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crackerjake
01-19-2009, 03:30 PM
This is my first time making a map, and I'm in need of some help. First of all, sorry about it being so dirty and messy, I tried cleaning it up as much as I could while damaging it as little as I could.

Now, I've got some questions:
1) What are the effects of a mountain range on an area?
2) What is the minimum size of a forest?
3) Would people take boats upriver for trade and such?
4) What kind of things would having this many rivers in one area do?
5) How long would it take for a desert to form if a mountain range was spontaneously created?

I'll also take any advice offered, of course, since I'm kinda having the mapper's equivalent of a writer's block. I'm kind of struggling on where/if I should put more forests or another lake or pond.

If it helps, here's an extremely quick and brief version of the backstory of my land:

The Diernese arrived on the shores of what is know the Dierdan Kingdom, and made an alliance with the local (good aligned, by nature) orcs for the sake of survival. The resident humans didn't take too kindly to the Dierdans being there, attacked, and ultimately failed in the face of the Orc/Dierdan forces, and mostly because a wizard, backed by a cabal of other wizards, raised what he wanted to be a stone wall, but was instead a mountain range. The effort killed him, but the attackers were soon cut off and the Dierdans and the Orcs survived. Things went on, the Dierdans and the Orcs became closer, building a kingdom together. On the other side of the mountains, a desert had formed and the Desert Men (finally, a name!!) attacked again. They formed a group of elite wizards who blew a freaking hole in the mountain range, and they attacked, and lost, again. A highly talented wizard erected a gate (dunno of what) where the hole was and named it after himself.

Oh, and the Unforgiving Isle has pirates. The Genneve Isles are where monks train.


Like I said before, this is still veeeeeery early in the development, but I'm pretty stuck. Where the star is is supposed to be the Kingdom Capital (no name yet). This is for my DnD group, and it'll be my first time DMing :p, so I'm trying to make this as good as I can.

So, can I be helped? Or is it still too early to tell?

Steel General
01-19-2009, 04:46 PM
I think you have a good start here. I see one anomaly with the river, they generally don't split that way - but if you have a good reason for it (such as I want it that way :D), then don't worry about it.

I can't answer any of you geological questions but there a some here who should be able to.

Is this going to be a hand drawn map or are you going to scan it and re-do it graphically?

Ascension
01-19-2009, 04:59 PM
First off, cool little map, it looks pretty darn good actually and the only thing I'd fix is the split river; rivers merge with others as they go downstream not split (unless there is some sort of magical phenomenon to account for it). They might split to go around something rocky to form an island but rejoin quite quickly.

As to the effects of the mountain range created by some arcane magicks...well I think the most immediate effects would be on the fauna (animals and people deserting the area for a while) while the climatalogical effects would be gradual, say over hundreds of years if not thousands.

As far as a desert forming up...that would depend on how tall the mountains are and how the jet stream blows. If it blows west to east then a desert might form up on the eastern side of the range (if the mountains are tall enough) but being so close to the coast I'm sure that there would be plenty of inland breezes to compensate for that much like the Carolinas and if this is in a sub-tropical locale then hurricanes would probably make this more like Florida. If the jet stream blows north south or south north then the mountains would have little affect the way they are now. If the jest stream blows east to west then this area would be quite swampy unless its far north, in which case it would be quite pleasant like England (which gets it's warmth mainly from the Gulf Stream but you get the idea).

Gandwarf
01-19-2009, 05:12 PM
This is my first time making a map, and I'm in need of some help. First of all, sorry about it being so dirty and messy, I tried cleaning it up as much as I could while damaging it as little as I could.

Now, I've got some questions:
1) What are the effects of a mountain range on an area?
2) What is the minimum size of a forest?
3) Would people take boats upriver for trade and such?
4) What kind of things would having this many rivers in one area do?
6) How long would it take for a desert to form if a mountain range was spontaneously created?



Nice job so far crackerjake. I'll try and reply to your questions:

1. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountains for some inspiration
2. Really, there's no set minimum. It depends on a lot of factors. If there's a lot of civilizations around deforestation is going to be a problem (also depending how numerous and technologically advanced those civilizations are). Most of Europe was covered in forest at one time for example...
3. Yes, if the current wasn't too strong. You could have people rowing or even horses pulling the boats from the shores.
4. Rivers can have a big impact on trade, transportation, conflicts (try crossing a river with the enemy on the other side) and thus civilization. Also consider potential flooding, fertile lands because of sediments and maybe even minerals like gold that are deposited from the mountains.
5. Wait, there's no question 5.
6. Deserts are not formed overnight, but an area can become barren quite quickly. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification

Remember, Wikipedia is your friend!

RobA
01-19-2009, 10:50 PM
@GP and Ascension: Your River Police deputy badges are in the mail ;)

-Rob A>

crackerjake
01-20-2009, 01:42 AM
@SteelGeneral: Yes, this is going to be a completely hand-drawn map

@Ascension: I was originally going to have the wind current going from east to west, but I can change it if that'll make enough of a difference to give me my desert :p (It doesn't matter if the desert was there before or after the mountains were raised to me. Actually, I could have the whole place a desert and the mountains being raised slowly changed the shore from a desert to a plains area, or something. Still working on the climate of the area)

@Both: The river was a quick fix thing, since I originally had the Wilder's Bane and the Golden River both outflowing from the lake, and I read on here that having two outflows would eventually dry up one of the rivers, and I kinda need both to be permanent, soooo... Anyways, unless someone can give me an idea (or if I can come up with it on my own), I guess the Guardian River splitting is gonna have to be spontaneously magical, I guess :p

@Gandwarf: Ick, wikipedia. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but if you say these articles are realiable, then I guess I'll trust them :)

Thanks for the help so far, I'll be sure to be more active in the future. Been lurking these forums for the odd bit of geographic or cartographic info for the past few months.

NeonKnight
01-21-2009, 02:36 AM
Wikipedia....Always take it with a grain of salt. I have seen articles there that are quite well done (usually in areas I have had formal training in....archaeology and history of ancient cultures).

That said, Wikipedia should be taken as any research; one voice of many. Research, form an opinion and look for additional arguments that either backs up or contradicts the findings.

That said, with regards to desert forming, remember, the true definition of a desert is an area with either little rainfall or an area that loses more water than it receives. Technically, the Arctic/Antarctic are cold deserts, with the Antarctic desert being the worlds largest, larger even than the Sahara.

Not all deserts look like Arizona/Sahara/Mongolian. For instance, the Okanagan region in British Columbia is a Desert, even with its pine trees, and scrubs because of it's low yearly precipitation.

So, because you are understandably reluctant to accept Wikipedia, the following takes you to the University of California's Paleontology Museum's website with articles on the various biomes of earth:

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibits/biomes/deserts.php

Gandwarf
01-21-2009, 05:39 AM
That said, Wikipedia should be taken as any research; one voice of many. Research, form an opinion and look for additional arguments that either backs up or contradicts the findings.


Agreed, if doing proper research you should have multiple sources.
Otherwise Wikipedia is a great read and it should give lots of inspiration. Most of my maps only need a bit of realism, so I don't have to worry about information being false.

Hoel
01-21-2009, 07:40 AM
A fantasy rpg map is hardly a master thesis so wikipedia should suffice as a source.
Magic is a great tool for fudging geography...
I like the look of the mountain range, i wonder what's on the other side, I hope your campaign goes well

crackerjake
01-21-2009, 07:11 PM
I've got another question.

This one is regarding my anomaly of a river:

Is it possible for a river to be fed by a large spring that is in turn fed by an underground river?

My thought was to have a sea or a whole ocean underneath the mountains, as another unwanted effect of the spell, and the underground river would be fed from this body of water. This, of course, begs the question of whether an underground lake/sea/ocean is possible...
Heh, super-duper-wild evocation...

Hoel
01-21-2009, 07:36 PM
It is possible under very exceptional circumstances... like magic

Karro
01-23-2009, 09:18 AM
Underground lakes are certainly possible, under very earthlike and non-magically-influenced conditions as well.

Underground Lake (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamouth_Cave) and here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_lake).

Not only that, it appears possible for the water system in such a cave network to feed surface water (http://www.mammothcave.com/).

Now, underground seas... (they'd be freshwater seas, most likely, due to the nature of ground water) that might take a bit more magic to make it happen, but since the rudiments are already there, I don't see it as outside the realm of believability.

jfrazierjr
01-23-2009, 10:52 AM
Not quite sure the difference, but there is an "aquifer" which is under the midwest and spans like 10 or so states, so that it is easily as large as some of the larger above ground inland seas. I can't remember the name of it, but someone had a link about it here a month or so ago (NK perhaps?) in another topic.

Karro
01-23-2009, 11:54 AM
Not quite sure the difference, but there is an "aquifer" which is under the midwest and spans like 10 or so states, so that it is easily as large as some of the larger above ground inland seas. I can't remember the name of it, but someone had a link about it here a month or so ago (NK perhaps?) in another topic.

Aquifers, as I understand it, flow through the ground itself, usually flowing through sedimentary or porous layers of rock or ground and trapped in between denser layers of rocky material.

I would think, theoretically, that if an aquifer ran into a large, cavernous hole in the porous and upper-rocky material (while still being trapped on the lower bound up by dense rocky material) that it would expand to fill the cavernous space, thus creating an underground freshwater sea.

crackerjake
01-23-2009, 12:51 PM
Ah, this is good news. Now I can have my river border! :D


But still, would it be logical to think that an underground river would run from this underground body of water and surface as a spring, which, in turn, flows out to the sea as another river?

Hoel
01-23-2009, 02:25 PM
Yes. It would be possible, but the river would probably only have one outlet, either the underground or the spring.
But with magic who can say?

Midgardsormr
01-23-2009, 02:51 PM
Yep. At some point, your terrain level will drop below the surface level of your underground water source. At that point, a spring will form, which will take the water out to sea.

Incidentally, this particular kind of formation is one of the rare exceptions to the non-forking water source rule. An aquifer can feed more than one spring because there is an upper limit on how much water a given spring can carry.

Ascension
01-23-2009, 05:01 PM
I can't really help with the science stuff but from personal experience I have a lil snippet. In college (Mizzou) there was a cave we used to hang out at called "Devil's Icebox" (because it was cold). We'd turn out the lights and let the bats fly by our heads...kind of cool really. The cave was formed by an underground stream and we would canoe it for a while and then it came to a wall where we needed scuba gear to go further (it goes on for another 21 miles like that). We had no idea where to get scuba gear in the middle of Missouri so we just trusted the map that was provided.

crackerjake
01-25-2009, 07:44 PM
Hmm, I've just thought up of something else. How big does a spring have to be before it turns into a pond? I was thinking about how ridiculous it would be for a large river to have its source at a small spring. I suppose I could have multiple springs with streams that unify into one river...but then that'd bring up the question of a river having more than one spring.

So my questions now are:

1) How big does a spring have to be before it becomes a pond
2) Is it possible for one of these underground rivers to have multiple springs


Aaaah, nevermind, ignore #2, because that'd go back to the whole irregular river splitting thing. Grrr, making a new world is more complicated than I thought it would be :(

Ascension
01-25-2009, 08:25 PM
If the springs all share the same water table then I don't see a problem, EDG might be able to better answer this one.

crackerjake
01-26-2009, 09:56 PM
You know what? Screw it, I'm just going to have the underground river emerge in the forest and go into the sea. I don't see any problems with it, and it's not as if the river can't have another one branch off from it to a pond or something.
It works, nothing says it won't work, and it's flexible. I like it.

Thanks for the help, guys! :D
I'll be sure to drop by more often as I work on more maps for future sessions and campaigns!

Nomadic
01-26-2009, 10:14 PM
Hmm, I've just thought up of something else. How big does a spring have to be before it turns into a pond? I was thinking about how ridiculous it would be for a large river to have its source at a small spring.

It's not ridiculous at all. Most headwaters are very small. They get bigger as the river flows along the drainage basin and picks up more water. The headwaters of the mississippi (a river that in some places is over 5 miles wide) are small enough that you can walk across.

http://www.koa.com/vacationideas/articles/mn/mn_Mississippi_Headwaters.jpg

crackerjake
01-30-2009, 12:33 AM
Sorry to bug you guys again, but I've another question, this one concerning marshes and swamps:

1) Could a swamp/mere/marsh be located on or close to a shore? Not like the Everglades, but closer.

One of my friends REALLY likes swamps, and after a bit of thought, I had some ideas for a couple of good plot hooks. Trolls and trouble go hand in hand, ya know?

Nomadic
01-30-2009, 02:25 AM
Sorry to bug you guys again, but I've another question, this one concerning marshes and swamps:

1) Could a swamp/mere/marsh be located on or close to a shore? Not like the Everglades, but closer.

One of my friends REALLY likes swamps, and after a bit of thought, I had some ideas for a couple of good plot hooks. Trolls and trouble go hand in hand, ya know?

I don't see why not, the only requirement for something to be a swamp is for there to be oversaturated soil and standing pools of water. If you had a calm enough area (a strong ocean would probably destroy a shoreline swamp) such as a sheltered bay I could see it having a swampy shore.

Edit: Yep they do, they are called salt marshes. They are grasses and algaes though since most plants can't handle brackish water. Though if you had a river draining into the salt marsh you could have a full on swamp with trees a bit farther inland. Of course if this is on the shore of a lake then sure you could have a swamp right up to the lake edge.

Steel General
01-30-2009, 07:02 AM
The bayou's of Lousiana go right up to the gulf coast don't they? They're basically swamps...

Karro
01-30-2009, 09:30 AM
What they said. The answer is yes.

My wife and I honeymooned on an island off South Carolina. The sheltered side of the island (toward the mainland, away from the ocean) was mostly salt and tidal marsh. The inland of the island was similarly swampy (though in the island interior it was freshwater). I would suspect that on the mainland, where the land is sheltered by these barrier island we would see similar salt and tidal marshes with freshwater swamps spreading out from there.

crackerjake
01-30-2009, 04:33 PM
Ah, this is good news. Now, for question #2:

What kind of features would accompany a salty or tidal marsh?

When I say features, I mean what kinds of plants, the surrounding geography required, etc.


I know it seems like I'm being lazy and using you guys instead of Google or Wikipedia, but information seems to be a bit lacking for some like me who has very little geographical logic :p

Nomadic
01-30-2009, 04:50 PM
I know it seems like I'm being lazy and using you guys instead of Google or Wikipedia, but information seems to be a bit lacking for some like me who has very little geographical logic :p


Actually the wiki page for salt marsh will tell you what you need to know.



Plant species diversity is relatively low, since the flora must be tolerant of salt, complete or partial submersion, and anoxic mud substrate. The most common salt marsh plants are glassworts (Salicornia spp.) and the cordnyiyg grasses (Spartina spp.), which have worldwide distribution. They are often the first plants to take hold in a mudflat and begin its ecological succession into a salt marsh. Their shoots lift the main flow of the tide above the mud surface while their roots spread into the substrate and stabilize the sticky mud and carry oxygen into it so that other plants can establish themselves as well. Plants such as sea lavenders (Limonium spp.), plantains (Plantago spp.), and varied sedges and rushes grow once the mud has been vegetated by the pioneer species.

The flora of a salt marsh is differentiated into levels according to the plants' individual tolerance of salinity and water table levels. Vegetation found at the water must be able to survive high salt concentrations, periodical submersion, and a certain amount of water movement, while plants further inland in the marsh can sometimes experience dry, low-nutrient conditions.

Salt marshes are quite photosynthetically active and are extremely productive habitats. They serve as depositories for a large amount of organic matter and are full of decomposition, which feeds a broad food chain of organisms from bacteria to mammals. Many of the halophytic plants such as cordgrass are not grazed at all by higher animals but die off and decompose to become food for micro-organisms, which in turn become food for fish and birds.


For your enjoyment here are pictures of glassworts (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Salicornia_europaea_MS_0802.JPG) and cordnyiyg grasses (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Spartina_alterniflora.jpg). From the looks of things I would say that salt marshes are pretty open things with tall grasses and lichens. If a river drains into the area, thus providing fresh water, further inland you could have a full blown swamp with trees.

Karro
02-02-2009, 09:19 AM
Actually the wiki page for salt marsh will tell you what you need to know.



For your enjoyment here are pictures of glassworts (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Salicornia_europaea_MS_0802.JPG) and cordnyiyg grasses (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Spartina_alterniflora.jpg). From the looks of things I would say that salt marshes are pretty open things with tall grasses and lichens. If a river drains into the area, thus providing fresh water, further inland you could have a full blown swamp with trees.


Yeah, that's pretty much what the salt marshes we saw on our honeymoon were made of. They had a pretty cool kayak tour we took where we kayaked through the salt marsh and then out into the sound between the island and the mainland, and the guide gave us some background on the ecology of the area.

Dracontes
02-02-2009, 10:59 AM
The Ria Formosa, near my University, should be a good example of the kind of salt marsh you're looking for (http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=ria+formosa#order=9&q=ria+formosa+by%3Adracontes+in%3Aphotography).

The lagoon formed on a gently sloping coast. The interaction of the sea's sediment drift coming from rivers to the west and the detritus provided by the local watersheds created the barrier islands more or less where the coast's slope becomes steeper. From there on, the relatively sheltered lagoon environment allowed the deposition of finer sediment which led to the colonization described above.
I guess the main point here is the existence of a current strong enough along the coast to allow the build up of the necessary barrier islands. The eastern coast of the US has the Gulf Stream and the coast of Portugal has the eponymous current a branch of which supplies water to the Mediterranean.

Other than this I can't think of more I should say... I hope it helps :)

crackerjake
02-03-2009, 07:20 AM
Thanks, you guys have been a ton of help to me! :D

crackerjake
07-28-2009, 05:11 PM
Sorry for the necro posting, but here's an update.

Been neglecting this map for a little while, but I've gotten right back at it, unfortunately though, my nephew almost destroyed it with a cup of tea. He knows I'm pretty ****ed at him. It's not that dirty IRL, but the tea is obviously pretty exaggerated. I suppose it gives it a certain aged look.

Anyways, the Golden River originates from a spring in the Cold Guard, which finds its source from an underground river that comes from an underground sea underneath the Guardian Wall. Freeport is the coastal city, and is connected to Stronghill (an orc city) via trade route. Haven's Edge is the capital, found on the peninsula on the lake. The 30 mile thing isn't set in stone, I may change it later to match the rest of the world.

Karro
07-29-2009, 08:43 AM
Sorry for the necro posting, but here's an update.

Been neglecting this map for a little while, but I've gotten right back at it, unfortunately though, my nephew almost destroyed it with a cup of tea. He knows I'm pretty ****ed at him. It's not that dirty IRL, but the tea is obviously pretty exaggerated. I suppose it gives it a certain aged look.

Anyways, the Golden River originates from a spring in the Cold Guard, which finds its source from an underground river that comes from an underground sea underneath the Guardian Wall. Freeport is the coastal city, and is connected to Stronghill (an orc city) via trade route. Haven's Edge is the capital, found on the peninsula on the lake. The 30 mile thing isn't set in stone, I may change it later to match the rest of the world.


Even with the tea stains, I think it's looking pretty good. You've got some pretty nice landforms, there.

Coyotemax
07-29-2009, 08:59 AM
Actually I like the tea stains, you can't get much more authentic than that for aging effects :P

And to be honest, it makes an interesting fractal coastline effect, i just may have to try that with a map some time.. "Teastain Coast Line Mapping" ...