So, here is WIP numero 3. I completely redid the colors, because I felt like the last few WIPs had more of a "tropical getaway" and not a "city of larceny and murder", which is what Fogdown is! It's just just a piece of the city though. I need to finish penning out the buildings to the south.
A few thanks for this one: RPGMapmaker for his Brushes (when you need a compass on the rush!), RPMiller for inspiring style (the bandit camp rocks my socks), and Andy Law (who did Freeport's incredible map).
Of course all comments and critiques are welcome, a few things I'm particularly interested in hearing from others about:
1) I beveled the houses to try and give them a "roof" look. They looked too flat before and need a little pop. Any thoughts? Do they look like stones? any suggestions?
2) I put in a water texture I found and I thought it added a lot ot the map, but I wasn't sure if it was too texture-y for the other parts of the map
3) Mountains - do the elevation lines (LIVES!) work?
4) I green-shifted the "flooded cemetery" - does it just look like someone airbrushed a section of the city?
5) Are the roads too bland? They look like they are paved in vanilla icecream to me... like the off-white, "old fashion" kind they sell by the gallon.
EDIT: 6) And scale please
Last edited by Redstar; 07-17-2008 at 11:51 PM.
Redstar, I must say, that is one nice looking map. I look forward to when the entire map is complete.
As to your points:
1. I like what you did with the houses. They are distinct without being so cg and "plasticy" that they draw attention away from the rest of the map.
2. The water looks nice. Although I suspect you'd be better keeping it as is, being a fan of the old Darlene Greyhawk maps, I'd recommend you experiment with different blue and green colors and hues to depict different water depths. The harbors will not have an extreme variation, but the depth will drop off as you get beyond the island. If you think that depicting water depth would make the map too kaleidescopic, just forget it.
3. I like the elevation lines, nothing needs to be changed.
4. The cemetery does look a bit weird. I don't know if you should use transparency or shading effects, but there's got to be a better way to denote that its flooded. Right now it looks like pools in a level ground area.
5. Just remember the KISS principle for roads and houses. They look fine as they are--don't try and get overly elaborate, it will just clutter up the map.
One set of structures that I would mention for the south part of the city (or at least in an area thats walled off and controlleable) are granaries. An island city the size of yours (I'm guessing the population is in the tens of thousands) would require an enormous amount of food to keep fed. Obviously, the food is going to be shipped in--but there should be a controlled place to store it besides the warehouses near the docks (as a safeguard against food riots).
In any event Redstar, your map is shaping up into one of the better city maps I've seen on the guild. Keep it up and good luck to you.
I thought the flat roofs fit the overall style just perfectly, but these bevels are very subtle and well-integrated.1) I beveled the houses to try and give them a "roof" look. They looked too flat before and need a little pop. Any thoughts? Do they look like stones? any suggestions?
Again, subtlety is the key to your success. The pattern is faint and suggestive and the colors sufficiently desaturated to make it evocative. The same pattern used more clumsily could be gaudy and distracting, but you sidestepped that trap, I think.2) I put in a water texture I found and I thought it added a lot ot the map, but I wasn't sure if it was too texture-y for the other parts of the map
Given the Waterdeep-style inspiration, absolutely yes; they fit right in. That aside, I think they create a vague impression that the city is otherwise flat ... I'm not sure if that's the impression I should really be getting.3) Mountains - do the elevation lines (LIVES!) work?
Yes; I find that element calls attention to itself as more explicitly digital.4) I green-shifted the "flooded cemetery" - does it just look like someone airbrushed a section of the city?
I don't think they are, no. The contrast is a goodly, valuable, legible and friendly contrast.5) Are the roads too bland?
The bar itself could use just the faintest whiff of character to bring it in line with your other typographical choices, IMO. As for the overall scale of the city, it seems modestly and very believably-scaled for a trad-fantasy medieval-type burg.EDIT: 6) And scale please
... and if you're looking for some recommended additions, it'd be nice to see some conspicuously large structures that suggest some local equivalent of arenas, cathedrals, etc.
2. That water texture is nice. Very subtle and very greyhawk, which I'm a fan of. I like it, I like it a lot. Leave it BE!
3. In my eyes, Elevation lines need to die... I've never been a big fan of elevation lines, and in my minds eye, it does detract a bit from the overall 'city' map. This however is a personal observation, probably not the best advice I suppose. I think a subtle gradient might be more effective, a painterly version of topography lines.
4. I like the look, but I might not blur it quite as much. However I think it works the way it is... I like it.
5. The roads are fine. I know the urge to want to add something to it, I get that urge all the time. But you can step back and ask, does it accomplish what I need it too? ... if so, then your best bet is to leave it as is. Adding some grunge to the street might otherwise detract and clutter up an already beautiful map. The roads work for me! If you really don't like the vanilla flavor... try some shade toning for the background, maybe you'll find a more pleasing and less 'vanilla' color. Perhaps add a hue/saturation layer, colorized, and mess with the levels on it.... something subtle.
6. SCALE!!! I love scale.... lets me know how far I have to go before I can find a room at the Do Drop Inn. Or how many alley's there are and how far each one is away from the other when delivering a large sum of larcenous wealth from one fence to the other. It works for me.
Seriously tho, this is one excellent looking map, it is something I will benchmark any future city maps in this style.... most assuredly ... REPPED
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Love the map! Here's some rep to you for such great work. A couple minor points. Is that suppose to tbe the grave yard in the bottom left corner (of the last map)? I don't get a flooded feel to that section. I'm also wondering why there would be a series of large docks connected to the graveyard. Historically, ancient graveyards were often located outside of settlements (for superstitous and health reasons). Obviously, you're free to do as you wish for a fantasy based map.
I do find the Fogdown (love the name BTW) logo a bit distracting from the map. I would either reduce the side and tone down the font a bit but that may be just me.
Over all, very nice work!
Medieval urban cemeteries (and ossuaries, and crypts) are still present in towns and cities that survive from the medieval era (not just in Europe, but in other parts of the world as well). There are a raft of them that we know of, and more being discovered all the time (from small-time crypts of petty lords to full-scale finds like the one in Leicester just a couple of years ago -- a huge urban cemetery attached to the medieval-era church of St. Peters, with well over a thousand graves). Medieval cemeteries were church-driven affairs, and if we peek into church-law history of that time we notice all kinds of (in retrospect, amusing) references to the cemetery traditions ... they were so closely associated with settlements, large and small (especially on the grounds of the parish churches) that laws had to be written to prevent them from being trodden on during fairs, kept from the livestock, and so on. These didn't involve building them far from where people lived, though, only building walls around them and enforcing rules of civilized graveyard behavior (please don't let the kids dig up Bishop Michaels, plz). Secular law tells us a lot, too (medieval Paris had multiple urban cemeteries, and there were legal difficulties with crooks using them as hiding-and-skulking territory).
Add to this the nature of town growth ... some churchyards (and their attendant cemeteries) would be located on (for example) a small hill just outside of a trading town in the later middle ages ... but then when that town grew, that small hill would find itself at the edge of town, and then somewhere in the middle, with the cemetery still there.
Quite a lot of medieval cemeteries were moved away from the towns in later (post-medieval) centuries (for example, all the medieval graves in Moscow were exhumed and moved out of town due to health concerns in the 18th century) but those were the result of later-period understanding of the health issues (coupled, it must be noted, with later period misunderstandings of the health issues).
It's true that some cemeteries were deliberately placed far from towns for superstitious reasons, but those were usually a case of ethnic, religious, or moral divisions (separating pagan burial from Christian, for example, or burying women judged "indecent" in unconsecrated graves away from "decent" folk as a kind of petty post-life punishment) ... but some of those traditions didn't really crystallize until (again) later periods, depending on the specifics.
We don't know the full extent of medieval urban burial practices because so much of this stuff has been lost/paved over/removed over the years (even some very famous medieval cemeteries - including the largest one in medieval Paris - are long-gone, existing only on old maps or in legal documents), but we do know it was, historically, a common practice to have urban cemeteries in medieval (and earlier) times, in Christian Europe and in the cultures of the Near East, Asia, etc. Given how many such cemeteries we do know of, though - either because we can visit them physically or read about them in religious and secular writings of the time - it seems a little unfair to imply that an urban cemetary is somehow a "fantasy based" element.Obviously, you're free to do as you wish for a fantasy based map.
While there have been many cultures in history that have - at certain times - kept graves away from cities - there are plenty that haven't, so either choice is just as "historical" as any other; no general rule applies.
Given that the layout here is (A) obviously high-medieval-Europe inspired and (B) obviously an homage to Waterdeep on the visual level (a fantasy burgh which features a huge necropolis) and (C) at least apparently, a city that has grown to fill it's entire island space over time [meaning that even if that western edge was outside of town and hidden by trees long ago, it's swallowed up now], it would seem wrong for there not to be a graveyard.
IMO, of course.
No clue on the cemetery docks, though. Someone else will have to field that puppy
ETA: The romantic in me has chosen to temporarily suppose that the graveyard is the original structure on the island, a place to bury folk who were killed by some magical plague, or maybe to bury pirates or something else badass ... and that the docks are old rotted things that were used by the earliest folk to land here, before there was a town of any kind ... but of course I'd be much more interested to know the real tale, especially if there's treasure or a few hit point-losses to be had in it.
Edits: Various small repairs to sentences, augmented structure, etc. As long as I'm going to ramble on at length it may as well amount to a presentable mini-article
I also got thinking about the docks at the grave yard and I thought that maybe the local clergy (of a sea god?) maybe offer burial at sea. This religious service may need to be offered separate from the commercial docks, hence the docks at the graveyard. It could also be used by smugglers or slavers looking for a backdoor entrance into the city. Anything is possible with the right idea.
It is such a cool map, I can wait to see the finish product.
Something like that might make for a fun contest for the forum: post a map with a feature that seems at first glance to be out of place or inexplicable, then hold a contest for the coolest / most campaign-juicing explanation
You could call the contest "a map never tells the whole story"