Post By Failtality
Continent of Nimrithil
I have recently been working on my first serious venture into cartography: the continent of Nimrithil. This map serves as both a campaign setting for any future Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder campaigns that I plan on running as well as a personal project.
Anyways, about the map itself. Originally, I had only planned on Nimrithil being a very large island with a few smaller islands in order to house the megadungeon that I am currently working on. However, as I had continued to draw out the features of the map that are currently present in the thumbnail (as well as looking at the map once I had finished scanning it), I had decided to make Nimrithil an entire continent. This was the reason for the crude scale bar that you see in the lower right corner of the image (apologies for some of the image being chopped off, as my scanner is not that great); I could not and still cannot decide on a scale for the map. I was originally going to make the scale something along the lines of 100 miles per half-inch (not sure what that equates to on a distance per pixel basis, since I still need to read up on that).
In addition to the general shape of the continent, I have also drawn in various cliffs and plateaus that I had decided to include on the map to get a sense of the various height differences that may exist within the final product. This property of the map was greatly inspired by -Max-'s maps (though, not as good ), which do have various sections of land that have cliffs and plateaus, giving the map a sense of having distinct height differences. I am a bit iffy on certain sections of the map where I have included these cliffs (such as around the Sea of Twelve Saints) because I am unsure if, geographically, the differences in height that I have denoted make sense. Also, I have included the various names of lands that are geographically similar as well as various bodies of water (in which the text is blue), since I don't quite have a way to neatly distinguish the various areas of Nimrithil.
You may also notice that the map is lacking in other details, such as rivers, mountains, major lakes, and forests. The reasons for this are twofold:
1) Artistically, I do not have the skill to draw out these properties of the continent yet. While I could use other techniques to display these properties (such as the use of height maps and coloring of the continent with the aid of those height maps with programs such as GIMP and Wilbur), I do not have the skill to do this either. Plus, stylistically, I would like this map to be hand-drawn.
2) In terms of the map's representation of its various features, I am still deciding what type of representation to use.
My future goal for this map's representations are divided between two options, both of which have their own advantages and disadvantages:
1) Include all of the details of Nimrithil (geography, civilizations, etc.) on the map. The best examples of this map style are most world maps that you see in campaign guides to tabletop RPGs (such as the map of Faerūn for the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide 4th Edition, which can be seen here: http://files.enjin.com.s3.amazonaws....1369136801.jpg). This technique would require me to scale the image to a larger size in order to include all of the finer details of the map. While this representation would eliminate the need to create other maps, the disadvantage would be that the map may end up getting cluttered with information and I would require a writing tablet in order to draw the other details of the map that I have yet to include (which I do not have).
2) Have the below map serve as a continental map that shows the relative locations of various nations or geographical sites, which will have their own separate map where I will include all of the finer details. The various maps of Oraven by -Max- (such as the Cold Hell, which can be seen here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/at...-hellfinal.jpg) are the best examples of this style of mapping. While I will not be required to draw the finer details on this map, which I could do on the separate sheets of paper that will contain the maps for the various locales of Nimrithil, this technique will take more time to fully map out Nimrithil.
Anyways, there isn't too much else to say about my map right now. Progress on the map may be halted until I can improve my ability to draw and shade.
Apologies for the long first post on the forum. Feel free to comment and give your opinion of the map so far .
I think you have a good start here. There are tons of tutorials and resources which you can use to either learn how to draw something or even use brushes to make relevant landmarks. My personal preference is to do everything in an imaging program, but if you don't feel comfortable with that, it's understandable. My best piece of advice though is to look at as many maps possible and get inspiration. Say what you will about the World of Warcraft zone maps (overused, fad-ish, etc), but they have a nice drawn quality to them, and have a good balance about what is represented as important, and has a good scale while still being stylistic. Again, inspiration not imitation, though. =)
I agree; there is something to be learned from every map .