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  1. #1

    Wip Hethinian Frontier Map

    This is a map I'm constructing for a Novel I'm in the process of writing. The destination on it are places that will be encountered on the Journey of a Train that makes stops at these town's for one week.The story is to take place over a period of one year or 52 weeks. My current concern is that I don't have enough lad mass to make that period of time. Not that the time needs to be filled out, but I do feel the geography is a bit bland and uninteresting.

    I know I'm missing a Key, and a compass.

    Any and all suggestions are welcome. I'm pretty new to map making, and would be thankful for any and all comments on this.
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  2. #2
    Guild Apprentice
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Maryland, USA


    How does the journey across the water work? Do they transfer to ship and sail out of/into Charlotte Sound?

    The colors are bolder than what I normally like, but then... who am I? :-D

  3. #3
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA

    Default typo

    52 distinct interesting places is a lot. Do you intend to depict all in the novel? If so, each gets but a modest slice of the wordcount. Or can the route extend well off-map?

    Of course t'aint that the places must be a week apart, but that they be SoMe reasonable separation, with the stay in each to be around a week. That cuts the needed distance a bit; you might could get away with but a few hours of travel between each. If you lament the scarcity of territory, do you intend to extend what you have, broader?

    I wouldn't call that terrain all boring per se, but you could definitely make travel harder. What era of railway are you envisaging? The earlier the better, as far as making travel hard. Plenty of early trains would average but ten - twenty - thirty miles per hour; even less in steep terrain. Make the rivers strong or wide, and you could justify traveling up one side til they're small enough to bridge, then down the other. Too, nothing says it has to be a clean circuit. If the cities are scattered randomly, a bit of zigzagging would be justified.

    Are you figuring on political boundaries affecting travel? Border crossings could slow things nicely. And where terrain might otherwise call for but one city, an artfully placed border might split the apparent district into two, each deserving a significant settlement of its own.

    You could populate some of the western islands, leaving room for some more slow ferry trips. Or if we're guessing wrong, and those over-water routes aren't ferries, then more room for the trainmasters to shift to waterproof mode and deploy the 500-foot snorkels with forced draft. Just sayin'... that'd for sure be an interesting train!

    Do any of the route segments feature non-terrain difficulties? The odd stampede, kangaroo drive, locust or frog infestation (makes the rails REALLY slippery), hostile natives, mudslides, volcanic activity, avalanches, lack of water (or of pure water - a dire necessity for steam locos), sandstorms, drifts of snow or dust inundating the rails, land subsidence, labor unrest, revolution, civil war, irate soccer moms, tax disputes, terrorist attack, bridge washout, tornadoes, ice storms, locals stealing the rails for scrap or ties for firewood, alien abduction, puddles of obsolete magic, interfering pilgrimages, or perhaps a good old-fashioned train robbery?

    The map's in a nice sketchy style. Some of your rivers have issues -- one won't see them dividing on their way to the sea, except for the specific, limited situation of a delta that sticks out into a sea, or perhaps an inland delta, if the terrain goes all flat and swampy. The second river E of Varscott, both those SE of Var Costos.... poor plausibility. There's a good tutorial here on where rivers go that explains things nicely. Some of the places you have tributaries joining give the wrong impression of directionality too. Usually if a junction makes a "V" at all, the V points downstream. You'll sometimes see right-angle joins, but most 'wrong-way' angles will eventually wash their way to an intuitive 'downstream angle'. Here, I'm looking at the junctures between Var Betham and Var Yrilliman. 'Course at this scale there's room within the mile-or-three width of the lines, for a sharp curve 'back downstream' to be hidden there. But barring some storytelling reason to the contrary, it doesn't hurt to generalize the layout to make clear the direction the water really does flow.

    The colors are indeed bright, but it's a pleasant effect. The mountain over-color could stand lightening enough to make the mountain linework show better.

    I'm fascinated by your premise - do please remember to post when you've go the novel done!
    Last edited by jbgibson; 11-27-2011 at 09:54 PM.

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