Mountain Village - step by step
I need to create a map for an upcoming Kaidan supplement product called Way of the Yakuza for Rite Publishing and designed for Pathfinder RPG. While the publication is primarily an overview on the Yakuza criminal organization found in Kaidan, but also includes class archetypes for specialized bards, fighters, rogues, and wizards, new feats, new spells, new magic items. The product includes a yakuza gang 'stat block', based on the Game Mastery Guide city stat-block, as well as how to design your own yakuza organization using the stat block rules. As a bonus feature, a mountain village called Zawaizumi has been taken over by a ruthless gang of yakuza smugglers with complete detailed Yakuza gang with full NPC stats for the boss, lieutenant, accountant/litigant, major members of the gang, and some non-Yakuza NPCs of the village. Further there are 6 encounter locations that fit a background story, and recent events in that village. This would be a ready to use drop-in encounter location for adventurers in Kaidan. The inclusion of a vilage and map is somewhat unusual for this kind of product, just something we are trying to do for something unique.
I decided to create my usual hand-drawn / digital hybrid map style that I'm known for, using Xara Xtreme Pro 4 my preferred application.
So below is a step-by-step WIP showing just what I'm doing in a bit more detail than most of my threads - kind of a tutorial, which I might eventually start a tutorial thread replication what I do here - but this is a WIP, I'm only in the early steps.
1. First image is a hand-drawing using a micro-point pen on an 18" x 24" sheet of paper. This is then scanned into my large format B/W scanner at 300 ppi.
2. Then I create layered beveled shapes using my pastel earth tone palette I prefer. Note the larger complete shapes have been cut away to the shown rectangular area. After I created a given layer, I applied bevels and a drop shadow to increase the feeling of height. I used the hand-drawing as a guide in creating the shapes then placed it over a transparent background filtered version of the hand-drawing.
3. Next image shows the beveled shapes with the hand-drawing on top.
4. Next I did something experimental. Since I wanted the banks of the stream to be less beveled than the surrounding terrain, I created a rectangular shape surrounding the area around the stream, created the bank bevels with shadow. Finally I cut away most the areas around the bank to not conceal the elevation drops beneath it. I cut it to the banks especially at the elevation drops. Then I placed a stream of blue beneath the banks but cut to just beyond the edges of the bank.
Of course the waterfalls and rapids which I have yet to place is currently covered by the current stream - not to worry, I will slice that stream apart and work with the drop shadows and elevation changes as their own beveled shapes as my next step. I have lots still to do, a dry ravine sits in the top left of this map view - which needs to be cut as in the the step by step stream work below. Buildings, roads, roas rising on the elevations. The trees and rice paddies are yet to be drawn and placed with their own beveled shapes, palette and shadows - much to do yet.
In the end, I need to rotate this maps 90 degrees counter-clockwise, so that the right side of the map is north (top), then labeled in that direction to fit the PDF letter size format.