View Full Version : Not a Challenge Map...

10-09-2009, 03:27 AM
This is not an October Challenge Map, because I said so! :P

Wait a minute, I don't see a map, just a fancy border - just getting started!

I'm retired from the Challenges, I said I was, but I also hinted at maybe doing a challenge "off the record" on the WIP forums instead, this way I can stick it in the Finished Forums when I'm done. Juggernaut's idea for a trade map has my mind buzzing - how would I do it?

Now I know the theme and story behind the map, I just haven't decided how I'm going to lay out the land. Definitely a central mountain range and some volcanoes, with a confusing area of passes. One side of the mountains are lands controlled by the Witch King of Ambrathas, on the other side is the wilderness including the Lands of Dernallion. Both sides are Celtic in origin, though one is an advanced society ruled by sorerers, while the other a backward society of druidic farmers.

This is Slave Trader's map, Ambrathas needs more slaves...

I think I'm going to hand-draw the rest of the map, then put in some muted colors to better match the colorful framework. How's that for the cart before the horse, here's a heavily decorated border but no map!


Steel General
10-09-2009, 06:27 AM
Will be interesting to see what you do with this.

10-09-2009, 02:42 PM
Nothing wrong with starting with the border, I've done that a few times (not just with maps either, most of the celtic pieces i've got that have borders were done in that order, heh)

Besides, it helps to keep the fool of the map in mind as you go :)

10-09-2009, 05:14 PM
I have never thought of starting with the border. At the moment I only see disadvantages. You will have to in- or decrease the canvas for your map (even if you have in mind how it will look like). That means more work to adjust the frame. It's like starting with the end going up to the start.
Nevertheless I am interested how it will continue.

10-09-2009, 06:38 PM
Believe me, I've designed dungeons where I created the two key rooms before I even knew what the rest of the dungeon looks like. I actually did have a good idea how I was going to develop the map for this one, just I really wanted to get the border right, so I created that first. (I will resize nothing - everything should fit fine!)

Actually because its hand-drawn and I'm drawing at 100% scale to the actual map dimensions, I just cut out the piece of paper to the same size as the drawing area, and "voila" perfect fit!

Placed the central mountain range, though I'm not quite happy with the hills. So I might redo those, sea color isn't to my liking either, but we'll see as I move along. I really need to decide where the pass is located, whether I remove some mountains to place them, or just suggest "the pass is here" - I'm thinking the latter, on how to do that.

I'm going to create an escarpment and extensive forest lands to the east of those mountains, and a big river too. Dernallion (the destination) will be located in the southeast corner of the map, while Ambrathas (the start) will be in the northwest corner of the map. That's it so far.

For some reason this reminds me of a reverse version of Middle Earth; Misty Mountains in center, Ambrathas (evil kingdom) where the Shire should be and Dernallion (good farmers) where Mordor should be. Not perfectly, but reminds me of ME...



10-09-2009, 06:42 PM
Good stuff GP. You are the old-school hand-drawn map master.

10-10-2009, 12:57 AM
Placed the central mountain range, though I'm not quite happy with the hills. So I might redo those, sea color isn't to my liking either, but we'll see as I move along. I really need to decide where the pass is located, whether I remove some mountains to place them, or just suggest "the pass is here" - I'm thinking the latter, on how to do that.

Quoting myself, to save the explanation, I decided to change things up entirely for the map. The mountains I realized were just "fill" in the last map, I even forgot the pass. So, instead, I redid the mountains, placed my distinctive escarpment like hills, threw in a lake fed by rivers in the mountains. It looks like what it is, "I put some thought into the geography". I am redoing the coastline. I don't look forward to drawing the forest, but I'm thinking of doing it the hard way, drawing every tree, rather than just duplicating a bunch - we'll see how that goes.

I'm much happier about the mountains though, and the confusion of passes, making the map a necessary tool for slave traders.


10-11-2009, 06:01 PM
I pulled the colors from the previous map - too garish, I thought. I also pulled the text panel, will replace but with better wordsmithy. However, I needed to finish up the hand-drawn portion of the map, which I've now done. Its fully geographically featured - got my mountains, mountains passes, central lake, a large river to the east, with my planned escarpment, completely hand-drawn woodlands, got my coasts, rivers and hills on the west side.

As you can see, I'm starting to recolor the map again, starting with the woodlands, I say a couple more days and I'm complete. At least the hard part is done (the hand-drawing portion).



10-11-2009, 06:57 PM
Pretty cool.

10-11-2009, 07:23 PM
In an entirely flattering and self-interested way, I have to say that I'm glad GP has retired...:P:P:P

10-11-2009, 07:42 PM
Very nice indeed! Lovely linework.

10-12-2009, 05:08 AM
Thanks, guys!

OK, map color is done, I still need to add city/town symbols for Ambrathas and Dernallion, still thinking on that. Everything looks good so far, I think. Another day, going to bed now.



Steel General
10-12-2009, 06:46 AM
Nice stuff here GP...

10-12-2009, 06:22 PM
Almost done! I thought I was finished, but I want to create 3 more pieces of Celtic Illumination along the top border of the map, center and both corners with something, though I haven't figured out what they should be yet. So just about done.

This map isn't for any publication I've planned, so standard CC License, use at your own whim for personal use only.


10-12-2009, 09:09 PM
The knotwork tree doesn't seem to fit the rest of it. It looks more like satellite grass and not drawn. Otherwise, pretty cool, man.

10-12-2009, 09:20 PM
Perhaps I should hand-draw bark or a wood grain pattern, then just tinit with a color. The bevel and the texture doesn't really work does it. That's what I get for doing the border before the map, since I didn't know what kind of map I do, until I'd was done... live and learn.


10-13-2009, 03:29 AM
Done with this map!

@Ascension - I did change the texture on the Tree-of-Life symbol and it seems to fit better with the other elements in the map.

Rather than come up with new symbol illumination, I just replicated the larger symbols and placed smaller versions at the top corners. Notice the center symbol is actually the compass rose. Added a couple other labels and placed Irons Town on the southern river on the west coast.

Except for text labeling and the Celtic knotwork border (all digital fonts), the rest of this map was generated as hand-drawn work, scanned and imported to Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0 to color and composite the final map. This map is only 11" x 14 so might be easier to print for home use.

This map was created by an unnamed scribe by command of the Sorcere Council, the ruling body of clan sorcerers of these Celts on the western shore. The sorcerers have taken over as the "bloodline" royalty of their people, have become literate and now seek to rule over all Celtic peoples as their slave masters. The lands south of Ambrathas in the west were once regions held by various clanholds, until Ambrathas took their freedom, charmed and eliminated their rulers, tore down all local communities and converted the fertile land into a great slave work field called the "Farm Tenancy", as this land is tilled by the slave tenants of Ambrathas.

Since the "Taming of the South" as Ambrathas calls the invasion of the clans of the coast, the low birth rate and high loss through over-work and disease has dimished the slave worker base that farm the fertile regions south of Ambrathas. News of a Celtic farming people in the east offers the Sorcere Council of the Court of Ambrathas a new source for laborers...

There has been no scale placed as the only truly accurate region of the map is the western coast, as this map was created in the eyes of Ambrathas. All lands beyond Gate Pass Fortress is only rough conjecture, based on explorations by Bran the Bold, now deceased, a son of one of the Sorcere council members who reached Dernallion far to the southeast beyond the mountain regions. All place names west of Gate Pass were given by Bran in his diary, the local names either unpronounceable or more likely ignored and renamed to Bran's imagination. Even the great river and falls in the east bear his name in Bran's Flood and Bran's Falls - the locals know these with different names. Bran did not survive his explorations to the east, though his body was returned, only a commune with the dead combined with the remnants of his diary provide any and all information used in the creation of this map.

Enjoy! Now I'm reposting this into the Finished Maps Forums...


Greason Wolfe
10-13-2009, 09:11 AM
Wonderfully executed and so much fun to look at. And, as Juggernaut said, I'm rather glad you've retired from the Challenges, but that won't stop me from looking forward to your future work.