View Full Version : This Side of the Mountains

02-13-2010, 12:31 AM
Hi! I'm working on this regional map.. basically just making the stage for stories that happen in the realm. The genre is Dark/Low Fantasy, its sun shines sickly yellow and in general not really a happy place to live in. : \
This is drawn using OpenCanvas and a tablet. I'll probably paint the map using real paints (acrylics?) later, but I'd like to have the map fixed first. :)

Basic idea is that the region is 'enclosed' by prohibitively high mountain range(s) to the point they have no idea what lies beyond. They could try, but beyond the mountains it's no longer human territory and being eaten is a very real risk (though, they wouldn't know, no one that tried returned).

This is the initial design, made the countries not equal in size and power, and a little 'gateway' to beyond the mountains on the top right.


I enlarged the file, traced the forms then fiddled with altitudes, but haven't put in the rivers yet. The initial design had very straight rivers and ... uh, I think looked wrong for the supposed-scale? But the basic large rivers are there~

The more I'm working on it, the more it looks like the base of a canyon. Or collapsed plate? :?: This is what I'm currently sitting on, still scribbly, the edges need more jagged look.


.. Still have no idea of the scale of this. /cringe
It houses 8 kingdoms (and a little archipelago no one wants to be responsible of), so.. ? Please help. T_T

02-13-2010, 01:43 AM
Hi again obliro. You can either determine the scale ahead of time, and adjust your towns and kingdoms accordingly, or you can place your kingdoms in first, and then adjust your scale to suite the civilizations. In the former case, what you do is simply determine approximately how many units (miles/kilometers/leagues ect) wide you want the map itself to be-say for instance 500 leagues. Then figure out how many pixels wide the map is-lets say its 1,000 pixels wide. Well crunch the numbers and what you get is that each pixel =.5 square leagues.

On the other hand, you might want to know how much territory you're going to need to sustain your 8 kingdoms (e.g. how much agricultural land is needed to sustain a kingdom of say, 25,000 people?). So if you start out knowing that you want to have 8 kingdoms, and you know approximately how large you want each kingdom to be, once you know how much agricultural land is needed to sustain the the sum population you can determine how many overall units your map needs to be in order to sustain those 8 kingdoms. Then just use the method described above to determine the scale. Regarding medieval population and agricultural statistics, here are some particularly helpful places to look for information:




Hope that helps a little.



02-14-2010, 12:23 PM
Wow. That was alot of reading lol. Thank you! I read some other River Police threads too.

So progress,
I figured out the scale, population and demography for each kingdom, mostly. The landmass (not counting the brown-mountain range) is probably about the size of Latvia (yeah, pretty small, it's not an epic scale setting), or slightly bigger than US state of West Virginia. Still no idea how to apply that into the map, though :lol: I'll probably just overlay a latvian/west virginia map on top of it~
(might change it if later it seems like I can't get suitably functioning but sparse population within that area, I'll have to check again)

Now trying to figure out where the cities and towns are, and their names (argh.)

Changed some of the land features and added major rivers. Hopefully it's not that wrong.

02-18-2010, 06:40 AM
I looked around for more information about population and medieval demographic, and found that..

I have no sense of scale; I was born and still live in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and I can't seem to wrap my head around the idea that (slightly less than) 1.5 million people living in a Latvia-sized country (~ 25k sq mile), or 60 people/ sq mile is 'crowded'. That's like a little (..1/16?) fraction of the people living in my city, within something 40x times the size of it.
... 6-7 people in largest mall's retail-area sized land! D':

Considering that the tech level is around .. uhm, end of Early Middle Ages to early High Middle Ages (10th - 11th Century), 25k sq mile and 1.5 million people = no go?

02-20-2010, 04:21 AM
Finding the previous vector-like version.. not very effective, I'm retracing the map into (digitally) inked version. The vector version wasn't very descriptive about the landscape and the colorings were ambiguous. Suppose if I want a colored version I could paint one from tracing the inked version into paper.


From the bottom part of the map; the mountains in the middle are more or less final, and starting to sketch in forests. I'll see if the circling mountain range would look strange or not later on, at this point they're still black sguiggles and blobs.

02-20-2010, 12:56 PM
That looks pretty cool...striking.

02-22-2010, 07:33 PM
You've got a great sense of colour...interested to see where this goes.

04-28-2010, 08:21 PM
I haven't given up yet on this. xD
Making the map made me realize just how little I knew about topography and mapping, I set it aside and just recently tried again. Stopped being stubborn and remodeled the landmass into something similar socio-political wise, but (I hope) less far-fetched.

Currently cleaning up the coastline and figuring out the rivers.


I still plan to trace it to paper and paint it, but now I'm not sure if A3 would be big enough. :?:

05-07-2010, 11:15 AM

Am fudging the mountains so they don't look too.. porcupinelike. Starting to understand the sanity merits of creating custom brushes of mountains and forests. :oops: I think I'm gonna continue hand-drawing this one though.

The borders are just generic shapes... still haven't decided exactly what kind of border style I'd like for the map.

05-07-2010, 11:54 AM
This looks very nice so far. The mountains are gorgeous, and I think you're right about continuing to keep it hand-drawn. Once you start down that path, you can't switch to brushes unless you get rid of everything you've already hand-drawn :)

05-07-2010, 01:35 PM
Very nice. An interesting concept, and the map is beautiful too. :)

05-07-2010, 02:27 PM
Here's another great site for information on population, land use, demographics, etc. I actually reworked a lot of my civilization after reading through the stuff on this site.

Nice looking map so far, especially the colors.