Would like a stylish map of Nexus City for a homegrown RPG setting
I'm hoping this is an interesting enough project that someone is willing to take it on for the love of the idea, and for the opportunity to provide their own creative direction in its development. In return I'm willing to forgo almost all of the rights on it (though I need to be able to post it on a password-protected Posterous site for my players). Perhaps at some point in the distant future I might want to purchase limited rights to it for commercial purposes (like if I use the setting to write a book or something), but that's purely hypothetical at this point. I'd grant access to the Posterous site to anyone who takes the job to get an idea of the setting, background and view some of the images I've posted there for an idea of 'flavor'. Ideally, the person who takes this on would be open to working on future projects, as new locations will likely come to mind and maintaining a similar artistic style would help bring the whole thing together.
This is a labor of love for me, so ideally there wouldn't be a cost involved but I'm open to discussing a modest payment if the scope seems too large.
Time Constraint: There really isn't one. This is a personal project, and as the GM I'm doing this for the love of the game. I have a generalized idea of where things are, and can make do with sketches or in character descriptions for the time being, but being able to shock and awe my players with a professional quality map would certainly add a whole new dimension to the game. So I'm flexible there. How about: Can you do it in under a month?
Style: I'm flexible here as well, but in my mind it would be a color city map, and the limited surrounding environs, perhaps done as a 3/4 view rather than overhead style (though that's permissible as well). The reason for the 3/4 view is that the setting (described below in significant detail) is a city that comprises millions of inhabitants, and a smattering of different architectures. Adding some buildings rising up in certain areas of the map to convey a sense of the architecture of each ward of the city would be a nice touch. Or some blue waves for the bay/dock areas of the city, etc. Ideally there'd be a legend to explain some of the different wards of the city.
Description: Nexus City is part of a GURPS campaign I'm running. The basic premise is similar to Planescape's Sigil, the City of Doors or Cynosure of GrimJack fame. It's a city that comprises individuals from worlds, tech levels, magic, races, etc. from all over known (and unknown) time and space. The city was designed to keep them separate from one another (to prevent friction), while also allowing for public areas where they can intermix, conduct trade, etc. As such, there are /hundreds/ of wards in Nexus, and there's no possible way I can have thought of everything at this point. The setting was designed to be the 'everyworld' and stop having my players relearn a new setting or game system, to allow each game session to have variety (this session you're headed to NYC, the next you're headed to a high tech future dystopia, and the setting after that you're headed to Yrth to slay a dragon). I have ideas for some of the wards, and a general geography of where everything is laid out, but I'd love for some creative artist to really take the bull by the horns on this and add extra details that come directly from their own imaginings. I mean, anyone and anything can reside in Nexus City, so there are no limits, and there weren't intended to be.
Map/Geography Description: Nexus City is laid out like a wheel. There are broad avenues that run through it like the spokes of a wheel, and these are public areas. These adjoin to the wards of Nexus, which are crosscut with other streets so that the whole thing somewhat resembles the gaps in between a spider web. Not necessarily uniform at all, but irregular. Some wards are larger than others. At the very center is the Citadel Ward, which is the heart of power in Nexus City, and an enormous structure rears above every other in the city. I've used this image for inspiration: http://getfile2.posterous.com/getfil...scaled1000.jpg minus the aquatic moat/river surrounding it. Security into and out of this area is very tight, and passes through walls into the first ring surrounding it, which houses the Grand Bazaar/Market and the Traveler's Union. Outside of this the wards really begin, with main streets radiating out from the center and the wards (also walled in) nestling between these main streets, crosscut with smaller sub-streets. There is the Sanguinis District, a ward dedicated to vampires. There are seven grubby wards dedicated to the ogrish/goblinoid races (Warrens, Shacktown, Ogrestan, Lowtown, Shallows, Gungrave, and Spitfoam Park), two wards for the Sylvan races (Sylvan Grove and the Faerie Grotto), a ward for the more far-eastern-minded types (Lotus), a ward for fun and masquerade (Carnivale), a high-tech ward (Cyberia), the Nightshade District, which is the most lawless and criminal of all the wards, and on and on. The possibilities are endless. The artist is free to sketch in a few other ward concepts and give them names, and I'll use them in play. After all: It's all here. The wards which don't yet have names could simply be represented without all of the embellishment and prevailing architecture. Even empty squares, if it comes right down to it. (Kind of like how unexplored areas on a map often lack definition).
In addition to the city proper, the Nexus itself is a small pocket dimension. Outside of the walls is a lot of water, except in one direction, adjoining to the Sylvan Grove at the outer wall, is the Labyrinth, a maze of dark and twisting undergrowth leading into a forbidding forest. The outer boundaries of Nexus itself are curious waterfalls, which pour UP into the sky.
And then there's the Nexus Core. The Core is subterranean, with 100 levels existing below the Citadel itself. Each level is immense (like the scale of Nexus itself). This contains the majority of the doors leading out of Nexus into other worlds, under heavy security. This map could be in a different style entirely, even black and white. Most of them are uniformly the same, but certain levels are significant enough to mention. The second level is the Control Room, which handles all communication throughout Nexus and even into other worlds. The World Forge exists on level 49, directly above the Engine Room, the heart of all power in Nexus, on level 50. A recent incursion forced the powers that be to divide level 50 from 51 with a barrier, limiting access to the lower levels.
I realize this is rather ambitious, but hopefully it's also fun.
Dimensions: Nexus is big, so I imagine this would be pretty big as well. It would be displayed primarily on the web, minimized and then clicked (lightbox style) to maximize the image. The size is basically "Whatever it takes to get the job done".
Copyright: The artist would retain all rights to the image, save for my ability to reproduce it (for the players in the group) and host it on a password-protected website. They could even sign their work, putting their name on the image with their email address if they want.
This is a setting for world travelers, and in the future I will be detailing other worlds that characters might come to visit in the course of the campaign. In that case, expect to hear from me again.
This is my first request, so hopefully this at least gets the ball rolling. I invite any feedback or requests for clarification.
The scale of this project is colossal! City maps (even small ones), much more so than continental or world maps, are very time consuming to draw - so if you want a city as large and incredibly detailed as you've described, I think you might struggle to find someone who is prepared to take this on for free and last the course (I hope I'm wrong).
It might sound daunting, but you could try and have a bash at this yourself by checking out the numerous tutorials here and having a go. I think that having an oblique view rather than a plan view might be a bit too much to begin with, but a plan view would be a good place to start in any case.
Best of luck with your request!
Thanks for your response. Yeah, I suppose the oblique view is probably already ambitious in light of the scale and diversity of the city itself. My only issue with doing it myself is that I'm good on the creative side of things, but mediocre when it comes to art. I'm a web developer by trade, not a web designer, and my rendered images always seem to resemble something a third-grader might do in MS Paint.
I guess I was hoping that giving away virtually all rights to it (so someone could put it in a portfolio and say, 'Behold my awesomeness!') that this might compensate for it being an unpaid project. I'm uncertain what's even a 'fair price' for something like this, and am hesitant to insult people by offering a number too low, or cheating myself by offering too high of a price--and at that point it becomes a matter of "I'm already doing this for free myself, why pay $500 for a map?"
The Nexus Core (the subterranean area) doesn't need to be mapped, or at the least could be a lot simpler than the city itself.
In any case, I'm willing to talk about scaling back certain aspects of the project (color, the 3/4 view, etc.) if it increases my chances.
I think if you're asking people to do stuff for free they would want the rights to it anyway as a matter of course (usually). As to a fair price, it's hard to say. As I said, city maps tend to be on the expensive side, but it also depends on how much detail you need. It wouldn't take long to do a stylised map, say, with the districts set out in different colours but I get the feeling that you are after more detail than that. Once you get down to drawing individual buildings, that's where the time really starts to add up. There are programmes out there (Profantasy's city designer, for example) that might help in automatically drawing buildings for you. In my own experience prices for maps can vary from about $20 for something very simple to $500 for something very complex and time consuming.
I threw together something very quickly with pre-built models in City Engine (software which builds 3d cities), and attach a screenshot. It's not much but there you go!
Very nice quick map, ravells! I hope you find someone to fill all of your requests, Shawn. (I'm an artist *Character artist/animator* but not a map artist *yet* )
Hey, not bad! Is that what you guys are capable of in a few short hours? I'm impressed But it's actually more photo-realistic than what I had in mind.
It's hard to describe what I'm looking for, though I'm sure I've seen maps like what I'm thinking before in fantasy novels. But I'll try to refine the picture a bit more.
Something hand-drawn, or at least something that appears hand-drawn, with embellishments and illuminations in various areas (ie., "Here there be monsters" with a picture of a sea monster in the waves of the ocean). The architecture of the different wards I mentioned wasn't really 'building by building' (which would be INSANE) but more of a 'ward map', showing the layout of the city, with the wards themselves shown, and maybe a few (signature) buildings rendered within them in the 3/4 style (3/4 because you could then have things like minarets rising up over the ward walls, or in the Lotus District having the characteristic upturned corners of classical Japanese architecture). The Citadel itself would also be a sort of centerpiece, and also hand-drawn. Perhaps the borders of some of the characteristic wards would be shadowed or surrounded by some hand-drawn buildings, with the interior of the ward itself left more undefined, simply with blocks and streets within rendered 2D, overhead view.
You sometimes see things like this in a fantasy novel. Say you'll have a keep and the surrounding city in map form, with streets named and little squares representing the blocks of the city and the buildings within them, without any real detail of the buildings themselves (they mostly get rendered as little squares or rhomboids), save maybe for one of "Pigfoot Inn" (of special significance to the story) being given a special 3/4 treatment, and then you get to the keep itself, and it's fully rendered within the courtyard, with tall towers and pennons flying from the tallest points.
Stylized was pretty much what I had in mind. There needs to be room for me to add random things into the ward depending on the needs of the story, so having every single building fleshed out would defeat the purpose.
Does that make a bit more sense? Easier or harder than what you had in mind?
Kurui, if you wanted to do a character drawing for fun, there's always the demigod ruler of Nexus himself. He's actually based on a previous player character of divine origin (from a Scion campaign). A child of Heimdall, he stood nearly seven feet tall, broad shouldered, blonde-haired with a single braid hanging down from his forehead. He carried a matched set of two gun-swords of dwarven make, inscribed with Norse runes on the blades, and wore a long, black, wolf fur cloak. I'd shock the hell out of the players if, along with the map, there was a rendering of him to place on the site as well. But of course that's just an 'if you feel like it' kind of thing.
Yep, I know exactly the sort of map that you're after, although I can't think of a specific one I've seen by naming a book or something. What you're after is professional or near professional illustrator work - I hope someone does pick up your request for cheap or free but I wouldn't hold your breath.
All the best!
You.....probably wouldn't actually want me to draw the character. I really am only good at drawing Japanese animation style. I utterly fail at anything even slightly realistic/fantasy-like.
Oh well. I guess I'll just leave this up and see if anyone is interested. If anyone is interested, but money is the issue, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Otherwise, maybe I'll just submit future requests for continents or regions on some of the outworlds my players visit, which it seems are easier to do.
But if anyone wants to show off their mad skills, hopefully this project entices them.
Don't give up hope! You never know your luck in the big city!
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