View Full Version : World Map for my Campaign - WIP

02-23-2009, 04:30 PM
I think I have a lot of work to go, but I was enjoying seeing other people's work and thought I would share some of my own.

This file is drastically reduced in size and has many layers taken off - labels for city names and forests and the like - since they would be too small to read at this resolution anyways.

I am still tinkering with details and layout - but you are welcome to give feedback or critiques if you wish.

This was done entirely in photoshop.


Steel General
02-23-2009, 04:31 PM
It looks really nice, just wish it were at higher resolution so I could see some more of the detail.

02-23-2009, 04:40 PM
Nice colors but that's all I can really tell. You can post an image up to 4000 x 4000 pixels but make sure that the file size is under 4.7 megabytes (ie. when saving as a jpg in PS set the quality slider down if you need to).

02-23-2009, 06:02 PM
I like this a lot. It is a clean and consistent design. I also wish that we could see it at a higher resolution!

02-23-2009, 07:32 PM
I'ts good looking, clean and colorful... and I do like the little details.. Really want to see it in all its glory, full res and all layers and so.

02-24-2009, 04:31 PM
This is a map of Istarnia - which is the non-detailed area in the middle of my world map.

The characters in the game are mostly from the isolated valley Kingdom of Istarnia - on the edge of the Shadowlands. Their dwarven neighbours from Barak Durn and elven neighbours from the Spear Woods are also involved.

They know very little of the outside world - so this map is me preparing for them to hit the outside world -- and I will likely update it one country at a time - with Breone being the place they are most likely to head to next.

02-24-2009, 04:43 PM
The orginal is about 48 x 28 inches at 300dpi

so here is a portion of it - with more layers - pretty much all text...

I have a lot of work to go - especially since I am also doing a Pre-Breaking Map. About a 1000 years ago at the culmination of the 3rd Gods War - earthquakes shook the land and changed the map. Nations rose and fell and rebuilt in the aftermath.

The next steps for me are to figure out a few more names and stories for locations - mostly towns and cities and ruins - and then plot them out on the map - likely starting with Breone - as that is where the players are mostly likely to go after they leave Istarnia.

I figure I will add details as the game builds - so this project may take a while.

At some point I may publish a novel or gaming material based on this setting, but for now it is mostly for fun.


02-24-2009, 05:45 PM
Very painterly, very nice. About the only thing even worth mentioning is that the hex grid is kind of dominating the beauty of the map, but I understand why it's there.

02-25-2009, 05:58 AM
Here is my campaign world - without the hexes - and with a whole heck of a lot of texture on the ocean...

i was not happy with the painterly swirls, and enjoyed some textures on other folks maps... so I found a couple of high res satellite photos of the ocean and built up some stormy seas with them...

not sure if it has reached its final state (the ocean) but I like it more than I did... if i get super insane i might move that sweet looking spiral from the Sea of Dreams in the northwest to the Sea of Storms in the southwest...


02-25-2009, 10:35 AM
Here is my campaign world - without the hexes - and with a whole heck of a lot of texture on the ocean...

i was not happy with the painterly swirls, and enjoyed some textures on other folks maps... so I found a couple of high res satellite photos of the ocean and built up some stormy seas with them...

not sure if it has reached its final state (the ocean) but I like it more than I did... if i get super insane i might move that sweet looking spiral from the Sea of Dreams in the northwest to the Sea of Storms in the southwest...


I really like the close-up of Istarnia - it has a pretty nice hand-drawn/painted style to it. It doesn't look like it lines up perfectly to the Istarnia region on the larger map. On the large map, Istarnia looks more circular (like a smaller circle sitting tangent to the Shadowlands circle).

The larger map has an interesting painted/sketchy look. It's not bad, and has a nice aesthetic. I don't know if the somewhat photo-realistic stormclouds in the latest version quite match the sketchy/painted look very well, though.

02-25-2009, 11:07 AM
These are great maps. The brush strokes are a little raw still in a few of them, but I love the new sea texture. The purple mountains in the detail map are a little much for me - perhaps tone these down a little?

Great maps overall. Looks like a fun campaign setting. Duly repped.

02-26-2009, 01:41 PM
I am working on ideas for an eladrin forest city (moon elves) - centered around a mystic tower that is made from a massive living tree...

the root system is like a highway for them and homes and buildings are part of the tree...

it is surrounded by mystic portals to the outside world - but only 3 of the 6 portals still work...

does anyone have already made maps of tree cities or towers that could be reimagined into tree trunks?

Steel General
02-26-2009, 01:57 PM
I did an Elven city several months back, it does have a big central tower but it's not very tree oriented. Look here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2678), pprobably not what you were looking for but maybe it will give you an idea or two. :)

02-26-2009, 03:20 PM
Wow that world has a lot of nasty weather! I would hate to be a sailor there!

I think the storms might be a little too much on the seas, but the rest of the map is great looking!

02-26-2009, 06:52 PM
Wow that world has a lot of nasty weather! I would hate to be a sailor there!

I think the storms might be a little too much on the seas, but the rest of the map is great looking!

One of the storms is meant to be that crazy - the Sea of Storms keeps sailors away from the mythic realm of Albanon - island sanctuary to the Fey.

And the concept of the world is that its creator has abandoned it and the elemental lords and various devils and demons are vying for power.

The oceans are rising, the glacier is encroaching, deserts are spreading, storms are on the increase... etc... the world is beginning to shake itself apart.

So it is rough on sailors as well as everyone.


03-09-2009, 04:15 PM
likely the black outline will go or change...

but here is the map with a bit of work on forest and mountain textures.

i almost want to move the circular mountain ring a little south east... but that would be a major pain in the butt...


03-10-2009, 09:53 AM
It's looking very painterly, at this point, and whatever you did to the stormy seas really helped bring it in line with the style used throughout the rest of the map. Good job!

03-10-2009, 11:19 AM
The Swirl for the Maelstrom and the sea of stroms makes sense and is cool, the others.....kinda distracts or at worst makes me think all the major seas are wracked with perpetual storms.

03-11-2009, 04:17 PM
i played with mountains and hills a bit more...

and maybe the sea is unrealistic... but i like the textures and it would be difficult to change it now...

next step... maybe roads and political boundaries and settlements and such?


03-11-2009, 04:20 PM
what i would not mind help with is River Police suggestions of where I should add, remove, or alter rivers - using a bit of real world physics...


03-11-2009, 04:26 PM
The other thing i wonder - is how would a world shifting cataclysmic earthquake originating from that central mountain ring change the landscape...

this map is the changed version and i am working on the original map from a 1000 years past, but not as fast...

should there be fissures or fault lines spreading from that central mountain ring, or would they become rivers?

Would new mountain ranges be created and could the current ones on the map be explained as being altered by such an event?

For example, the island mountain in the north east was the centre of a dwarven empire and the underground tunnels collapsed, letting ocean water in and sinking a portion of the land.

I dunno... in a fantasy world does the proper geological forces matter?

Input on these sorts of things is helpful.


03-28-2009, 05:32 AM
Here is a bit of a close up of my map...

i have been adding some more texture...

still lots of work to do...

03-28-2009, 06:23 AM
||Regarding rivers i can only see one problem area. In the center just below your crater you have a river that splits and both lead to the sea. This is very unlikely because one would soon become the main route and the other would dry up.

Earthquakes rarely have any 'long term' effects on the landscape, if it was fairly recent you could add some landslips but the it is the fault line itself (think San Andreas Fault) that is the visible effect not the earthquake.

My post Here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4812) has a fair bit about realistic geography while the post Here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2238) has all the information about how mountains and faults form you could ever need.

Other than that it looks really nice. For me realistic geography / geology is important but for a fantasy map its entirely down to you :)

03-28-2009, 06:24 AM
I really like the look and feel of the map, the style hangs together really well. Have some rep!

03-28-2009, 06:34 AM
Have some more rep. This map is really starting to look good. Like Ravells I think the style fits really well. It has a nice fantasy look to it. The Shadowlands have some nice features.

03-28-2009, 08:12 AM
This is a very unique and striking style, a kind of loosely dabbed impressionistic candy-coloured (in a good way) approach that I've not seen before. I'd even suggest reducing the graininess on the land, and replacing it with some type of larger, flecked texture effect. And perhaps throwing in some gleaming highlights in the bends of the rivers and at the coast lines to make it shine.

03-28-2009, 08:31 AM
This is nice...a real painterly look. More rep comin yer way. All I can really think of is maybe tighten up the brush strokes in the icy part to resemble the mountains a bit more. The big bold strokes kind of clash with the detail of the forests...an interesting idea to be sure and I commend ya for the thought, but maybe a wee bit more detail in those empty areas. I'd have to see it though, it might not work out so well and I could be barking up the wrong tree :)

03-28-2009, 12:44 PM
That last map is gorgeous!! Have some rep 8)

I love the double meteor craters. It brings sooo many possibilities to mind ;)

Good work

03-28-2009, 01:50 PM
I like the fact that your map looks like it was really handpainted. I also find myself a crater fan.

03-28-2009, 01:52 PM
That's a striking style. Great job!

04-02-2009, 03:27 AM
Folks may remember that I put a link to the map of Istarnia which i have at my Obsidian Portal site...

...that was just done quickly so I could get the game going. This big bad boy of a map is supposed to be my serious map for the world...

so i had done almost no work on the small portion of the map that is Istarnia.

Now I have started to flesh out the details of the places the PC's have been.

The Dwarf, Dulkas, is from the Thundercap Mountains. Glawen the Elf is from the Spearwoods. Chen and Bronwyn are from Braefield. And the mysterious Coryn is from the Eladrin city of Solaerithus.

You can see Athendirth, the canyon formed in an ancient battle between Corellon and Tiamat. Pelor's wall, the Towers of the Sun, and the plateau of the High Country are coming along. Mere Illestra and the Isle of Tears are not labeled, but you can see them.

I'd say it is coming along, but we shall see what the resolution looks like when I load this close up shot.


04-02-2009, 06:56 AM

Great maps. It is fun to see a unique yet cohesive style.

Some minor preferences/comments from a noob:

-I personally like the original paint swirls in the ocean from the first map or two. They very effectively suggested currents, but consistently so within your style.

- LOVE the old-school hex grid! It brings me back to Krynn, circa 1998 :)

- Attractive mountains, too.

04-02-2009, 05:10 PM
2 things: awesome colors, great painted feel, wonderful to look at but...there seems to be some sort of pattern throwing my eyes all akimbo. Do more please :)

04-02-2009, 09:38 PM
thanks ascension...

good to hear you like the pattern...

my girlfriend said the spire in the middle of the shadowlands looked like a nipple...

so i am glad someone likes the pattern...

04-03-2009, 05:12 AM
If I understand correctly Ascension doesn't really like the pattern though.

Anyway, I like the map. And I don't see a nipple in the Shadowlands. Maybe your girlfriend got issues? ;)

04-09-2009, 02:19 AM
I have started to work on roads... putting them mostly into the valleys of the land...

I will later decide which are major roads and which are more foot trails - because this seems like a lot of roads to me so far...

i am focussing on the area just east of the craters, as that will be where i am starting a children's series of fantasy novels - while i am running at D&D game in the same world....

should be fun


04-09-2009, 05:25 AM
This is very nice, it even reminds me of soft watercolor illustrations you could find in a children's book.

05-11-2009, 03:50 PM
I have become dissatisfied with the general shape of my map - particularly since it is supposed to be the remains of a post-cataclysmic continent after a Gods War changed the shape of the land.

So I decided that massive fissures should radiate from the Shadowlands, and the ocean levels should rise to fill those fissures in... and perhaps rivers would change course to flow into those fissures... and mountains might be pushed up a bit...

so here is a rough idea of the new direction i am heading with this map...


05-11-2009, 03:53 PM
I guess I should say the pink lines are my imagined flow of mountain ranges, which i want to redo...

and i want to shift the Shadowlands a bit east to make them more central.

05-11-2009, 05:26 PM

This way lies madness.

(but if you do go ahead with these land shifts, I'm confident given your earlier work that it will still look pretty spiffy! Ableit, you'll be mad by then, but what the heck.)

05-11-2009, 05:30 PM
Oh man, I loved the last version. The one you posted up 04-09-2009. You should try to keep with the style at least. Please. I am using my 1001st post for this!

05-11-2009, 08:49 PM
This way does seem to be madness...

because all my layers need to be shifted around too...


05-11-2009, 11:18 PM

Sorry, couldn't help myself. Anyway, yeah, that does seem like a madness-inducing exercise. And congrats to Gandwarf, Guild Expert (buh buh BUH).

05-12-2009, 07:10 PM
So I shifted the Shadowlands a bit and reworked the rivers and the shoreline to make them a bit more dynamic... I shrunk the elven island in the western ocean and moved it a bit closer... i did whole lots of crazy touch ups, including reworking some mountains and the glacier and some islands...

Now what madness do I want to do?

Well, I want to shift the mountains near the giant swamp area in the west so the giant swamp area is not so... giant.

I also want to shrink the very river laden country in the south east... it seems to have too much of a pattern to it to have those three peninsula type nations right side by side on the southern part of the continent...

and... i don't know about that heart shaped island I added... it may need to change shape...

But I feel it is generally headed in the right direction...

critiques? comments?


05-14-2009, 10:27 PM

So I am getting happier.

I have shifted mountains, shrunk nations, and patched up all the holes I made doing so.

Now I am wondering if my Mountains make any geological sense. I initially put them where they are just to create barriers to migration and mobility between nations...

now i wonder if they would flow better as central ridges along the flow of landmasses... not sure...

but here is the work i did over the last few days...

maybe crazy to do more landmass editing, but it is likely better to be happy with the results now then want to change them further down the road.


05-14-2009, 11:24 PM
I would think with my limited amount of geological knowhow that it would be better if you connected up some of the mountain ranges.

05-14-2009, 11:41 PM
I love the style you've created...it's beautiful.

08-19-2009, 07:26 PM
I grew really tired of my coastlines and nothing I could do made me feel better... so I made some clouds with Photoshop, erased and filled in portions to create a similar feel to my previous map...

and now i think I am starting from scratch...


Steel General
08-19-2009, 07:53 PM
Definitely have some interesting land shapes to work with.

08-20-2009, 08:26 AM
:( That's too bad. I really liked your old coastlines. I think they were really very nice and natural feeling.

08-20-2009, 09:35 AM
I agree with Karro!

08-20-2009, 10:17 AM
I kind of agree with the other two before me, the coastline did seem better before hand. I hate to be negative, i really do, but the new coastlines looks a bit... unnatural and a little fluffy.

Truth be told, I was actually looking at this map for inspiration for one of my other continents.


08-20-2009, 12:51 PM
I may give this new map a few more updates before I let the critiques settle in. The bits of the new map that seen too bubbly and fluffy are likely from my erasing and filling in with big round brushes... I still have to tweak those bits. The rest seem to be nicely jagged and random from the clouds I tried.

From my view, the old map was too soft and flowing, too bubbly and fluffy, without the nice jagged coastlines a real world might have.

Also, it was my first big map I made after checking out the Cartographer's Guild, but I was impatient and barely absorbed any of the tutorials and advice people had (aside from the River Police).

Granted, this likely led to a unique style since I was not following a step by step tutorial.

But still, something seemed off in the flow of the land masses, the mountains, the rivers. The world seemed a little too... I am not sure the word for it... static, frozen, not alive.

So... while I do respect all of your opinions, encouragement, and your amazing talents, I think i will touch up this new map for a bit, play with it... and if it does not fly, I still have the old one and have not deleted or destroyed it or anything...

08-20-2009, 03:47 PM
By all means, work on your new map, I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress, but I have to echo the sentiment that the original was really quite awesome. I loved how it had this bubbly, flowy, candy feel. Sometimes you see maps that tap into different styles and they kind of clash, but yours struck me as an original and very cohesive style.

I'm glad you're not binning it entitrely. ;)

08-20-2009, 04:16 PM
Agreed, glad to hear the old one's not completely lost to history. I have to agree with the comment about your style. It was new and refreshing and different from whatever else we have on the boards, and I wanted to see more of it.

And anyway, whatever we say, hey, this is your work and your map, so you've got to do what you've got to do.

08-20-2009, 04:23 PM
here is a bit of colour work i have done...

i am thinking that i need to trim some of the fat off of the extra islands and chunky land masses to make this look right.

once i am happy with the shape of the land... i will maybe transplant some textures and things from the other map...

we shall see how it all shapes up


09-01-2009, 02:23 AM
I have trimmed down some of the excess from my new coastline and am currently trying to reconcile it with my previous version of the world map.

The transparent shadow is the new coastline and the textured green stuff beneath it is the old one - minus a few layers of detail.

I may be able to save a lot of the work I have done if all goes well, so I am happy about that.

Feel free to throw in your two cents about the progress, but I still have more trimming to do before I am happy with it.


09-01-2009, 05:57 AM
Nice looking map. like everyone has been saying very clean looking.

Font: I like to font. Its easy to read, and yet gives you the fantasy feel. also, it looks like to you have consistent sizing which I think adds much to the quality

Continetnal Design: The continents seem a bit overly rounded to me. I looked at some maps to see if there was anything in the historical record (haha fantasy world). It seems to me that very old maps (Mercatur Era/ancient maps tended to be more rounded than more modern maps).

Islands: Seem a little less developed than the main continent. you may wanna consider fleshing them out a bit.

Water: Its kind of hard to tell from me whether the rivers follow the rules (I have my own issues with rivers. I like the brush stroke look of the oceans. I'm not sure if there is significance on where the bolder strokes are located and formed. Nice touch

The overall design: Seems well thought out. The northern climate seems to move from a cool, moist environment to a southern environment which is warmer and dryer.

** As always everything i've said could be total Tosh, but I am trying to give you an honest assesment as I can with my limited capabilities :)

These are my impressions from the original map. I havent gone through the whole series yet, although it looks like some of the areas have already been addressed.

09-01-2009, 05:10 PM
here is a brief update of the shoreline with some corresponding rivers and whatnot.

The red lines are my imagining of where the mountain ranges should lie. Part of that is imagining this land mass as having been a pangea sort of form that ripped apart at the seams about 1000 years in the past.

One of the things I am wondering is how would a tilted planet with no wobble be affected by weather and the seasons.

What i mean is: what if the planet had a tilt, but the northern hemisphere always got the same lesser amount of light, because it was always tilted away from the sun, and the southern hemisphere got more light because it was always tilted towards the sun.

I would guess the seasons would be a constant and the south would dry up and the north would freeze and the equator would be desirable living and growing space.

Any insight on that idea would be grand! and comments always welcome.


09-02-2009, 04:32 AM

From what I can understand, the axis angle has more to do with thaw/freeze patters. depending on the axis of a planet exposes diferent parts of it to more/less sunlight, thus affectiving the seasons. adding the rotations and revolusions would also have this affect,

more exposure to sunlight = warmer periods. wildly fluctuation rotations, distances would increase extremes and pattern changes.

Don't know if this makes any sense.


09-02-2009, 09:08 AM
I'm not sure what the exact effect of this would be, but stormy weather, like hurricanes, are typically a part of the way the earth regulates temperatures and distributes heat built up in the tropical zones northward and southward into cooler climes.

So... if only the southern region continues to get more sunlight and the northern less, for one, you'd have less seasonality (only summer in the south, only winter in the north). Then, I'd think there's be no set "storm" season, but that massive storms would be a constant threat throughout the year. But I'm just conjecturing here...

09-02-2009, 11:07 AM
I can think of two things(outside of magic, not part of my skill set).

The first one is tidal locking, One side of the planet permanently faces the sun, the other side is in perpetual darkness. You won't have days or nights, though. Also you won't really have a north and south pole, but sort of east and west poles.

The second possibility is a combination of extreme axial tilt and high eccentricity. I find this one interesting.

During northern hemisphere(NH) winter, the planet is at perihelion. This "winter" is a period of darkness and heat with, probably, extreme humidity from all of the evaporating southern seas. The southern hemisphere(SH), at this time(summer is a mild word), could be quite hellish: perpetual sun blazing down upon parched sand, salt, and the evanescing remnants of seas and lakes.

During NH summer, the planet is at aphelion. Penguin-time! Sun perpetually wheeling along the horizon of a cold frozen world. The SH would be about the same, only colder and dark. Not pleasant.

This assumes a semimajor axis centered fairly well on the optimal habitable zone. Move the planet in a bit and the NH winter would be even hotter, while NH summer might make a good growing season. Move it out a bit, and the SH might have a good growing season during perihelion, while the NH is basically unfit for anything but mammoth-hunting barbarians named Conan or Lothar.

09-03-2009, 03:25 AM
I like your second idea Su Liam. the parched south and ice locked north with storms all around is exactly what i would like.

What I see is not perpetual day and night either. The planet still rotates. So days would be longer in the south and shorter in the north - with the poles in almost continual darkness or light.

I will try to draw a picture of what i imagine this looking like...

...okay, that picture will not win any awards, but i hope it makes the idea clear that there is still rotation and tilt, but that the degree of the tilt does not alter in relation to its position to the sun... keeping a roughly constant season on each hemisphere...

i imagine this would be rough on crops and do something strange to weather.

i will read more of people's ideas and suggestions now to see if i missed anything.

09-08-2009, 09:48 PM
Okay... the colours are all wrong and the land masses need some more work and the mountains and valleys are bound to move and blend a bit more...

but for some reason i am generally happy with the shape of this one...

i am very likely to cut and paste portions of the last map into it and do some of my painterly style as well to blend it a bit...


09-09-2009, 04:24 AM
This version has better mountains... but crazy mountains that need some taming...

i am likely still going to get rid of some islands and tighten up the coast lines a bit...

and then? tame those mountains... build some roads... yahdee yahdee yahdah...

09-09-2009, 02:30 PM
Your shorelines look terribly fractal. I don't mean that in the Musgrave or Perlin sense so much as the Mandelbrot or Julia Set sense.

EDIT: I am lovin' hard on the water texture!

09-09-2009, 04:04 PM
Your orbital diagram is a little off. The axis should point in the same direction throughout the year.

The axis does rotate a little over very long periods(for Earth I think about 26,000 years). This is called precession. I don't have the formula handy, but off the top of my head, I'd say a precession period approximating the length of a planet's year would be a fairly unphysical phenomenon, at least for habitable planets.

I've made a crappy reworking of your chart to show how the axis of the planet should look as the planet revolves about it's primary.

My writing was unclear. What I meant to say was that the planet has seasons in the same sense as the Earth, but because the axis is at a much larger angle to the equator the seasons are more extreme so that the pole is pointed almost directly away from the sun in winter and almost directly toward the sun in summer.

Another, separate influence is that the planet moves much closer to the sun at one point in its orbit and much further away at the opposite point in its orbit. Because of this the entire planet is considerably warmer at perihelion(the close point), and considerably colder at aphelion(the far point). I had a math teacher who pronounced these as pair-uh-heel-ee-uhn and uh-feel-ee-uhn, but I think the correct pronunciation for the latter is ap-heel-ee-uhn. Anyway.

I'm assuming that perihelion is occurring at the same time as the north pole points away from the sun, because of that the north pole will point away from the sun at aphelion. As you can probably see from the lame chart I made, the northern summer will be warmer because of this eccentricity and the southern winter will be colder. Another effect is that the northern winter will be very short and the southern winter will be very long.

The northern hemisphere will have a long summer varying from quite warm to very cool or cold, this should result in a very long growing season. For earthly plants, this could result in several seasons of growth with plants from very different climates thriving in the same location at different times throughout the year. In the south, the winter may be long enough to create an ice cap which could even be large enough to survive the very hot, but very short summer. How large would a glacier have to be to survive, say, two weeks of constant daylight at 110F? Hey Redrobes, you wanna try modelling this? :)

I've made a terrible chart all my own to try to demonstrate my idea.

Whether you use my idea or not, this is a really fun gedanken experiment that I might try myself.

09-09-2009, 09:39 PM
Thanks for all the info Su Liam...

I wonder how I could remedy that Fractal critique you had?

It is better to have smooth coastlines and not jagged? Or it is just my style of jagged seems fractal and repetitious?


09-09-2009, 09:44 PM
And in regards to my tilt and rotation question... i do like your model, but it does not fit what i had imagined...

what i see is like this... when a spinning top is nearing its last legs it sometimes traces a circular-ish path before toppling...

as it does so, the point of the top angles inward towards the centre of the circle and the stem points outward, away from the circle.

If the point were the south pole and the stem were the north pole, that is how i imagine my world spinning... perhaps even with a destabilized orbit...

my world is a world that is winding down... maybe with less than a 100 years left before collapse...


09-10-2009, 01:34 PM
@Orbit: Pretty cool idea for a fantasy world. Probably even good for something like a Star Wars kind of setting. For any harder kind of science fictional setting I'd avoid it. The top is different because of the friction at the "south pole" and because it has a gravitational force operating on it from "north" to "south." For an object orbiting in vacuum, it seems aphysical. Don't take my word on this, but you may be able to work something similar out by having an unlikely extreme concentration of mass to the south pole. For a world with magic, though, just say it was the result of the Godwars or something...

This is clearly just a recommendation, you're the creator here, I'm just the kibbitzer.

@Jagged coastlines: This is a harder one. I'd say, probably start with a blobby mass. Peninsulas and inlets greater than about a quarter or more like a tenth of the "diameter" of the blob should be infrequent or even unique. An inflorescence up to a third of the blob size could be added as a unique, Europe-like structure. In general a peninsula greater than ten times as long as its smallest width should be pretty unusual, and generally only present at fairly small scales. This was the first thing I thought of.

The second thing I came up with after a great deal of thought(yeah, you could smell the wood burning, I'd probably get more done if I didn't think so much about other people's maps). What makes Musgrave's Multifractals work? Inhomogeneity. Your coastlines are fairly uniformly jagged. What I think might help is to vary that more. Some coastlines should be somewhat jagged with small bays and inlets, other patches should be seriously jagged with fjords, rias, frequent tidal lagoons(tectonically inactive -old- regions), and still others should be very straight, with only very gentle curvatures and the occasional small river delta and perhaps small inlets following faults(active -young- coastlines).

I expect the kind of fractal shape you have, self-similar to very small scales might apply better to high mountain areas.

This is even more just a recommendation. I've spent a long time trying to tame noise into good looking terrain with very limited success. So, hey...

Anyway, it is a good looking map, and your climate idea is interesting. That's why I'm offering so much "constructive" criticism. That and it's a personality defect...

09-10-2009, 09:12 PM
You are an awesome resource Su Liam... how did you develop your knowledge in this area?

regarding the fractal nature... some of it is likely heightened by the deep gouges in the land that look like wide rivers...

i imagine these as canyon like fault lines that fractured at the time that big crater was created about a 1000 years back...

but maybe they would not be so jagged? or they would be placed differently? they kind of radiate outward from the craterous Shadowlands.

I will not likely get more work on this done for a few weeks, but I will see about softening some of my fractals, or at least varying them a bit more...

thanks for your input...


09-11-2009, 01:20 AM
Looking at this, I'm very worried about the connections between your mountain/faultlines.

Faultlines aren't "spider's web". Plate techtonics in really crude terms is crashing sheets of playdough into each other. So you will have a ring fault line or maybe a sort of "straightened circle-edge" at one point where two plates have collided. The tectonics of this place don't quite work.

Style wise, I'm all over this like a fat kid on chocolate. It's got a bit too much of a "MMORPG Spruik-Map" feel at times, but I like it in general. Knowing me, I'd get the brightness and dial it back 5 spots probably.

09-11-2009, 01:12 PM
You are an awesome resource Su Liam... how did you develop your knowledge in this area?

Thanks. I have wide and trivial knowledge, thanks in large part to nearly twenty years in college trying for an undergraduate degree. I am now two terms away from a BS in Geography. Also, planetbuilding is a personal obsession of mine. Thus the Geography major where I failed in computer science, engineering, and (oh God!!!) English.

regarding the fractal nature... some of it is likely heightened by the deep gouges in the land that look like wide rivers...

i imagine these as canyon like fault lines that fractured at the time that big crater was created about a 1000 years back...

Something that had an effect like that a mere 1000 years ago? This place would probably make Mordor look like the Garden of Eden. With the crust so badly contorted, ripped and fractured, the place would probably be dotted with areas of flood basalt volcanism. A lot of this continent might resemble Io. Nuees ardentes and ignimbrite deposits are another bit of fun you might see a lot of. You have Stephen Gillett's World Building book, right? Look at his quote from the American Journal of Science on page 59. Actually look at that whole chapter. Dragons and balrogs... whatever. I'm more afraid of sudden death from gaseous lava clouds.

but maybe they would not be so jagged? or they would be placed differently? they kind of radiate outward from the craterous Shadowlands.

Look at the Caloris Basin on Mercury. Big WHAM[/i] there. The ridges and channels from the impact should probably mostly be oriented concentrically rather than radially. Expect a few radiating structures, but only a few and much straighter, not spiralled so much.

Also that wham would probably be an extinction level event. This is more Aftermath, even after a millennium, than Middle-Earth. Mad Max, The Day After, A Boy and His Dog, Clan of the Cave Bear, Quest for Fire, mix the worst of those and remember, there are still bombs under the ground that could be compared to Mount St. Helens as, "the explosion of a hydrogen bomb with the bursting of a firecracker." Eeep!

I will not likely get more work on this done for a few weeks, but I will see about softening some of my fractals, or at least varying them a bit more...

thanks for your input...


Heh. Yeah, I'm working on getting a fast emergency loan to complete my school, and working, and then, oh yeah, actually going to school, and on the off chance that I get some spare time, maybe doing my own world(s). I really need to win the lottery so I can concentrate on important things. [b]Worldbuilding!

@juggernaut The cratering event phil is talking about is such a major and recent exogenic process as to eliminate all signs of endogenic tectonic effects(is there any other kind?). In some ways this is like the topography of Manhattan island, the normal structures are completely overwhelmed by other influences.

09-11-2009, 03:50 PM
I am not sure how this would affect things, but the secret of how that crater was made...

...if you are a player in my game, stop reading now...

... the secret is that it is the result of a metaphysical and semi-physical world-tree being ripped up from this world and this plane and fired up into the sky, and through a gate into another realm...

the world tree was the instrument of creation and stood at an eden like centre that bridged the realms...

but in the last years of the godswar, the creator gathered the faithful at a city of light at its base... and then ripped the world tree from the world...

the ring of mountains that remains around the shadowlands are the remnants of its underground root system...

and the smaller crater like nation above the shadowlands were protected by the servant god - a paladin like deity - because he knew that it would be important in the potential to restore the world... and a sapling offshoot of the world tree grew there... so it is less of a real crater and more like a ring of protection that weathered the ripples of the world tree being ripped from the earth and into the sky...

so this event was a metaphysical one with physical reprecussions...

not sure how that would affect plate tectonics...

how would a blast from within the earth change its face in a different way from an external impact?

likely bad things.

09-11-2009, 04:15 PM
Well, when you get magic and metaphysics involved, we don't have a lot of precedent on good ole real-world earth for those kinds of effects. At that point, you just have to use your best reasoning abilities to consider what you think is the most logical* effect.

*for some values of logic ;)

09-14-2009, 05:49 PM

this is my latest update, but likely more transformations are in the works...

what has happened here is that some lakes have been moved and re-sized to better suit where i want them... some rivers have been added, some shorelines have been tweaked...

But the fractal nature of the shoreline has not really been addressed... I myself liked the jagged nature at first, but I now wonder if they are too extreme...

So... I think I am going to soften the edges up a bit and see how I like that look....


09-17-2009, 08:40 PM
It seems like the flow of the coastline and landmass shapes are keeping me busy so far...

I have cut up and stretched and shrunk and twisted various bits of the land and filled the gaps in afterwards...

I am not quite happy, but getting close to a shape that seems right, and a better general feel for me than the original map that I started with.

I have deleted a number of layers that no longer fit due to all the transformations I have made... you can even see some ghost images in the ocean from where land used to be...

not too long from this i should be ready to actually fill in the land with colour, texture, forests, roads, and settlements... i am looking forward to that...

that will be a glorious day...

09-18-2009, 09:46 AM
I realize this is probably the case, but I do hope you're not planning to keep the land so dark. I like the light, almost-whimsical painted look you had going previously.

09-18-2009, 11:51 AM
I do plan to colour it, yep.

That black is the base... i can do a selection of the whole thing and then shrink it a few pixels to leave a little dark border around the edge and around lakes and rivers... and then make another layer to do the colour in...

but i keep on trimming or moving the shoreline, so doing that work takes me too long if i have to keep undoing it as I change my mind about land placement....

so... it is dark until I am happy with the shape...

I am not sure how happy fun the colours will be though... it actually is supposed to be a dark and apocalyptic world of sorts... so my natural happy and whimsical style may contrast with that intent...

we shall see how it all takes shape.


09-18-2009, 02:59 PM
Looking good. What you have now is very exciting. If you are seeking something a bit more aesthetically pleasing, I would suggest breaking up the overall fractal roughness of the coast by introducing some blocky areas and smooth areas.

I like to allow the interior features of the map to influence the coast and vice versa

09-25-2009, 06:02 AM
I have the feeling i still have a long way to go...

but at this point, i am likely to just update local areas as the players start to explore the world a bit...

i have a good enough coastline and I have started to fill in the interior with colour from my previous version... a few islands got missed in the colouring, so they show up black...

I have also experimented with a thin black line, but i do not know what i think about it...

there are a few bits that do not sit right yet, like the skeleton-finger-like peninsulas and islands - (archipelagos?) - in the south central-ish area.

the red transparent island in the south west is the UK, for scale.

it is not a big continent by Earth standards I guess. I did not want it to take too long for the players to roam across it or for wars to travel across the land...

The original image i am working on is 50 x 32 inches at 300 dpi... i think this web-verstion is 25 x 16 at 72 dpi.

I suppose at some point i will have to make a pre-cataclysm map and figure out if there is any chance to reconcile my crazy metaphysical world-tree uprooting with the landscape of the world...


09-25-2009, 07:59 AM
Yeah, looks nice and painterly. I can dig it.

09-25-2009, 08:04 AM
I really like that maelstrom in the ocean. Nice touch!

09-25-2009, 12:15 PM
Awesome; it's starting to look like the previous map with your wonderful painterly touch to it.

As for the thin black line on the coasts: I'd considering blurring it and blending it in a little. It kind of stands out now, but a slight blur might give it the effect of outlining the coasts while simultaneously softening its appearance in line with the painterly quality of the rest of the map.

10-02-2009, 07:17 PM
Here is the latest WIP for my world map.

I have put some nation names and other labels on the map.

Because this will be part of a novel I am working on, I am hoping folks will let me know if any place names sound too hokey, or if they are copyrighted or part of any other previously published fantasy worlds that you know of.

I may still change a number of names. The nation of Gildurn had been Breone previously, but I found that name had already been used. I am not sure about Gildurn as a name though. It is a nation that honours storytellers and everyone believes that the crafting of a good story is the best use of one's life.

Nordenheim is likely to change as well. It is an icy realm of giants and ogres and barbarians.

Draknaar was Dregmar in previous incarnations of this map, and I am not sure which is better or if neither really work. It is a nation at civil war with two feuding dragons fueling the conflict.

Sephra started as Sardia before I noticed that Magic the Gathering had copyright of Sardia. It became Cypria, then Sephria, and now Sephra. Sephra is currently composed of a number of independant city states run by despots and such - but at its height it was dedicated to Sepher, god of Knowledge.

Andor will likely need to change names. I think that is the name of a country in the Wheel of Time books. Invading Skathicans pushed back the Andilhar border to form Andor. Skathicans are viking like people dedicated to mastery of the sword. They are fleeing the spreading ice from the north, which leads them to form villages along the Sword Coast as well.

Brundarland used to be Brundaria. I changed the name because the group I play with said that too many names ended with "ia." It is home to nomadic tribespeople called Brundar who worship Brond, god of strength and thunder.

Va'ar is a necrocratic nation with undead ruling various cities and subjugating the living.

Calidor is a nation of knights and warmages that is besieged on all sides.

Albanon is a sunken fey island a bit like Atlantis.

Andilhar is an elven nation.

Karakas was the centre of the dwarven empire, but most of its great halls and cavern complexes collapsed, causing the nation to tilt and submerge partially into the sea.

Estalar is a nation of horselords ruled by a High Marshall.

Shiar is a nation of desert people, at war with Estalar as they flee the expanding wastelands of the south.

Khashem is strangely lush and full of jungles and rivers and dark skinned warriors.

Carthion is a nation of demon worshiping sorts.

Nethria is an up and coming nation, ruled by a young warlord that is set on conquest.

Nemaria is a nation of half elves, recently conquered by Nethria. Nemelas is the lone standing fortress of Elves in the midst of the two nations.

Eribor and Laniwar I do not know much about yet. I am not sure how I feel about their names. They likely will be conquered or at least besieged by Nethria soon.

Kenzan is a small nation of contemplative mystics and refugees from an eastern nation that sunk below the sea.

The Four Kingdoms will likely get renamed as well. A father who went to war left his country to his four sons who fought amongst themselves until 4 nations formed where there once was one.

And there is more... but that will do for a ramble now.

Feel free to comment/critique on the map in general, but it is the place names I am wondering about most now...

thanks for all the support so far!


Steel General
10-02-2009, 07:49 PM
Eribor has been used before...can't remember where though.

Sword Coast may or may not be copyrighted by WoTC for the Forgotten Realms

Andor is indeed a country in the Wheel of Time series

10-02-2009, 10:57 PM
Erebor is the elven name for the Lonely Mountain of Hobbit/LotR fame. That said, I just read a lovely fantasy trilogy with a couple recycled names in it and they didn't bother me at all. As long as all your names seem to "fit" in your world (i.e. they follow similar word patterns, etc.), one or two familiar ones isn't the end of the world.

Steel General
10-03-2009, 09:24 AM
Erebor is the elven name for the Lonely Mountain of Hobbit/LotR fame. That said, I just read a lovely fantasy trilogy with a couple recycled names in it and they didn't bother me at all. As long as all your names seem to "fit" in your world (i.e. they follow similar word patterns, etc.), one or two familiar ones isn't the end of the world.

Ahh I knew I'd heard it before, and I agree with you about a couple of familiar/similar names isn't going to hurt anything.

10-03-2009, 09:35 AM
I took a closer look at the WIP and you have a typo as well ... Bay of Thieves.

This is looking really great btw. It looks very clean and very artistic at the same time.

10-04-2009, 06:24 PM
If we're picking up on Eribor being close to Erebor then we could also say that Palantyr is very close to Palantir (although obviously that isn't a place but a thing). Personally I think it matters not a jot. Especially as I have an "Andor" on my map too. I've never read Wheel of Time though so... tsk. It was originally called Farnandor, then I reduced it to Arnandor, and then cut the start off it. Ah well, great minds and all that. :)

And wait, can someone seriously copyright a generic name such as "Sword Coast"? :S

The map looks fantastic btw. I've always thought so, even before you felt the need to redraw the whole landmass. Such a unique style.

10-04-2009, 06:29 PM
This map turned out great! I was kinda sad you threw away your earlier version, but now I am happy once more :)

Don't worry too much about the names. I am always trying to come up with original names and my hopes are always dashed once I Google them.

10-05-2009, 10:47 AM
There is an ancient legend that tells of ten thousand monkeys banging away at ten thousand typewriters and, in a sufficient amount of time, producing the completed works of one William Shakespeare. That being the case, it's much easier, I think, for a few creative types to accidentally reproduce a few particularly euphonous sounds and words.

So, while "eribor" might be similar to "erebor", most people won't notice it, I think. On the other hand, given that "Andor" is a fairly important and oft-visited, oft-mentioned and particularly important nation in Jordan's Wheel of Time series, those who are familiar with that series might find it slightly more annoying to see another "Andor" playing out in another fantasy. However still... Star Trek fans might be just as bothered (you know how they can get) to see their favorite blue-faced antenaed aliens gracing their names on any fantasy series. Still, they'd all have to contend first with the estate of one esteemed professor Tolkien, who gave the name "Andor" as an alternate name for the fabled isle of Numenor.

So, at the end of the day, type on, fellow word-monkey, type on.

10-05-2009, 10:48 AM
Also, I, too, am happy to see a full-on return of the beautiful style you started out with, despite the updated coasts. Much happiness and joy abounds.

11-16-2009, 09:14 PM
not a lot of work has been done on this map for some time...

but i have changed the names around a bit... and added a few more...

a notable name change is the world used to be called Estea. Now it is tentatively called Tanaris.

i am also in the process of making the central country of Istarnia less round in shape. it is the one the players start in, just above the Shadowlands.

some coastlines have changed a bit... but nothing too extreme.

i suppose next i will be doing more rivers and roads and settlements.


11-18-2009, 10:35 AM
Why the name change, out of curiosity?

Still looking good.

11-18-2009, 10:41 AM
The players made fun of the name. They thought Estea was the continent, and thought it was a silly name for a world, since it had connotations of East in its sound.

11-18-2009, 10:46 AM
Ah, fair enough reason ;)

11-18-2009, 01:20 PM
I liked the earlier name better, probably because Tanaris has such heavy World of Warcraft connections for me, even if it is a good name in itself. :)

11-19-2009, 02:19 AM
I liked the earlier name better, probably because Tanaris has such heavy World of Warcraft connections for me, even if it is a good name in itself. :)

Is Tanaris already taken by WOW? is it a place or a character?

11-19-2009, 07:03 AM
It's a place. A whole zone even, the same as The Blasted Lands, incidentally. :)

I shouldn't worry about it.

Your map's looking great btw, although I still liked your original land mass shape.

12-16-2009, 10:16 AM
well... i just spent some crazy hours to revamp the coastlines again... and my process is still glitchy... because some of my outlines are way too thick... showing too much black, so when i have more energy there will be more edits...

but overall i am enjoying the shape of things...

the west side might need some work though...

...okay, maybe i will never be happy and i should just be okay with it...


12-16-2009, 01:10 PM
Yay! It's about time you got back onto this map. I love the style of this and like seeing the updated to it. Overall the coasts look great apart from a few areas where the stroke goes almost black, but couldn't that be sorted out with just a low opacity eraser on it?

12-16-2009, 07:09 PM
This is a test of a river style...

the black line around them looked too bold, so i put the rivers in a new layer and gave them a soft glow...

the river placement needs work, but what do folks think of the general look?


12-16-2009, 10:09 PM
I'd have said line them with black but drop the opacity of the black so that they weren't as "BOING" black. Fade the black out with length until you get to the source.

12-17-2009, 02:07 AM
You might be right mr. Juggernaut...

thinner and semi-transparent black lines might be the way to go...

i might take a stab at drawing some of your Game Races, especially if you will credit me and give a link to my website if you release it...

happy holidays everyone, I am not likely to post much until January now!


12-17-2009, 03:07 PM
Well... I have a game tonight, so here is the revamped home nation... it has a light black outline for rivers and roads that glow!

Maybe those roads should not glow so much, but i was in a hury.

Merry Christmast!

12-18-2009, 12:06 AM
I think the roads look fine, nice balance.

12-28-2009, 09:39 PM
This is me trying to figure out rivers still...

i am trying to decide if they look too white... or if the basic shape and style looks good.

this is focused around the nation of Kashem, which is full of rivers, jungle, and swampland... one of the few lush areas on my world... which now seems to be called El'eshan.


12-28-2009, 09:45 PM
this is the whole world... so far... it takes a long time to make one of these when i keep on changing things... but it has the general shape, and I have been learning how to make edits quicker as I play with the program.

happy new year!


12-29-2009, 12:16 AM
I prefer the bluer rivers like around Brundarlund but I know some want their rivers to blend into the coastal glow. How to reconcile the two is the problem so I airbrush some color (new layer) onto mine with a layer mask - leaving the isthmus blend into the coast and the interior parts have the color that I want.

Steel General
12-29-2009, 12:13 PM
I agree with Ascension - the 'bluer' rivers looked better.

12-15-2015, 03:59 AM

After some time away and more tinkering with my novel, I changed the outline of my world map and started afresh a bit.

Not sure what craziness I will do next.