View Full Version : Calling the River Police

03-12-2009, 10:24 PM
...and any other natural features police for that matter! ;)

I generally approach my gaming with a bottom up perspective: I build it as it goes. However, nothing gets the imagination going like a good map. So, I started work on regional map for my next game.

This is my first real attempt at an overland map using CC3. I'm going for a hand sketch look. I considered using the same color on everything for authenticity, but overall preferred the pizazz the color gives. So yeah, I gave up some authenticity for aesthetics.

This is only the natural features. The map scale bar is just there to give an idea of the scope. I'll probably either select a different one for the final version or design something more rough.

I appreciate any advice before continuing with the cities and structures. I'm particularly curious about the frequency of rivers on a map of this scale. Should I include more rivers, less rivers, smaller rivers, or larger ones? What about lakes?

03-12-2009, 10:29 PM
From what I can see it looks good so far.

I'd maybe add a river and sea between the two mountains in the middle, where the trees grow. Esp. a sea would make it more pleasant there ;)

03-12-2009, 10:43 PM
Thanks, MadLetter. You bring up an excellent point. I'm looking to put a haunted city ruin in the middle of that valley. I like the image and irony of a beautiful lush valley cradling a dead city. However, does the geography as shown allow for something like that or does it demand, like you are suggesting, a river running through it?

03-12-2009, 10:52 PM
It should certainly allow for what you want, as far as I know (no in-depth geology/geography knowledge).

Also, ever played LOTRO? You might want to google Evendim, it's a big sea in a valley-like environment with ruins on the islands in the sea. Looks stunning. Just my opinion! :D

03-12-2009, 11:21 PM
I'd leave it as is except for two things...the river color (personal opinion tho) and find something to do with that top river (snake it back around the mountains to connect to the larger river system running south or run it off the map to the top or right). With the scale you have, you should be able to cram in a lot of villages plus a big city. Otherwise it looks pretty good to me.

03-12-2009, 11:28 PM
That is indeed a pretty map, and esthetically pleasing.

Good Work!

03-13-2009, 01:19 AM
Thanks everyone. I tried combining both MadLetter's tip and Ascension's by having the top river loop through the valley and connect to the south river. In the end, I felt it was too cramped in the valley. Instead I decided to take the advice about having the river run off the to the right. I also tweaked the color a bit.

03-13-2009, 09:56 AM
Very nice map. The only comments I've got are on the top river and the scale bar. The tributary seems to join the top river at too steep an angle (looks around 90 degrees). You could bend it round a bit to join slightly further down river. Also, the forest in the top right needs to break at the river and then continue the other side of it. The scale bar needs simplifying and softening to fit with the rest of the map. You can explode the scale bar and mess around with the elements of it to simplify it.

03-14-2009, 02:08 PM
Of course! If something is pulling the river toward the east, then it will have the same effect on the tributary. :!:

I tried snaking the river through the trees on the forest, but on a map this scale, I see how more separation is necessary. I agree on the scale bar. I'm definitely making all the changes. Overall, the natural terrains seem done. As soon as I make those adjustments, I'm moving to the settlements and structures.

As I look over the catalog of symbols for settlements, I don't think they fit the feel of the map. I'm considering designing my own, however, I'm no artist. Any tips or inspirations before taking the plunge? :?

03-14-2009, 03:41 PM
My best advice is to look at all sorts of various old maps. You can find links to some good resources in the "Reference Material" subforum here. Find a style that you like then draw it by hand (no matter what your skill level is) and scan it in. If you don't have a scanner then I think Kinko's has some...they used to anyways...and you can put it on a disk. The reason I say old maps is because they are usually just line drawings which always look pretty good on a parchment style map. Of course, you could always ask someone to do ya up some or there might be some on the site somewhere...too many posts to go thru tho.

03-15-2009, 10:39 PM
First off, thanks to Ascension for the heads up on where to look. I did just that and started drawing my own settlements. Interestingly, as I worked on them, I began seeing why the designers of the symbols I already had made the choices they did. As I continued work, my symbols started to look like those that came with Campaign Cartographer. I figured it was dumb to reinvent the wheel and went back to the packaged symbols and tweaked them with effects.

Below is the map with the structures and previous advice. Obviously the settlements are not drawn to scale. Overall, I'm pleased with the look. Any last advice before moving on to the labels?

03-23-2009, 09:47 PM
I was sick all of last week and couldn't do any work on the map. I'm now better and finally put the finishing touches with the labels. It looks a bit crowded to me, but in the "How to Display Place Names thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4791)" the general consensus seemed to be crowding is okay as long as everything is legible.

If some of the names seem familiar, that's because I shamelessly steal names from other sources. A few you may recognize from Expeditious Retreat Press and their Lands of Darkness series. This map is for an online game; that's why I went with the larger fonts (overall) and symbols. Unless anyone has any tips, I think this one is done. Let me know if it needs something else.

03-23-2009, 10:00 PM
If you carried any of your custom symbols to completion, please consider sharing them with the entire guild by posting them in this thread: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3726

It doesn't matter if you only made one or two; I've only done three so far.