to the half inch--you're talking about a built up area of several square miles and a city population of 50k-100k+ (which was huge for the middle ages--think Mexico City, Tokyo, Shanghai, New York, or Mumbai in modern terms). That size city would be able to afford bridges. For instance, since the outer rim islands are inhabited, I suspect that many of them would have bridges linking them with the mainland. Bridging the half mile between the eastern and western parts of the city might be at the very limits of medieval building technology (unless caissons or artificial islands were built) and I suspect the king would not want to have bridges to the riverine island unless the city walls had expanded to protect either bank, but the distance to the smaller islands would be bridgeable within the constraints of medieval technology. Of course a kingdom with access to wizardry (I have no idea if your campaign is high or low magic) would be able to do much more.

Take my advice with a grain of salt Talroth. I usually approach map commentary from a point of realism and what I've seen done historically. Given that this is a fantasy city in a fantasy world, do what you like.

05-27-2008, 06:38 PM
I pretty much agree with everything thebax2k said. I would say that if this is a fantasy map (which I assume it is), the only reason I can see to maintain the walls in the bay and right off the waterfront is either crowd control/segregation OR (and I like this idea better) a signifigant threat from the water other than humanoid boat/ships, ie. mermen, suahagin, etc


05-28-2008, 01:53 AM
Very nice city layout Talroth. Would make for a fantastic fantasy city to adventure in. I look forward to see this develop. By the way we are looking for city mappers over at the CWBP, if you have some time and feel like honing your skills on another city map, just swing by.

Great Start.

05-28-2008, 12:26 PM
Highly revamped layout, I had been looking at the first attempt, and wondered if it was really the best landscape to do a city on, so started sketching out a revised version of it.

The founding city is going to be the central section, bounded on the top and sides by the rivers, and the bottom by the bay. A large keep on a hill close to the shore, and an older, small wall around an area about 1/3 of that island. Later the rest of the island will be walled in. The Third expansion will be to the west, where the moat/canal was dug.

These sections will all have walls around their city propers, cutting the city off from the waterfronts. After that the eastern marshy area will have drainage canals dug, and the main moat shown. Backed by a wall on the land ward side. At the same time the shield island will be fortified.

The next expansion will be a simple wall from the western river down to the coast, with several villages there being rebuilt. Bridges will be replacing the ferries across the rivers at this point, as well as a major Aqueduct system running from the western river in a curving pattern through the western quarter, and across to the shield island that will become the haven and playground for the rich and famous. The small fishing villages on the bay islands will be later burned in accidental fires, and each rebuilt as a castle/palace for some lord, and the northern most one as the kings new residence, the older one on the original hill serving as the administrative hub.

I'll be keeping the massive temples shown in the first version (the strange tower like things I forgot to label before), and giving the newer expansion points a far more planned layout to their central markets. In the world the main religion is that of the Temple of the Six, and Six is considered a proper number to be used by the faithful.

I'm not sure if I want to change the colour scheme, as the goal of the map was to make it look like something that was drawn by hand, and not printed by a machine. Would you really expect to find a map that had nearly every inch of it coloured, and nothing of the base material showing clean?

Do people really think there is need to clearly show the piers and that? In the original I had extended the whitewash over the water in areas that were built up as docks and such, and continued some of the small road/alley ways over them to suggest heavier piers and that. Does anyone have a suggestion of how better to show that?

05-29-2008, 10:28 AM
I think mapping the piers depends a lot on how permanent they are. If the water\weather\erosion is so bad that on a given day %30 of the dockyard is being reworked then its probably not worth mapping it. But for storylines docks provide exotic cargo and people with mysterious motives. They have an inordinate focus in many stories.


05-29-2008, 12:03 PM
I like the shallows that your map now has Talroth, it adds a little extra pizzaz to the map.

I know you are trying to avoid the computer generated "CC2look" with your map in favor of something that appears hand drawn, but the color palette you are using right now (dark brown and purple) looks synthetic and processed (not that that's a bad thing, there are many digital maps, especially by cartographers like Christopher West and keith Curtis I am quite fond of).

If you are going for a more "hand drawn" look, there are several options you can use. You can go with bright primary colors on a white background. Or you can go with the "aged parchment" look for the background to your map (I'll see if I can find a tutorial on the guild, I know there's been one). It really all depends on what type of look you want. Medieval maps tended to be more artistic (https://www.raremaps.com/cgi-bin/gallery.pl/enlarge/18199) than functional, showing buildings and landmarks rather than blocks and street grid. Your map seems to be more on the functional side, so anachronistically, you might want to look at 18th and 19th century city (http://www.amazon.com/Mapping-Boston-Norman-B-Leventhal/dp/0262611732/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212075501&sr=8-1) maps.

Also, is the terrain your city is on or near similar to northern France, Holland, and Germany or Greece (meaning do you have fertile plains and forest covered lands around the city or high cliffs of granite and bedrock)? If the terrain is more akin to northern Europe, then your harbor looks off. The sea opening (or openings) to the harbor would be wider do to tidal action and erosion. If the terrain is more akin to Greece, than the shape looks right, but I doubt you'd have a marsh nearby. I actually thought the shape of your first map looked better/more natural.

As for the Temple of the Six, is it the only religion in your Kingdom or are other religions (albeit grudgingly) permitted? If so, if might be smart to have a temple quarter. If not, given that you say six is an important number to the faith, then in a city the size you are depicting, you should have one main temple and five smaller shrines--I counted three in the initial map all told.

Although its was created for a sci-fi setting, I find Zierra in another thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=21342#post21342) here on the guild an interesting contrast to your map. It's your call whether or not you want to include piers, but I do think they add a bit or realism/versimilitude to aeronox's port city. I also like the fact that the road grid is denser in the oldest part of his city (which I assume is the west side) reflecting the greater buildup and competition for land over time.

I like your concepts of walls with moats/canals. Not only is it defensible, but it clearly delineates where the protected sections of your city are. I would have a walled bastion/fort or two as a place for a last stand during a siege or a base to reestablish control from during riots.

Keep refining your concept Talroth. What you have is very promising, I'm curious how it turns out in further iterations.

05-29-2008, 01:33 PM
The reason for the the way the temples are is they were each built over time. Eventually one ruler or another would have been bullied by a greedy priest into thinking he was less faithful than he should be, and that the souls of his people were suffering. Thus funding for a new temple came about. Now, the temples marked on the map aren't simple things, they're really rather massive, the largest being a structure that would cover most of the Vatican City in Rome.

(For the religion in this part of the world, while there are many minor deities worshiped, such acts are heresy in the eyes of the mainstream religion, and you're liable to come to an unpleasant end if you don't covert quickly when asked to do so by the mob with pitchforks and torches. However there are two main stream religions, The Temple of Six, where all 6 gods are worshiped equally with one being the God King, and then there is the Temple of Hawth, who only really differ in claiming the God Hawth is King rather than Praidan, and he is solely worshiped 6 days out of 7, the others getting quick dues on the 7th day. Temple of 6 has one day in 7 dedicated to each god, and the 7th a day for all.)

Geology of the new map. It is based on a small pool along the Bay of Fundy near where I grew up. (East coast of Canada) I just upped the scale of the pool by a little bit. Well, by a lot, seeing as the pool was fed from a stream less than a meter wide. Basically the bay is a mostly fresh water lake, and NOT a main tidal zone, only at high tide is there any salt water flowing back into the bay/lake.

But I will agree, the size of the harbor mouths is an issue for me, I might do some numbers and a quick simulation to see just how bad the current really would have been, but without a large in/out of the tide, they should be more than enough to handle the (somewhat slow) rivers draining out and still allow boats to travel through them without being torn to shreds. And I need to redo the water colour on the second map, I goofed when picking the colours, they look much more like a real natural blue colouring I've used in real life on the first one. I'll also try bleaching out the background (brown) colour more, the .jpegs look darker than I actually intended.

I guess I'll do further work on both of the outline maps, redoing the first city, and compare with what I come up with on the second.

I might rip apart the eastern end of the shield island in the second map, making smaller reef like islands there and on the main land and drop the lake to a tidal bay.