View Full Version : Gnomsulost - A Wind-Gnome town

04-11-2010, 11:03 AM
The Wind-gnome town of Gnomsulost

Allright, first of all, this map is part of my D&D campaign. And since one of my players is a member here too: there may be some spoilers for him in this topic. So Matrim, read at your own risk ;)

Some explanation about this town for the other people on this forum is appropriate though. This map will be the follow up from my last map: ‘Oostangelt en de Verboden Pas’, and this time, I’ll do a WIP too!

[Matrim spoiler warning]
This map is about a town the players are looking for. It is a wind-gnome town. These wind-gnomes are not elemental, in fact, they’re just regular gnomes, but they love kites, wind, birds, and general flying, which earned them a separate name. These Wind-Gnomes live in separate towns, and where once renowned for maintaining a transport route ‘over the mountains of the Forbidden Pass’. The players are to check if this is still the case, and use that method to travel to the Dwarven country of Khaz Dukar.

The ‘transportation method’ in question happens to be a dirigible, and a rather large one. In fact, it’s a converted sea going ship, but it now flies. It has a magical-mechanical-hybrid propulsion system, and actually flies using magical ‘gas bottles’. This strange alchemical gas makes you talk weirdly when it is inhaled, and is a bit like helium, but probably even lighter since the balloon would have to be way bigger than I've currently envisioned it. It is controlled by means of ‘fly-by-rope’ lever and wheel control interface.

The town is built around a good location to launch and store the ships. The ships actually land on a building. The entire top section (including two hangars) of this huge building can rotate. Around this building the Wind-Gnomes built their settlement.

The site of the town itself was dug out by the Dwarves, who carved out and levelled the plateaus on which the town and harbour are situated. The town was expanded twice, and is walled. Those walls where also built by the Dwarves.
[/Matrim spoiler warning]

Since pictures say more than a thousand words: the third picture is a situational sketch. Nothing is final, it’s just a concept.

The second picture shows what I made in the first instance, but that’s leave-carrying trees (is foliage forest even a correct English word? I couldn’t find a word for it in the dictionary). I need coniferous forest… so I took a snapshot in Google Earth of some Canadian forest, and made that into a texture, I roughed up the edges a bit using a big chalk-brush, and that’s the second picture. I think I’m going with the second, but I’d like some opinions on this. I personally think the illusion of height is decent enough, but maybe you guys have a little suggestion ^_^

P.S. Is there any way to influence the order of the attachments?

04-11-2010, 09:34 PM
I like it. Very good idea.

I imagine that they'd have a water source somewhere though. Perhaps windmills to pump up fresh water from a deep well...


I'm going to have to do something similar - lately, gnomes have an unusual fascination for me.

04-12-2010, 05:15 AM
Thank the heavens! A reply... now I can continue without double-posting :P

This Gnomish town was constructed with underground waterworks and drainage... The foundations of this town where built by the Dwarves after all. I'm planning on creating some fountains, completely gravity-driven from melting water higher up the mountains.

To continue on the map-making:
Excuses for the briefness, I don't exactly know what I should be explaining so I just hope you guys ask when you see something you want to know ^_^

I've been working quite fast if I may say so myself. I've added some additional hills and bumps into the landscape, and I've started construction on a wall. It's actually an Ascension style wall, with some slight modifications. The roads are also 'borrowed' from Ascension.

I was currently working on a method to paint random houses quickly (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9622-Photoshop-brush-randomizer) using GIMP as a secondary program, but I decided against it since the irregular shaped houses wouldn't align well. The Wind-Gnomes live in weird houses, they build two or more towers where they live in, and then build a tiny tower with stairs and bridges connecting it to the other towers. The Wind-Gnomes love for the sky is so great that they actually build their homes high. These towers may seem very small, and it's probably even hard for a human to get in. But even the poorest of Gnomes enjoy quite some space. That's because those little towers have about four stories each. Businesses are usually located on the bottom floors, to prevent customers from having to climb stairs. This way of building makes for some wacky constructions. Especially the rich and renowned Gnomes love to build intricate systems of interconnected towers. All this is made of wood using bark for roofing. The Gnomes have smoke-channels instead of chimneys in their homes (metal pipes, with some fire proofing where it comes into contact with wooden floors and walls. These smoke channels end in the highest point of the roof. Where the smoke simply escapes through openings in the roof (inspiration: Iron Age buildings in the Netherlands).
Um... I guess I got sidetracked a bit... I decided to use Photoshop's brush engine to place the houses one at a time. Which is faster and better than GIMP screwing up all the time. I know it is because I incorrectly rotated the houses in my animated brush, but getting that right would be a lot of work I guess. Also, being familiar with Photoshop, GIMP is slightly annoying to me. :oops:

Near the town centre I've made two different buildings, one is a huge rotating hangar for airships, and the other is the Gnomish temple. More to the right there's another building that stands out a bit. That's the inn, capable of offering lodging for human-sized guests. Near the town centre I already added some clumps of trees to get a feel for how it'll end up (Gnomes love a little green after all). One of the houses in the inner part of the city will probably have to go to make place for a fountain. I haven't decided WHERE I'll place it.

I'll be off placing buildings again. Suggestions are welcome, feedback is appreciated and I'll try to answer all questions :P

04-12-2010, 08:25 AM
Looks great. I love the colour scheme and the intricate houses.

There's a lot of open space inside those walls. Usually it would ave been the case that with walls being very expensive and lots of people wnating to live inside them that the population density within the walls would be huge - so no large grassy areas. However this could certainly be different for good reason.

I love the shadow work you've done, it's well integrated and really shows the care you've gone to. Looking great!

Oh, and double posting is just fine in these forums. It's not bumping your own thread - we all know that it's just the best way to show off work as it progresses.

04-12-2010, 09:22 AM
That's intentional. I've envisioned Gnomes as very social and especially very communal. They're not communists (their settlement was built on exploiting the first and only airline), but an entire block 'shares' a single open space in the centre. Also, contrary to humans Gnomes age far slower, they also reproduce far slower, and thus the settlement also expands far slower. Basically, this means Gnomes can save up longer, and can thus afford to be roomy. Remember, Gnomes take 40 years to become adult, and generally live 350 years, with an upper limit of over 500 years.

Human settlements grow fast and explosive, thus needing to cram all available space full of people (Humans would probably breed like rabbits in the eyes of Gnomes, Dwarves and Elves), slower ageing races wouldn't have that problem, and they could afford to build a new wall well before they've filled up the old one. I hoped to emulate that 'biological' difference by making this city of Gnomes far more spacious (yet still cramped, because they are so small) than any human walled town. Also note that the latest wall-expansion still has room for more Gnomes

But I do need to make the open spaces a little more 'worn'... Now it's like the Gnomish kids aren't allowed on the grass or something :P I've also plopped in some trees.

The shadow work is actually incredibly simple... just a simple layer style with drop shadows, though I have to admit that the more complicated structures consist of several layers, and thus several drop-shadows ;)

And while I'm at it: I've started making farms, just being experimental about it, and really wondering if I should keep it this way...

04-12-2010, 05:05 PM
I've been working on this map, and I'm fairly happy with it. Critique, feedback and suggestions are much appreciated though. I'll continue on the legend and improvement for handout, which will be a cartload of work in it's own right... I just hope future maps will be a little less work-intensive... but who am I kidding?

On the bright side, it's a lot of fun to do. A good alternative to writing a thesis.

A shame my day off has passed now...

04-12-2010, 05:12 PM
Looks pretty good, man. I didn't go over it with a fine-toothed comb but I did look at it and it seems nice.

A R Frost
04-13-2010, 04:22 AM
Very nicely done. And at least the gnomes that live in the middle of the second tier are in great shape, looks like a nice walk north or south to a gate to access the top level. Really like the way you designed your cliffs. They pop off the map.

04-13-2010, 12:39 PM
Convincing cliffs and layout of the town (considering the information you have given us). Great colors and textures. Love the little sheep :) If this was a challenge, you would probably have my vote. Nice job.

04-13-2010, 07:03 PM
Thanks guys!

A R Frost: For the cliffs you have to look at Pasis. I just made some of his mountains, and cut the other side of the mountains away.

Gandwarf: Only the forest texture is my own. Grass, rocks and water come from Pasis' tut. Wall, roads, smoke and housing (yes there's a texture in them) come from Ascension. And the fields come from RobA.

I'm still looking for a better fence though... this looks like the one-pixel drop shaded line it is... =_=

Steel General
04-13-2010, 07:24 PM
This is progressing quite nicely - good job so far.

04-14-2010, 03:48 AM
I really like the progress so far. Keep on.

04-16-2010, 09:06 PM
Okay... So here's another work in progress...

On free moments during the last week I've been creating the two pieces of parchment which now hold the legend and some flavouring. I'm nearing the final stages of this map though. You know, the point where you start wondering what to do next :P

Anyway, still looking for a new fence... er... that is, a new way to draw a fence in this scale.

I've bumped up the compression on this image a bit, it went over 6 MB. Which was becoming a bit too much. File is less big now, resolution is still the same.

A R Frost
04-16-2010, 09:15 PM
I must say it looks extremely well done. It has a very nice over all feel to it, I hope you PC's find there way to it soon. Would be a shame to have a place like that in your world that wasn't being used to it's fullest potential...

04-16-2010, 09:24 PM
I agree, outstanding job on this Meridius! I wish your campaign many hours entertainment with this map. Repped.


04-16-2010, 09:45 PM
I accidentally uploaded my own version... which is in Dutch. Though most of it probably was pretty clear, I have an English version of the map as well, which might add to the enjoyment of non-Dutch-reading people on this forum...

Actually, my players will stay in this town for only a short while. And by the D&D gods, I hope they find it... or else my campaign is stuck :P

I've primarily made the map because I loved thinking up the history for this place, all that because I wanted a way for the players to fly over a mountain landscape :P

Anyway, attached is the exact same WIP as the last picture, but in English ;)

And thanks for the kind words and rep!!!

A R Frost
04-16-2010, 10:04 PM
LoL, I just thought it was in gnomish.
Shows you that I have no grasp of any language. Not even English.

04-17-2010, 05:54 AM
Very nice, I love it. And LOL @ A R Frost for thinking the Dutch labeling was Gnomish :)

04-17-2010, 09:55 AM
This is a gorgeous map. Have some rep :)

04-17-2010, 10:34 AM
Lovely looking map. Well done. :)

04-17-2010, 10:13 PM
LoL, I just thought it was in gnomish.
Shows you that I have no grasp of any language. Not even English.

Lol, that's a good one... But us Dutchies are a wee bit too tall to pass for Gnomes I'm afraid.

Anyway, I think I'll keep it this way. I've been blurring a lot of layers at a 0,3 pixel blur, to make the edges just that tiny bit smoother. I've added yet more dirt, I toned down the little earth ramparts around the fields. I decided to apply Dutch grammar to the plural of Gnome (I don't know how to properly translate 'Gnome' in Dutch, so I made it a borrowed word). I already did in a part of the text, and fixed the rest. The last thing I did was lower the opacity of some layers (the fence mainly), and I've moved the dirt layer to below the trees (it somehow ended up on top of the trees).

I'll hold it in WIP for a little while longer to catch potential tips and questions, if any. But I think I'll move it to Finished Maps soon, since I've already printed it (that's a 32 by 48 cm (or 12.5" by 18.5") map!!!). Which may suggest that I consider this done. And if anyone wants to know how I did something, please do ask.

Attached are both my personal Dutch version, and and the English version. The English one doesn't have a function, other than this forum.

Edit for some interesting facts and numbers about this map:
- The legend and labels consist of no less than 79 layers (including 50 text layers).
- The map itself only counts 39 layers, including 2 unused.
- There are 2 separate files.
- Flattened map + legend and labels = 79.1 MB
- Map itself = 96.2 MB
- I made 3 textured sketchup 'models' to make the building sketches, these where made earlier, and I decided to use them in the map.
- The map itself is 2000 * 2000 pixels, or in camera terms: 4 megapixels.
- The map including legend is 3000 * 2000 pixels, or in camera terms: 6 megapixels.
- Excluding Sketchup models I believe there's about 40 hours of work in this map.
- I haven't monitored it continuously, but I've spotted Photohops 'scratch disks' take up as much as 700 MB.
- I printed this map at just over A3 size (or just under A2 size), using a normal A4-multifunction printer, a sharp knife, a metal ruler and some glue.

04-18-2010, 12:13 AM
This is excellent!

I have one question, on the left side of the legend you say the little white squares, which I thought were sheep, are cattle? I haven't seem a lot of white cattle so I was just wondering if it was a translation thing or if they really were cattle. No biggie though.

This map is beautiful and makes me itch to get back to my own and work through some more of the tutorials so I can learn some of these techniques myself.

Repped and thank you for sharing. I can see this being a featured map.

04-18-2010, 06:07 AM
It says cattle because I translated the Dutch word 'vee' which translates to cattle but now that I think of it, cattle is more used for cows. Actually, it's supposed to represent all kinds of animals, but sheep is fine :P Those are a nice Gnome-sized type of farm animal anyway :P Perhaps livestock would have been a better translation. :)

(Note, a lot of animals who aren't white shop up as white dots on Google earth, only animals with really dark colour show up as such, but that also may have something to do with a lot of black-and-white cows who live in this part of the world :P

04-18-2010, 11:22 AM
Yeah here in the U.S. cattle usually means cows but you are correct it can represent any sort of herd type animals for harvesting. I was just wondering if you had meant sheep or livestock and if that was how it translated. I just find the way words translate interesting although I'm certainly no expert. So now I know a new bit of trivia: (if I have this correctly) vee in Dutch means livestock? I don't know how this is going to come in handy but you just wait :)

04-18-2010, 11:54 AM
Perhaps I'll change it to livestock in the final version for clarity. I hadn't exactly envisioned those little white dots to be sheep, but they might as well be. :P

And you're correct on vee meaning livestock (the 'v' is pronounced like the 'f' in 'flash' or 'fire'; the 'ee' is like 'ay' in bay. Dutch is a sharply pronounced language... start fearing the 'g', I've heard English natives comparing the pronunciation of your average 'g' to choking to death. :P).

Also, I discovered that a lot of animals who have a general light colour appear as white dots on google maps aerial photography. There's some other colours, but it's usually ranging from black to light grey. Just to make them stand out a bit I decided to go with light grey.

The Gnomes in fact mainly keep sheep, goats and donkeys and perhaps some mules.

04-18-2010, 02:16 PM
I certainly expected the white dots to be sheep as well. Gotta love those fuzzy furballs ;)