View Full Version : Laramis, Second Attempt

08-29-2009, 04:37 PM
I've been focusing on challenges so much lately that I let this project float away. Rather than resurrect the old thread, I decided that because I had essentially completely restarted the project, I would start a new thread.

This is a project for a friend of mine, Greg, who is one of the better dungeon masters in the group that I've been playing in since 1979. Greg's next campaign will be completely set in Laramis, which is a new world from the one he's run all of his previous campaigns in, which was called Mythgar. We probably played a rough half-dozen campaigns in Mythgar, each lasting about a year.

So Greg put together a map using CC3 and shipped it off to me. I'm including both Greg's original and my current WIP in this, the first post.

I have only spent a couple of days on this version of the map so far, but it went really quickly, and I'm fairly pleased with how it's turned out so far. The reason for posting it here, in this forum, is so that I can get advice and criticism on the map. Tell me what you like, what you don't like, and why, and I will be forever grateful.

Thanks in advance!


08-29-2009, 04:56 PM
What I like:

- Great landmass shape.
- Nice colors, the landmass green and blue of the sea match really well.
- Water looks beautiful.
- Love the marsh and gorge.

What I think needs some work:

- The mountains. Especially the western mountain range looks too scattered. I do very much like their style though!
- The towns look like ruins to me. Maybe make the dots red or something, to indicate they are roofs (now they look like lots of fallen stones)
- The roads look like rivers. Or if they aren't roads, but broader rivers, they don't match with the smaller rivers. If they are roads, maybe change the color to brown. Also if they are roads, they are larger (grabbing more attention) than the rivers, which I think is weird.
- Maybe make the rivers pop out some more.

Give some rep to your buddy Greg. I like his CC3 map. I really like your map too, but you wanted criticism, so you got it :D
I am happy you corrected Greg's river mistakes by the way ;) The rivers near the large lake in the middle seem to be splitting, though?

Oh, a question: why did you vary the colors for the forests? You seem to have several shades of green you use?

And please promise me you are going to add some farmland to the area near the mayor cities...

08-29-2009, 05:48 PM
I like the ocean and the waves (maybe blur those .5), the cities, the river valleys, and the land color.

I'm not keen on using multi-colored noise for a pattern overlay because the reds and pinks mess up the green...I'd suggest using a grayscale noise or pattern. The mountains look kinda tiny and dark, they need to be more impressive and bigger. Forests and swamps need some work but since I struggle with those myself I don't really have any advice other than you seem to be on the right road...just keep messin around with them. Knowing your past work I am sure that you'll get these things looking good.

08-29-2009, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm going through and evaluating each and making adjustments as I go.

Ascension: where are you picking up multi-color noise? To my knowledge, I've used only monochrome gaussian, as a part of the process of building up the forest and the swamp. Is it the grass? I snagged that from somewhere some time ago. If that's the issue then I can redo.

As for the mountains, I was trying to go along with the spirit of the original. I know the map has too-few mountains, but I didn't want to reinvent it for him. I can bulk up the ones that are already there of course. I'll give that some thought as the process is pretty painstaking.


08-29-2009, 08:09 PM
If you're using a pattern for the land then it could be on the pattern then. I'm seeing something like colored noise or color halftone. Oh well.

08-29-2009, 11:43 PM
Okay, things are starting to fall into place. The new base land pattern makes all of the difference. I did beef up the mountains a bit but I'm resistant to actually making them cover more area than they do.


Steel General
08-30-2009, 05:16 PM
Yeah, that's more or less what I meant.

08-30-2009, 05:24 PM
I went off on a journey of discovery and found that the "secret" method I'd found for creating mountains wasn't really all that secret, but a number of folks had taken it a great deal further than I had. I think the results are more interesting, but I also sense that there are extensive opportunities for refinement to the approach.



Steel General
08-30-2009, 05:28 PM
These are better, but I think they are to 'green'. Unless of course they are completely forest covered. :)

08-30-2009, 06:26 PM
Nope I'm just colorblind.

08-30-2009, 08:16 PM
Okey Dokey, I put on the labels and tried to do something about the mountain color. With all of the transparency levels and my inability to see green from brown, I can't really tell if I got it.


08-30-2009, 09:00 PM
I'm likin this one. You need some hills around the mountains and then on to whatever is next. I like how you blurred the ruins while the towns stay sharp...cool idea. Dig the chasm too.

08-30-2009, 10:47 PM
I've been thinking about hills and snowcaps too. My problem with noise is the tendency for hills based on noise to look a bit like a bit of a rash instead of something natural. I'll have to experiment.

Meanwhile, I'm going to send this off to Greg as there are some names of towns and such that he'll need to supply to finish up the labeling. I'm going to suggest he name more of the water bodies too.

Thanks for all your help so far everyone.


08-31-2009, 05:12 AM
That is very nice. Looks very lush and believable to me. At first I was thinking it looked a little odd without terrain variations like deserts and such, almost too much green - but then i realized that was one of the things I liked about it. And with the scale, there's no reason or it not to have the same climate all over :)

Woot! I'd rep, but I gave out for something else recently it appears...

08-31-2009, 07:26 AM
Yep, you made some great improvements.

Steel General
08-31-2009, 07:43 AM
I'm with Ascension about needing some foothills around your mountains, but this is looking quite nice.

For snowcaps you can try (on a new layer) using a small, low opacity/flow air brush and just kind of dot the peaks of your mountains.

08-31-2009, 05:39 PM
I've added some hills and snowcaps. I hope I wasn't too heavy-handed with the hills, but I can't really "see" the color as I'm laying them down. The snow is a bit different so hopefully I did okay.

So at this point I'm "done" pending suggestions from you guys and any change requests from Greg. We're probably a good six months to a year from using the map, so I have the time needed to make any changes that sound worthwhile.


08-31-2009, 06:14 PM
Hey, I think this is coming along pretty well. Here's what I think:

The mountain style looks good. The mountain shape almost looks good, but it's too linear and uniform. Make some offshoots, and stop trying to make it too realistic. This is fantasy, remember! Make it interesting, and make the mountain range warp and twist and go into crazy places. Let loose! Spray them mountains everywhere! (ish.)

I know you don't have the freedom to make huge changes to the original design, but I think you can get away with making moderate changes to the mountain shape.

For what you've got, though, calling the main range "The Spine" is awesome. Anyway, here's what I mean:

Also, your landmass shape is super duper. But shouldn't the mountains correspond (a little bit, at least) with the landmass? They seem too arbitrary and a little unbalanced. In order to make The Spine look like more of a spine than a massive mountain range, how about you add some balance to the other mountains in order to make them even less spiny?

Even if you don't change the contour of The Spine, change your other mountains to balance them.

To sum: making your other mountains crazy will make The Spine more spiny.

Just a suggestion, though. Break loose!

Edit: Just looked at your lastest ver that you posted while I was posting. It is good. I ought to scrap this post... don't bother changing what you have.

08-31-2009, 07:13 PM
Your suggestions are excellent Pank.HQ. My first impulse when I started this map some time ago was to "improve" on it by using my greater understanding of the physical realities of earth and water to create a model more in tune with how things work in the real world. That is how I started, and someone, I don't even remember who, called me to task for it.

Again, I don't remember who it was, and it doesn't matter. What they told me was true. Greg plopped down some mountains here and forests there and whatever worked in his imagination. He asked me to make his map look "cool" like mine do, but it was still his map. I really gave that a lot of thought, and in the end, I decided that remaining true to the author's vision was more important (not to mention guaranteed to increase their sense of ownership) than getting things "right".

Now I don't spurn science and common sense. Quite the opposite. I love learning about how things work and every bit of commentary I get, I seriously think about. Even the stuff that stings at first, I resist the urge to lash out defensively and wait until the sting abates so that I can accept the criticism in the spirit in which it was intended.

So your suggestions are both gratefully received, and at the same time will not change this map. I'm not going to suggest that I haven't strayed a bit here and there from the original, but it was surprising how little. Of course it didn't hurt to have the original superimposed over my recreation whenever I felt a bit too rambunctious. :)

Thank you for the rep!

Laramis, before and after:


08-31-2009, 11:09 PM
You know...that overlay is kind of cool looking. It gives it that hand-drawn feel but with the realistic flavoring.

09-01-2009, 12:51 PM
That overlay is CUTE! :!: It's amazing how closely you've stuck to the original CC2 design. Kudos, and keep it up!

09-01-2009, 01:46 PM
Hey, i've been watching the development, and really enjoy the changes that maps go through. I think you've made alot of progress, and I hope that you are as happy as it seems the community supporting you is.

Overall I agree with the assessments everyone has been giving you. I actually like the overall texturinzation of your first map over the later maps. It seems to bring out the vibrant colors a bit more. As for the mountains, I think the best advice I could give would be to chuck em out and restart. Not because that they are 'unretrievable', but you've been getting so much advice and tinkering, I think a fresh start might help you get over that hurdle of incorporating everyones ideas. As for their look, the mountains look more like a moonscape pockmarked look, than terrestrial mountains.

Just a few ideas. Nice work though.

09-01-2009, 08:34 PM
Thanks for the pointers Davros!

I've put a few minor tweaks on the map and I'm ready to put it aside pending final labels from Greg. I used Ascension's gold style #76 (I believe) for the frame trim, some fancy lines in the background and a bit of pop on the forests.

Again, thanks everyone for your suggestions. Your input made this a much better map.


09-01-2009, 09:23 PM
That's a luscious frame...simple and elegant. I gotta get you to make me some frames :)

09-02-2009, 04:55 AM
The whole thing really evokes feelings from me. Part of me would like to explore the place, but then I see the orc hills and it reminds me that this could be a very dangerous place to be :) The marsh area does have an unsettling feel to it.. and the towns are Great!

Nicely handled, Sir.