View Full Version : Kiridin, Land of Barbarians (Elevation topography and color complete)

08-04-2013, 10:59 PM
This is a work in progress for a commission I'm doing for a friend. It's a regional map for the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game. The area in question is in the far north, and it's a land of nine barbarian nations that like to do barbarian things like raid, pillage, and live pretty wild lives in the wilderness.

Kiridin is mostly a forested area that I've made pretty hilly. One particular region of Kiridin is enchanted to always be in autumn, so it has some vivid reds, oranges, and yellows. There's a large prairie to the southwest, and an immensely-tall mountain range to the west, erected by the gods as a barrier against the horrors on the other side (the Land of the Damned).

I made this map using the Eriond technique by arsheesh, with a few variations. This map is a hybrid that both conforms to about a half-dozen hand-drawn maps in published books, and uses cloud noise to generate terrain. I had to smudge and airbrush to make rivers, valleys, mountains, and hills fit the reference maps. It took several adjustments to get WILBUR's river generators to flow where I wanted them. I also custom-made some color gradients for the prairie, the forest, and autumn areas.

I'm getting ready to put in labels and borders now, but I'd like to hear your thoughts/reactions/suggestions regarding the physical topography and color.


08-04-2013, 11:18 PM
Coriolis, I bet your well inform concerning climatology...

It's a good map but there are two thing that bother me.

1- the red spot, what is it ?
2- I'm not sure but I think some of the rivers stretch for too long to reach the sea. The one in the ceter could flow to the south instead.

08-05-2013, 12:53 AM
The spot that stands out is a particular region that is locked in an enchanted, eternal autumn. It's always harvest season there, and the leaves are perpetually red, yellow, and orange. The rest of the map is depicted in summer, hence the color discontinuity.

I shaped the rivers to conform to some established borders and landmarks. I haven't yet worked out a scale, but the visible map is about 1,000 miles wide east-to-west. You may be right about the river length. How long do you think they should go in, and how far back should I detail the tributaries?

08-05-2013, 01:03 PM
The lenght of the river may be normal, it depend on the topography. At some places, you have rivers that are just next to the ocean but still travel many miles before joining it. It's not impossible but it usually mean that there is a big difference in height like some mountains blocking the river. Since rivers always pick the shortest route avaible they need an obstacle to change course.


In black are places I consider where you should increase terrain height in order to make the water flow where you want it. Some of these places are already mountanious.There no real change to do with them, such as you white mountains that I omited to take into account because they seems ok.

08-05-2013, 02:40 PM

Thanks for the insight. Unfortunately, the attachment isn't cooperating.

I think I get the gist, though. Provide a bit more elevation to better justify a river running parallel to a coast, rather than straight to it. That river that runs east along the north coast seems like the worst offender. There are a few bumps along the northern edge of this river where I did this to prevent WILBUR from running the river straight to the coast. I suppose I should blend these out a bit more.

08-05-2013, 04:20 PM
I don't have a lot of experience with What I would call semi automatic mapping but in general, the program can't do everything. Most of the time, you need to modify the result afterward using something else.

I got logged off while posting, I took too much time


Another thing I wanted to say is that I think your colored zone could be applying only to the vegetation and not directly on the landscape. I mean, if it's eternal autumn, I suppose the leaves never fall so I don't know why the ground would be colored. Well unless it's magical too. Also, I know that some trees have colors in summer.

And thanks for the rep!

08-06-2013, 08:16 PM
I added in a new layer with some airbrushed white to elevate the areas you highlighted. The difference is subtle, but it's there if you're looking closely.

Regarding the vegetation coloring, I color the land directly; I don't add a "tree layer". I suppose I could tone down the autumn colors, but given the description of this land in the corresponding RPG book, there is supposed to be an abundance of red, orange, and yellow. I could tone it down some (after all, evergreen trees would still be green), but this area should stand out. I'll leave that up to the guy I'm making this map for.

My pleasure on the rep; your posts have been most helpful.

Any other comments/suggestions?

(I inadvertently posted this version that has a reference map overlayed. I'll be doing borders and labels next)

08-07-2013, 01:54 AM
Borders and Labels are in! I went to town in Inkscape and created icons for each Kiridin barbarian nation symbolizing that tribe's character. This is a pretty busy map, and I recommend viewing it at 100% resolution.

Thoughts on the borders, labels, or icons?

08-07-2013, 01:10 PM
Ok well, I guess the author should decide.

Does the anchor means that it's a port city?

The border of the map look too modern at my taste. You could superimpose it with a parchement layer playing with the opacity and saturation of the layer to give the feel of an old paper. But will it fit with the rest of the map, i'm not sure.
A lot of the of the political borders don't follow the geography. You could consider making some larger in order to reach them while other get smaller. If a border is located in the middle of a plain, it's probably temporary or there is a good explanation for it but it was not very commun in medieval Europe. The kingdom of Sardina managed to survive for centuries despite being rivaled by bigger states (France, Sapin) becaus eof it's natural bored , the Alps.
Also, some border look pretty thick maybe you could do something like this for the borders that or narrowing them:

or this http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/24197-federal-republic-germany-administrative-units.html#post221959

Lastly, your wind rose seems to have a shadow effect that is not contistent. You need to decide from where light is coming and make it reflect on the metal accordingly.

For map border, something like that prehaps: http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/15037-award-winner-making-map-borders-gimp.html

08-07-2013, 05:39 PM

Here is the latest version. Funny; I was in the process of working through that tutorial when I posted that. I may try playing around with different patterns for the border; we'll see.

The political borders were a pretty crude effort on my part. I shaped a ridgeline and two big rivers to coincide with the major borders (Between Kiridin and the Shadow Colonies, both of which are considered distinct regions with their own political affiliations), but the smaller ones aren't based on any significant geographical features. Since these are internal boundaries, I figure they're generally more about the ebbs and flows of internal politics than practical boundaries. In any case, the borders are dictated by the published material on which this map is based, so I don't have a lot of leeway beyond arranging topography to match.

Those links definitely gave me some ideas about political boundary marking. I'll take another stab at it later.

The compass rose was one of my first efforts in Inkspace, and it very much needs some revision. I'll take a look at improving it.


08-07-2013, 09:27 PM
(reposted below with the link fixed)

08-07-2013, 10:08 PM
Unfortunatly, your link is broken.

The link I pointed was just an idea because I have no idea how it will look on your map. You might need to adapt if you want to take that style.

08-07-2013, 10:16 PM
Regarding borders, in particular internal borders, another common delineation is roadways. I notice you don't have any settlements identified yet... some of those borders could be major roadways connecting settlements, while others, where topography allows, could be rivers that aren't big enough to be recorded on the map.

08-07-2013, 10:32 PM
Ok, I tried painting the borders a little thinner, and then an idea hit me.


I created a duplicate layer of the borders, blurred it, then used the original to delete the middle of the blurred lines. The borders are still there, but they're subtler and less obtrusive.

I played around with coloring the sides of the borders, like in the examples you showed, but the coloring of the topography interfered too much. How's this?

08-07-2013, 10:37 PM
The roadway idea is an excellent one. Kiridin is a land of barbaric nomads, and much of their territory is likely marked out by trails.

The anchors are meant to represent settlements in the Shadow Colonies, by the way. The colonies are an offshoot of a seafaring nation, hence the choice of icon. Each anchor is meant to represent a colony's capitol town.

08-08-2013, 05:23 PM
I think it look good but maybe you should increase the opacity of the labels a little.

08-08-2013, 06:36 PM
Ok, another update:

+Per Azelor's recommendation, I increased the opacity on the labels, though I kept at least a little transparency for most of them.
+The ocean is darker and has a bit of texture now.
+I toned down the blue of the rivers (was too bright earlier)
+Per Azelor's earlier recommendation, I re-worked the compass rose to be more lighting-consistent.

I added in a small canal to the island in the north (correcting an earlier oversight)

Pending any other issues I've missed, I think I'm just about done!

08-08-2013, 07:17 PM
Yes, I think it's good now. I don't see what you could improve.

08-13-2013, 03:08 PM
Thanks for all the help, Azelor and Gumboot! I've posted it to the finished maps section. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/24273-kiridin-land-barbarians-palladium-fantasy-rpg.html)