A Note of Importance
It was pointed out to me recently that I don't actually need a World Map aside from the awesomeness of it, at least not now. I may need it later (possibly), but really I only need continental maps. So, rather than taking this down, making 6 new posts, and hoping for the best, I'll just use what I already have and add this note: the post was originally designed with the idea of a World Map, but I am now going to simply ask for continental maps. If you want to do a map for a specific continent, just let me know. The most IMPORTANT continent that needs to be fleshed out is Cathorius, as it is where the entire first act of anything I have planned involving Alterra would occur, but any other continent that is fleshed out will be appreciated as well.
So, I started a post on DeviantArt to try and find people who could help me with making a map for my personal game world that may or may not ever actually get anywhere. The first response to that post was a reference to the Cartographer's Guild, something I had never heard of before. I must say, I am QUITE happy to find out there's a group of people out there who might be able to actually help me bring what I see in my mind to life. That said, hopefully you all will be able to bring this dream of mine into reality more than it is right now.
Alterra is a massive world I have slowly constructed in my mind for the last 2 years (3? 4 now? I can't remember how long its existed anymore). It consists of 6 continents (and an absolutely massive body of water that covers the remaining half of the planet, but on any map drawn of Alterra that part is never really shown), each with fairly distinct traits, though due to my limited/poor understanding of natural geography I admit my descriptions for those continents in their original forms has been constantly adapting. A friend of mine made a very ROUGH version of a map using paint and basic geometric shapes (along with a grid to give a rough scale, though that scale is fully subject to adjustment if anyone who works on this feels the scale doesn't quite fit with my descriptions), and I would like to take what he started and actually get a fully fleshed out (if not detailed) map with proper continent-shaped landmasses.
Do understand that while I may be including a lot of details on the continents, I don't expect every detail to be used. I simply do so for completions sake, and because my goal is not necessarily to describe what they LOOK like (cause I don't fully know, which is part of why I'm here hoping for some help), so much as the intended FEEL of the continents, so that you might take that feel and turn it into a look that can embody it.
Below is a copy of the original Map my friend created for me, with each square on the grid representing 200 miles (his scale).
Understand that the positions are not necessarily 100% accurate, as a more accurate map would not have Marsenor (northeastern continent in this picture) that far north, and obviously the shapes aren't generally accurate (aside from Marsenor, which has always been my most detailed continent which I had the clearest image in my head of).
The setting in general is a unique world (not Earth v375). The timeframe for the map would be the "present" of the setting, which is a semi-post apocalyptic (I say semi because the event in question was 5000 years ago, so there has been some time for recovery, and it wasn't an event that really wiped out people so much as changed things vastly from what they were) era with steampunk-ish technology (though that's not entirely an accurate description as the technology doesn't use steam but a unique form of magic, it IS a fairly accurate description of the general technology level), trace elements of highly advanced technology (VERY uncommon, as most advanced technology was destroyed with the exception of certain absolute necessities), and things you might expect out of a low-tech high-fantasy setting. As I'm not really all that good at describing it without necessarily going into a lot of detail, here's a link to my forum which has the full background as I originally wrote it up.
Cathorius is the central continent on all Alterran maps. It is an absolutely massive continent, at least double the size of any other continent on the planet. It was once a fairly populated continent, covered with structures, and fairly lush plant life. The current continent is a deadman's land, inhospitable due to large areas where life simply won't grow at all, magic cannot function, and a large number of other dangers. The general terrain is a desert, which takes up a very large chunk of the continent. The outer edges of the continent are more mountainous and jungle-like, but still nothing very livable. In the very center of the continent is a massive chasm, effectively a crack in the very continent, called the Devil's Scar, which is said to be where Magic first burst forth from the planet, resulting in the destruction of the city that was once there, and the death of the thousands who were fighting there when the event took place. The center of Cathorius is exactly on the Equator.
Located to the northeast of Cathorius (or at least in that general direction) and farthest from Cathorius, Marsenor is a continent that is most known for its distinctive shape, volcano, and the militarized nature of its population. A place where might makes right, and the primarily dominant demonic races (of which there are at least 4, possibly more when I finally get around to detailing them all) have the might, and any other race there is generally in the minority, this is one of the few continents with a single race being dominant, as most continents are a mix of races. The continent is very harsh, but each of the demonic races have found ways to thrive despite the difficult nature of the volcanic landmass. Shaped in a near-crescent, the continent's most distinct trait is a massive lake near the north-end of the continent, easily hundreds, if not a thousand miles across. The lake opens to the sea at a small break in the continent, which has been turned into a heavily fortified choke-point in case of attack, as at the center of the lake is the capital city of Marsenor.
Surrounded on 3 sides (with the only side not covered being on the opposite side from the entrance to the lake from the sea) by a range of mountains that rise out of the lake with a ring of water between the mountains and the volcano itself, the volcano that once made Marsenor has been fully tamed by the demons of Marsenor and turned into their capital city. At 3 points around the range, guard towers were erected to defend it, though one has since been destroyed, and all 3 have bridges leading to the city itself (though each bridge is close to 100 miles long). It should be noted that the volcano in question is 100 miles from one side to the other.
To the southwest of the main continent is an island which has been used as neutral territory for what interaction might happen between the people of Marsenor and those of other continents, though it is primarily a look-out post (in case of attack on the southern end of the continent) and secondary capital. It is mostly mountainous.
Located almost directly east of Cathorius is the mountainous and barely habitable isle-continent of Utosar. Once a tropical paradise, Magic has reshaped the land into a mass of mountains and plateaus that is difficult to traverse. This has resulted in a tourist spot being turned into a much harsher land, now filled with the Na'zer (the once ONLY race of Alterra, now merely one of the many as described in the background in the link above) who have hatred in their hearts for the other races who (through sheer numbers and determination) took complete control of the continent during the chaos of the early years after Magic was released on the world. Most of the plateaus that are usable have fortress cities built on them, with the Na'zer who live in them living isolated from the other races and interacting only between the people of Utosar. The continent is primarily lead by a council made up of six members of the Royal Family, the family who originally led the fight against the non-Na'zer races on Utosar that ultimately lead them to victory in claiming their home.
Located to the far west of Cathorius, Ethium is a shattered continent. Originally a continent roughly half the size of Cathorius (if not a little bigger than half), the continent was well known for its tropical jungles, vast plains, and various tribes of Na'zer who lived more in-tune with nature than those of other continents. It was also well known for having many unique structures that are equivalents to real-world pyramids. When Magic was released into the world, a large chunk of the continent simply shattered, resulting in hundreds of smaller islands being scattered around one large island (though its mostly at the outer edge) and a larger but smaller island (larger in comparison to the hundreds of other islands, but smaller in comparison to the one large one). The largest chunk is still comparable to a continent, but in general people still refer to all the islands and the larger continent as Ethium. Known as the wildest of the continents, most of those who live on Ethium still live in a very tribal or solitary manner. The larger small island holds what remains of the closest thing to a capital Ethium ever had, now connected by a massive bridge to the mainland (with countless smaller bridges coming off it connecting to various lesser islands along the way between the two).
The northern-most continent from Cathorius, it is closer to the north pole than any other continent, resulting in part of it being covered in snow and ice year-round. With Ethium shattered, Burgown is now one of the largest outside of Cathorius, and generally is considered the only remaining neutral territory in the world where races mix regularly. A fairly mixed environment, the extreme south of Burgown is actually seasonal in temperature, rather than year-round cold like the northern portion of the continent. Of all the continents, I freely admit that this and the next continent are the least detailed, so feel free to take more artistic license with them. The only distinct trade aside from the aforementioned split of temperature is that the continent should look almost like it can connect to Cathorius' northern end like a puzzle piece (a distinct trait that is plot-related to the setting).
The other "polar" continent, located to the south of Cathorius, Stirsea is an oddity. Covered completely by ice and a seemingly never-ending blizzard, Stirsea is actually located almost immediately to the south of Cathorius, far too close to actually be in the portion of the planet where it should be cold enough to be all ice and snow. Stirsea was once located directly on top of the southern pole of the planet, but after the release of Magic, the continent drifted steadily to its current location, just a few thousand miles south of Cathorius (some parts might even go INTO the Equator, though I leave that up to the map maker's discretion). It is generally agreed that the only thing keeping the continent from thawing is whatever Magic is holding it all together.
Honestly, I don't much have any idea what to ask for as far as the details of the map go. You could make a really simple map that just shows the shapes of the continents, or something that portrays the general geographic elements, or a fully realistic map or whatever. I honestly don't know enough about maps to know what to ask for.
As for how long you have to do it? Take whatever time you need, I'm in no rush. There's a very good chance I may never get around to using the map for anything other than a reference on my website where I just dump various Alterra things.
I WILL say this though: If I ever DO actually get around to using this map for anything official (such as a game book) where I can make money, once said money is actually coming, I will do my best to pay for the map. I don't have any sort of real income of my own, and there is no guarantee I'll ever get enough of my setting and rules detailed to turn it into a proper game, which is why this is NOT a for-certain thing. But it IS a long-term dream goal to see Alterra turned into a game. If that happens, and I use whatever map is made from this, I do promise to make sure you get what you deserve.