View Full Version : Kingdom Map beginning

09-29-2009, 11:27 AM
Ok been on here a bit and except for my greeting post I have been dormant. Been reading the tutorials on here and experimenting with some stuff in gimp. So far I have something interesting, though it needs alot of fine tuning.

Attached is the start of it the original map was superimposed as an overlay while I was working. My head hurts from staring at the comp to long so I'll ost a clean version in a bit.

Sugestions, comments, pointers?

09-29-2009, 08:21 PM
Ok so I went stupid and saved the Jpeg, but did not go back and save the Gimp file soooo long story short, I will be a bit longer posting the updated map as I have to redo the Mountains and stuff.

I feel like a freaking retard

09-29-2009, 08:22 PM
Heres the original map done in atorealm

09-29-2009, 10:09 PM
I do that a lot as well and I always feel like a doof. Just keep pluggin away and we'll see where things go. Not much to say just yet.

09-29-2009, 11:05 PM
Ok got over the not saved thing, decided to work on the mountains a bit later any way. I am using the tut listed here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142&page=2) for the majority of it. THe technuique he used for the dirt was used for the rocky parts as well I modified that technuiqe for the forest as I didn't want that so random.

Steps moded for the stone:
Follow the directions as given. After I got to where his directions finishe I applyed the layer masked, notice there where some stone where I didn't want them (namely in the water) so I aplied another layer mask with the land mask channel. Distort as apropriate.

09-30-2009, 09:00 AM
Here are a couple of things i noticed.

First, I really like your coloring. works really well. The rocky areas look a little too random for me. usually when i look at maps, there is some suggestion of pattern (whether it be weather wear, or ancient glacial recession, etc. (Just an idea).

The lake looks a little angular (along with the island). Looks more like a man made lake than a natural one. I would suggest adding some Greeblies to the mix. Break up the straight lines a bit.

i'm sure some of the more experienced ppl will give you better suggestions,


09-30-2009, 09:10 AM
Thanks for the sugestions Davros, I will work on somthing with the rocks. As far as Greeblies, youll have to forgive me as I am new to mapping like this and have no idea what that is. I'm using gimp to make this if this helps.

09-30-2009, 09:40 AM
K went through the forums and found out what you ment by Greeblis. At this time I am going to start this process ove so that I can fix the lake.

09-30-2009, 10:40 AM
saved the Jpeg, but did not go back and save the Gimp fileYeh, I've never done that.

Another thing I've never done is write a script that flattens, grayscales, saves, and closes the file -- thus destroying all layer data and even color data. I've especially never accidentally run that script on my only copy of a map I had put twenty-some hours' work into. Never done that.


09-30-2009, 10:42 AM
Makes me feel a bit more normal knowing that I am not the only one that makes these kinda mistakes.

09-30-2009, 11:30 AM
Hers is a prelim with the other as a comparison modle

09-30-2009, 11:35 AM
I've saved overtop of multiple backup copies, when I was cleaning up some of my scanned artwork. I was scanning them in at 600dpi , and on the computer at the time, I had 64 megs of ram - 2/3 of which was in use by the OS and such.. so each pic took almost 10 full mins to scan, then another 10 mins to save. I was saving to multiple locations so I could set up one to burn on cd in psd format, one fullsized jpg, then another at 1000px or so. I'd played around with colouring the one, including running a whole mess of filters that blurred out all the lines.. and then flattened it out and saved overtop of each one and closed out the file. I'd thought I was saving to a new file on each, but noooooo.
Not only was that hour wasted, but I didn't notice what I'd done until months later, when the scanner was no longer working - so it took almost 4 hours to clean it up.

yeah, we've all been there a few times.

[edit] oh, and the new one is coming along nicely! i love the colours...

09-30-2009, 11:39 AM
Cool I wasnt sure on the color scheme, glad you like it.

09-30-2009, 11:40 AM
{ot} 3DS Max has a great feature called "increment on save" ... it puts a number on the filename, like MYSCENE 01.MAX, and every time you save, it writes to a NEW file ... MYSCENE 01.MAX ... MYSCENE 03.MAX ...

It's like unlimited Undo's plus automatic backup. After you accumulate fifty files, you just chuck the oldest thirty or so.

The only real concern is filesize. With a huge file, you can fill your harddrive quick.

09-30-2009, 11:41 AM
Cool I wasnt sure on the color scheme, glad you like it.In fact the blue & green are a little neon for me. I'd suggest desaturating them some.

09-30-2009, 11:54 AM
Hows this? It also Has my dirt layer.

09-30-2009, 02:29 PM
Had to reset the colors as somthing screwy happened when I desaturated causing any wight fills to look pink and various other colors to be strange as well. Here is the same map now with mountains (Man I'm gonna have to send RobA a fruit basket or somthing)

09-30-2009, 03:02 PM
They make a lovely gift.

09-30-2009, 07:13 PM
Ok not to sure about this, but I added a forest and a dry grassland type thingy.

09-30-2009, 08:45 PM
Ok last post for the night then I'll hold off till the morrow.

Darkened the forest
Aded a swamp
Gave the water a wave overlay

10-01-2009, 01:38 AM
I like the darkening of the woods; they stand out better and overall appearance is enhanced. I don't care for the change to the lake. The waves just seem out of scale, when I look at the mountains, and they rather obviously ignore the island in the middle of the lake. If you don't want a flat color, then I'd recommend darkening the deeper water. That adds informational content as well as artistic content.

Steel General
10-01-2009, 07:23 AM
Definitely coming along... couple of things that 'jumped out at me';

1) The forests look more like rough terrain
2) I think I would either shrink or drop the 'wispy' effect on the lake.
3) I really like what you have for the mountains so far - looking forward to seeing what you do with them.

10-01-2009, 09:40 AM
I'm really eager to see this pretty picture get some map labels on it! Somehow mountains are more massive when I know the name of the range.

Hey, you need a scale, too.

10-01-2009, 10:08 AM
Thanks guys this helps alot.

The forest was actualy a texture for lichen I was using. It had green scrably with intermiten browns thought it was kinda like looking through trees. I'll work on it try to get it to look more like a forest.

The lake thing I'll drop, I wasn't too sure about it when I posted so hearing your thoughts confirm needing to do somthing else. I'll try the darkining thing.

Thinking that I will take the lake shape layer and dup it a couple times and play with it that way.

10-01-2009, 02:55 PM
Ok hours of trial and error and chasing kids who get into my mini paints (silver of all things). And I have something. Took the whisps out completely (thinking of redoing the water layers entirely to get more depth variance). The forset was changed to a texture of plants duped then another layer was made out of a texture that resembled braches And then that was duped. Layers work as following from bottom up:

Normal leafy
Multiply Leafy 75% OP
Lighten Twigy 17% OP
Hard Light Twigy 47% OP

In addition to all this added some layers for different lands above and below the forest.

10-02-2009, 09:39 PM
Ok so whent ahead and did some more work. The big thing is now I need to decide on a city marking style. I narrowed it down to 3 choices, and now I need your imput onto which one to use.

10-02-2009, 10:12 PM
To be brutally honest, I think you should go with simple dots. The ones in the first almost get lost and are repetitive, shields look great but are usually used for nations/kingdoms rather than to denote cities and towns, and the ones in the third look overdone (the blue ones look like water wells). I can understand the desire to want something really cool, I am guilty myself from time to time, but sometimes simple is good. This is just my opinion. Of these three, I would do something a lil different (simpler but still 3d-like) with the third and go that way but not sure exactly what I would do...maybe just a beveled dot with a beveled ring, shrug. Keep the shields for kingdoms, though.

10-02-2009, 10:50 PM
Ok, I'll give that a try. The shield idea came from the way the kingdom is broken up. It follows a somewhat fudal system with the Emporer doling out lands to "Princes" and down the line (I.E. the shields would be the prince's crest. Excluding the sun being for the emporer.) Any who, Know any good tuts for doing scales?

10-03-2009, 12:23 AM
Reptile scales, weighing scales, musical scales, or distance scales?

10-03-2009, 12:24 AM
LOL sorry mapping scales

10-03-2009, 12:31 AM
No real tut for that. I make a white rectangle of a certain size, say 10 x 50 and estimate how this shape represents distance (feet, yards, miles, etc) on the map...say 50 pixels equals 50 feet. Then I make a black rectangle the same size and put it right next to the white one. Lather, rinse, and repeat until happy. Then stick some numbers above or below it.

10-03-2009, 10:42 AM
AH ok I was going to use swords and dagers to try to emulate distance, but after the post about cities I think I'll go simple with this as well. Auto realm has a few of them in one of its libraries so I placed two togather and made a jpeg then import and resize.

10-03-2009, 04:33 PM
Ok minus the Title lable and maybe a minor legend here is the map. Let me know what you guys think please.

10-03-2009, 11:24 PM
Developing nicely. Should the road north from Medvein just abruptly stop at the river? Or should it carry on to Stengim? I imagine that it would be the Frost Blade Mountains, given the scale. The Pool of Stars lacks an outlet. Unless this part of the world is supposed to be isolated, you might want to add a road or two going off the map.

10-03-2009, 11:29 PM
For the road I was going to do somthing different to designate bridges but good catch.

The lake: Most of this area is supplyed through natural aquaducts and under ground streams I prolly should make somthing to show it going under ground.

Rouds out: Completely slipped my mind I'll have to change this.

Good cathches though Ill add these to my list of things to do.

Oh and the Moutains was my mess up your right it should be.

Steel General
10-04-2009, 08:51 AM
Let's see...couple of things that stuck out to me.

1) The mountains I like the overall look, but for me there is to much of the stark white at the western end.
2) The 'Witches Haunt Lake' label is nearly illegible - using red text against the green can be problematic (think of those color-blindness tests).
3) Didn't go back thru the thread - but one of your rivers splits incorrectly - if you have a reason than just ignore this.

10-04-2009, 10:40 AM
Honestly I don't have any real reason for the river.

The way the map evovled was out of need. I was running a game and needed to show the party a map of the locations of the major cities. THen I decided to make the map better forcing me to try and trace water to the exsisting locations rather than visa versa. I can work on this though.

I was worried bout the color. I'll see what I can do.

The wext mountains is too whight but at this time I am unsure what I want to do with it.

Please continue to post C&C I think I am going to take a step back and come back to this in a few days though.

10-04-2009, 11:19 AM
Let's see...couple of things that stuck out to me.

3) Didn't go back thru the thread - but one of your rivers splits incorrectly - if you have a reason than just ignore this.

"A witch did it." (Fits the name of the little lake, anyways. And if he's already committed through giving the players a map, explaining it is more legitimate than changing it at this point.)

10-04-2009, 12:46 PM
Well the game world does have an ancient "cousin" to the elf. These ancients are so intuned with elements that they actualy exhibit some of the traits. The water elves, or Meru-parli, have changed areas of rivers for a specific purpose in other parts of the world (Blood Plains map and history forth coming). I would like not to have to go that route for a few reasons.

I prefere not to use the its magic explanation
I would have to wright a backstory on it
The kingdom that this represents moved away from a high magic culture just for this type of reason
I can not curently think of a good reason that a "whitch" or a Meru-Parli would change the course of this particular rver.

The history behind the Lakes name is as follows.

Until the Endless war the imperium hated, and feared magic. It began inocently enough, wanting to protect its citizens from coruption. But like all good intentions this one led to corruption. First was the banning of all arcane, people exhibiting power would be sent away with food and water. Then came the purge a time where the forces of the empire actively sought out and killed all arcane casters. There autrocities where naught compaired to the next step. The cropping period, arfued to still being continued to this day was a dreadfull time. People found with arcane talent where handed over to an elite unit ran by the church. The units sole purpose was to control Arcane casters. Praetors, as they where called, drew the most extreme people to their ranks. On one hand the infallible, such determination and selfless intentions that they would even make a paladin feel shamed. The other though, the majority, was those that reveild in controling others by any means. These Praetors, sadistic and cruel did atrocities that where unimaginable. It was during this time that a resisitance group started undermining the Empire and the church. Calling themselves the Scalmein Principality, a word meaning dirty secret. over time there numbers grew and with it there strength. It was during the hight of the endless war that the Scalmein Prince launched his full power against the empire. Fighting a war on two fronts was arguably the deciding factor in the war, but the Praetors where split none the less half of them sent to hunt the Prince and the others to aid against the Nuelm forces. Eventualy the path of coruption led back to the Evergrow forest and in there a small lake. The battle waged for two weeks resulting in most of the praetors lives, in the end only a handfull of praetors and their flock was left standing. The lucky members of the Scalmein Principality where killed, the rest where left to the devices of the Praetors. The prince was never captured nore his identity confirmed, he is presumed dead.

Sorry for the seguie, and the atrocious spelling

10-04-2009, 01:02 PM
Alright I lied to my self. This is the current list of things to do any other sugestions will be added as I go.

Map Changes

1. Frost Blade Mountain >> Frost blade Mountains
2. Pool Of Stars Outlit
3. Trade roads of map
4. West edge of mountains reduce wigh a bit
5. Witches Haunt Lake label color
6. River split needs to be a tributary Falsea river
A: After correction rerout roads for ease of travel
b: Continue the Falsea river into Pool of Stars (see change # 2.)

Other things I need to do for the feel of the map

1. Experiment with the color scheme trying for a more Sub-artic/artic enviroment
2. Find a decent border
3. add map title
4. Afte finalization re evaluate map to reflect changes after the "Endless" War

10-05-2009, 03:34 PM
Ok Made all the changes except the color change for a more Subartic artic environ ment. Attached is A full map including labels.

A Non-lable map, for those that wish to intergrate this into their world.

And a completely clean map, containing just the terain. Incase you want to change it even more.

Steel, Hope this river sys is better the idea is that the 'Witches Haunt Lake' is a collection point in the forest. It then dumps into a tributary of the Falsea.

Rdan, whent ahead and just did a complete road sys instead of soing what my original thought was ( after debating the simple is more rule once again, lol). Also whent ahead and made an outlet for the 'Pool of Stars" as 1. I have a way to get it to a dumping point further east and 2. I lack the skills right now to depict an outlit into the underground.

Hope this version is better.

Future maps include: (4) Smaller regional maps, adding detail and cities to the Principalities of the Empire; County map of Balakovo (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/cold-light) and surrounding area; Close up map of Balakovo township designed for a VTT.

P.S. Hope the link is cool its just easier for the info since I already got it going on the OP

Steel General
10-05-2009, 03:43 PM
The rivers look fine to me.

10-05-2009, 07:33 PM
Just as a thought... You wanted to mark cities with "Heraldry Markers".

I agree with the other guys who said "don't use the shield for the city", but I DO think that putting in the Heraldic Markers near the city (and possibly marking in the "shire/province/duchy" borders) and a simple key on a Cartouche is a good plan. If politics will become a big thing in this story, then knowing who owns what, where, for how long and all that sort of thing becomes important. I can't easily dig up a big map I did for a campaign world, but I deliberately put in coats of arms next to cities because the politics was a central plank of the bigger story.

10-06-2009, 11:06 AM
This Might look a bit busy now. Sugestions are always welcomed also let me know where I need to improve.

The major Political Divisions are depicted here, This is the equivalent to grand duchies. The Titles where striped directly from Rusian( though I found one source saying that Tsarvich/Tsarvena was the title for Grand Duke/Duchess but that also stated that they where titles given to the children of the Tsar. Another Sight, believe it was wikipedia said that Korol was the equivelant to the next step down from Tsar, this also denoted that Imperator was another word for Tsar which I think I will be using.) I included a small sample to show the levels of Fieldty, though Vassal States of the Korols will be included in other maps as I still need to outline the family shields for them.

10-06-2009, 06:25 PM
As a moderate dabbler in heraldry I'd suggest you do something very simple that will "un busy" your map a bit.

The people using the map will know that this is a "single kindgom of duchies" correct? If they do, then the easiest trick to denote the ruling family is to add a crown to the top of their crest.

Ruling Family


It clears up the issue visually, reduces your cartouche and doesn't add in anything that isn't kind of obvious.

Edit = late ideas...

If you are going to do anything with the neighbouring kingdoms, just stick the Royal Crest (with Crowns) out in the edges.

Just as a political thought Medvein is likely to be your 2nd strongest family (or should be) since they basically control lumber in the kingdom. I'd be making your ruling family the ones who control at least: Iron/Copper, Silver/Gold/Precious Gems & large supplies of workable stone. Stiglum and Storgrad will gain any/all of their power from agriculture; they appear to be the bread-basket duchies.

10-06-2009, 10:21 PM
The Idea for the Cartouche was fore thinking when I start geting down into the other areas but now that you mention it I could just as well Leave it be. This map denotes the major players other subsequent maps can be infered upone by this one...Yes, yes that would work.

When I created the map the first time the general idea was to have the capital Duchy control the majority of the mineral resources Being right near a mountain. Medvain was indead going to have the lumber trade as well as some animal husbandry. The southernmost area was going to be agricultural to a point but also be riddled with Ruins from a lost civilization. The eastern Duchy while not being the capital of the religious tradition was going to have the major religious training areas (in addition to agriculture).

Another few notes, due to the rather Xenophobic nature of this kingdom, Stiglum was going to have a large build up of military troops as most other kingdoms fall south by south east of this one.

I was also planning on small border conflicts within the kingdom (E.G. Stiglum cuting trees along the border and Medvein claiming poaching)

So I will probaly wind up using the Shield idea for a Feudal tree; showing the full relations with in the kingdom.

10-07-2009, 01:42 AM
Just another moment in Geo-politics...
There doesn't seem to be a good reason for the position of the Stiglum-Storgrad border to not be the river. Most duchies are bounded by natural borders (rivers, mountains, hills, forests, roads)...

Yes, I am possibly the "Geo-Politics Police"... if the Admins want to add a badge to me... I'll take that one...

**Puts on imperious voice** Your nations are in breach of protocols! Please adjust them immediately!

Hmm... get the feeling it won't get so far...

10-07-2009, 08:55 AM
No your completely right. Storgrads border should be extended to include all of that grassland area, and Stingems border needs its terminus more at the river. That is somthing I do try and follow my self Hence Stiglums bordes ending at the Forest edge.

Any who thanks for pointing that out

10-07-2009, 12:02 PM
Ok, Whent ahead and deleted the Excess notation on the shields and the legend refering to them. After consideration Decided that since the map has the Kingdom Flag on it and that the Imperial Family uses the exact same crest, that it would be redundant to use any excess marking. Reworked the borders so that they matched the land more Geo-politicaly. Also used a smaller stroke on them. Turned out to give the area a sinse of larger scale.

Here it is:

Let me know if anything is out of sorts. Just reiterating I am new to Digi-mapping, and would like to become skilled at this.

10-07-2009, 05:51 PM
*notes that this will sound nit-picky*
I'm not sure if you've posted and older WIP. Your duchy border down south (below the Pool of Stars) wanders all over the river/water/lake and kinda seems to not make massive sense. I'd be thinking that the borders would follow the river (with the border on one side of the river because someone would want to "own" it - I suspect it would go to Storgrad just like the Pool of Stars belongs to Storgrad).

10-07-2009, 07:07 PM
Not nit picky at all, just pointful. You would be completely correct. In the curent story (20 years after a war) Stiglum, the most southern Princepality, used its influence and status as gardian to the Empire to aquire more land in the name of defense. This of corse has brought turmoil to the two Principalities.

The Emperor of corse did not however make this decision without provisions. Within 10 years Stiglum is supose to have forts staged along the border to sufficiently pattrol the area, A large post will be built onto the main trade road to act as an initial processesing. This fort will contain the Empires first full time Auxillia and two full legions to be chosen by the church. This somewhat apeased the Prince of storgrad, who's holdings contain most of the Churches training houses including the Praetor's mansion. If the conditions have not been met by Stiglum at the apointed time then Storgrad will take over the land and associated buildings.

At least thats the story

11-12-2009, 06:46 AM
Sorry, I did not have time to read the entire thing. As I am almost late for work. But what program are you using to create your map?

11-12-2009, 07:05 AM
I make the base area in autorealm then move it to gimp, the finished products here are gimp.