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  1. #1

    Question realistic map making advice, ask here or find another site?

    First off I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this, please feel free to move as needed.

    I want to create a rough regional map. The main reason for conflict in this land is the presence of its more localized highly fertile areas and the more populated but dry/rocky terrains. Basically who ever owns the fertile lands gets to feed there people, decide who to sell to and has a leg up in the wars.

    Should I share what I know/ask my questions here or find another more appropriate site? My questions seam to be more about making my map realistic then on the map making process. Sadly I have a time frame of only a few days to complete this along with a few other projects. If this turns out to be the place for me I will ask my questions here and post my map when its done. If not then any suggestions on places to go would be great. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Software Dev/Rep Guild Sponsor waldronate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    The High Desert


    There are all manner of folk hereabouts. Plenty of artistic types and plenty of overly-rigid perfectionists. Show us what you've got and possibly some examples of what you'd like to have and I'm sure that we'll all do what we can to offer advice.

  3. #3


    This is a super rough draft and not really what I'm looking for after all.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I ended up making a continent. The winds coming off the west coast bring rain along the mountains, there are active volcanoes to spread some ash. The central area between ranges is a lot dryer then any were else, but I'm not sure what I want to put there. I held off on adding rivers for the moment. The east coast is almost untouched since I'm thinking of removing the eastern mountains. I want some kind of northern barrier (ice flows in winter?) that makes the southern tip of the mountains better for trade and transportation. But I'm not a fan of what I have come up with so far.

    What I really want is:

    I have a continent that always battles over a specific piece of land because it is "magically" more fertile then anywhere else. (the world has no other type of magic and it's because the ground is basically "miracle grow on crack") But I want the area to be somewhat believable. The whole continent is populated but most of it is only sustainable to human life so who ever hold this land has a massive leg up. I was thinking of modeling the "fertile" land after the pacific northwest (that's why the map I uploaded has that north-south mountain range, but it seams to big an obstacle to transport the "spoils" easily") I don't really need a continent map as long as I have a rough understanding of whats around the fertile area. Any tips on how to make a centralized landmass like this would be great.

  4. #4


    I would be up for putting this fertile land about anywhere. Maybe in the middle of a sea, as a valley in the mountains, a smaller continent near by a few larger ones. The thing is it has to be worth fighting a war over and accessible to a number of different kingdoms (doesn't have to be real easy to get to though). The land needs to be workable with minimal technology. If I had advanced farming techniques then why bother fighting so much for this place? I just need a few tips or some real life situations like this to model my map after. This is also a map only a few people will see so I don't need it to be pretty but the details from it will be known by very picky people.
    Last edited by Tearien; 10-26-2012 at 09:09 PM.

  5. #5
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA


    Your model could be Egypt - for millennia the Nile's regular floods brought brand new fertility and enough water to what was otherwise pretty barren surroundings. Your challenge might be why anybody would live in the NOT- fertile bits.

    Or maybe the Niger River -- the adjoining Sahel region is pretty much man made or man-intensified near-desert, And the river brings life. Picture an area like that, where cities exist because of what ONCE was there. Your volcanos could provide both the MiracleGro and some of the barrenness. Say, where ash fall combined with other nutrients was good, vs . Where it choked out life or contributed to huge erosion or permitted overmuch electrification was bad. No lie - electrification. Ash is somewhat conductive. During/after the Mt St Helens ash fall utility workers had to be VERY careful not to take long steps while working around substations, else they could get very nasty shocks. Supposing some natural source of electricity, and some ash covered places would be "magically" uninhabitable...

    You have some possibilities with the mountains causing rainfall, but as you note if they fully blocked rain, they'd also make travel difficult. Natural fortifications, as it were. How about if most of the continent was arid, and the fertile areas were due to springs and oases due to underground aquifers? The advantage could be partly technical - the secret of building pumps good enough to bring up agricultural amounts of water being jealously guarded. Maybe in many places an inferior kind of pump could bring up enough to barely support a population, but not enough to grow much.

    Or let everywhere be lush and fertile, but only in a few places was some poison LACKING... Zucchini all around, but death to eat them. The Granary exports clean corn at ruinous prices to feed the rest of the continent's horses. Over in another area the huge wealth of mines permits expensive hydroponic growing. Another place has clean soil but little water, and has to build and defend canals and aqueducts to be able to grow food. Other miners have a fungi- based ecosystem, grown in played-out tunnels. A lake harbors edible fish - tough to protect from The Roving Fishbandits.

  6. #6


    Thanks jbgibson! I think I will have to research the kinds of landscape needed to provide wells and aquifers. I like the idea of using the Niger river as well. Off to the wonderful world of Wikis!

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