View Full Version : [WIP] A Map for Starfall

09-25-2013, 02:28 PM
I've been working on the concepts behind a setting for a long while, and now that I've hammered out most of that, I've started to need to work on the various peoples of the world. Unfortunately, I've got no map to sort out just who lives where and who they trade with, etc. That's what brought me here. This is my first attempt at really making a map that is more than a rough sketch on some scrap paper, so any and all input is invited and welcome.

Being my first map, I figured it might be best to post it in stages, so ya'll can point out the obvious before I really muck it up. :D

So here is the initial blob sans outlying islands (yet to be drawn, except the few in the very north where I got ahead of myself):


And here is the same map with the tectonics drawn in, so I can sort out mountains:


Arrows denote the direction the plates are moving. The solid red lines are the edges of the place. Those without adornment are transform plate boundaries; those with lines in a single direction are convergent plate boundaries; and those with lines on both sides are divergent plate boundaries.

Right now, this is just the actual landmasses. I eventually intend to drop a fair amount of glaciation on this, as the world is ambiguously at the end of an ice age and undergoing rapid global warming. In-game, fire fell from the sky toward the north two hundred years ago bringing the demon scourge that has since plagued humanity. Their corruption has steadily crept south, causing massive storms, torrential rains, massive flooding, entire cities sinking into the ocean, etc. I am largely seeing this as a flat world (it is a fantasy setting, obviously), with the northern quarter to third of the continent under glaciers, and the penultimate quarter-ish being permafrost planes or taiga.

A couple of things I am unsure of include:
How to draw/represent a rift valley
What to do about the glaciation and ice sheet beyond, since the far, far north (beyond the boundary of this map) is suppose to be a hot, horrific wasteland populated by demons
Stylistically, I want something that exudes a sense of darkness, desperation, and panic - the sort of things that the people of the setting are coping with. If it helps any, I generally like the style of this map (http://www.profantasy.com/rpgmaps/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Sagorike.jpg).

If it's okay to double-post in this forum, I'll continue posting additional progress as it happens. I think my next step is to draw in the mountains and elevation.

09-25-2013, 02:45 PM
The Map Style linked is by User Djekspek, you can find more of his Maps as nspiration, especially his Pit of War Maps, which also happens in a Dark and Gritty Fantasy Setting.

To draw in continental shape with tectonics is a strong first move and ahead of regular newby Maps! For this alone I send you some Rep. Keep in the Good Start.

09-25-2013, 03:07 PM
Thank you! I'm going to go look up his work now! And glad to hear I'm on the right path. Is there anything particular I should try to avoid doing at this point?

09-25-2013, 05:01 PM
Here's an updated map with larger islands drawn in. Most follow a fault line, but a few are much older formations and just jut out of the ocean. I'm going to skip the finicky little barrier islands that seem so common in reality for the time being, since they probably won't make a huge difference on a continental map (I'm not sure they'd even show up or just add a lot of noise). So now I kind of have to address elevations, I guess . . .


09-27-2013, 11:46 AM
Added continental shelves and trenches.
Added major mountain ranges and some foothills.
Tweaked where the land meets the water.

Next on the To Do List:
Add in major rivers and lakes.
Add in a layer of major currents to help determine weather patterns later.

This is at the resolution at which I intend to work with this map (3000 x 4000 px). I am a little uncertain about how trivial a land feature I should include. This is intended to be a continent, so local hills and woodlands are obviously below the granularity of this map, but I'm starting to wonder how large of a river or desert, or forest I should include. This won't be a particularly political map - in fact, I will be using this map to sort out just how demographics and politics evolve (that latter may be negligible owing to other isolating factors in the setting). Ultimately, I intend to mark important locations and the few trails and trade routes that see any sort of regular travel. How do you determine what should go on a map and what should not?

Rabin Arius
09-28-2013, 03:43 AM
I'm starting one of my first maps (a couple of others I started but threw out), and I think I'll have to use your tectonics idea before I get too far. I guess I'll have to learn about those boundary types you mentioned. It looks good so far!

09-29-2013, 12:16 PM
Thanks for the compliment! I'm a newbie myself, but I appreciate the vote of confidence. The tectonics thing helped a lot. Here are a couple of useful links:

Plate Tectonics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics)
Plate Boundaries (http://www.platetectonics.com/book/page_5.asp)

I also have an update with rivers. I didn't bother putting in rivers in the extreme north because that area will be covered in glaciers. The river-infested northern region just south of the mountains is where the runoff from those melting glaciers are, well, running off. What doesn't head out to sea up north ends up flowing southward in a giant Mississippi-style river. I'm just missing a kid-on-a-raft-with-a-banjo-symbol.

I've also got a map with current I'll spare everyone of. Overall, it looks like the prevailing weather patterns will make the southernmost area of the continent very and create an arid, hilly/plains region just north of the rift valley extending into the central continental area. I'm not sure this should be a sandy desert, though. I'm kind of thinking dusty plains, perhaps with some badlands sprinkled about and transitioning into hills and then the mountain ranges.

I think my next steps will be to sort out the arid areas and then start placing forests. I'm still not sure how I'm going to slap down the glaciers graphically, but we'll get there eventually.

09-30-2013, 01:36 PM
Latest WIP:

Added a desert in the southwest crook of the main mountain ranges
Added lightly forested areas (50% or less coverage; light green) and densely forested areas (more than 50% coverage; dark green) in the central to northern regions with a big span of taiga in the extreme north
Added light jungle and dense jungle (same scheme as forests, but with a purer green hue) on the subcontinent and southern islands
Added (by not adding any layers) steppes and scrublands east of the big desert

To Do Next
Finally sort out the bloody glacier issue
Start figuring out where different peoples live
Find/figure out how to make better symbols (I dislike the symbol sets I currently have to work with) - this will likely be a low priority until I absolutely have to start placing actual symbols

10-03-2013, 04:05 PM
It's very attractive and the colours are appealing. Are the mountains not a little too regularly spaced, though, and too far apart? It looks like you could just stroll right between them (in the setting sun--the shadows look great).

10-04-2013, 12:04 AM
Thank you! The mountains aren't actual placement of individual peaks so much as a graphic representation of where "thar be mountains." To be honest, I'm kind of rethinking a lot about the map at the present, but I'm really glad to hear some positive feedback on my first foray into this sort of thing. Do you have any particular suggestions? I'd really like some criticism and feedback on what I can do better.