Love the texture, but some of the labels could be a bit more clear, mostly rivers and mountain range labels.
I think the metallic rose works with this kind of map.
The main thing, aside from having completed most of the labelling (I have a Duchy and about 20 Counties still to label up), is a test city icon. I am somewhat stumped as to what I should use, but the traditional circle (ring denoted a fortified city) is so common probably because it works well. I'm up for suggestions though. I also feel like, if I go in this direction with my city icon I should probably come up with a better solution for a town solution and a fortress solution.
Lingon, I hear you on the metallic issue... I really aren't sure what to use; I really want to incorporate the star design, but the satellite-photo style of the map means any sort of traditional artistic map rose won't really work either. Perhaps a toned back version of the existing one; a black silhouette or something?
Eventually I'll add some sort of cartouche and/or border areas with map information, key, and the city enlargements, so perhaps if the rose adheres to the style of the other elements it will fit a bit better...
I really now that the thread title is misleading as I've somewhat put aside my regional map of the Terra Patria sub-continent and instead am focusing on this region here, so I thought a bit of information:
The map depicts the medieval kingdom of Terrador, at the end of the 11th Century of the Sundering, at the outbreak of the Sleeping Wars.
Following the Sundering of the Terran Republic, the former provinces of what would become Terrador experienced their own isolated wars of independence, and eventually seven distinct kingdoms emerged; Belandia, Havar, Provos, Valerium, Sangarter, Estansi, and Cordell.
In the 740th year of the Sundering the King of Cordell died without heir, and his sister's son; the Saegardian Duke Edmé Arthusien of Cerloux, crossed the Firth of Carrow and Tambre to claim the throne. Over the following six years, Arthusien conquered Provos, Havar and Valerium, weakened by a Samulian conquest from the east which had claimed Belandia already. Arthusien established the new kingdom of Terrador; named for the Rhunic word for the region between the Shattered Marches and the Rift of the World. To placate his new subjects, Arthusien adopted the Cordellian regnal name "Arafus", and changed his family name to Carlen, establishing a dynasty that would continue to rule the lands east of the Marches for centuries, gradually expanding their territory to swallow the kingdoms of Sangarter and Estansi before wrestling Belandia Plateau from the Samulian Empire.
Arafus Carlen's conquest of the Terradorian Kingdoms, completed by his son Farius I, forged a new, powerful Kingdom in the heart of Terra Patria, and thus he is known by the nickname "the Hammer".
Love the texture, but some of the labels could be a bit more clear, mostly rivers and mountain range labels.
I think the metallic rose works with this kind of map.
I think the river labels are fine now. Could probably be even clearer, but they are definitively readable now. I like the idea about a black silhouette for the compass rose, and maybe give it a slight glow, like the text?
I've now finished labelling everything (what a mission!) and am going to put my map aside for a little while, as I ponder a few questions, feel free to offer your thoughts or opinions;
1. How much detail to provide in the surrounding countries (currently I am showing nation names, international borders, and capital cities only)
2. What decorative elements to include and where to put them...
3. City mini maps; yes, no, where to put them?
4. What "places of interest" to include (currently only one place, a village, is indicated)
5. What other information, details I want to bother including (bridges, fords, waterfalls, battle sites, ruins...)
6. Finalise icons for city, town, fortress locations
And a few other dilemmas...
In the meantime, I thought the worldbuilders amongst you might be interested in the "coverage" map I used as my guide for locating towns and cities. Red indicates towns and blue cities; the smaller darker circles represent half a day travel by road (i.e. from a village and back again in one day) while the lighter larger circle represents a full day travel by road.
My last updates for a while I suspect, I've got a somewhat "complete" map, barring a few questions above which I aren't sure on.
The first is the "physical" map:
The second is a "political" map depicting the feudal territories:
I think these are probably about 90% done but I am interested in hearing feedback and suggestions on where I could go from here, what information I could add, and so on. There's still the issue of legibility to address as well. These are quality "9" jpegs so not quite as clear as the original, but it's full resolution, and as you can see a few of the smaller font locations (particularly those in italics) are not easy to read. I've been experimenting a bit with adjusting the tracking to separate the letters a tad and it seems to have helped (I've only done it on a few).
Great looking map, I love the amount of detail and the textures.
Things to add. When you said about city mini maps, I think it would be worth doing for the capital city and then placing it possibly in the top left corner. Additional content such as bridges I think can be left out, reading the very well textured and marked landscape gives clear indication on whats there, maybe with the exception of ruins. Last thing that comes to mind would be a map border with scale measurements, if you were able to figure out the correct scale.
The only negative thing I could think to comment on would maybe be the number of towns. Im not sure on how large the country is but there seem to be to many towns placed. Though maybe im mistaking some of the villages for towns. that would be the only thing I recommend you change. Without checking the size of the mark im not 100% on if its a town or a village.
Those are my opinions anyway, again though, great looking map. I do like the political version too.
Was it just photoshop and wilbur you used to create it?
One of the interesting things about the "Medieval Demographics Made Easy" article is that my "coverage" map a few posts back seems to reinforce and support their numbers as the number of towns I've got just manages to comfortably cover the kingdom at a distance of 1 day travel, but can't cover it all at half a day travel. Because of the importance of towns for trade, you'd be unlikely to get many villages more than a day travel from the nearest town. Towns aren't particularly big though; the largest is Idrisport (pop.7,022) at the confluence of the Idris and Carrow rivers and the average is only 5,000.
Looking at the coverage map I can see the logic with the towns, that and the country being a bit larger then I was perceiving.
For stuff like swampland I think you could probably work a different texture / colour into it. I dont think it will be very distinguished but it will give an additional touch to the land.
Wow, that upper map of the last two maps looks awesome! Very nice and realistic style. And now, with all those details visible, i really would like a world guide for this I mean you have written up some stuff in here...but i'd like to know more about this world.
If i can i'll rep. you!
I'm trapped in Darkness,
Still I reach out for the Stars
More about the world... hrm... well I guess I could offer up a broad overview to begin!
If you go back to my continental map earlier in the thread you'll see that Terra Patria isn't so much a continent as a sort of giant land bridge between two immense continents; Freiksnavia in the south and Ovasnasia in the north. Along the eastern edge of Ovasnasia lies the Great Ovasnasian Rift (the very end of it is visible in the continent map). That's where humanity evolved, but they arrived in Terra Patria from two directions, at two different times, and two distinct "sub-species".
The first called themselves the hëil, and they arrived at Terra Patria from the north, as refugees from a civilisation that had been beset by a cataclysm far to the north, across the Apherion Sea. They quickly spread across uninhabited Terra Patria and established a powerful empire, and when they encountered early tribal humans spreading from the east, they provided them guidance and aid. The most significant of these encounters was a tribe of people called the Rhunicae, who had entered central Terra Patria from out of the enclosed sea to the south.
This bond was cemented when a vast invasion force swept through Terra Patria and savaged the hëil empire. This force, descendant from the same force that had driven the first hëil out of their ancestral homes, was set to destroy all civilisation, clinging so desperately to the continent. But the high-chieftan of the eight tribes of the Rhunicae - Garos - drew the invaders away from the hëil cities, instead drawing their wrath down upon his own fledgling civilisation.
After the destruction of the Rhunic capital at Bal Terra, Garos and the surviving Rhunicae fled east, pursued by the invaders, crossing the Shattered Marches and eventually coming to the coast of the Apherion near the modern day city of Tareth (Terrador's capital). Here, with no where left to flee, Garos and the remaining Rhunic men prepared for a final battle against the impossibly vast enemy forces.
However, unknown to them, Garos' act in drawing the invaders from the hëil cities had saved them, and it hadn't gone unnoticed. The empire was vast, and though peaceful, the invasion had stirred them to a fury, and a vast army was gathered from the provinces of the empire to exact their revenge. The Glárahëil general Glày-Sirílïs was selected to lead them, and he marched his army across the Shattered Marches to the aid of the Rhunicae.
The Rhunicae were saved, and the invaders destroyed, and a new powerful bond forged between man and hëil. And in this bond was forged the destruction of the hëil. Because hëil had one terrible weakness; they could not abide the touch of iron. Some trick of their biology caused their blood to react violently to the least contact with iron, causing sudden, horrible death. Even contact with the skin would bring about welts and rashes. Therefore, by hëil mythology, iron was seen as the vessel of evil.
Man, however, relished in the use of iron, and having saved the Rhunicae, the hëil had ensured the rise of the age of iron. A nation of hëil called the Dorfan saw profit and opportunity, and exploited their slight resistance to iron to mine for the metal, to sell to the burgeoning Rhunic nation. This outrage drove a deep rift through the hëil empire, between traditionalist who saw the mining of iron as blasphemy, and progressives who could see the world was changing, and hëil would be left behind if they could not find a place for themselves in the new world.
Had this been the peaceful hëil empire, nothing but philosophical debate would have come of this crisis, but in the aftermath of the invasion (by then known by hëil simply as "The Darkness") the empire was decidedly warlike, and unsurprisingly, the empire fell into civil war. The Iron Wars, as they were known, flared on and off for centuries, and the constant strain eroded the empire. By the war's end, the great hëil civilisation had ceased to be, rendered down to a few isolated communities at the distant edges.
One of these, the Glárahëil, lay at the far eastern edge of the hëil empire, beneath the shadow of the Shattered Marches. Their proximity to the Rhunic nation meant that Glày-Sirílïs and his descendants maintained a strong bond with the humans. For centuries, as the iron wars waged, the fortunes of the Rhunicae likewise waxed and waned as they fought with other fledgling human kingdoms. But gradually they claimed supremacy, and evolved into a vast powerful empire of their own; the Terran Republic. The Glárahëil were given special protection within the Republic, as the Rhunicae fed an unsatiable hunger for conquest. They claimed all the land of Terra Patria as far west as the Eagles Reaches, which marked the border of the inner remnants of the hëil. They claimed the lands east of the Shattered Marches, eventually subduing the desert kingdoms of the Samul people, and they even ventured south, into the frigid tundra of the Borrmanii and the Freikuvitii.
For some six hundred years the Republic ruled, and spread its polytheistic religion, its rulers safely protected by the warrior priests of the Rhunic state religion - the Spectre Guard. But it was not to last. The Rhunic religion taught that all things were composed of combinations of four tangible and four ethereal elements. These eight elements existed both in good and evil form, and all things were thus a mixture of good and evil. Thus, all men were forced to confront and address the evil within themselves.
A new philosophy began to emerge, however, in the provinces of the Empire, brought from the east, and promoted by self-claimed prophet. Evil was not an inherent part of man, but the work of a demonic agent, working against the efforts of the one true God, who encompassed everything. This agent of evil, this Eval, and his minions could poison the minds of man, but God and his servants could protect those who turned to him.
This new religion spread rapidly, appealing to those who wished to avoid blame for their own actions, and its spread undermined the power of the Spectre Guard and the state religion. The practise was outlawed, and the prophet hunted, but the damage had been done. The provincial governor of Capolli offered refuge to the prophet in the city of Espal, but assassins from the Spectre Guard found him and killed him. Widespread civil unrest followed, and the governors of several provinces including Saegard, Terrador, Capolli and Syriny officially changed their religion to the new faith in a desperate bid to appease the mob.
The Terran Senate, outraged by this, drew up a document expelling these provinces from the Empire, with the exception of Capolli which was, at the time, the Empire's wealthiest province. This event was known as the Sundering of the Republic. Capolli immediately declared independence from the empire and fought a civil war to secure their freedom. Over the following two and a half centuries the empire collapsed, as the rulers of Capolli expanded their influence and established the Vespan Empire. Finally, 263 years after the Sundering, the armies of the Vespan Empire besieged the great city of Bal Terra, which had rested like a glistening jewel at the centre of the world for centuries. The city fell, and the Vespan soldiers endulged in an orgy of destruction, tearing down Bal Terra's monuments, slaughtering her citizens, and erasing her from the pages of time. The Spectre Guard retreated into the mountains with the few remnant artifacts of their civilisation, and took shelter behind the impregnable walls of the great fortress of Teleportis.
The Vespans did not extend the same protection to the Glárahëil as the Rhunicae had offered, so as the empire was in its death throes the hëil flocked back from across the Republic to their traditional homeland and withdrew from the world of man, in an exodus known as the Great Retreat. They began harvesting an oak-like tree and grinding the nuts it produced to make flour, and their nation was quickly cultivated into a great forest, so that they were all but forgotten by mankind, and relegated to the status of myth and legend.
In the city of Espal, the prophet's teachings became established as official religious doctrine, and the Espallian Church was born. Its power and influence grew immensely, as the great Republic segmented into petty, warring feudal kingdoms. The church became divided into ten echelons, named for God's archangels, each tasked with different duties in shepherding mankind. The Seladians were the church's soldiers, the Mydrius spread the word of God, establishing themselves in the villages and towns of Terra Patria, the Ilafenia established hospitals, and so on. But there is an eleventh Archangel; Talien the Angel of Death, and an eleventh secret echelon of the church was established, to work in darkness, scouring the world for any remnant of the Rhunicae and eradicate it.
And it was into this world that the kingdom of Terrador was born, when Edmé Arthusien crossed the Firth of Carrow and Tambre to lay claim to the throne of Cordell. Terrador has found itself fighting for its survival ever since, pinned as it is between two mighty empires; the red dragon of Samulia to the northeast and the blue bull of the Vespan Empire to the south. It's said that each generation must fight a great war, and repeated attempts at conquest by the bull and the dragon have failed, with each invasion thrown back by the valiant efforts of the Greycloaks - Terrador's standing army.
That is, until the Sleeping Wars. My maps depict the kingdom on the eve of those wars for good reason. Fearing a Rhunic resurgence, the Espallian Church uses its power and influence to goad the Vespan Emperor into a new, vast effort, unleashing war on two fronts against Terrador and Saegard. This time the church put their considerable military power behind the invasion. The outcome will rewrite the order of the world.