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Garanth
02-05-2009, 08:31 AM
Been working on this map with the help of Jezelf's wonderful tutorial (http://www.jezelf.co.uk/tutorials_map02.htm). I'd been doing this all originally on pieces of graph paper, but could never quite get the coastlines to work out.

All I can say is thank god for photoshop :)

This is an extreme rough-draft of the map. It will be used once all the countries names are on there as a handout for my players when I start up the campaign, since the worn-paper look makes a much more realistic handout.

World still to be named:

So far on the map:

Khurash: a mayan-themed kingdom.
It, the hazard-stripe area, and a yet unnamed kingdom on the far side, were once a single great empire. However, a century ago a great evil erupted from the empire's capital of Gea Kul, splitting the empire in two.

The other kingdom is to be Aztec themed (with the two derived from an Olmec-themed empire). Having trouble finding an Aztec-sounding name that doesn't look silly, and isn't 14 consonants string together. Thinking Aztlan perhaps...
Both are dying empires, slowly being suffocated by the encroaching jungle. All manner of demon-twisted wildlife constantly assault the populace, making even basic survival a struggle. Each only survives due to the sheer wealth of precious metals and gems within its boundaries.

Azahrim: an Arabian-themed kingdom, which is my most likely starting point for this campaign. I'm really taken by this setting thematically, and I have a good idea for a starting hook and a short string of adventures to get everyone going. The name is a recent thing, was previously called Zakhara (stolen from a d&d campaign).
Though officially ruled by the Caliphate, Azahrim is in truth not much more than a tenuous alliance of city-states, each competing with the other for the lifeblood of trade that flows over the mountains from Khurash and ?Aztlan? towards the west, as well as other trade goods produced within Azahrim itself.

Khemet: Egyptian-themed (obviously). What was once the crade of a globe-stretching Draconic empire is now little more than ruins and memories, though few small Tatsuo (Dragon-born) towns still remain.

League of Delios: The Greek-themed city-states of Delios are leaders in economic activity, philosophy, and technological development. Much like Azahrim though, the stability of the league is tenuous at best, with each city eternally seeking to eke out an advantage over it's neighbours. This creates ample opportunity for any enterprising adventurers, who would not have to look far for potential employers. The markets in Delios are also bursting with fantastic and exotic items of both the magical and mundane variety.

Praetoria: This psuedo-Roman empire stretches across much of the western continent, and rules over a wide variety of cultures and even races.
This is most likely where I'll stick all the races I'm having a hard time placing. This will most likely mean gnomes and halflings will have their homes within the Praetorian empire, since it makes sense that they would seek the protection of a larger empire rather than form armies to protect themselves.



Still to come:
Norse-themed kingdom: most likely called midgard, and most likely on the mountain-covered island north of the western continent.

Elven/Eladrin kingdom: not sure what to do with these guys yet

Barbarians: possibly a mongol/germanic nation, if not both. The germanic/roman clash would be rather historical.

Dwarves: Most likely, the western continent will have a large, inhospitable mountain region inhabitted by dwarves (as well as goblins, orcs, giants). The eastern continent will be inhabitted by the much less friendly Duergar.

Garanth
02-05-2009, 08:37 AM
Next steps in the map (hopefully tommorrow):
1) water texture. I may make some sort of wave brush with a scatter effect, and go the easy route. Otherwise i'll try some creative filter use

2) finish up the mountains/hills

3) find a good way to texture jungle

4) same as 3), but for deserts

5) figure out how to do cities. I've done a combination of different circular-shapes, but none of them turned out how I liked them.

and of course, everything still has to be named, and backstory/culture written. Staying away from language etc, since this is my first shot at this and I don't exactly consider myself an expert since I only speak two languages (English, and bad English).

Steel General
02-05-2009, 09:19 AM
Love the color scheme on this and the font works nicely I think.

The mountains on the western continent could use a little more variety, might be worthwhile creating some additional mountain icons to help break up the repetitiveness.

torstan
02-05-2009, 11:29 AM
Very nice - you might want to have look at this month's challenge and move the WIP to there. This looks like a good candidate for a political map. Have some rep to get you started.

Hoel
02-05-2009, 12:41 PM
Ha.. you have almost the same cultures as I do in my Moenia campaign.

bartmoss
02-05-2009, 12:46 PM
Hmmm. I think this is my color-blindness kicking in. What's the base color of this map? It looks very ... gray to me, with the continents being slightly brighter than the oceans.

Steel General
02-05-2009, 12:49 PM
Hmmm. I think this is my color-blindness kicking in. What's the base color of this map? It looks very ... gray to me, with the continents being slightly brighter than the oceans.

Lots of shades of brown, tan, maybe a bit of red. Looks much like dark parchment.

bartmoss
02-05-2009, 12:52 PM
Okay, definitely colorblindness then :) Thanks.

Ascension
02-05-2009, 05:20 PM
It looks like a faded tattoo on flesh, which would be a way cool effect if the brown was a bit blacker with some outer glow of black set to color burn. Good start.

Garanth
02-05-2009, 06:36 PM
Okay, definitely colorblindness then :) Thanks.

Lol i 'ear ya brutha.

I'm slightly colourblind myself, but it rarely manifests itself in day to day life. That, of course, until I have to start picking greens from browns in a photoshop pallette. That's what RGB value charts (http://www.avaloncity.com/info/fprefect/spice/colors.htm) are for.

You're totally right about the western mountains Steel General. The eastern mountains have two symbol varieties in it, while the west was just a quick splattering of a single one. Didn't get finished before I decided it was time for bed (5:30 in the morning is typically past due for going to sleep :P ).

Thanks for all the C&C everyone! Glad to see I'm getting on the right track.

Garanth
02-06-2009, 01:27 AM
Update. Added some cities, named them, and fixed up the mountains

Also did some extra texturing on the background, which I'm not sure if i like. It looks quite drastically different on my PC than it does on my laptop (where I made it vs where I'm posting it)... I think I may need to fix the colour settings on my PC's monitor

What do you guys think of the text? The more I look at the curvature on country names, the less I like it. The city text I kind like, but the font is wicked hard to read.

Does anybody have any advice on a grassland/swamp/forest symbol/texture?

Steel General
02-06-2009, 07:26 AM
I think the text is fine though I prefer the more brown-tan background you initially had.

As for grass/swamp/forest symbols I suggest you check the tutorial forum (if you haven't already), I'm fairly sure there are a couple of things in there that can help you.

jezelf
02-06-2009, 07:51 AM
hey - looking good.

I like the shapes of the continents and general world layout. The 'composistion' of land masses to look 'cool' is something I often have hassles with, but you've done a great job.

thanks for sharing.

Jez

ravells
02-06-2009, 01:12 PM
I really love the terracotta colour! Very unusual and it works really well for me from an artistic point of view. Repped for originality!

Greason Wolfe
02-09-2009, 04:19 AM
Is that a hint of wood grain I see?

I'll second what the others have said. Very nice and the coloring works very well for the style. Out of curiosity, though, there is an area east of Khurash that has some orange sort of striping. Is that something signficant? Or did I just miss it in the original post?

GW

Garanth
02-09-2009, 02:45 PM
Is that a hint of wood grain I see?

I'll second what the others have said. Very nice and the coloring works very well for the style. Out of curiosity, though, there is an area east of Khurash that has some orange sort of striping. Is that something signficant? Or did I just miss it in the original post?

GW

I mentioned it, but didn't elaborate.

The hazard-striped area contains the core of the predecessor kingdom to Khurash and ?Aztlan?, centred around the old capital of Ghea-Kuul. Something evil resides there and is twisting the inhabitants of the jungle. As the evil influence spreads, it is slowly suffocating out the human residents of the jungle, pushing them into the cities in ever increasing numbers.

What that evil is I haven't fully decided, and probably won't unless my PCs decide to set out to destroy it (most likely a super adventure that will last nearly a tier, since it would take months to trek through such a dense and unfriendly jungle).

It will probably be a "ancient ritual causes a rift that allows a powerful demon to cross into this world," though that demon might be the worldy incarnation of a god (none of whom are particularily friendly as each has his/her own fatal flaw). No point fleshing it out much more though if my party decides to avoid the area entirely. There will probably be a few more hazard areas, like the Yuan-Ti and LizardFolk kingdoms, and perhaps some of the Duergar kingdoms.

Garanth
02-10-2009, 05:26 AM
UPDATE:

I printed out a copy of my map, and have been doodling around with some rough borders while procrastinating on writing a paper today.

I was hoping that Perhaps I could get some help/feedback with kingdom ideas?

edit: plea for help has been put into the next post, and this one reserved for backstory. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on kingdom/culture/race ideas, as well as critiques on my backstory.

To help, I'll give you guys a quick run-down of the backstory.


For millions of years, the world was ruled by dragons. They slowly developed the arcane arts, developed ties to divine magic, and carefully bred the species of the world to best suit their needs.
At first, these creatures were little more than lesser copies of themselves, pretty much resembling dinosaurs and all other manner of reptillian creatures.
Then, a great disaster struck, plunging the world into an ice age. Struggling to survive, the dragons crawled into caverns and lairs to hibernate. When the ice age finally ended, and the dragons all awoke to reclaim their kingdom, they found that the world was now populated by an intriguing new species: man.

Finding man to be a particularily suitable servant race, they quickly set about conquering and enslaving the species. Their new-found slaves proved themselves to be extremely useful, and the Draconic empire was quickly vaulted into a golden age of prosperity. Great monuments, vast wealth, and powerful magic soon flowed throughout the world as never before.

It was then that the Great Plague took hold. Perhaps the dragons, in all their hubris, delved too deep into the arcane arts. Or perhaps they managed to earn the ire of some powerful deity, whose influence seeped into the material world. However it happened, the plague rendered the entire species infertile.

Faced with the extinction of their entire species, the Draconic society devolved into chaos and war. Rival factions sprouted up, each blaming the other for the plague, and bitterly at odds over how and whom should solve it. This was known as Ragnarok, the war that ended the world. The titanic might of the clashing Draconic Legions tore the world asunder, and forever changed the face of the planet.

After centuries of war, and still no closer to a cure than they had been at the beginning, a tenuous truce was called. A war that had been fought over preserving their race had very near destroyed it. With their numbers so diminished, the draconic civilization dissolved entirely as each dragon again burrowed into the earth, each desperately and selfishly seeking to prolong their own existence by hiding themselves from all dangers.

The truce-day marked the beginning of the new calendar for the dragon-spawned races left behind, and many millenia have passed since. Each has carved themselves out a sliver of the once might empire, though man has again shown his incredible adaptivity and once more covers much of the planet.



The Dragons, either through magic or breeding, altered many of the creatures of the world into the races that exist today. Their creations, amongst others, include dragons, orcs, tatsuo (dragonborn), giants, dwarves (and duergar), yuan-ti and lizardfolk. Elves will find their place too, though where exactly they fit in I haven't decided

During Ragnarok the dragons largely split into east/west factions:

In the east, their creations tend more towards imposing their own image onto man, making reptillian-appearing creatures (Trogodytes, Lizardfolk, Yuan-ti, Dragonborn).

In the west, they tended more towards perverting man, creating Orcs and giants.

The western dragons will also likely have created halflings, gnomes, and other humanoid races, while the eastern may have perverted some elves into the gith. Elves will likely have either been an "upper class" of dragon-slaves, or have skirted enslavement entirely (or partially, thus explaining the gith). Dwarves and Dragonborn may pre-date the war, and thus exist in both kingdoms, though may be split (dwarves/duergar, and racial-variety dragonborn).

The overarching theme of the split is that neither side was "evil", and thus none of their creations are intrinsically "evil" either. Morality in this world is composed of varying shades of gray, with each "good" trait tainted by some opposing "evil" trait.

For example, Marduk is the most common name for the god of order and justice. His followers adhere strictly to law and principle, and vigilantly seek to stamp out corruption, criminals, and agents of chaos or disorder. However, they are unwavering and close-minded on how those notions are defined, which almost always leads to prejudice, disproportionate punishment or retribution, and collateral damage. To followers of Marduk, the ends often justify the means, and many injustices are committed in the name of justice.


Alright, not so quick run-down at all I suppose.

The tl;dr version: Dragons used to control the earth, but now they are almost entirely dormant. Before they left, they created nearly all the races of the world. There is an east-west split, mirroring the two rival dragon factions, with human-like creatures in the west and reptillian-like in the east, with a healthy spattering of humans everywhere.

I've incorporated those concepts onto the attached (paint edited) version of my map:
In the west, we have the Orc Khanate (still to be named), that will be loosely based on the early mongol-tribes. A single Khan has risen to lead the warring tribes, and has either been recently, or will be soon, crowned Khagan (or Khan of Khans). There will be no cities, other than perhaps a temporary settlement where the nomadic tribes meet annually (with a temporary binding peace agreement).

Also on the west is the human kingdom of Sinae/Cinae (placeholder name), which will be (quite obviously for those history buffs out there) based off of ancient china. This will be a strongly centralized, civilized, and highly beurocratic imperial state ruling over a populous and highly advanced society. In the mountains, however, will be highly tribal district resembling a more feudal japan, that is only loosely ruled by the central government. I didn't really want two disparate kingdoms for japan/china, though I wanted somewhere distinct for Samurai and Ninjas to come from, thus the reasoning for lumping them together.

The eladrin (high elves) have been temporarily assigned to the marked island, though this is so ridiculously cliche I'm considering all alternatives.

Lizardfolk/yuan-ti have been marked, and will be largely hostile, though their kingdoms and races will be named (trying to get away from WOTC IP, just in case I decide to write a book instead or as well as a campaign).

Myr is another island-nation that exists at a natural crossing of trade routes from north to south, east to west, as they skirt the dangerous and unpredictable (and unnamed lol) sea between the League of Delios and Azahrim.

Garanth
02-10-2009, 05:33 AM
What I need help with:

Splitting this into two posts for those who wish to avoid the WALL OF TEXT in the previous post but still want to help :)

I need inspiration for the various areas I've marked in grey (or i think its grey, damned colourblindness lol). On the north of the western continent will be a few kingdoms of more European inspiration, that I'm entirely at a loss for what to do about. I'm not sure whether to perhaps do a "French"/English split, parallel all the European states individually, or simply carve up the area into a few, or many large more generic fantasy states. Personally, I'm leaning towards small "generic fantasy," meaning a blend of all medieval european influence with different distinguishing key features than parent culture (which my players would be more likely to appreciate).

I'm also at a loss for what to do with the islands (particularily the one south of myr), and the entire southern half of the eastern continent. Perhaps African theme? Could throw in some cat people as well? Who knows.

I would also love to know what those who (many apologies) put up with my excessive wordiness in the previous post thought of my world's backstory, and what a suitable name might be for said world? I used to think that dragon-ruled worlds seemed silly, though the idea quite suddenly grew upon me, and came to shape the fluff.


edit: d'oh, here's the map

Steel General
02-10-2009, 07:07 AM
I think the back story is fine, but where is the version of the map you are referencing. Either I'm being a bit dense (very likely :D)or you forgot to post it.

Garanth
02-10-2009, 01:18 PM
I think the back story is fine, but where is the version of the map you are referencing. Either I'm being a bit dense (very likely :D)or you forgot to post it.

I'm unable to give testament to whether you were being dense, but I'm quite able to attest to MY being dense :P

I uploaded it at some point, but I guess just not on an occasion where I actually posted something lol. It's ^^ now.

Garanth
02-12-2009, 06:08 AM
UPDATE:

Shrunk down and started working on a country-to-country basis. This will be the starting point for my campaign, so I figured I should map this area out first.

The jungle is a custom fill, just drew up some jungley trees in photoshop (100x100 document), then used filters>other>offset. Offset vertical and horizontal by 50%, and fix up the edges so that the pattern will tile properly.

Used the lasso tool to select the area i wanted fill, then simply filled it with the pattern. Then using the same colour in a separate layer, I went around the edges and drew trunks/leaves to even it out.

C&C appreciated. Barring a few city names that needed to be added, I'm pretty happy with it.

Hoel
02-12-2009, 06:45 AM
The mountains look awsome!
You could do better with the plains fill thou, it's a bit low res right now..

Steel General
02-12-2009, 06:55 AM
The mountains are great, as is the jungle fill.

Agree w/Hoel on the plains fill - looks like just a bunch of dots and dashes.

Ascension
02-12-2009, 08:22 AM
Great idea with the offset

Fabrice
02-12-2009, 09:03 AM
I like the lettering of "Azahrim". Is it a font or did you write it by hand?

As for ideas of kingdom, something organised like the late Holy Roman Empire can be quite handy: a patchwork of so many semi-independant realms that nobody really care to remember their names, loosely united under an emperor spending much of his time waging war with neighbouring countries. Ideal to import 3rd party adventures / locales into your world without having to struggle too much to make it look consistent (since it does not have to be). Not to mention all the backstabings between prince-electors...

And dragons ruling the world does not sound silly to me. Much less so than people ruling dragons!

Karro
02-12-2009, 11:46 AM
I think it looks pretty good. It's very redish in color, but that isn't really a negative mark, per se. I did notice one tiny thing: the mountains have a very minor distraction in the pattern. I wouldn't have noticed but for one tiny thing: one particular small little mountain on the pattern has darker shading on the western slope than the rest. Every time that little mountain crops up, it calls attention to itself, and to the fact that it sits next to the same couple of slopes. Other than that, nothing else negative to say.

I think your players will be proud!

Garanth
02-12-2009, 02:48 PM
I think it looks pretty good. It's very redish in color, but that isn't really a negative mark, per se. I did notice one tiny thing: the mountains have a very minor distraction in the pattern. I wouldn't have noticed but for one tiny thing: one particular small little mountain on the pattern has darker shading on the western slope than the rest. Every time that little mountain crops up, it calls attention to itself, and to the fact that it sits next to the same couple of slopes. Other than that, nothing else negative to say.

I think your players will be proud!

mm, I see it. Should be easy to fix with a low opacity eraser.

Everyone's also right about the desert fill. It was done when the map was a much lower resolution (scaled up), and never entirely fixed. Perhaps I'll do it again on a smaller scale and give it some wave-like distortions? Not sure how else to do a desert fill though...

The font used for all my country lettering is called Cup and Talon from DaFont.com (http://www.dafont.com/cup-and-talon.font?text=hvfdshfv)

jfrazierjr
02-12-2009, 03:16 PM
Very nice.... Remove the fill pattern under the mountains surrounding the city of Qudram. The pattern is very distracting, especially when all the other mountains are empty underneath.