Excellent. Can't wait to see where this goes.
This is my first attempt at participating in the CWBP. I've selected Argria from industrygothica's excellent Anuroch map [Map 27].
Argria is on the border of Anuroch and the Endless Steppe. I'm envisioning it as an old fortress town, once tasked with holding the hordes at bay. As the barbarians quietened down over the years it has evolved beyond that original mandate - into a bustling border town ripe with trade and the colorful mingling of cultures. Trade now flows across the steppes more easily, with escorts and guarantees of passage from the local steppe-lords or Khans or whatever (have to do some research), though there is still banditry.
In the markets of Argria itself you can find fine Qashyan horses, silks, spices, dwarven steel, and all manner of more exotic trade goods. Sample the fare of the steppe people, cooked authentically in shields over a roaring fire. Just don't ask about the provenance of the meat in your stir-fry. The nomads are known to be a bit touchy about that...
So, on the understanding that the maps are "about" 600 miles on a side, I broke down Anuroch into 100-mile-square regions and took the one containing Argria. Then I divided that into 10-mile-squares (attached). This is my starting point. I'd like to detail more than just the settlement...including some features of the surrounding area. I plan a wall...or moat...or something. We'll see.
Excellent. Can't wait to see where this goes.
Heh. Well. It's *highly approximate*. I cropped off the border, made a square the size of the map, scaled it by 50% and then by 33%, and used that to place some guides. Not exactly proper surveyor's tools!
@IG: Was wondering if you'd put any thought into the human culture of the area? Architectural influences, etc? With a border town you can get away with a nice mish-mash of stuff but, still, I don't want to conflict heavily with your conception of the culture.
A couple of things I've been thinking about:
1) A very high tower: The river provides a very effective barrier for bottlenecking troops either at fords or bridges (which would be necessary for letting trade caravans cross). If you can see further you can spot the dust cloud and know where to move your troops.
2) A wall: Not terribly effective at keeping folks out, maybe, but good against people on horses for sure. Takes a lot of slaves (or serfs) to build a wall...unless you've got magic. So, I'm also picturing:
3) The Stoneshaper's Guild: It took them more than a hundred years to build the wall even with magic. Over the years a guild of sorts formed and, today, it's still around. The guild's architects are in high demand from all corners of the continent and its headquarters is a sight to behold.
Here's something else: the bullette's teeth. Maybe instead of the wall (but I'm now sort of attached to the guild) or maybe as well as. Horses have trouble on rocky ground. Riding fast across it is a good way to break a leg and unhorse a rider. If you're facing mounted foes riding across a plain, wouldn't it make sense to maybe create a nice strip of small, rock-like obstructions - no barrier to folks travelling on foot, but a nightmare to cavalry. Put it this side of the river and you've got a not-so-good situation for would-be mounted invaders.
Just thinking here. Probably silly stuff...but.
I haven't really put a lot of thought into the region as far as architecture is concerned, or any other cultural influences for that matter.
Your ideas sound good and solid to me.
Here's a (really) rough pass at a regional map layout. I only did it at this scale to get my additions in there, to be explained with flavor text. If I do an "environs" map it'll probably focus on 40mi x 40 mi spanning from the east side of the wall to the west side of the river at the bottom of the map.
Had fun making the icons...even they don't show much of anything. Hopefully I'll get to put some work into designing the city tomorrow. Had a lot of work to do tonight.
to be clear, this isn't my map...it's a section I cut from IG's map to set the lay of the land around Argria.[/edit]
It's looking pretty good. We're going to have to get a team together to harass you into putting out a pack of those wonderful icons!
One thing that's got me scratching my head though, is why westwall is on the eastern side of the city. Of course, I just woke up and it will be an hour or so before my brain kicks in.
Heh. Thanks on the icons. They're actually pretty easy...maybe I can do a tutorial. Just used some "concept art" techniques on them and they did turn out pretty cool. Well, mainly the city one turned out cool. The other two are so-so.
Ah. The wall. Well, truthfully, because the city is on the west side of the right place to *build* a wall But I put some thought into it and decided that maybe it was a two-tier defense. The forward position gives you a better view of the steppes and earlier warning. The river is a good place to bog down invaders and reduce their numbers - and give warning to the folks on the wall in case you fail to turn them back.
Secondly, the town could serve as sort of the last safe place for caravans setting out across the steppes to rest up and resupply before leaving into no-man's-land. Same goes for those coming in - it'd take longer to get up the elevation to the gate in the wall, especially if you've got the horde on your tail.
It's positioning was one of the reasons I added Bastion. I figure there are others along the river but Bastion is the big one. They're really just outposts writ large...and Argria eventually grew into a city/town. I was thinking maybe it had a more "forty" name long ago.
Oh, and, also: without the outposts you might have nomads sniffing right up to your doorstep. They helped the kingdom take and hold the land west of the mountains and provided a handy buffer zone, even though no one really wanted to live there. Maybe there'd now be quite a few relatively new towns between them and the mountains.
I'm mainly making this stuff up as I go along, trying to find the story in the map you made. So, please, do ask questions if something doesn't seem right...it'll prompt me to come up with a plausible explanation or make changes so things make sense.
Last edited by mearrin69; 12-02-2009 at 09:41 AM.
Started sketching tonight, using Autodesk Sketchbook Express (came with my new Intuos4) to try it out. Turned into more than a sketch, though, and I probably will just now move to doing something more finished in PS...I don't think this is really "finished quality" but there's no point my drawing a bunch of buildings to just have to redraw them later. This should give the general layout and feel, I guess.
Basically, you've got the watchtower on a small hill surrounded by fortifications with military structures inside of the wall. Around it, close by for safety, you've got the older structures of the town...the inevitable hangers-on that follow any military force and eventually set up permanent shop and form the basis of the town that some day surrounds the base. Beyond that, things get a bit more structured and maybe slightly more up-scale. Temples, community spaces, market squares, etc. To the west is the nomad quarter, featuring living space (both mobile and permanent), trading areas of the bazaar (ranging from an upturned shield over a fire where "meat" is cooked to horse auctions), and hiring-on markets (where an outgoing caravan can arrange for native escort and spread bribes for "passage banners" that will supposedly allay attacks while crossing the steppes).
I've probably made this into a bigger project than I should have but...hey...that's me.