Good evening everyone, I am new to mapping and in need of some help. Attachment 56542 This map is for the comic I am working on, it is of the country of Sevul, the homeland of the main characters. Sevul is primarily covered in a dense pine-forest, however in order to draw in the rest of it I need to know what of it would have been cleared and where to put Towns, farmland, roads, etc. (The 2 rules I know are 1. put towns near a water source, and 2. humans will go where they can make a profit.) Any suggestions appreciated. If you need more info just ask.
How old are the settlements? They'll spring up near the interface between plains and forests for the farmland on the one hand and the building materials on the other. As a settlement ages, more and more of the woods will be consumed. Depending on the government, some of the woodland may be protected from cutting as crown forest or nature preserves, or whatever. In short, the older the settlement, the further it is likely to be from the edge of the forest.
Settlements will likely appear about half a day's travel from one another if terrain permits—far enough to go to the next town over, do a bit of business, then get back home. How far that is depends on the available common transportation.
Rivers make travel easier and faster, so a civilization will spread out more quickly along waterways, but it will also meet competition sooner, so the oldest towns will probably be on the rivers. And in spite of water travel being easy, there will probably be roads parallel to the rivers for shorter jaunts that don't justify a boat. Towns will also exist near easy fords and/or bridges, and they're quite likely to pop up at a confluence of two rivers.
Remember that rivers in lowlands are prone to changing their course. Sometimes humans prevent that with artificial watercourses, sometimes the towns follow the water, and sometimes the people are just stubborn enough to stay put.
The style of agriculture will shape where the farms go, and the land and climate will determine the style of agriculture. Usually. So in order to determine where the farms are, we'll need to know a bit about the land—are we talking Mediterranean, northern Europe, Great Plains? I'm guessing a somewhat northerly climate because of the pine forest, but cedars grow in the Mediterranean, so that's not a gimme.
If the government isn't deciding where they should go, roads will connect settlements by the most direct route that is practical. "Roads are made by the walking," after all, and people don't like to walk farther than they have to. Roads that appear in this manner are unlikely to be paved or otherwise maintained. And they may not be adequately mapped because they're most often used by locals.
Okay, I should be doing work right now instead of writing worldbuilding essays.
Well you already have some towns it seems. It's pretty good.
People will settle on plains where that can make their crops grow. Cities will develop along trade road that depend on the geography. Road passes near water sources for example.
If you want an historic powerful city take Vienna as an example. It is in the middle of Europe but sits at the intersection of 2 trade roads. East-west on the Danube and north-south linking the Adriatic sea to Northern Europe. Plus, it is located in fertile plains. Constantinople is another example that come in mind.
So the population don't just settle near the coast but inland as well. As long as there is water and fertile lands people can live ther but important cities develop alongs trade road.
And like you said people go where they can make a profit, so trading cities tend to attract more people, thus making them more attractive for traders.
Thank you for your time, and here are some facts and history about Sevul and the world.
For lack of a better explanation, imagine a world similar to Eragon's. There are Magicians and their dragon companions, everything is peaceful, but then a certain event happened that caused intense hated for one another. Both sides tried to annihilate each others species until there were just too few to fight anymore. There is a silent agreement for no more mass battle.(There is still the occasional raid.) And that brings us to the current time, humans are recovering and have discovered the power of machines. And thus the story begins.
Fact 1. Until the war the world's ecosystems were nearly identical to ours, other than dragons.
Fact 2. During the war the magicians created chimeras (creatures made from the parts of multiple animals/plants) to fight for them, many of them escaped and now roam loose.
Fact 3. Forests and other wild places are now over run by chimeras and are too dangerous to enter.
Fact 4. Steam boats and trains are a new invention.
Fact 5. Sevul is a country in the far north, the Crimson Graveyard is tundra/frozen wetland.
Fact 6. The Crimson Graveyard was one of the battlefields.
If I think of any more I will add them.
Robin, I moved this thread to the Regional/World Map Forum of the WIPs (Work In Progress). The WIPs are used to help develop a map that you are working on and the General Discussion forum is more geared to more of an off topic discussions or those that are of a more overall mapping interest. I know there are a LOT of different forums with all kinds of info in them so it is quite confusing to new members but I am sure that you will get the hang of it :)
Scale is another thing that would effect how many settlements are shown on a map. If it is a large area covered I would doubt that all the whistle stop villages would be on the map, unless there was something that was special about them (junctions, fords, bridges ect.) Just like not every stream or road will be on the map, not all villages will. The cities and larger towns most definitely would. Also consider that the larger the city, the more satellite towns and villages it would have in order to supply enough food for its inhabitants.
On the map itself, I think the trees, while I like them quite a bit, might be a bit big when compared with the mountains. Otherwise I like the style that I can see starting to develop as the features do have do work together and don't dominate any of the others.
Yes, I was quite confused about were to place it, thank you.
The scale is something I have been trying to decide since I started the map, I know that the buildings are most likely much smaller than they are on the map. As for the trees, on the paper they are slightly smaller than 1/8 of an inch, I think it would be slightly unreasonable to draw them smaller on a first attempt. Also if I need to argue their scale, Perhaps they are some form of ancient northern redwoods that have never been forested. (If I need to. :P) I have been drawing my pine trees like that since I doodled my first map, I don't remember if I learned it from my brother or if I designed it myself, but I know one thing they're designed for speed. Made of at least 5 quick strokes, I can draw hundreds of trees in a few minutes.
So you've got a bit of a Grimm Brothers set up—beginnings of an industrial revolution, but the forests are dark and dangerous. Since you have trains and riding dragons, and since travel by foot is likely to be dangerous, then major towns are probably further apart than during the Middle Ages, but closer than modern day patterns. Look at population distribution in the Midwest—Colorado's eastern slope is probably a good reference. Could be more or less based on a variety of factors. Dangerous wilderness means that smaller villages are not likely to be numerous, and they'll be closely associated with nearby stronger towns, where the villagers can flee if something comes ravening out of the night. I'm also put into mind of Peter and the Wolf.
Industry requires a lot of resources. Trains and steamboats are likely to be running on wood and charcoal, so there will be settlements closer to the trees than might otherwise be expected. Also, if this world follows our own, greed might result in clearcutting at the expense of sustainability. The Industrial Revolution destroyed most of the forests in Europe, and by the time everyone realized that the wood was almost gone, it was too late to save it.
There are probably strongly fortified small towns near borders due to the recent wars and current raiding. Depending on the prevalence of dragon power, other magic, and cannons, and the aggressiveness of the chimeras, these towns may or may not have walls, and fortresses might look like traditional castles, or they might look like star forts. Of course, much of that also depends on the manpower available to build fortifications and how much additional work can be gotten from machines and magic.
Does anyone know of some cold-climate crops?
Your reply has given me some ideas.
This makes me wonder if the country should be divided into territories, each city has a small force that is sent out to it's surrounding towns/villages/farms.
There would have to be a way to spot dragons and warn the cities. (Thinking of the those fire towers placed within line of sight to each other along the the great wall of China. ...They were also used in the lord of the rings right?)
Telegraphs could have been invented, but the dragons are intelligent creatures, they would probably just cut the wire and the towns would be left without a form of communication.
Visual telegraphs were in use during the Napoleonic wars. Essentially they were mechanical semaphore stations with telescopes. There is also the heliograph: a mirror that could be used to pass messages on line-of-sight on sunny days. The heliograph has the advantage that you can hide the signal from a soaring dragon.
City-state confederations seem like a likely form of political organization after a major depopulation event combined with dangerous territory. Infrastructure would be an issue with that kind of arrangement, as every city would be reluctant to contribute to national-level projects (laying rails for trains or building and manning telegraph stations). Those things could be created by private enterprise (like the powerful railroad companies in the US after the Civil War), or there might be tension between the local cities' interests and a strong national government that appropriates resources for inter-territory development.
Cold climate crops: wheat, potato, onion, most kinds of leaf greens, celery, barley. Probably others, but that's all that comes to mind immediately. Look up Scandinavian cuisine and see what they use; that's likely the same sorts of things that will grow in your territory.