View Full Version : Insulae Eldarae - My first completed map

Gregorus Prime
09-07-2009, 02:13 PM
Here it is at last, my very first map. Before I begin my spiel, I would first like to extend my deepest thanks to RobA, because without his regional maps in GIMP tutorial I would never even have gotten started on this thing. Everyone else who had suggestions is equally deserving of my gratitude.

So, obviously, I followed RobA's tutorial nearly to the letter, and also used some "not-so-random coastline" generation techniques detailed here as well. The water ripples are an effect I banged out myself in a way I don't remember entirely clearly; lots of bump mapping and overlays, I do know that. There's also an overlay generated by GIMP's Lighting Effects filter put on top of the islands themselves to really make them pop. The lava is something I made using the techniques in RobA's tutorial; masks, clipping, noise, gradient maps, etc.

This islands are only one tiny part of my campaign world. I plan on making maps for the other parts of the world (composed largely of one huge continent and a smaller one to the south of it) and then stitching them all together in a single map of the known world as a whole.

Office of Intelligence and Espionage
Anno Imperium 997

Auth: Trevalus Meniente, apprentice to to Agent Marcus Denilis

My master has tasked me to summarize his thoughts on this particular subject, and unfortunately I must fail slightly in this regard, as the report is filled with less than professional language. Simply put, a military campaign to overtake and conquer these islands after one thousand years of independence (a fact that embarasses our legions, to be sure) would be far too costly to justify.

The islands are almost completely surrounded by coral reefs that would cause significant damage to any ship that tried to ram its way through. It is believed that the elves cultivated this reef themselves with the aid of magic when they first established their sanctuary in this place. As the wisdom of divine Caedius would tell us, simply lining up ship after ship to ram the coral would get the job done, but it would be a foolish endeavor. Thus, there are very few avenues of approach to these isles, and they are all well-guarded by the elves' so-called "Sun's Heart Tower," a curiously ornate marble tower* with a great lens at the top that is quick to set ablaze any military ship that tries to approach. What little trade that can be performed with these elves for their exotic spices and fruits must be done in small quantities on rowboats sent out from the larger merchant ships that make their way to the reef's edges. Again, mounting a military campaign entirely on a swarm of rowboats launched from a fleet just out of sight of the islands is simply not practical, and has also been proven to be ineffective, as General Hernaldeus discovered 300 years prior in his own disastrous campaign. The tower is presumed to be controlled by the few mages they have left, as most of them have forsaken magic as well as civilization for a simpler existence. Our own Legion's mages refuse to assist us in suppressing the magics of the tower, as the Guild of Mages is dependent on trade with these isles for exotic and rare alchemical plants that only the islands' inhabitants know how to cultivate.

The elves have shown time and again their determination to not be a part of our empire. Nearly all the elves who remain on the Great Continent live a nomadic lifestyle, actively avoiding not only our cities but also our armies and, of course, our tax collectors. The million or so elves who have taken refuge on these islands (numbers are not certain) and the scattered islands beyond the central reef-surrounded cluster have made it clear that they want nothing to do with us apart from trade, and their blasphemous belief that the Empire will fall eventually -- infuriating though it is -- pervades every aspect of their interaction with us.

I will state this again for clarity's sake: the islands cannot be invaded in a way that will prevent massive losses to our legions and extensive destruction of the natural beauty of the islands themselves. Holy Emperor Saerdast bid us to spread his empire to the corners of the world prior to his ascension to the heavens, but personally I think we can put these islands aside until the very end.

Trevalus Meniente

*Our surveyors speculate that since no marble is likely to be found in that area of the world, it was most likely conjured piece-by-piece from another plane, or merely constructed from the Elemental Chaos itself.

09-07-2009, 02:22 PM
A job well done. Love the story as well.

09-07-2009, 02:39 PM
Nice map!

The backstory is great too, I love the style of writeup. Much more fun to read than the way I usually do it *shamelessly borrows the idea*

Gregorus Prime
09-07-2009, 02:58 PM
As if it was original to begin with. WHFB and WH40k have write-ups like this all the time in their rule codices. The setting itself is a D&D cliche mashup: Roman empire for the humans, Islamic empire for the Dragonborn, nomads of other races in between, and dwarves being closely associated with Lovecraftian horrors. Well, maybe that last part isn't quite so cliche. They're usually just short bearded Scotsmen that live in caves.

09-07-2009, 03:31 PM
The elf race is very cliche, but I like the setting of the story. The islands that are hard to get to because of a magic-grown reef. A tower which sets ships ablaze, etc.

Gregorus Prime
09-07-2009, 03:57 PM
Well, when I say that they forsook civilization and magic, what I mean is that the majority of them wear nothing more than grass skirts and warpaint, and spend the better part of their day fishing or just lazing around. Think less Tolkien and more Pacific islanders. I didn't spend too much text on their culture (or their animistic religion, or the extraplanar origins of their ancestors, or the million-year-old civilizations that preceded them and were wiped out by some unknown cataclysm long before the first human stood upright, etc.) because I figured, hey, this is the Cartographer's Guild, not the Amateur Cliche Writer's Guild.

So, anyway, thanks once again for all your commentary and suggestions in the other thread. I'll have to get to work on the next continent soon, probably skipping a good bit of the steps on grass and forests. Lots of desert in the Dragonborn theocracy.

09-07-2009, 05:15 PM
Yeah, you put an interesting twist into the elven race, though they still sound like arrogant buggers to me. Let's see the next WIP soon :)
Oh as for posting stories: a lot of us are here because they are making maps for their stories. And stories are seeping into some posts...
There might even be a writing section on this forum in the future. Who knows :)

Your avatar keeps reminding me of the Predator by the way... then I look closer and see it's an orc :P

Gregorus Prime
09-07-2009, 10:29 PM
No, he's an Ork. Big difference. (Well, not really, but they do have shootas and other teknolojee.)

And as turnabout is fair play, every time I look at your avatar, It takes me a moment to register it as snow monkeys huddling together, rather than the face of Happycat.

09-08-2009, 02:44 AM
dwarves being closely associated with Lovecraftian horrors. Well, maybe that last part isn't quite so cliche. They're usually just short bearded Scotsmen that live in caves.

Is there a difference, I thought Scots where Lovecraftian horrors;-)

Nice map and story by the way. Looking forward to see the rest of the world.

09-08-2009, 04:12 AM
Excellent back story and excellent map :)


09-08-2009, 08:10 AM
And as turnabout is fair play, every time I look at your avatar, It takes me a moment to register it as snow monkeys huddling together, rather than the face of Happycat.

Actually I think they were woolly monkeys, coming from the Amazon. I photographed them during the winter in the Netherlands. It was snowing and freezing and it was quit funny to see these monkeys huddled together. I guess they really wished they could return to a warmer climate :D