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Thread: Representing terrain and politics together?

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    Guild Member LS-Jebus's Avatar
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    Post Representing terrain and politics together?

    As it says, I am in need of suggestions or examples for how to make a map that shows geographic features, but also political boundaries in an easy-to-follow format.

    The terrain can be either general, such as highlands/lowlands/mountains, or detailed, showing swamps/forests/rocky land/etcetera as well.

    I post this because most fantasy maps I see are very simplified with politics and very detailed in terrain, where there are only a handful of countries with simple borders. But this world is not like Middle Earth - there are up to 20 states in this particular region, and in this setting of a feudal world the borders are not so clean-cut.

    I have been experimenting but I have not made anything satisfactory.
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    With an emphasis being more on nations and their borders I would suggest an antique/Mercator style with very simple terrain...probably symbols or brushes. You can try the shaded relief method for something quasi realistic if you want.
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    Guild Artisan rdanhenry's Avatar
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    If you represent terrain in monochrome symbols and political regions in pale colors, they can share space pretty effectively. Or less commonly, you could do it the other way around. Use color for terrain and draw black political marking over it.

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    On a primarily political map, I usually only show elevation and rivers for terrain, and make 'em black symbols (such as triangles for mountains (though triangles only work for medieval/early modern style. If you want 19th or 20th century, you should either have short lines radiating from the ridge line or shading on one side of the ridge (without showing the actual terrain). If you want to show all the terrain, you could just draw borders on, but I prefer using semi-transparent country colouration.

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    Guild Artisan Juggernaut1981's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LS-Jebus View Post
    As it says, I am in need of suggestions or examples for how to make a map that shows geographic features, but also political boundaries in an easy-to-follow format.

    The terrain can be either general, such as highlands/lowlands/mountains, or detailed, showing swamps/forests/rocky land/etcetera as well.
    Okay, I think you can do it. Shantadracule was working on one recently.

    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...0&postcount=49

    It requires merging two concepts, and you'll need to do a lot of secondary preparation work.

    Preparation Work
    #1 Define your Major & Minor Kingdoms.
    #2 Sketch your map out (really rough, "river goes here", "mountains go here", "lake goes here" kind of rough)
    #3 Create an iconography/heraldry for those major-minor kingdoms. I'd recommend that Minor Kingdoms have icons that mimic a Major kingdom they are closely allied with. If you are dividing this down to the Duke/Baron level, then associate the Baron with the Kingdom graphically as well.
    #4 Determine where your Major kingdoms go (they will also be the ones with the best trade routes, best resources and most easily defensible)
    #5 Stick the minor kingdoms in the "fuzzy middle areas" between the Major Kingdoms

    Map Making Process
    #1 Do a nice detailed "sat map" (or other style if you'd like). For a "drawn map" it's hard to go past Ramah's recent efforts.
    #2 Insert the heraldic icons onto the landscape (say near capitals) and make sure you mark the MILITARY locations (forts, keeps, towers, checkpoints) because THESE will define your kingdom boundaries. Also mark these buildings with the heraldic markers
    #3 Fuss about with the rest and write a backstory that meshes with what you've already done, the geography (armies don't like attacking over frozen mountains if they can find an easy target on the plains) and the rest of it.


    If you've got questions about any of the separate steps, feel free to ask whoever happens to be reading the thread.
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