View Full Version : The Wilderlands of Lords

09-14-2009, 07:58 PM
With the help of pasis' raising up the mountains tutorial I have given new life to a old campaign map of mine. This was originally drawn over 20 years ago with ink on paper and lost for many years, packed away in a friends garage. Recently I was asked to come and pick up a few boxes of my stuff and lo and behold I found a treasure.

This is a scan of the original map and the final result once I had this in photoshop and a weekend free to really work on it:

This is my campaign map for a dungeons and dragons game that lasted over a decade. I hope I did the memories of those many adventures justice with this new map.

The Wilderlands of Lords is so named for the three gods who feature prominently in its history, Aran, Lorn and Chreen...The Lords of the Wilderlands. Yvilnor is an ancient home of the dwarven people who have mined beneath the Aether Wall for centuries. Their trade flows down the Shadowmere River to the great human city of Adwa-Ki and through the rich farmlands and pastures of the Lords Plains and down eventually to the Elven capital of Aarvvodin. The Nomad Road between the port town of Synex and Yvilnor also bears goods and many travellers to the Wilderlands who arrive from empires across the sea to the north east. Few travellers will brave the journey by see from Synex to the southern cities for fear of the Great Maelstrom which either swallows ships or drives them into the Shipwreck Coast.

One distinctive feature of the Wilderlands is the great escarpment that seperates the eastern coast from the Lords Plains, here one will find many of the less wholesome creatures of the land, many is the adventurer who has failed to return from Chreen's Chance. Many other features of the Wilderlands remain shrouded in mystery, but they mearly await the next brave explorer.

09-14-2009, 08:03 PM
That looks gorgeous!

How did you do your forests? i love the way they diffuse near the edges.


09-14-2009, 08:12 PM
Thank you Phil.

The main body of the forests were painted in with a large texture brush. The edges of the forests were painted in with a smaller brush that let me break up the edge in a way I found pleasing and finally with the smallest brush I quickly distributed individual trees to blend the forest into nearby regions. Finally the whole forest layer was given a slight bevel and a fairly strong drop shadow.

Honestly the forests were my favorite parts to paint...At some point in the future I will probably revisit the mountains and the sea, one is just never completely satisfied.

09-14-2009, 08:14 PM
I'd say that you did a most excellent job, even showed me a thing or two. You handled the labels really well also. Very nice.

09-14-2009, 11:32 PM
I like this map quite a bit, it looks like something out of a published product. I hope you post other maps in the future.

One question, what is on Horde Island? The land type looks slightly different from the other mountains and hills on the mainland (with the exception of maybe the Unseen Land).

09-15-2009, 01:43 AM
Awesome map. Great textures for the trees, deserts, wastelands.. well I pretty much love all the textures. Did you find them here somewhere or create them yourself?

09-15-2009, 03:28 AM
Ascension - Thank you very much. I worried the text to death, changing colors and highlights like mad to find the look that pleased me and held enough legibility without masking too much of the terrain. This was a major learning experience for me, I use photoshop daily at work but this was the first time I had ever used the patter maker and made custom texures.

thebax2k - Thanks! I really worked hard to give it that polish and I am extremely glad to recieve kind words. Horde Island is a spawning ground for orcs and goblin types, their denegations to the land have made it a wasteland and polluted the one river giving it the same miasma of unwholesomeness that flows out of the Illmire swamp...it is a combination of hills and wasteland texture.

MysticMagellan - Thank you! I used the forest texture that came with Pasis' raising the mountains tutorial, I modified it a lot though...cutting more holes in it and remove a lot of the darker areas and just making them transparent. The mountain texture is also from his tutorial but I desaturated it some, I see the mountains in the Wilderlands as young, jagged granite peaks. The grasslands, desert and wasteland textures came from a lot of browsing around on CG Textures. And I used more than one texture for the desert, layering two together to get the variations I liked. The water textures were my own and I am still not satisfied with them.

09-15-2009, 06:22 AM
Very nice map. Love the labelling on it. And the arid lands to the west.

I really like that you've not followed Pasis' tutorial to the letter and changed things as you needed. It's a fantastic tutorial but usually in the maps that people make from it they use the textures he supplies and the mountains, which so often are a reddy brown that wouldn't look out of place in california DO look out of place (to me at least) when surrounded by verdant grasslands and forests.

Great stuff. :)

Steel General
09-15-2009, 06:30 AM
Very nice!

A great use of Pasis' fantastic tutorial, looking forward to seeing more from you.

I dub thee newly repped! *bonk*

09-15-2009, 12:34 PM
I am still digging the map... great textures everywhere...

but now that i take a second look, I wonder about the rivers - particularly the one that forms the island with Caravan Road on it...

It seems like the rivers around it are flowing from all directions and then rejoin up, and unless i am mis-reading the map, real world river physics does not allow that...

I will leave it in the hands of wiser folks to say whether that is the case or not... I never noticed such things until I joined the guild and saw all the River Police comments...

and of course, if you are playing in this world for fun and entertainment, it does not really matter if the rivers match real world geophysics...

I think Tolkien has some funny rivers near Gondor and look how awesome he is...


09-15-2009, 03:17 PM
Ramah - Thank you. I did try to make it my own, but its honestly my first ever use of patterns in photoshop...that was an eye opener and I know that as I progress in my cartography I will continue to create more of my own textures and techniques. I owe a lot to Pasis and the person who directed me to his tutorial (he is a member of this site but I don't know what his name is here)

Steel General - thanks for the rep! I just went and read what that is all about, digging it! I already have plans for my next map, a more recent campaign map that I would like to do some city details on.

Philipstephen - it does indeed appear that I am in trouble from the river police. I had a hard time showing the elevations from the east of Hethal Lake up to the Escarpment on my full color map. If you look at the ink drawing it shows contour line details. It's still not quite natural but then it is 100% imaginary. Not that that is an excuse for bad design, because I do remember when I originally drew the map and my keen interest in making things true to my understanding of geography.

09-15-2009, 04:28 PM
Great map. Just echo what everyone else has said really. Repped.

09-16-2009, 12:35 PM
Redrobes - Thank you! It is really very nice getting such positive feedback from everyone. The more I see of the quality and level of art and cartography that is being done here it is really high praise indeed.

09-16-2009, 03:17 PM
More positive comments and praise coming from here.

Philipstephen already pointed out the weirdness regarding how the rivers flow together and join around the large island in the Lords Plains.

Aside from that, great, artistically pleasing work that takes a well-trod tutorial here and making the style your own.

09-16-2009, 04:26 PM
Tom, that is an absolutely beautiful map. Notwithstanding all the lovely aspects of it (the forests especially) for me the stand out beauty are the sinuous rivers.

Lovely and repped.


09-17-2009, 12:21 PM
Karro - Thank You!

ravells - Thank you! I wish I could remember what I was thinking when I first drew those rivers. I am happy with them too, they are out of scale and have a large flaw but they work for me.

There is another large hand drawn map I have that I need to get scanned in. It has a swamp river system in it that I am really excited about rendering on the computer.

09-19-2009, 01:33 PM
Well I couldn't leave it alone. I made a new ocean texture and fixed my river issues. One of the things I really like about how this map is constructed is how editable it is. Thanks everyone for your input, it has really helped guide me to a map I am even happier with.

09-19-2009, 02:28 PM
That reminds me, how exactly did you make that rift? it's bloody brilliant.

I'm suspecting a layer or three with the bevel direction reversed?

09-19-2009, 06:16 PM
Beautiful Map! The F in Moyan Forest doesn't seem to match all the rest of your caps, though.

09-19-2009, 06:37 PM
coyotemax - yes its the same as the mountains with bevel reversed. but I also really hardened up the edges so that the rift would be a sharp gouge. Also made the color browner and shading darker.

Giddle - thank you! Hey good eye there..thats about the 5th time I have saved this map out and I never caught that typo!

09-20-2009, 08:07 AM
I actually prefer the sea texture on the original image to be honest. The new one still looks good but the colour of it just looks a little muddy when compared to the vibrancy of the original blue, something which really stood out for me.

09-20-2009, 10:09 AM
Lovely map!

It would be nice to see it a bit larger, to appreciate the detail!

-Rob A>

09-21-2009, 12:25 PM
Ramah - yeah I am going to revert back to the first ocean texture...my wife like it more too!

RobA - Thank you! I will play around and see just how big of an image I can upload.

09-23-2009, 04:36 AM
Ok now I think it is finished. Tried to get the biggest resolution the board would let me upload. It is very large

09-23-2009, 04:41 AM
Verra verra nice!

09-23-2009, 04:45 AM
That is delicious!

Steel General
09-23-2009, 06:47 AM
Great job, looking forward to your next one.

09-24-2009, 01:31 PM
That's a very nice looking map, in the end.

09-24-2009, 06:25 PM
Wow, i love it, the diferent altitudes, the sand, the details on the river, all of them make it unique, i would repp you but.... It seems i recently did it. XD

09-24-2009, 07:00 PM
Coyotemax - Thanka verra much!

Alfar - Thank you!

Steel General - Thank you! I am currently working on it.

Karro - Thank you!

zenram - Thank you! I had a fun time finding and tweaking textures for this map. I learned a lot and my next map will feature even more custom made textures.

Everyone's input was great. I look at my original map that I thought was done and I am so much happier with the fixes and changes suggested by very constructive and creative people here. The final map is really satisfying to me.

09-27-2009, 09:13 AM
Stunning looking map. Have some rep.

09-27-2009, 11:45 AM
Very nice indeed. I love the swamp colours.

09-30-2009, 02:13 AM
Gandwarf - Thank you!

Torstan - Glad you like it!

I have posted the next map I am working on in the regional maps section. I am really enjoying this cartography thing!