WIP - Tehr Vaer
[I thought it would be better for me to post my progress as I go along, rather than have my first post be the finished map. I had a more concise explanation for the map typed out, but my browser freaked out, so I'm sorry if this version is worse. I apologize in advance for the wordiness and unsatisfactory images.]
So far, this is just one region of a larger world map that has not been fleshed out as this region has. The reason for this (other than size constraints) is that I am creating the physical and human geography of the map as I progress with my story - and so far the majority of the plot has been concerned with this area. That is not to say that I am not open to advice and suggestions, as not all of this plays a major role in the story and a good deal of the story itself is still tentative. With this being said, the map below is only a silhouetted landmass with labels, in order to finalize the geography before I begin the work of illustrating it all. I've also included an image of the main landmass, for geographical context.
As for the world, it is concerned primarily with two cultures - the original inhabitants of the land (responsible for the English place names) and a people that migrated from the forests of the East, who then created the civilization that is the setting for the story (responsible for the more outlandish words). The region below is a relict of the culture of the original migrants, as the majority had taken on the language and culture of the original inhabitants as they grew their civilization. I tried to make the language similar to indo-european roots, so marn=sea, mant=mountain, lahk=lake. Others are more of a stretch (marik=mark=forest) and others entirely manufactured (ank=seat, hoth=giant, dun=hill). The prefix es- is something along the lines of "not," so eslahk signifies "not lake," as in a body of water smaller than a lake, while esmarn would be "not sea," meaning an island.
The island, or near-island, is called Ank Hoth, or "Giant's Seat," for the extinct volcano that makes up the main body of the land. The collapsed southern caldera of Mant Ilbar reminded the natives of a massive seat, hence the name. The ancient collapse scooped out a lowland in the island (Tehr Shallow) and deposited the rubble in a great heap south of the landmass (Craeg Marik, The Forest of Crags). The riften are great fissures running up the side of the ancient volcano. The prefix Grun- is more of a toponym than a word root, named after something lost to the history of the land. The region to the south of Ank Hoth is referred to as Gapland, populated mainly by the English speaking natives. The Dunmanten are a chain of low mountains from the North Highlands to Dun Marik, the Forest of Hills, a region that continues on far past the borders of the map.
Of course, the towns shown on the map are not the only settlements in the area, just those large enough to note. I would love criticism and suggestions on the map, because I want the toponyms and geography to be as fluid as possible before I start illustrating the map. As for the names, if they are too outlandish or hinder the flow of the map, please say so. Obviously, the large map is just a mock-up to provide some context for the smaller one. Tehr Vaer is the name of the world or continent, meaning "Place of Man" (Tehr=place, Vaer=men, in this case man or mankind).
Red = geographical formation; Blue = body of water; Green = forest or wetland; Grey = Settlement, structure, or settled area
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Hey there Arx, welcome to the Guild? The land shapes look pretty good but one thing that immediately stands out on the first map is that the land outline appears really pixelated. What resolution are you working with? If the resolution is too low the map will appear pixelated. Also, you might want to check out OldGuy's tutorial on Creating Realistic Coastlines, as it will walk you through how to fix the coastlines (once you've resized the map to a higher resolution).
The basics are looking good, outside of pixelation as noted above. Basic shapes look good and the backstory of geography sounds interesting.