Unofficial Map Challenge
I need a large city map made for an old campaign world of mine that I am planning on reviving. I cannot pay for this map, so I thought I would make an unofficial mapping challenge to any and all. I will need an unlabeled map for my needs, but you are of course free to make a labeled version for your own use and/or to post in the Finished Maps forum. Note that this is an ambitious map and should not be attempted unless you have lots of time to spend and enjoy designing large, detailed city maps. I am fully expecting that this mapping challenge will go unanswered, but I hope that at least one person will give it a try. Originally I used the map of the Forgotten Realms city of Lankhmar. This should give you an idea of the city size I am aiming for.
A brief history of my city:
In its infancy, the city was a thriving farming, fishing, mining, and trading community located on the west coast shoreline at the mouth of a wide river flowing out to sea. Increasing attacks from various hordes of humanoid barbarians, the occasional wandering monsters, and wars with neighboring cities led to the construction of a great wall around the city. Over time the city grew into a densely packed metropolis and became a haven for humans and humanoids alike. Disaster struck when a power-hungry wizard dabbled in magic beyond his control, causing a powerful earthquake which destroyed most of the city and created numerous chasms in the ground. As the river filled the chasms, it created four islands. The wall was eventually rebuilt and the city gradually recovered, but it was forever changed.
The current layout of the city:
The city is now comprised of eight sections: Castle, Northern, Eastern, Southern, and the four islands. The river runs basically through the middle of the city. There is a lake outside the city wall where the river enters the city. There is also a large gated arch in the wall where the river enters the city. There are several small docks and a small collection of houses and merchant buildings around the lake. About halfway through the city, the river splits into smaller rivers which surround the 4 islands. There is a large walled merchant harbor where the rivers empty into the sea. There should be numerous boat moorings along the river and islands shores.
The Castle Section should be located above the northern section and walled off from the rest of the city, having only one gate (with guard towers) connecting it to the northern section. The castle should be located roughly in the center of the Castle Section. A path should lead from the castle to the gate, with a large garden and pond on the west side of the path, and a large hedge maze on the east side of the path. On the west side of the Castle Section should be guard barracks and related buildings as well as a private walled harbor large enough for the imperial naval fleet. On the east side of the Castle Section should be private farming fields, with servant/worker quarters east of the fields and storage/supply buildings south of the fields. There should be a small cemetery near the castle, preferably "behind"/north of it.
The Northern Section of the city houses most of the nobles, upper class, and clergy. It should have a temple district with at least 5 large temples (one should be notably larger than the rest). There should be several walled noble estates scattered throughout the northern section but not within the temple district. There should be one or more parks and an area used for royal/noble events. There should be two stone bridges with guard towers, both arched high enough for boats and small cargo ships to pass underneath. One bridge should connect to the Eastern Section and one should connect to the largest/uppermost of the 4 islands. The western wall of the Northern Section should turn into the northern wall of the Merchant Harbor, and there should be several docks specifically for the Northern Section. There should be a gate with guard towers on the eastern wall of the Northern Section. A road should lead away from the gate towards the merchant village and fork into two roads. One road should follow the river off the map; the other should lead to a wooden bridge at the mouth of the lake. There should be a gladiator arena located somewhere near the outer gate, but not too close to the temple district.
The Eastern Section of the city houses the middle class and most of the merchants. The upper half of the Eastern section should be the merchant district featuring merchant housing and a gate with guard towers. A road should lead away from the gate towards the merchant village and fork into two roads. One road should follow the river off the map; the other should lead to a wooden bridge at the mouth of the lake. The merchant district should have a large marketplace/bazaar with tents, stalls, and booths in the center and businesses around the perimeter. The lower half of the Eastern Section should feature mostly middle class housing, but should have some public features such as a park or two, a public execution block, at least two small temples, and some scattered businesses such as taverns/inns. There should also be a couple of ruined/non-restored areas. There should be a stone bridge with guard towers connecting to the innermost of the four islands. A wall and two gates with guard towers should separate the Eastern Section from the Southern Section.
The Southern Section of the city houses the lower class and some merchants. A wide road from the uppermost gate connected to the Eastern Section runs near the river to the merchant harbor, with businesses and lower-middle/upper-lower class housing along the way. The majority of the Southern Section should consist of shanty towns, tightly packed slum housing, and numerous abandoned/ruined/non-restored areas, but there should be at least one small temple. The western wall of the Southern Section should turn into the southern wall of the Merchant Harbor. There should be two stone bridges with guard towers, both arched high enough for boats and small cargo ships to pass underneath. One should connect to southernmost/smallest of the four islands, and the other should connect to the westernmost of the four islands. There should also be a gate with guard towers on the Southern wall.
The largest/northernmost of the four islands should have a grove of large trees (which can support tree houses), one or more ponds, and be suitable for habitation by elves and similar races. There should be some ordinary buildings, but these should be kept to a minimum and be near the bridges. In addition to the stone bridge connected to the Northern Section, it should also have wooden bridges (arched high enough for boats and small cargo ships to pass underneath) connecting to the other three islands.
The easternmost island is roughly the same size as the westernmost island. It is mainly for the larger humanoid races, so most of the buildings should be larger than normal, but there should be a minimal amount of normal sized buildings as well. In addition to the stone bridge connecting to the Eastern Section, there should also be two wooden bridges (both arched high enough for boats and small cargo ships to pass underneath). One should connect to the northernmost island, and the other should connect to the southernmost island.
The westernmost island should be hilly with a few trees and a scattering of small buildings (mainly housing for the shorter humanoid races). The hills should have numerous cave-like entrances for those races preferring to live underground. The west coast of the island should have several merchant/warehouse style buildings and a couple of docks in the Merchant Harbor. There should be two wooden bridges (both arched high enough for boats and small cargo ships to pass under). One should connect to the Northernmost island and the other should connect to the southernmost island.
The smallest/southernmost island is a sort of melting pot of races, so let your imagination be your guide for building types there, but it should be densely packed. In addition to the stone bridge connecting to the Southern Section, there should also be two wooden bridges (both arched high enough for boats and small cargo ships to pass underneath). One should connect to the westernmost island and the other should connect to the easternmost island.
Building style is not important, but there should be noticeable differences between housing and business/merchant buildings. Noble estates should be unique. Guardhouses/barracks should be fairly easy to identify. There should be barracks near all gates and stone bridges. There should be public water wells scattered throughout the entire city. There should also be trees scattered throughout the city, especially in the Northern Section. There should be no walls along the river or on the islands, but there should be numerous guard towers along the Northern and Southern river shores. There should also of course be numerous guard towers along all of the outer walls of the city. Terrain outside the city can be vague and does not need to be especially pretty but should not be ugly, and should consist mainly of dense forest. There should be at least one cemetery in each section of the city except the islands. The cemetery in the Southern Section should be the largest. There should be sealed pits (used for dropping criminals into the sewers to die) scattered throughout the city, as well as locked stairwells for laborers to carry refuse into the sewers.
Well, I can't think of anything else to add, but I am sure that anyone ambitious enough (or bored enough) to undertake this challenge will think of things the city should have that I have neglected to add. If you have read this far, I thank you, even if you don't accept the challenge. :)
Wow, Keedo, that IS a tall order! :) Intriguing, though, so I wouldn't be flabbergasted if someone actually picked up the gauntlet on this one. Let me also suggest that you give it a shot--at least in creating some basic shapes and visuals of the city (even if only in Paint, hand-sketches, etc.); it would perhaps be much more interesting for a cartographer to improve and refine your attempts than create from scratch. Just a thought.
Good luck! :)
Yeah, I'll do a basic layout in Paint. Not really sure what I can accomplish with Paint but it's worth a shot. I'll have SOMETHING posted in a day or two.:?
OK, here's a really basic layout I came up with. Don't laugh. :x It took me an hour using Paint. It sucks, it's unlabeled, and it doesn't really show scale, but it should give a general idea what I am aiming for. The purple circle is the Marketplace/Bazaar, the white circle w/black outline is the Arena. The red circle is the "Parade Ground" (for lack of a better name). The little white boxes are the temples. The yellow box is the main temple. The hollow gray outlined boxes are the noble estates. I put some little brown dots by the little lake to indicate the merchant village. The black spots are the non-restored areas. Everything else should be fairly obvious, except that I didn't indicate any housing. My mouse is in bad enough shape without me clicking a thousand times to add a bunch of brown dots. ;)
I'll probably tweak it and add some more details later.
Hi Keedo - interesting proposal.
Have you seen Keith Curtis's map of the City of Tallon? It's very close to your map (one island instead of 4 and the quarters located in slightly different places). You can find it here and Keith's comments about the map on this thread.
I'm tempted to have a go at your map (although don't expect anything like the beauty and detail in Keith's map), but let me think about it. What sort of timescale did you have in mind?
I'd also love to give this a go, but I couldn't promise anything on timescales. I need to start looking at settlement and city designs again for my world. I've left it too long due to other commitments.
Eeeps, I've still got to finish your starships, Ian!
LOL, no problems ... I shall be adventuring in the Babylon 5 universe for some time to come I think. I could possibly look at the city map over the next couple of week as I've got a minor op coming up and a couple of weeks recovery time. It'll all depend on how I feel though. This may give me something to keep me occupied whilst recovering. Usually, between work, family, and the couple of hours gaming I get to do a week; my time becomes a bit thin on the ground. Sigh .... real life just seems to get in the way at times.
Sorry this is threadjacking a bit, but good luck with the op, Ian and a speedy recovery.
Yeah, actually I have looked at the Tallon map and it is very impressive. Exactly the kind of map I am aiming for. I'm trying to get a copy of Illustrator (for purposes other than mapmaking), but money is a problem for me right now. Otherwise I'd make the map myself. I've still got a lot of my old hand-drawn maps, but I never made one for the main city since I was using the Lankhmar map. Mostly just dungeons. I may be getting a scanner soon. When and if I do, I'll post some of my old hand-drawn maps for fun. I'll also make a more accurate hand-drawn map of my main city and post it in this thread.