View Full Version : Grand Hall (City)

08-06-2009, 12:04 PM
Grand Hall is the human capitol of an island nation know as Green Haven, in my current 4th Edition D&D campaign.

Green Haven is a large Island, say between Ireland and Britain, a bit off the coast of a large continent. Approximately the same difference between Ireland and France, just to give a rough idea.

The continent is large and the ocean was relatively unexplored for a long period of time. It was not found until the human kingdom's height of technology and culture (Like Eberon level).

It was also discovered shortly before a large, and very eventful war. As such, after the first surge of explorers and profiteers there was suddenly a large drop in immigration, then came a number of refugees but after that very little.

Due to the distance from the mainland it was left relatively alone as the human kingdoms fell. It declared itself an independent state and was relatively successful at developing a monarchy (a halfling one), as well as infrastructure.

Time went by and things stagnated. A Tiefling empire took over the mainland and driving some drow out who found refuge in the underdark of GreenHaven and kept little contact with the Kingdom.

Some Dragonborn arrived as refugees from an unknown continent further in the ocean. Some settled but most used the island as a temporary stop before moving onto the mainland.

The Tiefling Empire eventually showed up, declared war, and do to overwheming numbers captured the Island with little fight. It may be due to this fact that the Tiefling's changed little and little was lost. Eventually the Tiefling Empire was thrown into war, and due to the distance of Green Haven, it was left relatively alone again, as that empire fell as well.

However, this time the problems of the continent followed. Aggressive less intelligent humanoids began patrolling the areas between towns, monsters appeared including dragons in larger numbers. Travel between towns decreased and trade stopped completely from the mainland.

Humans came up as the new rulers and declared a kingdom, incorporating several towns under one banner, but falling far short of making the whole island secure.

The Dwarves have declared their own capitol but control very little in comparison.

The city was built on a river in a temperate climate towards the middle of the island. The source of the river is at a chain of mountains not far north of the city, but far enough as they won't show in the map. It is however the most upstream of any town on this water way.

The city was also built on the border of a forest which has been cut back considerably.

At present the rough population is. . .
63% Human
15% Halfling
8% Dwarf
6% Elven
5% Dragonborn
2% Tiefling
1% Eladrin
1% Other


That's allot of text, and its as much here for me as it is for anyone who wants to know. I include it because it's going to affect how my city looks.

Goals: Make a City by Sunday.

It should include:
1. Place of government
2. At least 4 temples
3. A river!
4. Signs that the city isn't as prosperous as it once was, perhaps with varying road conditions. . .
5. Areas of the city completely abandoned, as the population is much lower.
6. An old town, with halfling influence
7. Areas of town reflecting influence of other races with reasonable population percentages like dwarves and dragonborn.

But first. . . lunch.

08-06-2009, 12:08 PM
Some ideas to show the city is not prosperous anymore:

- Houses in a state of disrepair or they are abandoned
- Some rubble, maybe even in the river (or some pollution because of sewage)
- Tent camps because of the refugees
- Some city blocks totally cleared (because of fire accidents and nobody rebuilding)
- Empty fields

08-06-2009, 12:48 PM
Looks like a pretty interesting state for a city. Be interesting to see where you take this.

08-06-2009, 03:11 PM
I'm roughly following Pyrandon's City Tutorial for this.


Here we have the rough sketch with obvious river, and elevations. The green specs in the top and corner is forest. Green blob is where the halfling town originally was. Purple is roads and castle.

Brown is walls.

I added some more secondary roads as well as a smaller bridge after this screen shot.


And here's the geography coming in. . .

08-06-2009, 05:22 PM

The geography gets a little finalized here. I started improving a little bit.


The return of the walls, new roads, and the beginnings of the city.

08-07-2009, 11:50 AM

I filled the city out more and realized, since this is a city for D&D, I really should know the locations of key buildings and work around that.

Key buildings currently in pink so I don't forget about them.
Dark Grey/Blue is actively lived in human style buildings.
Green is lived in Halfling style buildings.
The muddy color in the bottom right corner are dwarven buildings.
The Red up top is Dragonborn.
The Light Grey will be abandoned areas.

I put the roads on top, in stead of following the tutorial and make them underneath then erasing bits of city. I figure this will make it easier to play with texture overlay's later.

I think I'll scale back for the far the city stretches towards the left/west.

08-07-2009, 12:55 PM
I would leave it like this and call it done ;)

You seem to be planning this city pretty well. It's like you are about to start a new city in Sim City :)

08-07-2009, 01:25 PM
I like the approach you're taking to this, Scorpius and will be watching with interest!

Steel General
08-07-2009, 02:09 PM
I've used Pyrandon's tutorial in the past with great results. Looking forward to seeing this continue.

08-07-2009, 05:34 PM

And now we have lots of roads. Lots and lots.

I tried to have a different feel via layout for the halfling, dwarven and dragonborn sections of the city. I think I was relatively successful.

As for the abandoned sections, I decided that of course they're not quite as abandoned as people assume. We've got robbers, social outcasts, and of course minotaurs and vampires roaming around.

What. . . that's normal right?

I decided while drawing that at one point the city government declared abandoned property fair game. People can pick through it for possessions or even tear it apart for building material with no repercussions.

While most abandoned buildings have been ransacked several times, poor people who don't have allot of options still go looking for things with hope. Which leaves them easy prey for rouges and things that go bump in the night.

The more far away from inhabited homes you go the less the layout makes sense. Its not due to large, oddly shaped buildings. Instead the buildings are falling apart, or being torn apart, and blocking roads and alleys. This is not the case near the dwarven district as those buildings are a bit sturdier and when dwarves scavenge for material they do so intelligently and don't leave much mess.

There's also a cult of Baphomet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baphomet_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)) which has been purposely making the streets more labyrinth like to trap people. They of course are also responsible for the minotaurs.

Back to the tutorial!

08-07-2009, 08:08 PM
There we go. Almost done.

I'm actually printing it out like this, in case I am running on Sunday.

World of difference between this and the last file eh?

I like it. Haven't decided quite what to do next.

08-11-2009, 03:52 PM
Added Farms, labels, a key, a border, redid some key buildings, added a couple of effects.

I think I'm done.

08-11-2009, 04:04 PM
Hmmm... I am not sure what to think of this map.
The background and labeling are ok, the layout of the city is good and the city walls are great. My biggest problem with this map is that the city blocks look like a brick wall to me. I have no idea how to fix this. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the roads as roads... and the houses turned into bricks for me.
There are some exceptions, like some of the buildings near The Keep. Those look great.

I would be interested to hear what other people think of it.

(I hope I didn't step on your toes. Certainly no harm intended).

08-11-2009, 04:20 PM
No toes stepped upon. This is still a WIP, and to be honest it almost looks muddy to me, but I think that might not be corrected able not this point.

Is it an issue with all the buildings of certain colors? Like the dark blue/grey vs the light grey. Or do you think its an issue with street layout in certain areas/

08-11-2009, 04:31 PM
For me, there are only a few buildings which can be easily seen as buildings because they have roofs (like the inn). If these are all flat top slate roofs then maybe a shadow would help reinforce some sort of feeling of height. Right now it looks like a big block of stone was cut with a wet saw. I like the colors and the layout and overall I like where it is going...just need some roofs.

08-11-2009, 04:58 PM
Yeah, what Ascension says.

Steel General
08-11-2009, 05:34 PM
I'll go ahead and add my $0.02 and agree with the Ascendant One and the Big 'G'.

To me the majority of the city blocks 'lack depth'. But there are also a lot of really nice elements here as well.

08-11-2009, 08:01 PM
I think you'd be better getting rid of the textures (if it's possible at this point) altogether and just using flat or slightly textured colours.

08-11-2009, 08:40 PM
Yeah I could try that. Not too late at all.

08-11-2009, 10:24 PM
Here I have dropped building textures. I also went ahead and carved out where the roads are from the buildings themselves, as opposed to just having the roads on top of sections and creating a false space between buildings.

This allowed me to come to terms with the fact that I might have to blow up the map, and actually draw buildings, as long as that may take me, to achieve the desired effect.

Neither of these have the final cartoon/poster as suggested by the tutorial and used in earlier "finished products".

08-12-2009, 03:22 AM
That last version is definitely better, or at least the dark colored districts. I don't have the feeling I am looking at a brick wall there.

Steel General
08-12-2009, 07:19 AM
Of the 2 new versions you posted, I also prefer the second one.

08-12-2009, 07:26 AM
My preference is of the first version (without the drop shadow). You could try using an inside stroke or hard inner glow instead of the drop shadow - might work?

08-12-2009, 11:57 AM
I'll try those things and post them up. I am becoming increasing dissatisfied with the look of the buildings however compared to more detailed maps. Wheels are spinning. Expect changes.

08-12-2009, 05:14 PM
Ok so . . . how do I do that?

I know how to stroke all the buildings but it seems to go on the outside as well, wether I invert the selection or not. Also, I can find a softglow but not a hardglow. I'm using Gimp

08-12-2009, 05:22 PM
Oh and here's it stroked with one pixel. Two makes the streets darkened.

08-12-2009, 07:10 PM
You are onto something. The southern part of The Keep looks a lot better now.

08-13-2009, 09:27 AM
I don't think I like this look at all anymore. I'm turning off the buildings. Increasing the size of the map, and placing them one by one.

08-13-2009, 10:53 AM
Can't wait to see the next WIP then!

08-13-2009, 11:15 AM
That's gonna be a lot of work, but I suspect you'll be happy with the effort in the long run ;)

08-13-2009, 03:10 PM
Here we have a snapshot of progress, to give you an idea of what I'm doing.

No Chimney's but basic roof shadow on some to mark a difference between slanted and flat roofs.

No roof shading on abandoned structures for now. Maybe not ever. It would just be complicated for an effect that might not be worth it.

Oh and the roads are turned off in the image.

08-13-2009, 06:57 PM
Ooh, that's starting to really look nice.

Worth the effort so far, from my perspective.

07-16-2010, 11:40 AM
Well, long time no update on this.

The party failed to defend the city from an invading force of giants, then moved on to other things. I'm going to pick this back up soon.