Mystara: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos
This is part of my project to map the world of Mystara. My first task has been producing high quality replicas of the original hex maps. Each area is often covered by a number of different maps, each of which is slightly different. The final goal is to produce a totally consistent set of maps at various scales incorporating all of the details and information from each source.
I find that the process of recreating each map makes me aware of the inconsistencies in a way that studying them just can't compete with. Plus remaking them is rather fun.
First, here are the replicas for the original 8 mile per hex map that came in GAZ1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos. The first map uses my own colour scheme, which I will keep consistent in all my maps, while the second is designed to be as close to the colours of the original printed map as possible.
Some notes on how I made these maps
I made both maps in Adobe Illustrator CS2, using custom-designed symbols and brushes, and layers for each different element on the map.
I recreated the symbols from the original art, using mostly the pencil and shape tools. Having them as vector art means it's easy to resize, which is rather useful. Each symbol is made up of a coloured hexagon with various lines and shapes placed on top of it.
The actual map is made up of a grid of hexagon shapes (dark grey at 80% transparency) overlaid on top of a corresponding grid of blank symbols (made up of the same hex shape but with no fill or stroke).
Originally when I started mapping in Illustrator 8, I found that placing the hexes together was very time-consuming, and at that time there were no symbols - every hex was just a copy of the original art. So now I have the grid pre-made, and draw the map by choosing some hexes and changing their symbol in the symbol palette.
I can provide more details if anyone is interested.
Updated Map - The Grand Duchy of Karameikos
Next, here is the latest version of my updated map.
You can see that I am only including the country in question. This is actually my biggest problem so far: how to include neighbouring countries without having to duplicate the same elements in every map featuring those parts. The reason I want to avoid duplication is that if I find any mistakes, they would then have to be corrected in all the files with the relevant part, as opposed to just one file.
Changing the updated map to show the countries around about is a big priority for me.
You can see the makeup of the map in the PDF file, which I believe also includes the layers.
I would love to have some advice on my techniques, and I'm always open to any ideas for how to improve my maps.
Edit: You can see that this image is an older version, with the brighter palette that I initially used. The current version of the palette is actually the very first image in this thread. It's more subdued and easier on the eyes.