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Thread: WIP: Aardia and the Kyzian Empire

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  1. #1

    Wip WIP: Aardia and the Kyzian Empire

    The Kyzian Empire is located on the planet of Aardia. It's the setting for a low-magic D&D campaign. I'm still getting a feel for the tools and figuring out how I'm going to do the final maps--I'm working on Linux, and have done some stuff straight-up in Inkscape, some Gimp stuff, and some with maptool as well.

    I'm not super happy with any of these, but they're a first cut at learning to use the tools and figuring out some different kinds of maps that I may want to use. Detail level is extremely low for that reason (I want to decide exactly what I'm doing before I drill down too deeply).

    Rhumb-line navigational map of the sea from someone with a bit more global knowledge. This is stark black and white, but it's meant to be printed on an aged parchment to give it some texture:

    Final effect when printed:


    Parchment-style "hand-drawn" map of the continent (the maelstrom swirl needs to be less CGI and I need to work on mountain distribution some). Written from the perspective of someone with very limited world info who's from the Porthelm area, and a much cruder hand-drawn coastline; this one has the cloth/parchmenty background in the image, as it's meant to be shown on screen:


    Satellite-style regional map of that (Porthelm) area:


    Toy town map (of Cragshead) from maptool, but this is mostly just me learning how the tool works and will be completely reworked:

  2. #2
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    Hello:

    It is a good start. Also no matter how anyone feels about the map, if you are not happy with it then you need to find a way to work it out. I am currently in the same boat. I like the satellite style map. Also the town map does provide data for the players / audience. The world navigational map(s) isn't bad. What are the navigational lines? Are they routes are they an arbitrary style of distance and directions? That is my only questions. I probably missed something on the maps.

    Tracker

  3. #3

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    They are rhumb lines (lines of constant compass bearing), which were used on in the pre-latitude/longitude days for dead reckoning on portolan nautical navigation charts.

    Portolan chart - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Guild Expert Jalyha's Avatar
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    Hiya. That looks like a LOT of work. And very well done!

    2 things... the rhumb line heading WNW from the compass to the "Inner Sea" label, it looks.. wobbly? (printed version) Is that intentional, or just my screen, or...


    Second... I personally find the rhumb lines that go THROUGH the land/plaque/etc to be distracting.... I don't know what the standard is for these types of maps, but I should think if they were for sailing/navigation, having them only through the water would be fine? Just one opinion

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalyha View Post
    Hiya. That looks like a LOT of work. And very well done!

    2 things... the rhumb line heading WNW from the compass to the "Inner Sea" label, it looks.. wobbly? (printed version) Is that intentional, or just my screen, or...


    Second... I personally find the rhumb lines that go THROUGH the land/plaque/etc to be distracting.... I don't know what the standard is for these types of maps, but I should think if they were for sailing/navigation, having them only through the water would be fine? Just one opinion
    Thanks!

    The 2nd picture is actually of the map printed on paper, which has been rolled up and then unrolled on the table. It's curled somewhat, so the lines look wobbly there. They are straight in the original file (and straight if you hold the paper out flat). I like having a physical artifact to give the players, makes it feel more real sometimes.

    My last post has a link to the portolan chart wiki entry that has a picture of a real 1300s-era example; the lines ran over the land. It's not intended for land navigation, so they apparently just took a straight edge and ran it through the whole map--they also don't draw any inland cities or terrain on these maps. Once you hit land, you're expected to pull out a land-based map I guess.
    Last edited by SumnerH; 01-28-2014 at 10:50 PM.

  6. #6

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    Oh, also I should note that the fact that the rhumb lines are straight implies that the map is a Mercator projection (or closely similar projection)--that's how the Mercator got popular in the first place.

  7. #7

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    Here's a look at some of my workflow, especially the layers in Inkscape:


    They're similar to what's in the tutorial here, but I have some additional things. The rhumb lines are obviously unique to someone who wants nautical maps, but some stuff could be broadly useful:

    * 2 sets of city layers, one in smaller size with many cities for regional maps, one in larger size with only major cities for zoomed out world views
    * Climate lines, that show the tropics and the arctic circles. This is useful as I'm laying out terrain to make sure I'm placing things roughly at the correct latitudes
    * The "Terrain type" and "Mountains bound" layers just have really rough shapes outlining where is going to have hills/forest/mountains/etc; I fill those in with detail on the appropriate other layers. But I can just rough outline them so that if I get bored with placing mountains I can move on to something else and yet still know (and see) the extent of where the ranges are going to finish up.
    * "Coastline scratch" is just a quick sketch of where the continents are going to be, done at a totally zoomed out (entire world view) level. That lets me rough out where the continents go, then I zoom in to continent level and draw the actual detailed continent's coastline. For now only the 2 local continents are done in detail, but I can zoom out and see where everything is and can have people in the world talk intelligently about that spice traffic with the continent to the southwest or whatver.
    * "Coastline hand" is a hand-traced version of the coastline, so I can have some maps that look more hand-drawn and less detailed.

    I had a "coastline concentric" layer for the concentric continental shelf lines (seen in the nautical chart above) but I'm going to redo those somewhat so it's missing at the moment.

    Layers are trivial to add and remove and give you tons of flexibility, so may as well use more rather than less!

  8. #8

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    And the scratch coastline layer; this will be tinkered with a ton before finishing everything out, but helps me have a mental guideline of roughly where things are going to end up:


    EDIT: You can see the equator/tropics/arctic circle here, which are useful to have visible when placing continents.
    Last edited by SumnerH; 01-29-2014 at 10:21 AM.

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    Guild Expert Jalyha's Avatar
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    wait how do you do that? Just put the lines on a seperate layer? That could be useful!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jalyha View Post
    wait how do you do that? Just put the lines on a seperate layer? That could be useful!
    Yeah, the climate layer is just those lines (the graticule and rhumb layers have additional overlay lines).

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