View Full Version : Valley at the Top of the World, a Palladium Fantasy RPG Shangri-La

06-10-2014, 06:35 PM
This is a commission for a friend, a map based on material from the Palladium Fantasy RPG book, "Island at the Edge of the World". I'm just about done with the land sculpt. I threw in a color gradient for a quick look, but I've got a lot more climate work to do.

I'd never done cliffs before. I used a combination of a hard-edged darker shading for the low areas, a blurred bevel filter, and a drop shadow to give them their current look. I'm ok with the results, but I'd welcome suggestions on improving them further.

I've got a few more new wrinkles I'm planning on playing with at later stages, but here's the draft for now:


Here's a description of the valley:
"The Valley" as it's called, is described as roughly triangle-shaped, about 30 miles wide, set in and surrounded by the Old Kingdom mountains.
To the south are sheer cliffs that drop away to the Old Kingdom River (note: I forgot to put in the south bank in the current draft, a bone-headed error that I'll fix next).

The Valley is at high altitude, above timberline, yet the strange supernatural force of the Crystal Fortress has turned it into a lush, temperate, and fertile area. The other oddity on this map is the depression in which the Crystal Fortress lies; it was discovered and excavated a thousand years ago.

Although it's small pocket of peace in a dangerous land, not all is well here. For the last thousand years, this secret vale has ruled by the paranoid Crystal King, who never lets anyone leave. Many people long to escape, but the psychic powers of the Crystal King prevent them, and the defenses of the fortress are unassailable.

As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.

06-12-2014, 09:34 AM
The cliffs aren't very convincing to me. I cliffs on mountain faces are usually less evenin height, unlike those found on masas. Would it be possible to use a similar technique as the on you use to make you mountains but with a much steeper fall off?

06-12-2014, 10:37 PM
Yeah, the uniformity doesn't seem right to me, either. I actually tried using the mountain technique on them, but that didn't work well by itself, so I tried to mix in some blended bevel/emboss and a drop shadow in three separate layers. I'll try fiddling with them some more.

06-17-2014, 11:07 AM
UPDATE: I revised the climate zones and I added some farmland textures and a ruined stone wall. I also added icons and roads, though I'm not very satisfied with the results. I'd welcome any suggestions for improvement, as this is my first attempt at doing roads.
I still plan on adding in forests, a compass rose/scale/legend, a frame, and labels.

07-04-2014, 11:35 AM
Several revisions and new features for this version. I'm taking a "throw it in there, move on, then come back and tweak it later" approach. Labels are in place, roads are revised, and I added in some woods.