View Full Version : [WIP] - Galkar Castle (First Town/City Map)

01-17-2014, 01:10 AM
This is my second map, and first village. It was shamelessly inspired by max's amazing work of art: Yphyrion (http://www.cartographersguild.com/cartographers-choice/23871-city-yphyrion-max.html).

This is the small village of Galkar, that grew around the castle on the last few decades. This castle is the main point of access to the southern lands of Humir's Arm (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/regional-world-mapping/60327d1389837387-wip-my-first-ever-map-humir_pq.png) and even with the long years that passed since the last barbarian attack, its is heavily guarded. It is located on the Duchy of Last Fort, within the Kingdom of Lakes.


Any criticism and advice is welcome.
Does the map have too many empty spaces? Do the unsaturated colors and cleanliness make it boring?


01-17-2014, 03:01 AM
Oooo I love it!

Maps aren't my area of expertise (not that anything is, but anyway).. but... I don't think it's boring. I actually like the style. It's simple and easy to follow. I really like the layout of the city... especially the little path up to the builder's village. And you have some very interesting building shapes :)

It seems a little... underpopulated, somehow, but that could just be me. I'm thinking of the wives/children/servants/etc of all those craftsmen and castle-folk...

The farm plots are really pretty. It makes them feel like more a part of the map. Most maps I see, the farms just look like they are thrown in as an afterthought...

For the number of buildings you have, you'd need a lot more farms (are they off the map?) to feed all the people. That might help a bit if you *do* think there's too much empty space.

If you're striving for accuracy... farms are a lot like rivers. Firstly, the rows are never that straight, but given the style of map, I don't think that matters as much as the one that is turned the wrong way. Farms, like rivers, follow the lay of the land.

Especially in a less modern society. Are you going to try to spur on your mule, while pushing a really heavy plow (that's leaning heavily to one side because you're crossing a slope) trying to keep your rows straight, go as fast as you can so you can finish before dark, while all the time trying to keep the blasted thing from falling over, because, again, you're on a slope.

Or... Are you going to push the plow straight down the hill? :P

Unless I'm seeing slants in the land where there aren't any, in which case just ignore me :P

But then, I'm starting to think I'm obsessed with farms, so you should probably ignore me anyway :)

Other than that, it looks wonderful!

(Uhh... what's the little curve of wall for near the watchtower?) :P

01-17-2014, 03:20 AM
Fantastic work, especially given this is only your second map.


01-17-2014, 09:31 AM
Does the map have too many empty spaces? Do the unsaturated colors and cleanliness make it boring?

I don't think so at all. :) In fact, I think the empty
spaces and unsaturated colors make the map
better. Gives the feeling of the open Barbaric lands
and the rolling hills. Plus, any practical map of this
location would likely only include what you have
here. Clean and clear maps are the most useful.
So I wouldn't be too worried about a lack of scenery.

01-17-2014, 12:35 PM
@arsheesh: Thanks, this map-making thing is really fun!

@foremost: Thanks for permanently settling the matter for me =) My drawings are usually too colorful and full of things everywhere, so a map like this one does leave me with the sense that something's lacking. At first I added texture to the ground and all sorts of things, but it was a weird mixing of styles and I removed it. You are right, a usable map of this location would not include anything else, thank you again for the insight!

@Jalyha: Thank you! I wasn't really sure about this one.

About population and supply deficit:
The village have around 60 'livable' houses, which makes for around 350 people, plus 100 more in the castle and rural area (not depicted). If my reasoning makes any sense, the village of Galkar should have around 500 inhabitants. Since the village slowly appeared as a support to the castle, I'm guessing that almost every job is regarding the castle needs. Assuming a medieval population pyramid with a broad base and the origins of the village, I'd say that a bit over 200 people on working condition is a fair bet.

Bear in mind that the castle is maned (a standing force of no more than 200 soldiers) and maintained by the city of Last Fort, that ship in supplies for the soldiers, repair the castle and send workers as needed. Do you think that the number of inhabitants is implausible?

Even tho there should be more crops that are not depicted on the map, I think that the small village should't be self sufficient. This is a rocky region, with poor soil and a mostly cold climate, what they manage to grow is only a part of their needs, the nearby city should be responsible for a big part of the food that the almost 700 people on village/castle require. To you think that this is implausible? The trip should take a day and a half at most.

About crops:
I did not know that, thanks for the information! I will replace the farms more carefully and then resubmit. I think that half the fun is to make the damn thing plausible :)

About the section of wall near the watchtower:
That was a piece of erased road on the wrong layer hehehe. Will be removed.

01-17-2014, 02:23 PM
Last update:

- Removed a section of Wall near the watchtower.
- Tried to make the stairs look more like stairs.
- Fixed swapped labels
- Tried to fix the farms (they look better, but something's off)


01-17-2014, 02:53 PM
It's.. I don't know. It depends on your world, really.

The fact that the village grew up around the castle helps, but...

Well, you have a village with 350-500 people ... and an inn. It's pretty common for people to throw an inn in every village, but it's not (historically) very accurate.

Historically, you'd only be sure of finding a single inn in a town/village of at least about 2000 people. Under 1500, it's highly unlikely. Anything less than around 500 people and there would have to be a REALLY good reason.

Things like... It's the only road to a popular destination, and there's no other villages within a day's walk (But you have a larger village nearby) or you HAVE to stay the night there for some reason, or there's some vital resource that brings in tons of merchants (which would then increase your population, because more people would come and settle).

Most buildings/duties specifically dealing with the needs of a *military* castle would be contained within the castle grounds - not a surrounding village. For a non-military castle, you'd have less need of these things, and they would be built or not based on the needs of the village itself.

A village must be either self-sufficient, or it must have something of value to trade, or it will collapse. So you can lose some farms, and go to the next village to trade (which means your village must have some resource the larger village does not) or you'd have to be able to feed your people - which means you'd need more farms.

Looking at your map, you have a "meadery" which (I'm assuming makes some fine mead) could be used as a source of income/trade. To make it, though, you'd need honey, fruits or spices, grains or hops, and, since we're in a medieval-ish setting, and it takes a lot of water to produce, you'd need a fairly large, very nearby water source.

Or... you could, instead of trading the mead, have your villagers sell it and buy what they need to make it (whatever they don't have). Which explains the inn, because that would draw out the merchants - but it would also increase your city's population. And... they'd have to have a reason for making mead that was so amazing... which means they would need an apiary or vast orchards, or a means of acquiring spices... or a lot of farms. :P

A horse-breeder, if your village is known for its' fine war-stallions, or racing horses, or something exceptional, would be another means of income. But horses need feeding - which means you need grain. Which means more trading/more people/vast farms...

But... there's this lord's castle. IF he's simply maintaining his castle, he might send a set amount of food/supplies for the military personel. He's not going to feed every peasant that works with them for free.

Since it's rough, rocky terrain, it would be hard to grow crops, so you can't plausibly fix this with more farms.

An easier solution, since the nearest village is only a half a day's walk, would be to decrease the number of idle citizenry who live *outside* the castle, and get rid of the inns and non-essential services. Then the Lord could conceivably support the entire thing. OR to drastically increase the population, and give them some source of commerce.

Rocky terrain.. you could do dyes, or silks, olives or figs, or a vast armory with highly skilled blacksmiths.

Or, if this castle is all that stands between the country and the enemy, perhaps they have some sort of system where others support the people as well.. in that case you'd still need a much smaller or much larger population, depending on how the people feel about this system, and.. I don't know.

I'm not saying that your set-up is impossible, but it's not very logical support-wise, without some sort of back-story/explanation. If you have a lot more to the story, it probably makes more sense somewhere.

Also... "Rocky/mountainous" doesn't always mean inhospitable. A series of cliff-shelves could contain huge fields of green land which could be farmed or used as grazing.


Goats/sheep could be another great source of commerce. :)

Then again.. all of this is based on averages/recorded history/data, and 1) There are always exceptions and 2) Not all small villages or support villages are necessarily well documented, and 3) Things in your world could work differently. :)

About the wall near the tower:
I was hoping there was some sort of cute or cool story to it :P It looked interesting !

Also... keep in mind that not everyone is obsessive as I am, and it's unlikely many other people would notice the issues I am picking on. I'm weird :D

EDIT: I saw the changes. I think you went the wrong way with the farms, lol :P Looks better, but it's off because they're now driving off the cliff. Hold on I'll doodle something.

01-17-2014, 03:15 PM
Okay, so, from a landscape perspective, if I'm seeing your map right, your cliffs look like this:


The shelves in the picture wouldn't be flat, and they wouldn't slant down to the walls. The slope would be like this:


So your farms would ALL run on a curve, west-east. (Much like the largest farm plot on your first drawing.)

01-17-2014, 04:55 PM
Hahahaha if it wasn't for you my farmers would be driving their mules down the cliff! My God, good thing I don't own a farm! How does it look now?


This part of the story is quite incomplete, so I wave plenty of leeway to change things.

The inn:
My intention for that place was not even an inn at the beginning, but just a mead-hall/tavern where the soldiers would run to from time to time. I'll turn it back into that.

The supply problem:

I was operating under the assumption that the city of Last Fort would support the castle since it is a key military point and indeed all that stands between the kingdom and the ruthless people of the south. But you are right, it would support ONLY the castle, the village is not vital to this purpose. I still have to feed the peasants.
So so far the options are:

The meadery . It was established to meet the demands of the soldiers garrisoned at the castle, and I don't think that with the short supply of water it would be able to make enough to be a significant trade option.

The horse breeder. It is located at the top of the ridge because getting horses up there was challenging. Likewise, making the horses climb down would be hard. So not a good option either.

Blacksimths. I like this one, maybe when the battles with the barbarians were abundant and bloody, they sent a fair amount of good blacksmiths to the castle to meet the ever increasing demand for weapons and armor. When the barbarians were broken, the blacksmiths started trading their high-quality goods and that sparkled the birth of the village. But for that to work they should have access to metal, preferably some good mines nearby. I know close to nothing about geology, do you know what conditions favor the creation of ferrous metal deposits?

Goats/sheep. I like that! So they rely heavily on herds of goats and sheep. That would help to feed them and with their hides and the Tanner it would also supply the blacksmiths.

How is that, do you see any problems?

01-17-2014, 05:25 PM
Farms are a lot more plausible (and I see you added a few :P )

Meadery: Okay, so they have enough grain/hops from the farms to make enough for the soldiers... and some wells, I assume, for the water. It wouldn't need to be great mead, for soldiers, and the rulers could be sending in honey too, I suppose... or the men who run the meadery can buy it, I suppose. Unless you've got your own supply, or some fruit trees somewhere, I don't think you could turn a profit with it.

Goats/Sheep: Sure, one of your "farms" could be a goatherd/sheepherd and dot those cliffs with fluffy wooly animals. They could graze on grass (not real high maintenance) and you'd have wool for clothing or trade, mutton, occasionally, to supplement your food stores, as well as goat milk, cheese, butter...

Blacksmiths: Ummmh I think they would need ore, yes. I'm not real good with geology, unfortunately. Pretty sure rocky cliffs/mountains could easily have some sort of metal deposits, but I'm... next to useless in that area :P

I could do some checking, if you want (anything to avoid working lol).

01-18-2014, 08:28 AM
Yep, I agree with Arsheesh, you've got already a nice map for a second one!

I like your crops fields - it's quite original.

01-18-2014, 05:29 PM
I like your crops fields - it's quite original.

Thanks Ilanthar! I had no idea how to make crops, and that came out lol

I just sketched the tower (10. on the map) and decided to color it, its pretty rough tho:

01-27-2014, 02:42 PM
Nice tower! I like the art style.

01-27-2014, 03:59 PM
I just thought... is that the tower the demon dude with the missing eye lives in? :o :o :o

01-27-2014, 06:19 PM
@Grison: Thanks, glad you like it :)

@Jalyha: Not that I know of, but maybe he moved and forgot to tell me? Who knows? :)