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Thread: Some Help

  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice crackerjake's Avatar
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    Question Some Help

    This is my first time making a map, and I'm in need of some help. First of all, sorry about it being so dirty and messy, I tried cleaning it up as much as I could while damaging it as little as I could.

    Now, I've got some questions:
    1) What are the effects of a mountain range on an area?
    2) What is the minimum size of a forest?
    3) Would people take boats upriver for trade and such?
    4) What kind of things would having this many rivers in one area do?
    5) How long would it take for a desert to form if a mountain range was spontaneously created?

    I'll also take any advice offered, of course, since I'm kinda having the mapper's equivalent of a writer's block. I'm kind of struggling on where/if I should put more forests or another lake or pond.

    If it helps, here's an extremely quick and brief version of the backstory of my land:

    The Diernese arrived on the shores of what is know the Dierdan Kingdom, and made an alliance with the local (good aligned, by nature) orcs for the sake of survival. The resident humans didn't take too kindly to the Dierdans being there, attacked, and ultimately failed in the face of the Orc/Dierdan forces, and mostly because a wizard, backed by a cabal of other wizards, raised what he wanted to be a stone wall, but was instead a mountain range. The effort killed him, but the attackers were soon cut off and the Dierdans and the Orcs survived. Things went on, the Dierdans and the Orcs became closer, building a kingdom together. On the other side of the mountains, a desert had formed and the Desert Men (finally, a name!!) attacked again. They formed a group of elite wizards who blew a freaking hole in the mountain range, and they attacked, and lost, again. A highly talented wizard erected a gate (dunno of what) where the hole was and named it after himself.

    Oh, and the Unforgiving Isle has pirates. The Genneve Isles are where monks train.


    Like I said before, this is still veeeeeery early in the development, but I'm pretty stuck. Where the star is is supposed to be the Kingdom Capital (no name yet). This is for my DnD group, and it'll be my first time DMing :p, so I'm trying to make this as good as I can.

    So, can I be helped? Or is it still too early to tell?
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    Last edited by crackerjake; 01-20-2009 at 02:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    I think you have a good start here. I see one anomaly with the river, they generally don't split that way - but if you have a good reason for it (such as I want it that way ), then don't worry about it.

    I can't answer any of you geological questions but there a some here who should be able to.

    Is this going to be a hand drawn map or are you going to scan it and re-do it graphically?
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  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    First off, cool little map, it looks pretty darn good actually and the only thing I'd fix is the split river; rivers merge with others as they go downstream not split (unless there is some sort of magical phenomenon to account for it). They might split to go around something rocky to form an island but rejoin quite quickly.

    As to the effects of the mountain range created by some arcane magicks...well I think the most immediate effects would be on the fauna (animals and people deserting the area for a while) while the climatalogical effects would be gradual, say over hundreds of years if not thousands.

    As far as a desert forming up...that would depend on how tall the mountains are and how the jet stream blows. If it blows west to east then a desert might form up on the eastern side of the range (if the mountains are tall enough) but being so close to the coast I'm sure that there would be plenty of inland breezes to compensate for that much like the Carolinas and if this is in a sub-tropical locale then hurricanes would probably make this more like Florida. If the jet stream blows north south or south north then the mountains would have little affect the way they are now. If the jest stream blows east to west then this area would be quite swampy unless its far north, in which case it would be quite pleasant like England (which gets it's warmth mainly from the Gulf Stream but you get the idea).
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  4. #4
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjake View Post
    This is my first time making a map, and I'm in need of some help. First of all, sorry about it being so dirty and messy, I tried cleaning it up as much as I could while damaging it as little as I could.

    Now, I've got some questions:
    1) What are the effects of a mountain range on an area?
    2) What is the minimum size of a forest?
    3) Would people take boats upriver for trade and such?
    4) What kind of things would having this many rivers in one area do?
    6) How long would it take for a desert to form if a mountain range was spontaneously created?
    Nice job so far crackerjake. I'll try and reply to your questions:

    1. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountains for some inspiration
    2. Really, there's no set minimum. It depends on a lot of factors. If there's a lot of civilizations around deforestation is going to be a problem (also depending how numerous and technologically advanced those civilizations are). Most of Europe was covered in forest at one time for example...
    3. Yes, if the current wasn't too strong. You could have people rowing or even horses pulling the boats from the shores.
    4. Rivers can have a big impact on trade, transportation, conflicts (try crossing a river with the enemy on the other side) and thus civilization. Also consider potential flooding, fertile lands because of sediments and maybe even minerals like gold that are deposited from the mountains.
    5. Wait, there's no question 5.
    6. Deserts are not formed overnight, but an area can become barren quite quickly. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification

    Remember, Wikipedia is your friend!
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    Guild Apprentice crackerjake's Avatar
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    @SteelGeneral: Yes, this is going to be a completely hand-drawn map

    @Ascension: I was originally going to have the wind current going from east to west, but I can change it if that'll make enough of a difference to give me my desert :p (It doesn't matter if the desert was there before or after the mountains were raised to me. Actually, I could have the whole place a desert and the mountains being raised slowly changed the shore from a desert to a plains area, or something. Still working on the climate of the area)

    @Both: The river was a quick fix thing, since I originally had the Wilder's Bane and the Golden River both outflowing from the lake, and I read on here that having two outflows would eventually dry up one of the rivers, and I kinda need both to be permanent, soooo... Anyways, unless someone can give me an idea (or if I can come up with it on my own), I guess the Guardian River splitting is gonna have to be spontaneously magical, I guess :p

    @Gandwarf: Ick, wikipedia. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but if you say these articles are realiable, then I guess I'll trust them

    Thanks for the help so far, I'll be sure to be more active in the future. Been lurking these forums for the odd bit of geographic or cartographic info for the past few months.

  7. #7
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
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    Wikipedia....Always take it with a grain of salt. I have seen articles there that are quite well done (usually in areas I have had formal training in....archaeology and history of ancient cultures).

    That said, Wikipedia should be taken as any research; one voice of many. Research, form an opinion and look for additional arguments that either backs up or contradicts the findings.

    That said, with regards to desert forming, remember, the true definition of a desert is an area with either little rainfall or an area that loses more water than it receives. Technically, the Arctic/Antarctic are cold deserts, with the Antarctic desert being the worlds largest, larger even than the Sahara.

    Not all deserts look like Arizona/Sahara/Mongolian. For instance, the Okanagan region in British Columbia is a Desert, even with its pine trees, and scrubs because of it's low yearly precipitation.

    So, because you are understandably reluctant to accept Wikipedia, the following takes you to the University of California's Paleontology Museum's website with articles on the various biomes of earth:

    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibit...es/deserts.php
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  8. #8
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    That said, Wikipedia should be taken as any research; one voice of many. Research, form an opinion and look for additional arguments that either backs up or contradicts the findings.
    Agreed, if doing proper research you should have multiple sources.
    Otherwise Wikipedia is a great read and it should give lots of inspiration. Most of my maps only need a bit of realism, so I don't have to worry about information being false.
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  9. #9
    Guild Artisan Hoel's Avatar
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    A fantasy rpg map is hardly a master thesis so wikipedia should suffice as a source.
    Magic is a great tool for fudging geography...
    I like the look of the mountain range, i wonder what's on the other side, I hope your campaign goes well

  10. #10
    Guild Apprentice crackerjake's Avatar
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    I've got another question.

    This one is regarding my anomaly of a river:

    Is it possible for a river to be fed by a large spring that is in turn fed by an underground river?

    My thought was to have a sea or a whole ocean underneath the mountains, as another unwanted effect of the spell, and the underground river would be fed from this body of water. This, of course, begs the question of whether an underground lake/sea/ocean is possible...
    Heh, super-duper-wild evocation...

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