I'm starting up a new campaign in a few weeks and I decided to fix up an old campaign setting to use for it. I wanted to make a proper map that I could use to chart the characters' travels, so I decided to make a hex map.
Here was my first shot at making a hex map:
The symbols here were never really meant to be permanent - the mountains especially - but after finishing this much, I decided I wanted to go into much more detail. So I blew it up and started over....
For the record, this map is pretty huge. (This is scaled down to the more comfortable viewing size of 6.25%, haha.)
(Here's a closeup, just because I like the trees.)
First, I'm not used to doing maps that are actually to scale, rather than symbolic, heh, so my scale here is probably badly off. I decided, though, that something (like a town or a river) inside a hex just means that it's somewhere in the hex, not that it necessarily takes up the entire thing. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it, heh.) I'm worried that my rivers may be too big, though, or my mountain(ous region)s too small, or any number of other things, so if something is off, I would really like to know. Each of the small hexes is supposed to represent half a day's travel - so about 10 miles across?
One thing I know is that I don't have very many rivers; I only drew in ones that were navigable or seemed important, but I don't know if that's a good way to do it.
The black spots are population centers* and the red lines are roads - they'll eventually be replaced with something nicer. (Circles of varying size/design for the various towns, and probably dotted lines for the roads.)
My big problem at this point is that I have no idea how I want to do the mountains. (I really want to keep it in a top-down view, but I don't think the realistic look of rendered mountains fits this. I haven't yet been able to find a good example of top-down mountains that will fit with the simplified style I'm going for.
*The idea behind this whole setting was that there was a big catastrophe that wiped out many people and increased the number of extremely dangerous hostile monsters. So while there's been some recovery, people are still clustered around safe areas instead of being as spread out as they used to be. (Which also means there are plenty of monster-infested ruins for the characters to explore.)