I’ve been keeping up a game with a couple of friends from university (using maptool as we’re now on different continents). We take it in turns to run sessions, and in one Pathfinder game we’re exploring the manifold intrigues of the Kingdom of Thulaan and the royal court of Orphaleson. There are scheming Dukes, warring religious factions and dispossessed sons of nobles, along with a looming orc threat and some unwholesome undead raised by forbidden necromancers.
It’s great fun and we’re starting to get a feel for the world. The GM has managed to create a great suspension of disbelief by keeping most of the foes human and the plot lines believable – no mean feat in the fantasy world of dungeons and dragons. I suspect his PhD in Mediaeval Polish history has come in very handy whilst building this campaign.
But this is a cartography blog rather than a campaign journal – so it should be no surprise that I’ve been playing with putting together a map of the lands of Thulaan. This conveniently coincides with a contest over on the Cartographer’s Guild in which contestants have to map a nation. So I’m going to see about finishing this up in spare bits of time throughout May. As it’s not a commission I’ll be posting WIPs on the blog (as well as on the CG) and would love to hear feedback, as I’ll have the chance to experiment and play around with this a little.
So far I have drawn in the different terrain features. I keep the coast and rivers on their own layer. This lets me select the land or sea and save that as a mask for later. I’ll also probably change the colour of the river/coastlines to a blue down the line. Once the linework is in place, I used a parchment texture I’ve had lying around (you can find lots of free images of parchment on the web or on sites like cgtextures.com) as the background. I may swap this out later, but I like the parchment feel for the time being. The line work layer is set to overlay and duplicated to get the burnt umber colour that blends a little better with the map.
I’m not sure I’ll keep that look – it’s fun for a kind of Middle Earth pen and ink map, but it doesn’t always work so well with colour. Thoughts?