Tuesday, March 18, 2014

World Building in 30 Days - The Map - Done-ish

Ever since Bilbo first handed Elrond the map of the Lonely Mountain I have been drawn to mapping. My very first Sci-Fi story about a race of rainbow colored people from different colored planets of a solar system sprang from a map. What I was six...

The first draft of the Ea-reth world map was done with MS Paint in 1995. The concept was simple but has evolved as has the tools and techniques I have learned in exploring my mapping fetish.

CC2 & CC3

My next foray into mapping my world came when I purchased Campaign Cartographer 2. It's an excellent program and version 3 was even better than v. 2. In these two programs my world first took a realistic shape. The fractal coast line generator was a big help. Eventually my map became so complex that it would crash the program. At that point I exported it and moved on to using some advanced techniques.

Dundjinni, Cartographer's Guild, and Realistic Terrain

In 2008 I inherited my brothers campaign when he deployed to Iraq. Along with that I inherited his Dundjinni Liscence. The folks on the DJ Forums are extremely helpful. In addition, these forums are the single largest repository for top down art and maps on the web. I spent many hours "doll housing" dungeon maps for my virtual table campaigns. Even more time downloading art and chatting with these wonderfully knowledgeable members.

Many of the folks on DJ are also members at the Cartographers Guild. This forum allows professionals to discuss map mapping with each other and us amateurs. The feedback is always constructive and encouraging. They also host hundreds of tutorials and scripts to enhance your map making ability. It was here I discovered the freeware GIMP. I simply adore this program.

I finally settled on a style though I will get rid of the red text if I ever get my hard drive restored. Other than that my map is done. Well, done-ish. My players continue to alter the map, filling in empty areas and exploring the world, in effect defining those lands. I make and alter political, resource and geographical information as the need arises. If you like this realistic style I would strongly recommend Rob A's tutorial.

For more on the evolution of the map go here.

Other Resources

Fantastic Maps

DIY Cartography


Dungeon Mapping


Dysons Decahedrons


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