A nasty place
I have an idea for an RPG campaign, but my mapping skills just aren't up to it, so I've decided to post it here. I can't pay anything, but if you make a map it remains your own. All I ask is for a kind permission to use it non-commercially. If you'd like to use my background story / idea (below) in the same way, that's okay to me.
Anyway, here's a backstory for the map I have in mind:
"So you say these rebels can not be condemned to death?", said the tall man known to the people of the Southern Empire simply as the General. "They have challenged the Throne!".
"Believe me, I am well aware", replied duke Baradan, "And my father would have liked to see them all roasted alive. So would I. But my soft-hearted sister has intervened. In fact, she has said that if the rebels are convicted to death, she will refuse to marry Irrad. That marriage, as you know, will tie our family with the Duke of Ihanna. Hopefully it will ensure that our Ihannan vassals will be somewhat more inclined to stop the smuggling at their northern borders".
"Smugglers? So, a band of bandits peddling moondust in the Reaches will prevent me from killing these people, who have rebelled at the very heart of our Empire?", the General replied, "Has your fa... the Emperor given any thought to how this might be interpreted by other rebels? Do I need to remind you that certain merchant houses would like to see the Emperor weakened, and have the gold to spread around? I might be just a military man, but showing weakness in these circumstances seems to be a bit like handing your enemy a bastard sword and then running into it with your neck".
"Dagam, you should know when to keep your tongue", the Duke intervened.
"Keep my tongue? This is..."
"I have found a solution, old friend. It does not involve roasting them. Instead it involves ice; a very considerable amount of ice. You remember my sorcerer, I assume? Old Nimm?".
"He has discovered an interesting... world... a place created by some madman wizard centuries ago. Apparently this fellow wanted to create some garden of sort for his - well - experiments. But he failed, his garden became a place of everlasting snow and ice; and a very fitting place to expel these prisoners to. To please the princess I will even equip them with furs, and spears and some rations of food. They'll die, of course, all 600 of them. But most importantly, they will never be seen again. The princess will be pleased, but everyone one will think that it was you who got your will, General".
Now, unknown to Duke Baradan and his sorcerer, the madman wizard was not that unsuccessful at all.
In fact, he planned his demiplane to be a place of ice and snow, but he created two temperate zones heated by miniature "suns" (in fact they are portals to the Elemental Plane of Fire). Both are situated in craters, with steep cliffs surrounding the temperate areas. One of them is merely a few miles wide; and contains the ruins of the madman's own palace, as well as a ghost-town which was once home to his humanoid servants; who have long since abandoned the place. The other is about three hundred miles wide and is highly forested, but also has hills, lakes, rivers, etc. It is home to many of the more or less successful "experiments" of the madman wizard, as well as to a few tribes of orc-like humanoids (smaller and smarter than regular orcs) who were originally intented to be slaves, some of them settled in villages throughout the area. The two craters are placed in safe distance from eachother, the cliffs and the ice meant to prevent any "experiments" from entering the area of the palace. Transport between them was meant to be done with magical airships.
This is the world the rebels - the PCs amongst them - will land in, and will have to survive in.
Does that sound like something anyone of you would like to try drawing a map off?
What a fantastic story. You should give this a try yourself. It's your story and you can see all the nuances that other people wouldn't be able to. A great story makes a great map. Give it a shot if you believe in it enough it will be awesome and were all glad to help. :)
Well, I certainly believe in the story; it's my abilities as a mapmaker I have somewhat less faith in. Of course, the best thing you guys can do if you think I should give it (another) shot myself is to leave me no other choice :D.
But of course; if any one has tips one two of the things I've really been struggling with - I'd really appreciate that too (and then request a move to WIP Region). Getting the "snow and ice" part to work isn't the worst part (essentially it can be done the same way as oceans, following that really good GIMP tutorial on here), but I really have a problem with creating craters that look even remotely good.
So, if anyone has the ability to cook up good-looking craters (in a style that is workable by GIMP, the only tool I'm sort of comfortable with) - that would be absolutely great.
I will take this one if no one else is interested, my last commission had a large crater in it so I know how to do that. Since its a demi-plane i am guessing just a circle of land?
Let me see if I am imagining this right. A round disc X miles across of tundra with two craters (one larger than the other) with "green lands" in them. The smaller is crammed with a wizards palace and ruined town, the other with hills, wooded vales, a lake or two with a couple rivers (flowing from the edges of the crater to the lake(s) in the bottom), and a couple of mud hut villages. I could probably get this done tonight, when are you playing next?
Edit: Can I add a crashed airship somewhere between the two craters?
This work? Sorry it took so long I had to make dinner ;)
There's no hurry - it's a future campaign ;). Your suggestion absolutely works, Lathorien - thank you!
If you have the chance, I'd like to have the bigger crater bigger, while the small crater can be smaller (what you have done could be a zoomed-in view; this smaller crater is just a few miles across, while the bigger one is 300 miles wide (well, it could be smaller, down to 100 miles is fine), about as wide as the state of Georgia is long, so villages should just be shown as dots - I'll map any necessary ones out myself). The general geography works just fine, but the inner lake can be bigger (I do love the shape, though), and there could be fewer rivers. Feel free to throw in some water in the smaller crater, as well.
If you'd like to add a crashed airship, that would be cool; although that would probably be zoomed-in, too. Sounds like a great place for the first adventure in this world. But there's absolutely no pressure on that one - I can probably manage to map it out myself. I had imagined a square plane, but now that I see it, I think a circular plane works better. The background can be left in a neutral colour; I have other elements which can be added there.
Thanks again for your help - it's nice to see my idea mapped out, and the map certainly fits the idea.
P.S: Out of curiousity, how did you do the craters?
I created a a disc at 50% gray and then drew a circle, feathered the edges (bluring it after words would work too) and filled it with white, then drew a smaller circle inside the the white one with a feathered edge and filled it with 50% grey (which makes the bottom the same hight as the rest of the disc, could be filled with a darker grey or black which would make its lower than everything else) which makes it look like a donut (kinda). I then took the hightmap into wilbure which eroded the edges to create the water channels/valleys. Brought it back into Gimp and went to filter>distorts>bumpmap which created the shaded version. Set the layer to Overlay (Or multiply for a dark look). That was ontop of a layer of the tundra texture. I then started to paint the green textures into the craters. I wont be able to a remake as I just got a commission, volunteered for my daughters field trip tommorow, and a vancouver hockey game tonight. But the obove instructions should get you started. Good luck, and post your results!
Thanks, Lathorien. That's brilliant :).
This one can be closed as taken now. I'll have a try myself based on Lathorien's excellent input. Then I'll post it on WIP.