View Full Version : The Lands of Todes Grube - remapping

04-12-2010, 02:33 AM
A friend of mine asked me to redo his map that he's been using for the past 30 years in his D&D campaigns, I happily obliged him having spent many a night enjoying the campaign as a player. I've posted his original and then posted the work in progress.

I've really enjoyed digging around the site and seeing all the work here, picked up a few tricks and now I'm experimenting with them on this particular map. I used Midgardsormor's clone technique for my mountains, hills, trees. RobA's weathered paper tutorial to spice up my background. I'm so planning on trying the fields surrounding the towns like JammyMatt's unnamed.

I'd really like some input if anyone willing to throw in their 2c.
Here's a list of some of the things I'm still working on.
- maze lands and bile fens areas
- cities still need to be put in and labeled
- small labels need some work to blend in better
- soften the hard edge between the mountains and surrounding landscape
- more work on the hills
- draw in some grass
- snow and snow caps

He's aware that a couple of the rivers violate river rules, but they are going to stay as is. I believe the one runs in a massive cavern under the plains of devastation and connects up on the side.


04-12-2010, 04:12 AM
Nice map! One point you could improve: the coastal lines. Distort them a little bit, at the moment they look too much like path-created lines.

04-12-2010, 05:01 AM
I really like it :D. This forum is full of talented people.
I have a little advice. I think it could look better if you would add some dirt or gradient color under mountains and hills. In m opinion they are too much separated from the background.

04-12-2010, 06:54 AM
Awesome indeed. Nothing to complain about here :D

04-12-2010, 07:27 AM
A good start!

You'll probably find it easier to add legible labels, if you lighten up the outline color of your details: hills, mountains, and forests, as well as the fill color of at least the mountains

04-12-2010, 03:15 PM
Very nice map. Love the trees especially. I agree with Raskat though: the hills seem to float above the terrain at the moment.

04-12-2010, 05:51 PM
Really liking this map. Very nice style indeed. :)

I have to agree with Raskat and Gandwarf though about the hills and the mountains. You've used a drop shadow which automatically, by it's nature makes an element float above the image. You've also possibly used one on your trees but you've added a shadow manually stretching out from their trunks which ties them back down to your image and the shadowy area around the trees looks great because of it.
Add some manual shadows to your hills and mountains and this will look awesome.

04-12-2010, 08:36 PM
Many thanks
I'm going to ditch the old style radiating coastline and go with a simpler/cleaner style and i might add a beach or two. I agree with everyone else about the hills and mountains, I was using a drop shadow and it's just not working. For the trees i did just use one of photoshops wet brushes and painted, I'm going to do the same hills and mountains, as Ramah suggested.

04-14-2010, 08:07 PM
Quick update

I'm much happier with the new shadows under the mountains, thanks for the suggestions. Currently only the southern mountains have been fixed. Fixed many of the labels, a few still need work. Added a few snow caps on the mountains. Added some marshy areas. Removed the radiating coastline and added the City of Todes Grube crest.

As always any thoughts, suggestions are welcome.


04-14-2010, 08:12 PM
Here's 2 versions of the crest. I'm not sure which one I prefer.

04-22-2010, 12:27 AM
About done with this, just need to add the city icons and clean up the labels and I think I'll stop tinkering with it.

Here's a quick update showing the map without the labels and cities.

04-22-2010, 02:16 AM
I like the second crest better.

Overall, I love this map, coming along very nicely!!

04-29-2010, 02:47 PM
Ok, I think I'm about 95% sure I'm finished with this one. If anything does change it'll be the crests and/or the compass rose decoration. My one only regret on this map are the hills, if I had the time/desire I'd go back and change all of them, but at this point I've put enough hours into the map and the friend I made it for is happy with it.

I'm not 100% sure I like the compass rose decoration, but with all the information on the bottom of the map, the top needed something to balance out.

Thanks for all the input and thanks to the great tutorials on the site.


04-29-2010, 06:08 PM
I think the compass rose is fine. It's balancing out the rest of the map without being too whelming.

I can't help but notice the shape of the land - after staring at the thumbnail for a few minutes I realized it's a similar shape to my Darklands map, though yours is more scrunched vertically (which is actually something I've been meaning to do while redrawing that one...) You beat me to it!

One minor suggestion - some of the white text is blending into the background and a bit hard to make out in a few places - New Riverton stands out the most (least?) with this issue. Some of the location markers are also having the same issue to my eye as well, maybe a light stroke to help them stand out?

That having been said, I love the map as a whole - it was a bit of an inspiration for me while working on my own current map, in relation to the mountain style (they don't look all that similar as a final product, but yours was the map in my mind's eye while I was detailing the last stage of the mountains :) )

(oh, and I think the maze lands are brilliantly done)

04-29-2010, 09:02 PM
Thanks Coyotemax for the compliments and critiques. Of course I had to go check out your map of the Shadowlands after you mentioning it, and I do see the resemblance. You have a very impressive set of maps.

Your right of course about the location labels, I've been fighting with those the entirety of making this map. I think its the price you pay with a full color map as opposed to a muted or monochromatic color scheme. I think I might tone everything down a little and experiment with the stroke, as your suggesting.


04-29-2010, 09:52 PM
That's beautiful work, man. The whole thing just balances itself so nicely without being unrealistic as far as terrain etc. are concerned.

Question: What's with that one lonely little hill up in the Great Bright?

Oh, and repped!

04-29-2010, 10:15 PM
Great style! That looks really nice. Have some rep :)

04-29-2010, 11:18 PM
Great! Wonderful map.

04-29-2010, 11:27 PM
Thanks Diamond, Gidde and Sapieto.

Question: What's with that one lonely little hill up in the Great Bright?

I don't know! We've not adventured there or heard any stories about it. I redid this map as a favor for my GM it's his world and some of its secrets are yet to be revealed. My character and the others inhabit Sinister Keep and use the city of Todes Grube as our main hub. We're currently delving into Rappan Athuk (excellent & fun Necromancer Games module) fighting the inhabitants and outside leeches that hope to profit from our hard dungeon clearing work.

04-30-2010, 12:44 AM
Beautiful work there. I agree with some of the white labels being hard to see but if you could put a shadow behind them it might help. Anyway, this is a great map thank you so much for sharing it with us. Repped!

04-30-2010, 12:10 PM
Thanks Jaxilon

Yeah, It's being worked on I think I'm going to go with a black outer glow.


04-30-2010, 12:59 PM
Brilliant map - the stylization really enhances this map ^.^ It's easy to read, easy to 'place' stuff (you don't need fancy painting techniques to tell people where mountains are ^.^), and I really like the water - it doesn't overwhelm the land and still looks great. Dunno if you're still working on this, but as an artist - and not the greatest cartographer - I noticed on of your small lakes, on the right side about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom, is sitting right next to a mountain - the outline of the lake and the outline of the mountain are literally right next to each other. Tangent lines like that make it hard to tell which object is in front (since another mountain overlaps the lake I assume the lake doesn't then travel up onto the next mountain ^__^ ). This is totally picky on my part, so feel free to ignore me there ^.^ Otherwise absolutely gorgeous map! Thanks for sharing this.

05-01-2010, 01:50 AM
Thanks alizarine

I think I fixed the location markers and text and other minor changes such as the compass rose (toned it down some) and alizarine's suggestion. Once you pointed it out I couldnt help but see it all the time, so I fixed it :)

It's done, now I just need to read through the Finished Maps readme and post it.

05-01-2010, 02:25 AM
Ok, that's great. I should give a try at this style... This is definitely getting saved to my inspiration folder!

05-01-2010, 02:41 AM
Unique and wonderful! I hope I'll see another map in a similar fashion soon!

05-01-2010, 07:32 AM
What CM said :) I think we'll see a bunch of things similar to this very soon...at least from me and CM ;) Very nice and professional. Great job.

Steel General
05-01-2010, 07:43 AM
Nicely done, the only thing that doesn't 'work' for me is the hill "icon", looks a bit like a wallnut shell. But that's more an opinion than any kind of knock on what you've accomplished here.

05-01-2010, 10:08 AM
I think my favorite texture on this is the Sea of Green - It looks like tall grass.

05-01-2010, 03:12 PM
Nicely done, the only thing that doesn't 'work' for me is the hill "icon", looks a bit like a wallnut shell. But that's more an opinion than any kind of knock on what you've accomplished here.

I agree, if I had more time to spend on this one I'd change the hills first, but It's time to move on to other maps. I'm all ready working on improving my icons and particularly taking a closer look at the hills.

Thanks guys for the input.