View Full Version : Building a World

10-14-2013, 11:12 PM
I've been using this world in my AD&D, 3.5, and Pathfinder games for about 20 years. It has pretty much only existed on paper, but I recently decided to move it into the digital world and give it a facelift at the same time. First off, I wanted it to be a bit more realistic than the one I created in high school, but still maintain the features and distances I used in previous campaigns.
Step 1. I drew the known world (on 8.5 x 11) paper, then added the rest of the world in a manner that fit my campaign needs.
Step 2. I scanned the map using my phone.
Step 3. This was kinda backwards but, the next thing I did was draw tectonic plates. If I was drawing a new world, I'd have started with plates. Anyway, I used the Procreate app to draw my plates on a different layer than the main scanned image.
Step 4. Next I drew convergent, divergent and transverse plate boundaries on yet another layer.
Step 5. I drew ocean currents on yet another layer. I probably should have split warm and cold currents into different layers to save me some heartburn, but hey.
Step 6. I drew global wind patterns. Winter and summer winds on different sheets. Pink are summer and blue are winter.

The next step will be to finish sketching out the world on Fractal Terrains. I'll post an image of that when I get a rough sketch completed. After that, I'll look at modifying my existing climates and terrains.

Will Brawner
10-14-2013, 11:55 PM
Looks like a great start! I spent all day working on a similar project, involving currents and seasonal winds. For the first time I realized that there's a lot that goes on beneath the surface when trying to draw an accurate world - It's not just the continents and oceans, but everything you can't see. Good luck with your project!

10-15-2013, 08:24 PM
Thanks Will. Yea "realistic" maps come with a lot of baggage. But hey, it keeps me off the streets.

10-16-2013, 12:10 AM
I'm afraid you're not thinking of your planet as a globe. The plates at the poles are spiralling "inward" on the poles, like fabric being pulled in through a hole (and twisted) rather than like solid plates. You also aren't drawing the land with the distortion you'd expect in this projection.

Judging by the graticule, you're using a normal Equidistant Cylindrical projection with standard parallels at 48 degrees N/S That means the map is true at the 48th parallels, and gets squashed east/west as you approach the equator, and stretched out east/west as you approach the poles, with the rate that the distortion changes increasing toward the poles. Similarly it will skew directions east-west near the poles, and north-south toward the equator.

10-16-2013, 12:52 AM
While I did take into account a spherical planet when I drew this, I didn't get too bogged down the detail of the poles in the design phase, this is because everything above 60 degrees latitude in my initial drawing are fluid. That is they are unexplored and therefor very much subject to change. Also they were hard for me to visualize outside a globe.
Now that I've started building it in Fractal Terrains, I've made a few changes above 60 degrees latitude but not many. Mostly it was to align the eastern and western continents and deal with some north-south distortion issues in my land masses. My plan is to test my polar plates in either a gnomonic or orthographic projection before I lay out my mountain ranges and start defining my coastlines.
Incidentally, I also discovered some distortion east-west when I started putting into FT. Notice the longitude lines in my drawing and you'll see why.