June Entry: Irontown
Not really 100% what I'm doing with this, seeing as I've barely read anything about the cooperative mapping project, but why not jump in blind folded and find a way to tie my hands behind my back as I go?
Haven't really had time for my other mapping projects currently, just getting a bit of time to go back to them and when I saw the new challenge up I decided they can simmer on the back burner a little longer still.
I glanced around at the Wiki, and picked the first named town that didn't appear to have much done on it. Hopefully I'm not stepping on someone's toes here, and if I am, then I'm sure I can rename a few things, and move this to somewhere else.
The goal is to be a rough outline of the city, highlighting major landmarks in a slightly out of scale artistic means. I've gone to a far lighter background, and will hopefully end up with a more colourful map, but still keeping a hand drawn, pusdo-period look.
Seeing as I have about a month, I'll hopefully pick away at some fairly in depth storylines to go along with the map. Going to have to get in touch with the region map's maker and see what they have to say about things.
I'm so excited! It's a great feeling seeing a spot on the Beastland's map take shape and personality!
Some more work on it, sadly I haven't had as much free time as I would have liked.
Laying out the main roads, the wider, grander, semi planned roads that are wide enough for several wagons to travel either way at a time. I ended up settling on about 10 feet per pixel on the 2000x2000 map, and I haven't finished calculating the final probable population yet.
The settlement started near the Old Keep on the North-West bank of the river, and after an initial growth there, another village was founded on the island, with a stone keep raised near Iron Town Castle. This area was soon walled in, and because the island had limited wood, most building is stone.
This second keep was rebuilt several times, and the small village spilled out onto the rest of the island, a second and third keep were built at where the light houses now stand. I'm debating if I want to put an old wall around the central fair/market in Town Proper.
About 100 years after the island villages were founded, the trade in Iron began. Upriver, mine and logging camps would ship iron ore and charcoal south, and the original Iron Works was founded across the river on the flatter ground that had better access to wood. This area was soon walled in, and became a filthy mass of men, iron, wood and stone. (You can see the path the wall will take around the central Ironworks, the end of the wider, more open road ways to allow for larger yards for the smelters and smithing.)
The island towns grew, and soon the whole area was built up, and becoming over crowded. At this time the already over crowded laborer's homes/apartments right next to the ironworks they labored in of course burned down. This prompted the newly self crowned king to order a larger, more defensive wall to be built around the Ironworks on a small curving hill, and that the old ironworks walls define an area that ONLY master smiths and smelters could build shops, and that none could actually live within the walls. Offering a great deal of wealth to any smith that came to Irontown with 3 or more apprentices, the city was soon rebuilt, and trade boomed even more. The North and South keeps were raised more and acted as light houses, and a large bridge was built across the narrows at the north. (not sure if I want to build any in the south, or just use ferries. That is after all, not a narrow bit of river.)
The city is one of the best guarded in the world, with a militia of every able bodied male that is considered grown by his race's standards is outfitted with some of the finest arms and armour in the world. Master smith's are taxed at 1/10th their coin a month, or two of their finest creations a year. They are also required to keep on hand a stock of weapons and armour for the city militia in a time of war. Traders are also taxed 1/10th of their weapons or armour they leave the city with.
The great protection from the mundane has also attracted a small community of arcane magic users from the region. Drawn there by the safety offered by the walls, they further enhanced some of the defenses, and are often pay taxes by way of enchanting weapons for the city's defense.
This has left Irontown one of the few cities in the world that has almost every common city guard carrying Master Work arms and armour, and nearly 1 in 10 is likely to have one with some minor enchantment.
I'm planning to have the old town and keep basically abandoned. Destroyed shortly after the fire gutted the first Ironworks by the king's slightly mad son, who was obsessed with spiders. I'm thinking of doing a large dungeon under it, with a minor Lich or something that likes to toy with adventurers, and no and then send infestations of common spiders across the river for one night every year or so.
Interesting process of 'webbing' your regions with roads before you start. I like it. The density of roads gives an immediate indication of the region.
I look forward to the outcome.
My only comment would be on the regularity of the grid in the poor quarter. Slums/poor areas tend to ignore regular grids, even if they start with them. People construct buildings against building to save the cost of walls. Most everyone walks, so all streets congest and disappear in many cases. Even the idea of private land ownership is weak, so often public thoroughfares cut right through "property" lines. The main paths would all be radial from water sources, markets, and holy places, not grids.
I've added an area of larger lots in the north of the Ironworks side, this will be for the less wealthy master smiths, or the more practical that choose to not travel across the harbor every morning. I've drawn out most of the walls and fortifications, and tonight I think I will finish those, and work on the harbor if I have time.
I'm not sure how much I'm liking the colours, so those I'll be playing with later this week, and maybe change my intended style if I find something that looks better.
### Latest WIP ###
So, I'm not sure I'm happy with how the layout is going, I'm thinking that I will start a new copy, and try something different. I'm not sure if I'll finish this before then end of the month sadly, but I will get it done eventually. (Or offer up the working file to someone else that wants to finish it.)
But, there is a problem. The city is too large, at the current scale I would place the estimation of the population at over 70,000, (More if there are a lot of halflings) To support such a city, I would have to carve out a small kingdom, well, actually a fairly large one. I was kind of thinking of putting a kingdom that is somewhat scattered in settlements ranging from Irontown to Farpoint, thus giving Farpoint its name. It was the farthest point in the kingdom at the time of its founding.
For the settlement of the kingdom, I was thinking basically a large string of farms, with small walled villages. Basically long strips of 'civilization', each only an hour or two apart by horse, and all fields to feed the city Small clusters of these fortified farming villages would dot the land between Irontown and Farpoint, but leaving the areas around them and you suddenly plunge back into the untamed wilderness that is full of dangerous beasts. Even the villages aren't entirely safe, often raided by beasts or monsters.
I was also thinking of making a large part of the central population as Orcs. But not your common foaming at the mouth orc, but a cultured, peaceful race of Orcs that is trying to distance themselves from their 'cousins', where ever else they're found in the world. Sharing the brute strength with others of their race, but placing a higher value on wisdom and intelligence. While nearly as unpleasant to look at, they are at least polite, and generally as clean as any farmer is expected to be, and hold a skilled poet in as high of regard as a strong warrior.
Any suggestions to improve the idea? I think I'm going to go back and try a second version of my mapping now.
### Latest WIP ###
I know what its like to run a little dry - you've seen me fuss over the Kalabar. I appreciate your postings. You have a great choice of land to work with. Your island pattern really looks like a river delta.
Reflecting population in a map is hard. Why do you think the regional maps end with a couple of little dots and a name or two?
What does Irontown produce and what is its income source? It backs up against the Red Hoof Forrest. Presumably full of Centaurs and Trees and ?
Is it just Iron from one mine?
Assuming undocumented "trade" can support some of the economy, are there specific tasks or industries Irontown could excel in?
What was the affect of the Groam silver boom on Irontown? Did the town miners and metal workers clear out to go and look for silver in Groam? Did they come back? Why?
Remember it's the Beastlands 'where people are scarce'.
- Irontown is on the coast of the worlds Ocean. They likely trade out to other countries rather than up into the Beastlands.
- Irontown, and its mines, could be a necessary resource for your far flung kingdom. Fortified against attack because it is in such a dangerous area.
- It would be a great place to start safaris into the Beastlands from.
- Perhaps its a city state, clinging to its independence on the frontier or the personal fief of a foreign noble escaping the taxes of his feudal obligation.
- Perhaps its run by dwarves, connoisseurs of metal and too damn stubborn to leave.
- Maybe its not a 'nice' place . It can be fun to map an evil den of polluting, slave killing, tyrannical psychopaths..... Perhaps they take their slaves from the Beastlands and work them to death in the mines. Then they cast their worn out bodies into the ocean. None of the other countries look too closely because their metal is always good and who wants to go to the Beastlands?
- Naval power and ship building could be very important to it. The forest could supply the trees and the mines the metals. Britain roamed most of America logging out white pine and other trees suitable for ship masts etc...
Any help? If there's anything you think I can do, or change\develop in Kalabar, let me know. Rav has been real accommodating too.
Last edited by Sigurd; 06-12-2008 at 01:51 PM.
Sadly, I think I am bowing out of this for the month. If someone wants to take Irontown, feel free. If someone likes the general lay out I'll even send them the base GIMP or my current working Photoshop files. A few things came up, and I'm likely not going to have much time to work on this before the end of the month. I'll still help working on backstory and stuff for the region if anyone wants. (I'm finding lots of time sitting and doing nothing, just not near my PC)
I'm really sorry to hear it, Talroth. After the competition is over, I'll move the entry into the CWBP page so if someone wants to take it over, then they can. Even better, if you find more time, you could complete the map. Would you mind posting the photoshop files here?
Many thanks and hope you find the time to come back to us soon!