View Full Version : Naerth: A Map of the World

Aval Penworth
04-08-2010, 08:46 AM
This "WIP" map of my campaign world is a wall map that one of the characters in about to inherit. In the game it will be about 4' wide and elegantly framed. The map was given to his uncle, a noted artisan and winemaker, by the governor of the city where he grew up.

It is meant to be the work of a learned artist and cartographer, but with the limited knowledge and technogogy of 1667 (approximately the same tech level as our world at the time).

I was wondering how busy to make it. The map is meant to be decorative. Also a bit of a status symbol.

At first I thought that I was going to put hundreds of labels on it to make it look impressive, but I also like the simplicity it has at the moment. A governor would probably like the idea of lots of place names and trade routes though...wouldn't he.


04-08-2010, 09:38 AM
I really like it. I'd agree with you, the simplicity looks really good, and the more labels you put on, the better chance you have of messing them up.

Right now, your text looks out of place. You should give it the same texture s the rest of the map, and probably curve it through the areas it labels.

Aval Penworth
04-08-2010, 06:20 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Is there a rule of thumb as to when and why to curve and rotate text?

04-08-2010, 09:58 PM
To me, that text looks too 'modern'. Maybe change it to a more period-appropriate font? Also, don't get too crazy with curving text just for the sake of curving it. Sometimes it can work out well, but often it just looks messy. If you look at older maps from the 16th and 17th centuries, they would often angle the names of coastal cities down and away from the actual city 'dot', particularly on maps of places like India or Italy, where the coast slants enough that not only doesn't it look nice if they're perfectly horizontal, but there's also not enough room to make 'em all horizontal. I think a place on your map where you're going to have problems fitting text in no matter what is isthmus connecting Alital to the mainland. The narrowness of the land combined with the narrowness of the sea south of it doesn't give you a lot of wiggle room there.

Overall though, I like the layout of the landmasses and the overall feel of it. Have some rep!

Aval Penworth
04-08-2010, 10:23 PM
Thanks D. I tried most of the fonts in my collection. I didn't want to go with a caligraphic or hand written style so settled on that one.

edit: GARAMOND expanded is probably authentic but it is also quite boring.

I looked at a few maps from th 1600s and it seems they liked to use a whole lot of lettering styles on the one map. To me a lot of those maps look cluttered and overdone, with elaborate cartouche that take up 20% of the page. And oceans filled with serpents and flying fish. I certainly don't want to emulate that look.

04-09-2010, 04:52 PM
Nice map Aval. I like the landshape and the 'impressionist' look of the mountain ranges. Maybe you could make a colorvalue difference between travel-routes and rivers as currently they are kinda hard to distinguish. cheers!

Aval Penworth
04-10-2010, 07:09 AM
@Djekspek "Maybe you could make a colorvalue difference between travel-routes and rivers"

So far they are all meant to be rivers!:D

Aval Penworth
04-10-2010, 08:02 AM
I changed the lettering and texture and I have added some city labels and a scale.

04-12-2010, 01:22 AM
Well, since it is a different world, there's no reason that they can't have a different aesthetic about their maps compared with the real world in the same tech level, so don't worry about it being "authentic" in that way. I would, however, rough up the text a little: there's no way the font would be printing that perfectly. Of course, as long as it's on separate layers, that can be done near the end. Expect to hear from the River Police about your various lakes with multiple outlets, although I suppose they could be inaccuracies in the map. I don't much care for the large font. I really like the way you've represented the terrain; it is simple, stylish, and clear.

Aval Penworth
04-12-2010, 09:14 AM
Expect to hear from the River Police about your various lakes with multiple outlets, although I suppose they could be inaccuracies in the map. I don't much care for the large font. I really like the way you've represented the terrain; it is simple, stylish, and clear.

Yeah I will probably change the lake-river thing. The original map this was based on has been around for 13 years, well before I knew about river rules.

As for the large font comment; do you mean you don't like the style, the size or both?

04-12-2010, 10:49 AM
This is looking pretty sharp. I like the painterly style and dig the black and white thing you've done. Rivers get a bit odd as mentioned. Never too late to ret-con those, now that you have the benefit of the River Police's gentle tutelege. Are the geographical borders defined enough that they can be drawn on? Might be worth doing. Also, city symbols, points of interest, etc. would add to the map, IMO.

Since this is supposed to reflect, in-game, the style of a "collector's map" I think you'll want to think about what such a person would value highly. Looking at some of the maps of this type from our own world you can see that they tended to be highly decorative with fancy borders, heraldry, mystical things out where nobody has explored yet, etc. BUT they might do things differently in your world. Maybe maps are more like art and the cartographers are in their impressionistic phase; so they use highly accurate costal representations combined with impressionistic rendering methods. Might be a good way to think about it...and a good reason it's being handed off to your PCs at this point. Heck you might even be able to make it into a MacGuffin. Maybe somebody wants to steal it because it's so valuable - a one-of-a-kind Carto Famoso original! :)

Aval Penworth
04-12-2010, 11:24 AM
Nice idea, M. It would be quite refreshing to have a non-magical MacGuffin in this particualr campaign.

Thanks for the other practical advice too, I shall ponder...

04-12-2010, 01:31 PM
On the rivers, what about giving them a very slight blur to make them blend in with the terrain a little bit more? And as mentioned, there's some river violations, but I'm sure the Police will be along shortly to school ya. :D

The scale is excellent; nothing more to add there, really.

I'm not liking the text too much, personally. The city names text is just hard enough to read that it makes it slightly annoying (maybe use a 'neater' script font?), while that thick white outline around the country names is very jarring.

04-12-2010, 04:13 PM
Hi AP,
nice map, really like the subtle style of the mountains and threes. Yes, the river police would probably tell you to make sure that your lakes only have one river going out - other than that they look nice :) ... also really like the scale
Things to look into :
• I'd change the font and size of the mayor countries, the font would benefit from a more handdrawn style and loosing the white outline, I know it makes the text stand out, but I don't think outline was used very much at the time ;)
• Add at least one city per country
• Add a symbol for where the cities are - a black circle will do :)

otherwise looking great - your players will love it - great prop :)

04-13-2010, 11:34 AM
I like where you're going with this. However, I agree with tilt about the font. If you don't have the right font there are thousands of free ones out there on the web (see links below). Also, definitely lose the white border on the text. Not sure what program you are using but for more readability try masking out mountains and forests (dark features but not the background or ground color) for about 2px out from large text and 1px from smaller text and symbols. This will make the text stand out w/o being interruptive. If you need pointers on masking PM me.. it can be a little confusing if you're new to it. And, perhaps rounding out some of the corners on the rivers and applying a very fine medium grey holding line on the river edges would help anchor them. I tend to favor the rivers being darker than the land or have some type of definition and in this case because they empty into a light ocean, i'd do a gradient at the river mouth going from the lighter ocean to the darker rivers. Now that's obviously just a preference but if you prefer light rivers i think you'd be all right subtly defining the edges of them. Do it on an independent layer so you can delete it if you dont like it (0:

Another thing that would help the overall cohesion of the map is to create a texture layer... for example, canvas at very fine setting then applying a slight gaussian blur (about .4 or .5) to kill the moire & repetition effect. Put that layer above the rest and set it to soft light or hard light (40% or so).. play around with the settings and see what looks good. You can also duplicate that layer and rotate it 0.5 degrees or so.. not much at all and try different combinations of the two. You don't want to obscure your map so it should be subtle, but this can get rid of that computer-ey look that we all try to avoid regardless of our "style". Attached is an example of a map i made using a subtle canvas texture overlay, more evident in the right or blown up portion.


Aval Penworth
04-15-2010, 11:14 AM
Wow, a lot more to do. I guess that this heirloom might be held up in probate for another couple of weeks. Thanks everyone, I'll get on with it over the next few days.

04-19-2010, 09:49 PM
I like the impressionistic style going on here :)
I've been looking at the map and pondering what I could offer in the way of suggestions, but as it stands, there's a lot of great suggestions already made and I can't think of much that hasn't been touched on.

About the only thing I could add is that it might be worth a shot to try tapering some of your wider rivers..

Aval Penworth
04-29-2010, 09:26 AM
Okay I know it doesn't look like I've done much, but here is the next installment! I have dealt with the river issues. I have settled on the scale. Still not 100% on the compass rose but maybe that will seem clearer once the fonts are finished. I have experimented with fonts for the city names. Please offer feedback if you think any of the fonts are suitable.

I have not played with the font texture, city symbols or masks yet. I want to finalise the text styles first. Comments invited.

04-29-2010, 09:35 AM
The one for Caritas is nice, I think it's got a good look for this style (elegant, but not overdone). I love your scale marker, it fits nicely (better than the compass rose, in my opinion)

04-29-2010, 09:46 PM
I agree; that font for Caritas looks the best IMO.

05-04-2010, 02:12 PM
I think both Caritas and Allicandria look nice, but I agree that Caritas seems to fit better.

Aval Penworth
05-19-2010, 09:08 AM
Latest update of this world map

edit: Hey where is the thumbnail? Can others see it?

05-19-2010, 04:29 PM
A lot of jpg files have been showing up strangely lately, I have no idea why but it's probably something to do with the site upgrades (?) recently.

Aval Penworth
05-25-2010, 09:43 PM
just checking if the thumbnail works now?

no? oh well. This is the latest WIP for my painterly world map. I have already printed it for use in the game, but I will still attempt to improve it.

I'll have to see if the master PS file made survived the virus when I get my computer back.