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Thread: A map or two from a new member

  1. #1

    Post A map or two from a new member

    Hi all,

    I've been reading the forums here for a while and decided to finally register and post a map or two that I'm working on. Adulation is nice; constructive criticism is good, too!

    The first is a major island I'm working on for an RPG campaign. The island will probably be the center of the campaign. There are a lot of things yet to work on, but it's at least very close to what the final map will look like. The full-size map is too big for an attachment here, so I've also included the second map, which is a thumbnail showing what the full-sized map's details look like: settlements, roads, ruins, etc.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Apex, NC USA


    Looks nice, but would like to see higher size/res versions to be able to a more detailed view.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  3. #3


    Okay, here's a crop of the center-south of the island, including the thumbnail above. (As I mentioned, I can't post the entire map at native resolution, because it's too large for an attachment here and I don't really want to post it anywhere else.)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4
    Guild Member Sirith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Europe


    Great map, I rather like the look of it, like it's a satellite image.

    I do think all those settlements seem to be distributed a bit too regular on the available land. It seems they all have roughly the same distance to the neighbouring villages, which looks a bit unrealistic. IMHO. I'm wondering if you did so intentional?

    The mountainrange is awesome, btw, great work

  5. #5


    Thanks for the comments!

    I'm aiming for the feel of a satellite image (at least for terrain), so your first comment is great to hear.

    I think the settlements aren't all that regularly distributed. They lie a certain average away from each other, true, but the actual distances vary by quite a bit. I suppose I should increase the density in the more central regions, though.

    I think what may make it look too regular is the roads. I've been thinking that maybe I should make the road connections a bit more chaotic, but I can't really think of a rationale to do so. It seems like almost every medieval village is going to have roads to its nearby neighbors, right? But maybe the roads are too straight -- maybe I should introduce more twisty roads and paths to indicate unseen small streams, hills, etc.

    The mountains are hard to do right. It's hard to remember how small the valleys get -- in other words, how much fractalization to put in.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6


    Great mountains

    The villages are laid out in too regular a grid. Even if the distance between them varies, they are still essentially on a grid pattern, and this is reinforced by the grid pattern of the roads.

    In reality the villages would be more scattered around than this, and the road network would be optimised rather than laid out, ie a compromise would be made between the best connectivity (often an almost pure grid as seen in big newish cities like New York which have been designed rather than grown) and a system which uses the least amount of road necessary to include all villages (this usually large roads running through the landscape connecting large settlements, with smaller roads connecting smaller settlements to the trunk roads). Either extreme looks artificial, but for a medieval landscape you definitely want to avoid the 'designed' look, unless the area's history says otherwise. Keep in mind that many of the villages would have sprung up along the roads between larger settlements, with more outlying villages being less densely packed. Add in variation for landscape features (even in the lowlands not all land is desirable or usable, for a multitude of reasons) and hopefully you can create a layout that looks evolved and lived-in rather than designed.

    Unless of course your fluff decrees that the current inhabitants only arrived 50 years ago and their pantheon is ruled by a god of geometry, in which case ignore everything I said.

    But apart from that minor point, a lovely map, and even just the scale of the thing is impressive

  7. #7


    How would you folks suggest making the villages' distribution look more natural? Take some out? Put more in that are very close to others? It seems like just randomly moving them around wouldn't have the right effect -- some villages would be located far away from water sources, without enough cropland around them, etc.

  8. #8


    To Many

    Its like the Borg are assimilating the map

    Nice Maps keep on posting

  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected rpgmapmaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Well there is no right or wrong way to make anything on a "made up" map IMO... but I would start with looking at Google maps for a little while and see where we build out towns at... in terms of spacing and location.

    There are a few factors when placing a town or city onto geography.

    food/water sources
    Population decadency
    Time frame or technology level of the society
    When the region was colonized... on said "time frame/tech tree"

    If you have a society that is primitive and food is plentiful then there would be many small towns. This is one reason why there are so many small towns in the British Isles. If the population and tech level is higher then there is a congregation toward larger more spread out cities...

    As in America the tech level and such lead to the colonies being based around larger cities near main ports for supply and so forth.

    Of course there are many more things to consider but that should give you something to think about.

    Note: If your map were based on a work fiction then some placement would be decided for you.

    Something like this would be what I might do... this was quick so not perfect or a golden rule...

    Last edited by rpgmapmaker; 05-10-2008 at 10:20 PM. Reason: added map

  10. #10


    As for the "too many" critique, I guess I disagree. The number of villages is just about in line with what there should be, from my research. If anything, the density might be too low -- but I can't work with a map much larger than what it is now.

    rpgmapmaker, I've done quite a bit of research for this project already. I know pretty well what the land conditions, history, resources, etc. of the regions mapped are. I'm working on the map concurrently with a conlang or two, a fairly detailed history, climatology, etc.

    It's actually really hard to find maps of medieval Europe that show how villages were distributed. I've got a few books that show, say, a small valley and its villages, or the settlements around a given town, but nothing that shows a larger scale. Lots of maps show the distribution of towns and cities, but few actually show smaller villages. (Then again, I'm not that great at doing research. I'm sure there are avenues I've missed.) The closest I've found so far is some maps of 17th century Nottinghamshire. Certainly not the period I'm aiming for (I'm going for approximately Norman Invasion levels of technology), but at least pre-industrial. And, I have to say, the distribution of towns on my map looks very similar to what I'm seeing on those maps.

    I don't think I understand the additions you made. Are the red dots cities and the yellow dots castles? Please explain.

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