I'm looking for feedback on a map I'm doing that is nearing completion. It is a map of Rathess, a very large city in the Exalted game world. In this world, Rathess was once the capital city of all creation during a glorious period ruled by demigods. It was later supplanted by an even grander city and, now that the demigods themselves have been long defeated, it is a ruin hidden by jungle.
The map is built entirely in Adobe Illustrator CS3. I prefer vector-based maps, as they work over a wider range of scales. I know some may not like the more stark style of vector art, but I consider it an asset rather than a detriment.
Exalted isn't your average fantasy game, and Rathess isn't your average campaign city. Some notes that might help analysis:
A rasterized version of the map (1 MB) can be seen here. For the brave, there is also a PDF version (12 MB) that will allow you to zoom in to see more detail.
- The basic layout of the city is somewhat fixed, based on a small map that appears in the book that defines the city in the game world.
- As you can immediately see, it is a "designed city". The basic shape and major streets were likely created in a single day by powerful sorcery. (Par for the course in Exalted.)
- Rathess approaches some modern cities in size, home to millions in its heyday.
- The major roads in Rathess are insanely wide. The main Way of the Sun is 300 yards across. This is intentional, largely for religious reasons, allowing the streets to hold huge numbers to witness what is going on on the pyramids during rituals. It also has some military and other practical applications.
- The contents of the large "blocks" between the major radial and circular roads filled in more organically, with roads between the buildings scaled more appropriately to the inhabitants.
- The vast majority of Rathess' inhabitants were not human, but rather a race known as the Dragon Kings, large saurian humanoids. They didn't much care for right angles, so built with circles, triangles and hexagons instead. Nearly all of their buildings have a triangular cross section.
- A decent minority of the Dragon King population sleep under water. These "aquatic dragon kings" have an "octad" of the city dedicated to them.
- An equally important minority, humans, also have an octad dedicated to them. The "blocks" in this section differ from the scattered, individual triangular buildings of the Dragon King sections, with buildings connected into large clumps, with roads in between.
- The city is roughly flat. The Pyramid of the Sun is on the highest point, the rest of the city being mostly a mound that leads up to it. The mound as a whole is slightly tilted, higher at the top of the map and gradually descending into Lake Therak.
- The "compass rose" in the top only makes sense if you know Exalted, with the "needles" pointing to the various elemental poles used to mark direction in the game. (Exalted lives on a flatish Creation, surrounded by elemental chaos.)
I need to lay down some elevation contours. They exist in my head, but I haven't drawn them yet. I also need to add some variation to the "blocks", with a few more distinctive buildings, etc. Mostly, though, I think it is fairly good to go. The underground levels are going to be harder, I think. (Did I mention most of the city is underground?)
I love Exalted, and hope to one day actually get to play... :(
I think you did a great job with Rathess. It definitely captures the enormity of it. I'm guessing this isn't the version where the wild has consumed it? ;)
Love the map. Quick question tho, in your opinion how would Rathess look in exalted modern setting? Would it remain largely ruins or would it have been reclaimed and repaired?