View Full Version : The Westerlands (Terra Solis)

02-28-2013, 06:10 AM
Hey all,

As I said in my previous (and first) topic I was planning a new project. This topic will be a exploration of my workprogress and decisions that i make. This topic will be about map making but also on story and lore. I hope you guys and gals will enjoy the road I'll travel!

This setting is based on the same concept of my previous map: Its a continent in a world that is made by a rp-group. This continent may be mine, but will be influenced by a bigger story, other factions, adventurers and so on. I am, however, its main architect.

The Westerlands
The history starts with the sundering of a huge continent, splitting it into five smaller continents. Most of the survivors rebuild their cultures on what's left.
The Westerlands will be heavily based on Europe during 1450-1500. There is a central church with lots of power over kings and nobles, an Inquisition that enforces a ban on magic (though some mages can work for the church under strict regulation). The church is pretty racist, banning most non-humans from their lands or just downright hunting them down and kill them, blaming them for most 'sins', plagues, etc.
Humans still have non-human relations though, and alot of non-human culture is inbedded in human society. Noble houses talk in elven (much like french in our world), dwarven cannons and warfare are popular among the human kingdoms,...
Human nations are mostly kingdoms or free-cities, with noble houses ruling over them. All these nations are located on the East of the continent. The lands in the West are mostly unexplored and inhabited by tribes of different races.

Thats the lore for now. Here are some "sketches" and wips.

This is the first Westerlands map I made. I was going for a graphical, clean style, (but changed my mind later on)... I totally changed my mind after I saw SchwarzKreuz' Arden and Ramah's maps though. :D


What the Westerlands needed was size and dept. I expanded the map by a great deal and started redesigning a lot of the continent, adding more lands to the West, ready to be explored by the players. The names on the sketch need to be changed though. Elven lands will have a French ring to it, Dwarven lands will be more German and human lands will sound Dutch or English. (ps, those are not rivers)


This is a big project and I'll be working on this for a long time. I think the next thing I'll post is a to do list. I'll keep you guys posted and i hope you'll enjoy my creative journey through my own, unexplored continent.

Comments and Critique is very welcome, as always!


02-28-2013, 07:19 AM
I really dig the black and white sketch you have. Very much looking forward to the development of this map. And keep the history coming. As a fellow rpg-er, i am always interested in details about the worlds we see.

P.S.: Why are the dwarves always german? I don't get it... :D

P.S.S: Sorry but

.. SchwarzKrauz' Arden ..

(is that a subconcious typo because SK is german?! *g*)


02-28-2013, 07:26 AM
damnit D: now I sound like a racist! Totally my mistake. :D

@Eilathen, dwarves are always vikings! :D *edit* scottish vikings! *edit*

thanks for showing interest! I'll keep you posted!

02-28-2013, 07:51 AM
Good start, looking forward to more.

02-28-2013, 03:39 PM
Hey folks,
Here's a new update for the Westerlands. I've been working on digitalizing the alphashape of the continent. There seems to be something wrong with it but i cant really put my finger on it. Maybe its because it looks so damn empty at the moment.
C&C very welcome!


03-02-2013, 05:35 PM
Hey, sreynders, always nice to see another fanatic world-builder. :D

For your latest map, I don't think anything's wrong with it per se; it may just be, like you say, that it's empty right now. The only idea I can offer is that the irregularities of the coastline may be too regular, if you see what I mean. I happen to like it, though.

I wanted to add also that the idea of having human noble houses speak elvish or some other 'elder' language is a GREAT idea and one I don't think I've seen done before. It really makes sense when you think about it though; of course the new, 'younger' races are going to want to emulate to some degree the older races.

03-02-2013, 06:41 PM

Yes, maybe digitalization smoothed the coastline ? With a bit of distortion, you could make them look more like your first sketch, where coastline seems more realistic in my opinion.

Nice start ! :)

- Max -
03-02-2013, 07:01 PM
I wouldn't smooth the coasline but better sharpen it because at the moment it seems to have too "round" shapes on the line itself which doesn't make it so credible.

03-04-2013, 08:05 AM
I think a problem could be that it's the same type of coast everywhere.
The type at your map is the one with many small bays and little, not too sharp pieces of land sticking out into the ocean.

I just found a satellite photo of Europe at File:Europe satellite orthographic.jpg - Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_satellite_orthographic.jpg)

There you could find the zigzag-type at Greece and elsewhere at the Mediterranean Sea, but at the Atlantic coasts you also find the type of long, calm lines.

I'd suppose you could create some changes between those styles on your map which could help to make it look more naturally.

And, as Diamond said, the zigzag-type is too regular. Though I'm curious how the work goes on... although I don't see, why the dwarves need to speak a German-like language. (we are no vikings, at best some German tribes with a piece of romanisation;))

03-04-2013, 09:59 AM
I agree with Eld - it seems too uniform. I'd randomize/add more islands to the part in the lower right (which I quite like) and maybe add some small islands here & there. also the undulations in the coast (what i think others might be refering to as zig-zag) are too uniform. For instance, look at the bay of biscay on a european map - its relatively featureless and almost unrealistically straight. contrast that with the islands of the aegean or the western adriatic. different areas, even quite close to one another tend to be radically different.

So just try to break up the uniformity of the coast a bit - some straighter areas, peninsulas, archipelagos, isthmuses and other features.

03-05-2013, 06:06 AM
Hey guys and gals!

I'm getting alot of nice feedback from you guys. Never expected this much interest in my project! Thanks!

I totally agree about the coastlines being to much of the same along the continent, so my next step is to sharpen things up, making some coasts straight/curved instead of distorted, bring some contrast in there. I'm also gonna add some more small islands.

About the German dwarves, i've never planned my dwarves to be vikings in any way (they dont even wear beards). Their language is based on German, because I like the idea of humans and dwarves understanding eachother a little bit (since German and Dutch/Flemish are very simular in lots of ways). Dwarves still live in mountainous areas, but not underground. They build big castles and fortresses on key locations like mountain passes, taxing travelers for safe passage. They do have a lot of German characteristics though: a strong industry, well organised and a sophisticated bourgondian livestyle. They have perfected Gothic armor sets, crude muskets and mighty cannons. Plus i really need a medieval German civilisation in my world. :D

I've been working on country names last friday. Take a look and tell me what you guys think:
Human kingdoms: BeriniŽ, BreviŽ, TraviŽ, ElusiŽ, MakkediŽ, Zavelland, Dererijk, Zolteland, Oostdal and Westdal.
Elven kingdoms: Petivalence, Foresse, Montile.
These names need work, ofcourse. Most of the names are based on the names of cultures, rivers, mountains and other landmarks (e.g. The river Zolte flows through Zolteland)

Yesterday I picked up the Atlas Maior from my local bookstore for 50 euro. It's A3 format and weighs a ton. Did'nt really have the time to check it out to much, but what I've seen blew my mind. LOVING IT.

I had no time this weekend to work on the actual map though. So no pictures today!
Thanks again for the input!


03-05-2013, 04:14 PM
A quick preview before i go to bed. I changed alot of the coastlines, giving them a less ragged look. I added the main rivers and mapped some mountain ranges/hills (the brown spots). Its about time to start drawing mountains, trees and points of interest. I've missplaced my fine-liner pens, so, I'll start as soon as I find them!
I'm not sure if I'm liking it thusfar... maybe because its going too easy at the moment. I dont want my map to look like a real continent and I dont really know if i'm getting there. Kinda feels like I'm just placing things at random.


Anyways, C&C welcome!

- Max -
03-05-2013, 05:27 PM
Your attachment is an invalid link...

03-14-2013, 04:17 PM
Hey guys,
I have'nt been posting in quiet some time now, been pretty busy with work and friends... Most of the work i did is fluff, thinking up country names, family names, history, etc... not really writing things down though...
I made some mountains and hills for you guys to check out! Its not much, but its something.

some general mountains, rocky shards, hills and bluffs. All made in photoshop and with a wacom bamboo.

more coming soon!

ps: is it me or is this site really slow to load?

- Max -
03-14-2013, 04:22 PM
Looks nice :)

03-14-2013, 05:36 PM
Yesterday I picked up the Atlas Maior from my local bookstore for 50 euro. It's A3 format and weighs a ton. Did'nt really have the time to check it out to much, but what I've seen blew my mind. LOVING IT.

if it's the Taschen release, it really is a gorgeous edition.

i like those names. there's a particular feel and style to them that's unified.

03-15-2013, 06:02 PM
Hey folks,

I'm here for a quick update on the mountaineering. Ive been using the templates i made in combination with the clonestamp. Its starting to look more like a map now, so thats nice. Im thinking of making more templates though, or just going over it with my wacom when most mountain ranges are finished, just giving it some final touches, taking away boring parts and whatnot. Anyways, mountains on the main penansula are almost done!, cant wait to put some woods down.


Im starting to see the full scale of this project :D but for some reason the scale keeps me motivated!

@vorropohaiah - yes its the taschen release, its beautiful! Worth every euro!
@max - thanks!

- Max -
03-15-2013, 06:23 PM
What's the size of the map?

03-15-2013, 06:59 PM
Hey max, my map size is 84x59,4cm in 300ppi (9921x7016). I want to print it for my roleplaying group.

here's a quick pic of my map with some texture on it. Definitly not the final version of anything.



- Max -
03-15-2013, 07:06 PM
Almost the size of my current WIP. Quite big, yea...

03-16-2013, 01:33 AM
I like what you've done so far, especially the mountains! Also, I saw the Atlas Maior in my local bookstore as well. I haven't bought it (yet) but it's really beautiful and inspiring.

04-10-2013, 03:03 PM
Hey guys, long time no update.
I've been busy with my job, playing some dnd and guild wars 2 (yep, i blame mmo's and rpg's)
anyways, ive found some little time to work on the map... very on and off work im doing here... but atleast i'm not totally giving up.
Anyways, ive given the human and elven kingdoms some shape. Still need to redo the mountainranges... really thinking about doing it all by hand...

anyways, what do you guys and gals think?


- Max -
04-10-2013, 03:12 PM
looks pretty nice though the colors could be muted a bit for a better overall feeling

Blaidd Drwg
04-10-2013, 04:03 PM
Yep, the colours are a bit too strong imo. You can't see the paper texture anymore. Otherwise it looks fine :)

08-01-2013, 07:00 PM
Hey folks,

i'm back after a little hiatus...
I've been busy working (and quiting my job, yep, in this economy :D)... so I found the time to start working on my project, changing things up a bit.
As you can see, i changed the basic layout of the landmass, keeping the north, west and south open for exploration and later ideas. The colours that I'm using at the moment are working colours, they will change eventually. I've been trying to figure out the lore i've created, shaking things up and changing things as i go along. Removing kingdoms, adding others...





- Max -
08-02-2013, 05:24 AM
Those changes looks pretty good, looking forward to seeing how this will progress with colors :)

08-03-2013, 09:42 AM
I like the look of this map so far! I have to say, I think you had some really interesting coastal shapes in your previous map with the peninsulas and that double inner sea shape. Overall I do think the new one is better though. I really like the city icons you've made and I appreciate how you so strongly correlate settlement patterns to major rivers which is something some neglect :)

08-05-2013, 04:37 PM
I like the use of the red town icons. They really pop off the map and draw your eye to the centers of habitation.

08-08-2013, 05:21 PM
@Max: thanks mate, I actually like the changes I made. I was staring myself blind on the old map... I had great ideas but did'nt design a world that could implement the ideas i guess... so starting from nothing was the best option for me.
@Viking: I'm planning on making the coastlines a little bit more interesting later on... working on more detail as more of my ideas get integrated into the map. The cities around major rivers is something I really wanted to do. It just made alot of sense for me to make this choice.
@Green-Pilgrim: thanks! i was going for a eyecatcher with the icons. Cosmopolitan life is pretty important in my world. I'm building around a big contrast between culture and nature at the moment.

Thanks for the nice comments! :)