Friday, December 10, 2010

Making a Dark Country Wilderness Map

I spent most of today trying to work up maps for my Nightwick Campaign.  I will discuss in a future post why I have only started to do so recently.  The short version is that the characters aren't level 4 yet, and I'm following the Basic/Expert model of waiting until that level to introduce wilderness adventures.

Still, I like making maps and the bug bit me this morning.  I followed a mixture of Rob Conley's advice and the Welsh Piper's hex-based system.  First I made a Hexographer file roughly the size of the Welsh Piper's continent scale map.  I added some extra lines to it so that it would fit my purposes and then set about to find a  suitable model for my map.

I mentioned before that I wanted to make the Dark Country map resemble Romania.  In order to obscure its origins, I tried to find a map of some future continental alignment and extrapolate where Romania would have ended up from one of those.  Most of these were unsuitable, but a Google image search for "future Earth maps" located this:

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It appears to be a map of Europe after a doomsday level of Global Warming.  I'm not entirely sure.  Anyway, it has a nice inland sea next to far-off Transylvania, so I decided to nab it.  One thing I was not previously aware of is how big Romania is.  Luckily I needed more room for various barbarian kingdoms and merchant controlled cities, so it should be fine.

I guesstimated how much of it would fill the continent-scaled Welsh Piper map and filled it in.    First I filled in the sea portions, then I added a rough estimate of where the various mountain ranges should go, and finally I added in rivers.  The result was this:

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Next I picked an appropriate section.  I decided to map the are where several rivers converge since I figured it would be heavily contested.  I followed Rob Conley's suggestion of filling in the mountains and rivers first, but after that I basically used Welsh Piper's system.  Here is the result:

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The last thing I did was blow up the hex I wanted to put the Abbey in.  No player character had been outside three hexes, so I made sure to keep them the same as the original map.  I then plopped Nightwick Abbey down with its accompanying village.

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I have yet to stock anything else, but I think this is a good place to start.