View Full Version : Laramis

06-21-2009, 01:11 PM
My Dungeons and Dragon group has been together since 1978. Three of us started playing then, another three joined around 1980 and the last two came aboard about ten years ago. There are a couple of persistent campaign worlds that have been going on for quite some time. One of our better DM's, Greg, has always run a world called "Mythgar". After many years, Greg finally tired of Mythgar and decided to bridge us to a new world called "Laramis", which is a more cruel and brutal place with a less-settled civilization.

Greg asked if I could help with the map of Laramis. I studied the map he'd done in CC3 for a while, then decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to emulate my favorite map of all times on these boards, Ramah's "Vaniya".

Vaniya was the first master-quality map that I saw when I came here, and it made an enormous impression.

Here is the original map that Greg made. I have also included my first pass at the world itself, with just the continent itself and a bit of texture included. Suggestions and recommendations are, of course, welcome.


06-21-2009, 03:07 PM
I like the look of your continent and texturing so far. I very much like the lettering you've chosen, but I think it might be best suited to a 19th century style setting? Then again, when the rest of the map is filled up it may fit, anyways. :)

06-21-2009, 03:34 PM
I appreciate the perspective, and my wife thought the same thing. She said it was a bit too western. I replaced the font with Vafthrudnir. She likes it better.


06-21-2009, 06:13 PM
I like it very much so far. I'm very interested to see how the map progresses, and I really like that second font. The first one didn't bother me, but the second one I like better still.

06-21-2009, 11:44 PM
I appreciate the perspective, and my wife thought the same thing. She said it was a bit too western. I replaced the font with Vafthrudnir. She likes it better.


That one looks great. :)

06-22-2009, 08:41 PM
Well I feel like I just got back from a two-day sojourn to discover mountains, and as if I didn't really find any. I have tried a half-dozen styles, and have yet to find one that satisfies. Take a look at these and give me your brutally honest thoughts on how they work with the map.

Go ahead. I can take it.


06-23-2009, 01:17 AM
To be brutally honest: I think those mountain symbols go very well with the map style.

I would save that and try, as alternative, to put the mountains closer together, so they overlap and make the mountain range more massive.

Another alternative (one that I, as fan of historical maps like) is to present ranges as single lines of mountains like in this example:

Play around with the arrangement and see which you like best. :)

06-23-2009, 04:32 AM
As yet another alternative, there's a tutorial on making hand-drawn mountains (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5664). What I plan to do with my next regional map is to PosteRazor an outline of the map with a guide on where I think the mountains should be and then using that as a guide for hand-drawing my own ranges.

But really all you need to do is hand-draw 6-7 mountains and scan them in and make them into brushes, then place them well and you have cool hand-drawn ranges that you made yourself.

06-23-2009, 07:16 AM

I looked at that style and it just didn't "catch me". It seems to be one of the two most prevalent mountain styles in the old maps I studied. The other was the topographical style that must have taken an enormous amount of time and an epically steady hand. I don't know that I could emulate those and can't think of any short cuts.


I've read that tutorial a few times and tried it, but haven't been pleased with the results. The mountains in my example were "hand drawn" but on the computer. By the way, everyone has a scanner though they might not be aware. Simply draw what you want on a plain white piece of paper, put it in a well-lighted spot, then snap it with your mobile phone's camera, then mail it to yourself. The picture should be in far larger resolution than you need, so you won't lose the detail.

06-23-2009, 07:48 AM
I put in the rivers last night, which was basically using an eraser as a brush to make the rivers seem integrated with the rest of the land mass. I would like to do some shading on them to give an impression of depth, but not sure how best to approach it.


Steel General
06-23-2009, 10:43 AM
If they were on their own level you could put a slight bevel (1-2 pixels) on them to give the appearance of depth.

It might also work in this case but then you're entire land mass would be beveled - not sure if the look would work for you or not.

Greason Wolfe
06-23-2009, 10:50 AM
Have to agree with SG on this one. Try to promote them to their own layer, add a tiny bit of beveling and maybe just a hint of shadows/shading. One of the things I fiddled with a while back involved using a Luminance blend/Bevel/Drop Shadow combination that seemed to work fairly well, especially if its done on something with a bit of texture that matches the color you want to work with.

All in all, though, seems like you're moving along. Good luck with the tweaking efforts to get things looking satisfactory.


06-23-2009, 12:50 PM
Here's what I would do if you don't have rivers on a separate layer:

1. Ctrl-click on the land layer (assuming it is on its own layer).
2. Create a new layer.
3. Use black color and a low opacity airbrush and airbrush in the river valleys. This way you avoid doing anything to the whole continent like what you would get if layer styles were applied.
4. Change blend modes, colors, etc to match.

06-23-2009, 01:26 PM
Immolate, no worries. It's your map and you have to like it. :)

I really like your rivers and look forward to seeing this one evolve.

06-23-2009, 06:22 PM
So much good advise and encouragement! Thanks everyone.

The rivers are on the land layer as that was the only way I could think of to make the two mesh properly. I will do whatever shading I do on another layer.

I learned the control-click method from you the first time I did one of your tutorials Ascension, and it has become a well-worn tool in my toolbox.

Back to it then.

07-13-2009, 11:15 PM
Hi all. I took some time off to enter the lite contest and, although I never really "quit" working on this, I did hit a log jam with the mountains that refused to budge for a very long time. However, I did manage to break through a bit tonight and came up with the first mountain style I liked... somewhat. The problem I have is that I get so focused on the mountains--researching real mountains, looking at countless old maps and a lot of new ones, reading all of the tutorials, etc., you get to the point where you are so completely absorbed that you can no longer trust your own judgement as to what looks good. Add to that the fact that you've been staring at your map so long that your judgement on that becomes questionable too.

Well... I kicked around some color changes, redid the shorelines a dozen times, tapered the rivers, added a crevasse, basically did everything I could to avoid actually having to overcome the mountain issue.

Finally, tonight, I just started playing around with some brush designs and kind of stumbled across one that looked pretty good (to me) on the backdrop of my map style, which is trying to be both subtle and a bit cartoonish at the same time. I am aiming for a light-hearted yet interesting style with just enough pop to grab your attention and just enough sophistication to keep it.

So let me know what you think, not just about the mountains but everything. I have a few more to put in on the east side of the continent. Thanks for your critical assistance.


Steel General
07-14-2009, 06:59 AM
Holy Rivers Batman!! :D

07-14-2009, 06:46 PM
Hey Immolate,

I love what you have done so far, but the General is right. You went nuts on the rivers.

I don't know if I can be of any help, but I'll try my best.

My pesonal opinion when working on the geography of others: Try to correct blatant mistakes, but also try to stay as close to the original as you can.

Your friend probably told you that it's ok to change some minor details, but in my opinion, only do so if you really have to.

To demonstrate what I am talking about, I uploaded an overlay of your map above the original map.


Ok, here is what my battle plan for this beast would look like:

1) Water bodies

This should not be changed at all. Not only the coastlines, but also the major lakes. If the placement is not completely silly, try to keep them as they are. Sure, you can make some minor tweaks concerning shape and size, but try to do so only where your eyes hurt.
Your crevasse should also stay where it was. You can change the shape if you think it looks silly, but you should not change the location.


2) Rivers

You probably thought: Those rivers are crap. I'll do my own.
My advice: Don't. You don't know if river X will play a major role in the upcoming game, so try to tweak existing ones instead.
Let's tackle the one in the center first. It connects two coastlines, branching out at both sides.
Don't count on the River Police for help here, because they probably got multiple strokes from clicking the picture.
One of the many possibilities would be to break it up in two sources. The northern one could come from the mountains to the west (I scrapped the forking here), the southern one from the east. You can even include some hills (the light patches) to make sure everyone sees why the river is going that way.
I kept the forking here, but added a hill the river is hitting as a reason to fork.
They both try to touch towns, because people back then often built their towns close to rivers for easy access to water and transprortation.


Now the western river.
The flow into the crevasse should have its own source.
The remaining river shouldn't fork and simply flow into the lake and out of it again.
(don't use those outlines, they are just sketches)


Now for the eastern one.
They fork again.
You can do two seperate ones, one going along the towns entering and exiting that small lake south of Cliffside, one going along the forest.
While you are at it, add a source and a drain for the lake in the north.


Of course you may add more rivers but try to make them flow into the main ones.

That's all for now.

I hope you don't get my post wrong. I don't want to bash your map at all, because I think it has great potential.
Just offering some thoughts and ideas.

07-19-2009, 02:40 PM
I put in the rivers last night, which was basically using an eraser as a brush

Why not create a layer mask on your land layer? That way, you could just draw on the rivers in black on the mask.

Better than erasing because it's easy to make changes to a mask.