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  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice Pablo Diablo's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    NYC, NY (USA)

    Wip Continuous WIP

    So my gaming group is starting a new campaign, and being the graphics/carto- geek of the group, I volunteer to make the world map...

    The great thing about this group is that we create a game-world collaboratively, taking the GM's initial ideas and talking about what makes sense in the game-world and expanding on them - which is awesome, because we all become invested in the world that we make and know a lot about its details!

    I thought I would post my progress as it happens, and open up the door to feedback, critiques and suggestions!

    WARNING: This may turn out to be a long process... I do this around my freelance lifestyle which has a flood/draught duality.
    .................................................. ..............................................

    So the GM and I started off by talking about the world - he wanted a partial world map that incorporated a lot of ocean and either small continents or island nations.... There were going to be 5 or 6 civilizations, most of which were inspired by real-world nations(Greeks, Romans, Viking, Aztec, etc). I sketched some very quick and dirty ideas in pencil, scanned them in, manipulated them a bit and sent them off. He responded with thoughts and suggestions, some of which I incorporated, and then got approval to go ahead.

    At this point, I took my rough .jpg into Illustrator and started tracing coast lines, adding detail and small islands. This is basically where I am now. You can see in the closeup that I've added some details to the lower end of the "Ilium" (Greek city-states) area - because we were already in our first session and needed to flesh out the game area!

    My next steps:
    1> PUT A SCALE ON THE MAP! I know, this is blasphemous not to have done already (especially since I make part of my living as a draftsman)!
    2> Define major geographic features: mountain ranges, inland bodies of water, major rivers, etc.
    3> Take the land-mass outlines into Photoshop and create the map coloration base - water/vegetation/mountains, etc
    4> Add coloration detail
    5> Add symbols and text.
    6> Border, Compass Rose, and other mapping details

    Attachments so far:
    1> Map Sketch 2: One of the initial scanned pencil sketches. I liked some of the shapes I had come up with, but not necessarily the arrangement....
    2> Viking Lines Map WIP: The next step, having moved some of the land masses around, and sketched out where fault lines, etc lay.
    3> Land Mass AI WIP: Having traced the outlines in Illustrator and added plenty of detail... Still need to adjust the coastlines on a few areas that don't match the overall style. [THIS IS A BIG, BIG FILE!]
    4> Illium Close-UP WIP: A closeup of Ilium, where you can see that I've started to place cities, mountain ranges, the absent Mt. Olympus, etc. I normally wouldn't do the cities until much later, but we needed a basis to start gaming with...

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Map Sketch-2.jpg 
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ID:	1295   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Viking Lines Map WIP.jpg 
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Name:	LandMass AI WIP.jpg 
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Size:	1.73 MB 
ID:	1297   Ilium CU WIP 1.pdf  

  2. #2


    I like your methodical process and how your group collaborates on the world development. Its a great way to make PCs feel invested in their campaign setting. I can definitely see the benefit of mapping out fault lines when determining geography and working backwards from that point. Look forward to seeing more as you get to it.
    "Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it."

    Atlas Shrugged authored by Ayn Rand

  3. #3
    Community Leader pyrandon's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Michigan, USA


    Yeah, buddy! This is going to be a fun thread! I love seeing worlds come together from start to finish! Keep it up.
    GM, Westaven
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  4. #4
    Community Leader RobA's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Niagara, Canada


    Wow! Lots of detailed area covered there. You will certainly have many opportunities to fill in the holes as you need to, which is a great way to approach a map.

    I like your process too, but caution that the political boundaries might have been premature, not having the land features in place. An alternative way at this time is to define zones of influence for each of the civilizations and see how they approach each other across the physical terrain (once defined). The relationships between them will help decide the borders, as well.

    For example two groups constantly at war will have to have defensible borders tightly coupled with terrain, possibly with a large no-man's land of disputed territory between them, where-as two groups that have a relatively harmonious peace and trade relationship may have borders based on negotiation and may be a nice straight line across a region.

    -Rob A>

  5. #5
    Guild Apprentice Pablo Diablo's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    NYC, NY (USA)



    Good points. I think most of my political borders (as they appear on the sketch) follow your guidelines. Its just not so apparent, because mountain ranges, etc are still in my head!

    The Keltoi / Ilium (Celtic and Greek) border actually cants clockwise a few more degrees to follow the mountain range that occurs along the fault line... The Keltoi / Skagen (Celtic / Viking) border is a point of conflict, with the Keltoi being nomadic and the Skagen starting to establish coastal settlements - there will be a narrow "no-man's land" as you call it (I've been thinking of it as a DMZ! =) along the northeast coast there. The only other political border within a geographical mass is in the southwest, where the two pre-Mayan-inspired civilizations share mostly peaceful borders on bodies of water.

    The thought on the Imperrium Toranum (Roman-inspired) is that it thins out as it progresses into the shattered lands - there may be a technical "border", but it is not a Hadrian's Wall sort of situation, rather a "more civilized" (safe) and "less civilized" (not safe) one.


  6. #6
    Guild Apprentice Pablo Diablo's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    NYC, NY (USA)


    So I absolutely LOVED some of the coloration in these maps by TheRedEpic. I haven't quite pegged the water coloration, but I think I'm doing OK for my first shot (and that bit was done without my tablet, which was a bit of a pain in the you-know-what).

    -Internal bodies of water (which I should have done already)
    -Figuring out how I am going to do mountain ranges


    Do I need to change the color on the scale? It seems to stick out to me, but I wanted to let it sit for a while, and see if it was OK when I got some warmer colors on the piece. (Right now its the whole red/green color contrast thing)

    Edit: (forgot to mention) Also, I'm of changing the compass rose to something a little more cross-cultural than the vaguely roman-esque font. Perhaps a circular chiseled stone tablet...?

    PS Forgive the compression artifacts on the attachment - first shot was almost 3 megs, which would have just been rude. =)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Colored WorldMap WIP 1 small.jpg 
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Size:	1.62 MB 
ID:	1339  
    Last edited by Pablo Diablo; 11-03-2007 at 04:53 PM.

  7. #7
    Guild Journeyer
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Toronto, Canada


    great looking map. Like the beveled font nice touch. gives it an ancient Rome feel.

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