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View Full Version : My First Map - A Continent for My Pathfinder Game



WhirlwindMonk
08-16-2013, 07:34 AM
Hey everyone, I'm working on a map of the continent my players will be starting on in an upcoming Pathfinder game. While I've started maps using some of the tutorials on these boards before, this is the first one I'm really putting a lot of effort into taking to completion. I used the GIMP version of Ascension's Atlas Style tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/4084-award-winner-my-atlas-style-ps.html) to get the geography together, and a combination of that and terminal's Cartographical Economics and Demographics (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/8305-award-winner-cartographical-economics-demographics-guide-realism.html) tutorial to locate and define the cities.

I'm open to any and all suggestions about, well, anything, so go ahead and critique away!

Just as a note, I unfortunately had to scale the image down from 2000x2000 to 1600x1600 to get it to fit within the forum's size requirements. This has made some of the smaller text harder to read than I would like, but aside from that, I think it still looks fine. If anyone has any better ways to get the size down (or another place to upload), please let me know and I'll put up a full size version.

56920

randigpanzrall
08-16-2013, 08:53 AM
Doesnīt look bad. What is the yellow line in the center of your continen?

WhirlwindMonk
08-16-2013, 09:02 AM
Doesnīt look bad. What is the yellow line in the center of your continen?

Ah, right, forgot to explain that. Basically, it's a miles wide stripe of dead, cursed land nearly spanning the continent that will play a part in the campaign I'll be running. As I really have no idea what I'm doing with mapping (or artistry in general), the best thing I came up with was a stripe of brown with some added noise/clouds (can't remember which) set to Hard Light. Any suggestions on how to improve it and make it more visually impressive/obvious would be greatly appreciated.

Azelor
08-16-2013, 10:47 AM
Hi and welcome to the guld! This seems to be a nice start.

To save you picture, I found that the best way is to use Jpeg rather than png unless you have transparent pixels. Lowering the quality of the Jpeg when saving is usually better than reducing the dimension of the map. I still don't know the limit. It's 4,67 megabytes in size but for the dimensions I think it's 5000x5000 or more.

feanaaro
08-16-2013, 11:50 AM
The geographic features of the land tell "island" to me, not "continent". A big island perhaps, but not a continent.

WhirlwindMonk
08-17-2013, 05:01 PM
The geographic features of the land tell "island" to me, not "continent". A big island perhaps, but not a continent.

Can you be a bit more specific about what makes you say that?

Azelor
08-17-2013, 05:32 PM
If I just look at the climate I guess that the north would be tundra or arctic climate. There are deserts in the south wich would suggest that it is probably near the northern tropic. So it's actually pretty big according to an earth like climate but smaller than asia.

Viking
08-17-2013, 08:41 PM
Yea it's funny, though the climate suggests a large landmass I also can get what Feanaaro is saying and maybe it has to do with the scale you feel from the way things are laid out in terms of towns and cities. I guess it depends on whether you intend for the smallest settlements to be cities or villages. To me at largest I would guess it to be the size of Great Britain (including Ireland). I find scale a bit tricky myself.

I would strongly suggest you differentiate your rivers and your roads more! It is very hard to tell what is what despite the labelling.

rdanhenry
08-17-2013, 10:21 PM
Replacing clumps of mountains with mountain ranges may help. Most of the mountain areas seem like individual mountains.

The square grid with no visible signs of distortion also suggest a large scale map.

There also doesn't look to be much variation in the type of coast.

Those are the things I see that may give it an "island" feel.

waldronate
08-17-2013, 10:52 PM
Putting an explicit scale on the map will tell the viewer how big things are and not require them to project their own understanding of maps onto the image to guess its scale. A border would be nice as well.

Hai-Etlik
08-18-2013, 01:24 AM
The square grid with no visible signs of distortion also suggest a large scale map.

The graticule suggests a large scale map right at the equator in particular. A large scale map at a higher latitude would have a rectangular grid that's taller than it is wide.

feanaaro
08-18-2013, 02:50 PM
You are right about the climate, and I was not concerned about the cities. The mountains are what makes it look smaller than a continent.

WhirlwindMonk
08-30-2013, 07:36 AM
Thanks for the info, everyone! Sorry I've been so slow to respond.

I can see what you're saying about the mountains, though I'm not sure how much I can do about that at this point with my level of ability (which is only barely more than following a tutorial word for word), but at the very least, I'll keep it in mind for next time. There are a couple more continents in this world that may need mapping.

The labeled cities are simply the largest ones in each kingdom, there are thousands upon thousands of small, unmarked villages of just a few hundred to a few thousand people each within each region. I thought about marking more locations to make it look more "settled", but I was afraid of the map getting too cluttered.

I'll see what I can do about the roads, maybe a lighter brown would work.

As for distortions in the grid and equatorial stuff, this is for a D&D-esque fantasy world, so I'm not really bothering with things like planet curvature and the like since they'll never come into play. I'm also pretty seriously considering doing a "magical flat planet" type world, like what is in Golden Sun or Exalted.

I am planning on adding a scale, a map key, and a border in the end. I've seen several good map border tutorials on here, but I haven't spotted anything on scales or keys, any suggestions?

Azelor
08-30-2013, 12:13 PM
To make settled places look settled you could show less forest and more plain/farmland using texture or just by getting rid of the forest. That should do, because you can't put all the places name on the map, it's simply too much. What you did seems ok.

The distoritions are ok. I have never seen a player complain about the travel distance being inconsistent with reality.

Hai-Etlik
08-30-2013, 01:01 PM
As for distortions in the grid and equatorial stuff, this is for a D&D-esque fantasy world, so I'm not really bothering with things like planet curvature and the like since they'll never come into play. I'm also pretty seriously considering doing a "magical flat planet" type world, like what is in Golden Sun or Exalted.

I'd suggest dropping the graticule then, particularly for a flat world. Latitude and longitude would be completely meaningless on a flat world.

rdanhenry
09-01-2013, 11:55 PM
If you want a grid just for visual ease of eyeballing distances, a hex-grid would a good alternative that won't suggest latitude and longitude to anyone.