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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:21 am
  

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Comment: The greatest part of the writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book. - Samuel Johnson, 1775
I like the flag symbol but as most people don't realize he has psionic powers is that hinting too much?


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:08 am
  

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Champion

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kiralon wrote:
As personal opinion only I think it will look better without the outside laurel leaves because they make it slightly too Romanesque (GNW) and friendlier.
Maybe a black shield with the copper laurel leaves and a red eye ???

But looks good anyway


Since I already used gold laurels with the GNW map, it might be better to lay off using them at all. Then again, laurel wreaths are symbols that I associate with empires in general. In fact, now that I think about it, the design I made is very similar to the Long Knife tribe shield's design in GNW. Perhaps it's a bit too similar. I'll re-think that one. Thanks for the feedback and suggestion.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:53 am
  

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Reagren Wright wrote:
I like the flag symbol but as most people don't realize he has psionic powers is that hinting too much?


Totally fair point. I try to incorporate the elements I find in the book, and while the Emperor's psychic power is one of his defining characteristics, you're absolutely right that it's not something he plays up. That said, and eye in heraldry doesn't necessarily indicate psychic power. In real-life heraldry, an eye symbolizes providence in government, which seems pretty appropriate for the Itomas family. The psychic double-meaning is more of a wink to the fans, who know more about the emperor than his subjects do.

My notes on the heraldry of Itomas:
+The classic Itomas family features according to Western Empire are green eyes and copper-red hair.
+The emperor always carries the ceremonial dagger of House Itomas, a long, thin, rapier-like dagger with lots of gemstones.
+They are the premier imperial family in the world, though they're still fairly new to being the imperial family.

Given how small I have to shrink these shields, making the knife blade very thin will make it difficult to see, and incorporating gemstones would likewise be difficult unless I made them gigantic.

I would like to incorporate some other classic symbol of empire besides the laurels, but I can't think of any that convey the same sense of empire. In a sense, the Western Empire is like the later, decadent years of the Roman Empire, whilst the Wolfen are more reminiscent of the earlier Republic years of Rome. I also associate laurels with international governments like the UN, which includes laurels in its symbol.

EDIT: Since the Western Empire is somewhat analogous to the Bizantine Empire as well, I might try incorporating adouble eagle motif as well. That's also a symbol that's very strongly associated with the Imperium of Man from 40k.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:09 pm
  

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I took another stab at the Itomas heraldry today. Here's the run-down on the intended symbology:

The eagle is a classic imperial symbol, and its double-headed design suggests a thematic link with the Bizantine empire of real life history. Its wings and heads are oriented downwards, suggesting how the Itomas are on top, protecting all with their wings, vigilant, and looking down on all others. I'm thinking that the imperial eagle may be a symbol that denotes a house's status as the imperial family (so if another house took over as the imperial house, they would get the eagle in their heraldry, while House Itomas would go back to the rest of their crest below).

The central eye is meant to symbolize providence in government, because House Itomas takes a long view toward the future and building up its holdings and the Western Empire. It's also a nod and a wink to the fans who know of the Emperor's secret psychic power. The eye is green, the classic Itomas eye color.

The laurels refer to House Itomas' accomplishments.

The bare dagger stabbing down signifies the ruthlessness of House Itomas in protecting its interests.

The purple background conveys royalty, and the copper of the laurel wreath, dagger pommel/hilt, and eagle are meant to suggest the classic Itomas hair color.

I'm not 100% set on keeping the outer wreath; I like it as a way of distinguishing Caer Itom from other provincial capital cities in West Kighfalton. We'll see how it looks once I start shrinking these down and putting them into city locations. I might use wreaths as a way of setting regional capital cities apart in general.

I've also created a shield for House Nek'Losh. They're rich, powerful, loyal, a bit hot-headed, and they make a lot of products and exports using raw materials from somewhere else. I'm symbolizing them with a honey bee on a gold background.

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Last edited by Hotrod on Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:16 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Sweet


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:32 pm
  

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The naval flags of the Western empire are red with a black hound's head on them. Do we have any idea where that symbology comes from?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:58 pm
  

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Braden Campbell wrote:
The naval flags of the Western empire are red with a black hound's head on them. Do we have any idea where that symbology comes from?


In the books, it's in High Seas in the section that describes each country's ships. I've actually created an image of the naval flag of the Western Empire, though I probably won't use it in this map project. A few of my patrons can see it; it's an image for the PDF project Glen and I are working on.

I interpret the hunting hound on a red field as a national naval emblem, so I'm not reproducing it to represent any one regional house's heraldry. That said, I'm thinking of incorporating some of that motif for Lower Barraduk, which is the hottest region of sea trade and place where the Black Demon ships have been rebuilt and launched.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:16 pm
  

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:09 pm
  

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Lukterran wrote:

Nicely done. Let's give you a hand!

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:50 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
im getting one and putting a magic ring on each finger.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:36 pm
  

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My notes on the other regional house heraldry. Thoughts and ideas are welcome,

House Oslof of the Koerdian Mountains has the only family crest described in Western Empire on p66 (lower left): a dagger crossed over a pickaxe. Their "House Daggers" are also well-described as a cross between a shortsword and a meat cleaver (and they do 2D4+1 damage). I decided to use an icon loosely based on the knife from Crocodile Dundee to represent the dagger. I'm not sure about a background color for them yet, but I've got the icons for their crest done. In terms of colors, I'll probably just pick one that contrasts with its neighbors.

House Inidri of the Kighfalton Plains is descended from plains horsemen, so equine-related heraldry seems appropriate. They're also notable for being a locally-focused power that doesn't get into outside conflicts. I've already used the same white horse icon in my Northern Wilderness Map (Kingdom of Havea, a rampant white horse) and Eastern Territory map (a bust of a rampant white unicorn), so I'm thinking of making a new horse icon in a different pose (galloping or jumping, perhaps) as Inidri's motif.

House Taerea of Lower Barraduk is big on trading, risk, naval strength, and dominating a region known for its internal squabbles. It's also a house that's a big proponent of summoners and has brought back the Black Demon Ships. Finally, it's a house marked by Caligula-like hedonism and dark appetites. I'm thinking of incorporating the hunting hound of the Western Empire's naval banner and an anchor. For the background color, I'm thinking a deep, blood red.

House Jaoradon of the Vequerrel Woodlands is known for being hard-working, honest, and sober (weird considering their peers). They've declared neutrality in the impending civil war, since they have their hands full with their own internal conflict of their logging interests vs the faerie folk. I was thinking that a beaver might be a good symbol for them.

House Kaze and House Krugazi are both products of the Middle Kingdoms' defining traits: Zealous worship of the Church of Light & Dark, anti-magic/psionics, human supremecy, and rebelliousness. The Ankh is a suitable symbol for them, as would a crossed torch/pitchfork. I'm also thinking that having two contrasting colors might be appropriate for the background to set them a bit apart from the other, less-rebellious houses.

House Valocek of the Scarlet Mountains are mountaineers new to their wealth and ruled by a matriarch and her two daughters. They're flirting with rebelling from the Empire. Blood marble is a region-defining commodity, but it's also rich in diamonds and emeralds. The Scarlet Mountains are known for having foul weather and difficult terrain, as well as abundant mineral wealth. I'm thinking that a gemstone design inside a big drop of blood might be a good sigil for this house, maybe under a mountain.

House Wengild of the Tarldet Plains are an aggressive, adventuring family that is very proud of their fighting traditions. They like to put on and compete in tournaments of athletics, fighting, and skill in their arenas, and they tend to do pretty well in such tournaments. They're also a huge noble house, with over 500 members, and they are very loyal to their family. The house is very loyal to the empire. Crossed weapons of some kind (perhaps two or three kinds) could work for this house.

House Clynn of the Old Kingdom is about to be entirely murdered by the Emperor for incompetence. They've antagonized the hordes of the Old Kingdom whilst squandering their own military resources in stupid and pointless conflicts. I'm thinking of making their sigil a Dodo bird as a joke, but it might be better to base their heraldry on The Tower, the dominant feature of their regional capital.

House Belopo is a bit of a strange house; about half of them live in the Ophid's Grasslands colonies and love it, and the other half live in Upper Kighfalton and want nothing to do with the colony. There's really not a lot to go on with this family heraldry-wise. Their province is the newest expansion colony of the empire.

House Glaverius of the Yin-Sloth Periphery is a criminal cartel family that's into piracy, slavery, drug and poison trafficking, and "humanizing" the jungle. They came to this region as refugees and exiles from the last round of civil wars. They've also adapted tribal styles and customs and are into drunkenness, orgies, drugs, blood sports, and hunting non-humans like Tezcats and Dogres for fun. I'm not sure just how to convey their character in heraldry. I'll think on it.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:37 pm
  

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Update: I've drafted all the regional house heraldry. Here's my first stab at each house's heraldic shield.

Notes on the heraldry/meanings:


Empire-Friendly Houses:

+No change to House Itomas. I'm fairly pleased with their look (I may keep, ditch, or use the laurel wreath for other purposes when I start marking it up.

+House Ne'Klosh's symbol is a stooping bee with a big sting on a yellow field, symbolizing their work, wealth, and loyalty to the empire, as well as their military power.

+House Oslof's sigil is defined in the book as a dagger and a pickaxe crossed. I put this over a pale gold field, and I made the dagger match the description of their "House Daggers."

+House Inidri is a golden horse jumping over a cluster of golden wheat on a green field. This symbolizes their origins as horsemen and the agricultural focus of their house and province.

+House Wengild Features two crossed swords on a blue field, with laurels on either side. The crossed swords and laurels symbolize the house's focus on competition and tournaments. The blue symbolizes their loyalty to the Empire.


The Neutral Houses:

+House Jaoradon's sigil is a tree on a field of autumn-leaf orange. The tree symbolizes the Vequerrel Woodlands, and the autumn color symbolizes their harvest and fall.

+House Belopo's sigil is a north star with two separate hand-scythes pointing towards it on a navy blue field. The north star symbolizes its geographic position in the empire, the scythes symbolize their intent to tame and farm Ophid's Grasslands, and the blue symbolizes the waters between this colony and the rest of the Empire.

+House Clynn's sigil is a bone gateway, symbolizing how they're the gateway to the Yin-Sloth Jungles (and an allusion to their connections with piracy), and a chain around it, symbolizing their ambition to enslave the denizens of said jungles.

+House Glaverius's sigil is a dark tower with a demonic skull within surrounded by a red field. The dark tower represents their literal tower in their regional capital (which houses 10,000 troops!) The red symbolizes the threats that surround them and how they intend to make those threats bleed. The skull symbolizes their ruthlessness (and it's a wink to the fans because this entire house is about to be wiped out by Emperor Itomas' assassins).

House Taerea's sigil is two black dogs and a black anchor atop a blood-red field. The hounds and anchor are a nod to the Empire's naval standard, and their black color is a reference to the Black Demon Ships this house has been launching. Strictly speaking, this house is actually pro-Empire, but it's got way too much infighting going on to do much against the Middle Kingdoms.


The Rebellious Houses:

+Krugazi and Kaze are basically the same faction in the same region, so I made them look very similar. Both are heavy on primary colors. Kaze's central motif is an ankh (because their church is basically the ancient Egyptian pantheon, and they're hard-core religious) while Krugazi is a crossed torch and pitchfork (because burn the magic users/psychics!). I also flipped the quartered pattern in their backgrounds to make them a bit more distinct.

+Valocek has a drop-cut red gem within a burgundy mountain under a grey sky. This was less about the noble family as about the region they control: the Scarlet Mountains. They also have a two-color field, but it's less noticeable than Kaze or Krugazi, symbolizing their lack of commitment to rebellion.



Next on the docket is doing up some foreign heraldry for the Isle of the Cyclops (single eye with lightning bolts behind it; easy) and Phi (I have no clue). I'll use a paw print for the part of the Wolfen Empire that appears on the map. I'm not sure if/how much of the Yin Sloth nations show up on it yet. If so, I may need to throw in an icon for the Orc kingdom.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:55 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
and they are very good


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:30 am
  

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kiralon wrote:
and they are very good


Thanks!

Update:
Progress continues on this map; it's hard to put it down at this stage. Here's the latest version.

What's new:

+I've placed all the heraldic shields in their proper city locations. I've got some tweaking to do on them (Ne'Klosh's yellow is very, very bright, and the gold laurels might need to be toned down a smidge) but they're where I want them.
+I've added color-coded regional borders.

Still to do for the Political Map:
-Marker Indicators for walled/fortified cities.
-Shadow effects for the markers on the map (will help them stand out more).
-Markers for additional settlements that aren't provincial capitals, like that monastery in the Old Kingdom Frontier, the Ogre settlement in the Koerdian Mountains, Half-Moon Island's military base, et cetera.
-Labels. Lots of labels.
-Foreign political boundaries/cities for the Cyclops, Phi, and possibly some stuff in the Yin-Sloth Jungles.
-Artsy Stuff: a frame, inscription, a fancier compass rose, et cetera.

Outstanding issues:
-The Ophid's Grassland Colony border is from a Western Empire map. However, it actually overlaps with the tip of the Northern Mountains, which isn't realistic or possible. I suspect Bill Coffin made a little mistake there. I'll fix it.
-I'm missing a small length of river in the northeast of the map between a couple of lakes. It's nothing crucial, but it bugs me.
-House Krugazi's dominion is weird. It seems as though they were supposed to get two provinces, but they only got specified one. I'm giving it a second province. See the Krugazi thread for more details.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:57 pm
  

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I'm curious what you base the key line lengths/locations on...

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:43 pm
  

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Braden Campbell wrote:
I'm curious what you base the key line lengths/locations on...

Library of Bletherad, p133. It's canon, but the canon source specifies that the source map on that page is neither complete nor necessarily accurate.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:37 pm
  

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Update: The map is ready for labeling. Barring any mistakes or omissions, the icons and borders are complete. Please take a look and let me know if you see anything I can fix. Here's the latest version.

Changes from the previous version:
+I went through all the provincial capital descriptions in Western Empire and added in a "City Walls" backdrop (a three-pointed star, the same convention I've been using for a pretty long time now). I found 15 descriptions that either showed, mentioned, or strongly suggested that the city in question had walls. There are probably more, but I'm erring on the conservative side, since city walls are expensive.
+In order to emphasize its status as the Imperial Capital, I added in a double headed Imperial Eagle over the top of the Caer Itom city marker.
+I fixed the border issue in Ophid's Grasslands.
+I did a little light reading in Yin Sloth and found that part of the Orcish Empire shows up on the map, including a major fortified city. This territory and walled city are now on the map.
I also added in several cities and settlements that aren't provincial capitals:
+Crescent City on Half-Moon Island
+Shandala in the Old Kingdom Frontier
+Wildwind (the centaur city described on p98 of Northern Hinterlands) in the Northern Wilderness
+Greenclaw in the Koerdian Mountains.
+The Walled City of Clypss on the Isle of the Cyclops
+The Cyclops Trading Port
+The Cyclops Pirate Cove
+Ruins on Gryphon Isle
+Caer Doragon Ak Chemsak in the Orkish Empire

Outstanding Issues:
-I still need to put in that pesky little river. Annoying little bugger, that is.
-I'm leaving Krugazi as a single province region. It makes no sense to me and seems inconsistent with the spirit of the text, but it's canon unless/until Kevin tells me otherwise.
-I'm not including the Nomadic regional label of the Yin-Sloth Jungles. That's for the Yin-Sloth Map.
-I haven't done borders for the Cyclops Isle or Phi (kind of redundant) or the Wolfen Empire (though they have claimed territory on this map, they have basically no presence there).

Now it's time to do the labels. With 75 or so settlements and 20ish regions (including those outside the Western Empire) This will be the most complicated label job I've ever done on a map.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:01 am
  

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So I was whining about how hard labels were going to be this morning, then I realized that I was making a bad assumption, so I'm sparing you the details of my thought process unless you really want to know them.
Spoiler:
My first problem has come up with the labels. Each province has a noble house that rules it, a province name, and a provincial capital city, and each region has a name. That's four label types competing for the same space. It will be a challenge to put in more than one of those into each province, and it may be effectively impossible to put in all three and retain the regional labels. A few regions are quite small, which exacerbates the problem

I see three approaches I can take.

1. Throw it all in and shrink/fit the labels around each other. This will result in a very crowded map, and some of the labels may be difficult to read unless you zoom all the way in/blow it up.

2. Make two versions, each with two label types (provincial capital names and regional labels in one version, province names and provincial house powers in the other). This will likely make for a more balanced look to the map, but it means that I'm not including all the information in a single map.

3. Create a number or Letter-Number code label for each province and throw all this information into a separate legend. This will keep all the information in the map and reduce crowding, but it will mean that the user will have to cross-reference information, which I don't like from a design perspective.

Right now, I'm leaning towards option 2 and making two versions.
EDIT: I forgot that the house name and province name are the same pretty much across the board, so option 1 of putting everything into the map might actually work out. I just finished putting in every province/family name, city name, and regional name on the map. It's going to take a lot of sizing, spacing, and curving text adjustments, but I think I can squeeze it all in and still make it looks good.


I threw in all the provincial, city, and regional names on the map this morning. The current state is something of a mess, but once I optimize placement, text size, spacing, and curve the regional labels, I think I can make this all fit and still look nice.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:01 pm
  

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I'm looking on my phone, so no great detail. But it's looking pretty impressive.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:50 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
I'm looking on my phone, so no great detail. But it's looking pretty impressive.


Yeah, you'll have to zoom WAY in to see it at 100% on a phone. The image is 5100 by 3300 pixels, so you can't even look at the whole image at 100% zoom on modern high-def TVs which cap out at 4k.

Though there are some 8k TVs just coming on the market, there aren't any services that provide content at that resolution, and if you feel like shelling out $15k to see this map at 100% zoom on a screen, then you should definitely throw some money at me to keep making maps at this scale.

Mini-Update: I've been working on the labels region-by-region, working on placement, size, spacing, and shaping them. I just finished it, and wow, it's tedious stuff. This phase is a great example both of why I've wanted to do this region for several years and why I previously found it to be such a daunting prospect. I've got a little over 130 labels on this map, and most of them are curved.

Here is what the labels look like on the map right now. My concern right now is that the province names vs city names vs regional names aren't as obviously distinct as I ought to make them. I'll experiment with some techniques for making them more distinctive.

A long-burn project like this tends to progress in spurts rather than slow, steady progress, and I've made some big leaps forward in the last week or two, but I may need a little breather now. Part of me wants to keep pressing, but there are some artistic elements I want to stew about, like how to do the frame, legend, compass rose, and other artistic elements that make the map nice to look at and thematically consistent with the Western Empire. Besides, I need to take a step back from this for a few days to get a fresh look and find my mistakes (just looking at the image I uploaded I found two in a matter of seconds).

As always, criticism and suggestions are welcome.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:22 am
  

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Just checked it out on the computer. It looks pretty awesome Hotrod.
The labels look pretty good considering how many you put in there. You made good use of the borders to skew the letters and make them flow nicely,


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:47 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
Just checked it out on the computer. It looks pretty awesome Hotrod.
The labels look pretty good considering how many you put in there. You made good use of the borders to skew the letters and make them flow nicely,

Thanks. I'm stewing on the look of the labels, actually. They look ok zoomed in, but I think I could do them better; I'm going to try making some adjustments.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:09 am
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
im waiting to get this sucka printed out professionally.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:38 am
  

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kiralon wrote:
im waiting to get this sucka printed out professionally.



It's sized for an 11x17 inch print at 300 dpi, which is the largest stock that most printers can do fairly cheaply. You could also print this at a movie poster size (22x34 inch) at 150 dpi. Considering how much a good print costs (especially at the poster size), I'd definitely hold off for now unless you'd like a bare geography print. I'm planning one more minor tweak to the bare geography, but otherwise it's basically good to go.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:07 am
  

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For your consideration:
"There is a cluster of three ley line nexuses all within a quarter-mile of each other somewhere in the middle
of the woodlands."

Also - the capital of Rylan Province is Holyoak... 1 "l"

...just some minor details.


Western Empire, "Vequerrel Woodlands", 99.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:40 pm
  

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Here's one more thing for consideration (sorry!) -
In my game I put the two secondary provinces in the Yin-Sloth Periphery the other way round. It is the only region where for some reason they don't bother to map it out, so it is not clear. But it does mention two things: 1. Durning Province has a "small trade port". 2. Longacre has a large military to hold the border against attack from the Orcish Empire. For these reasons I made Longacre the province nearer to Glaverius Province (capital Riverside), as its border is closer to the Orcish Empire. And I made the other one Durning Province, making Syar the trade port mentioned, as there is no port mentioned for Longacre Province. Although Longacre is said to be a "new province" that doesn't necessarily mean it is the one furthest from Glaverius, as Durning could have been founded from the other coast from Syar as a base, and Riverside founded later in the wilderness between the two.

But that is all conjecture anyway, as it doesn't specifically say which is which - I just thought I would put the idea out there! What do you think?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:00 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
Hotrod wrote:
kiralon wrote:
im waiting to get this sucka printed out professionally.



It's sized for an 11x17 inch print at 300 dpi, which is the largest stock that most printers can do fairly cheaply. You could also print this at a movie poster size (22x34 inch) at 150 dpi. Considering how much a good print costs (especially at the poster size), I'd definitely hold off for now unless you'd like a bare geography print. I'm planning one more minor tweak to the bare geography, but otherwise it's basically good to go.

well all your others have come out beautifully at 23.4 x 33.1 in (A1)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:46 pm
  

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Soldier of Od wrote:
Here's one more thing for consideration (sorry!) -
In my game I put the two secondary provinces in the Yin-Sloth Periphery the other way round. It is the only region where for some reason they don't bother to map it out, so it is not clear. But it does mention two things: 1. Durning Province has a "small trade port". 2. Longacre has a large military to hold the border against attack from the Orcish Empire. For these reasons I made Longacre the province nearer to Glaverius Province (capital Riverside), as its border is closer to the Orcish Empire. And I made the other one Durning Province, making Syar the trade port mentioned, as there is no port mentioned for Longacre Province. Although Longacre is said to be a "new province" that doesn't necessarily mean it is the one furthest from Glaverius, as Durning could have been founded from the other coast from Syar as a base, and Riverside founded later in the wilderness between the two.

But that is all conjecture anyway, as it doesn't specifically say which is which - I just thought I would put the idea out there! What do you think?


No apologies necessary! This kind of feedback is invaluable, and it is exactly why I like to put these project threads up on the boards. I put them up the order of Glaverius, Durning, and Longacre because that was the order in which they appear in the text. On reflection, I'd say that your reasoning is sound, and in the absence of specific guidance to the contrary, I'll go with it.

Braden Campbell wrote:
For your consideration:
"There is a cluster of three ley line nexuses all within a quarter-mile of each other somewhere in the middle
of the woodlands."

Also - the capital of Rylan Province is Holyoak... 1 "l"

...just some minor details.
Quite right on "Holyoak." I guess I had "The Holly and the Ivy" stuck in my head when I typed that. Fixed it. The oak is now holy. Silly druids.

As for the ley line nexuses ("nexi?"), I won't be including them because the scale of this map is about 3 pixels per mile, so there just isn't enough resolution to map out three distinct objects of any variety that are a quarter mile apart. That said, the text mentions a giant sentient oak of magnificent power growing in the middle of these nexuses deep in the woods. I might just borrow a millennium tree icon from my Rifts: England map or my Eastern Territories map and put it in there. Thanks for the suggestions!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:23 am
  

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Update: I've made many minor tweaks and adjustments to the political map.It's getting there. Here's what's new:

Looks and Clarity:
+All Western Empire city markers are about 1/3 smaller than they were.
+I shrank most of the labels so they wouldn't crowd out the things they're labelling.
+I fine-tuned the sizes and placements of all labels.
+City labels are now solid and shiny.
+Provincial/Family labels are in a thinner font and in ALL CAPS to make them easier to distinguish from city and regional labels. I also un-curved them all, as I think that so many curved labels made the map more confusing.
+Regional labels now have a bit of color in them to match their regional borders.

Content and Canon-Accuracy:
+I moved several capital cities that had docks/shipyards such that they are now right on the coast: Caer Itom, Caer Kurgas, Epiphany, Iancine, and Caer Glaverius. I think Steve Edwards put these a bit inland in order to ensure that their markers would be clear and visible in black and white. That's not a problem for me.
+I moved Colfax (Scarlet Mountains regional capital) inland a bit so that it's more in the mountains, which is consistent with its description, which doesn't mention the sea nearby and focuses on its being built upon a dwarven stronghold.
+I added a "Great Oak" icon and label to the Vequerrel Woodlands. This is the site of three very close ley line nexuses. I made a guess that it's in the capital province, but fairly close to Holyoak (hence the name of that city). This is the millennium tree icon from my Rifts: British Isles map.
+I added Thunder Rock, Scarbone's Hollow, Cove Redlin, and Stone Jetty from the Baalgor Wastelands coast. Thunder Rock is a walled town, so it gets a fortified icon, as do the two pirate coves on the map. Stone Jetty has a small, ineffective dirt palisade, so it's marked as un-fortified.
+I swapped Durning and Longacre provinces per the discussion above.

Outstanding Issues:
-The Cyclops icon didn't come out well. I'll revise it.
-The compass rose is boring. I've got some ideas on that.
-This map needs a spiffy-looking title
-It also needs a legend.
-A frame would make it look better, too. I'm thinking of a blood marble texture.
-As always, a frame inscription should go with it.
-The Four Sisters label is obscured by one of the ruins icons.
-I need to fix that little river in the northeast corner of the map.
-I've got nothing marked for Phi. Maybe Glen will be willing to share some exciting teaser info from his manuscript. I'll ask him.

Looking forward towards the board game version, I found this website today that's all about RISK and RISK-like games. I'm not sure if I'll use it at all, but it looks fun and gives me some example maps to consider as I refine this into a game map.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:57 pm
  

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Just a quick question regarding Holyoak.
If it rests between three ley line nexuses should there not be three ley lines going through there somewhere?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:31 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
Just a quick question regarding Holyoak.
If it rests between three ley line nexuses should there not be three ley lines going through there somewhere?


Maybe?

There are two issues I see with your suggestion. First, Holyoak is a provincial capital city, not the actual place where this sentient great oak is. The triple nexus point oak tree is marked as "Great Oak" in the latest draft. It's an easy confusion to make, and that actually fits nicely with the fact that the Great Oak's location isn't widely known other than being deep in the heart of the woods somewhere in the Vequerrel Woodlands. "Oh, Holyoak's that way, Mr. Druid. Just follow the log wagons to their lumber mills, and you'll be there. Safe travels now."

Second, there would be at least three ley lines, yes. Since that would create a canon-rare triangle with just three lines, however, it could also be more than that. I could meet the text description with any of the following:
1. A triangle of nexuses made up of ley lines that do not extend beyond their nexus points. On the scale of this map, this would amount to 3-4 pixels total, and would effectively be covered by the icon (which has a little bit of crackling blue energy seeping out from behind it). Since Great Oaks are like Millennium trees and pyramids with their control of ley line energies, I'm ok with this nexus being obscured on the map.
2. Three ley lines that pass through the Great Oak triangle and continue on. this would look like three ley lines that intersect at the Great Oak location in what would look like a single nexus on the map that's obscured by the Great Oak marker and continue on.
3. Three ley lines that meet and end at the Great Oak's triangle. On the map, this would look like three lines coming out of the Great Oak's location.
4. A combination of 1, 2, and 3 where some ley lines end at the triangle, some don't, and some might start and end at the triangle.
5. There might be no triangle at all, and instead there could just be three nexuses that are close to each other from six or more ley lines that don't otherwise intersect.
6. A combination of 4 and 5.

Without more information, I'm not planning on drawing an indeterminate number of ley lines of indeterminate direction and length on the map, especially since this site's location was an educated guess in the first place. Unless I can get some canon guidance on this, I'll assume that the ley lines involved are too short to show up on the map, as the icon for the tree effectively obscures them all.

All that said, I have drawn in ley lines based on flimsy text descriptions in the past. If you have a specific request for a version that includes some ley lines coming out of the Great Oak location, hit me up when I finish this project and I'll work something out with you.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:54 am
  

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Mini-Update: I created a custom compass rosefor the map. I re-used the Itomas heraldry, added some bevel and shadow effects, and set it on a blood marble texture I've been playing with, along with a couple of leaping hounds. I may tinker a bit more with this.

I'm thinking that I'll make a similar blood marble texture for the frame.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:30 am
  

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Framed in wood like a real compass would be great, then they can come to a shop near you :)


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:11 am
  

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kiralon wrote:
Framed in wood like a real compass would be great, then they can come to a shop near you :)


Interesting. I'd have to do a total redesign to give this compass rose the look of a physical compass. I've never done that before, but there's no reason why I couldn't.

If you're saying that you'd prefer to see wood as a background, that's an easy texture swap, though I rather like the fact that Blood Marble is a distinctive mineral found in the Scarlet Mountains of the Western Empire. The suggestion of blood and fractiousness that comes with this choice seems appropriately symbolic.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:28 am
  

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It looks pretty cool. One thing I notice though, due to the shadows on it, the cardinal points all appear to be bent off of true N, S, E and W.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:11 pm
  

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Whiskeyjack wrote:
It looks pretty cool. One thing I notice though, due to the shadows on it, the cardinal points all appear to be bent off of true N, S, E and W.


That rose looks really good, but I do agree with Whiskey that it does look a little off kilter because of the shadows. Either way though, keep up the good work! This project is looking fantastic!

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:14 pm
  

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Captain_Nibbz wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
It looks pretty cool. One thing I notice though, due to the shadows on it, the cardinal points all appear to be bent off of true N, S, E and W.


That rose looks really good, but I do agree with Whiskey that it does look a little off kilter because of the shadows. Either way though, keep up the good work! This project is looking fantastic!


Well shucks. I guess I'll have to try something else then.

How's this?

I wanted to try a curvy taper with the compass rose, but the shadows do make it look a little weird. Forget that silly compass, then! I had some time this morning, and I liked Kiralon's suggestion. Not about having wood (A wooden compass? For the Throne of Humanity?! Pshaw! Away with you, filthy peasant!), but rather having a compass that looks like an actual, usable compass.

I found and adapted a compass-drawing tutorial to suit my needs, and I went with gold for the case because the Western Empire is filthy rich. I also incorporated some imperial symbols in and around it because Emperor Itomas can afford that, too.

P.S. Before you ignorant peasants get all uppity, yes, I know that in your world there aren't 120 degrees in a circle. We of the Western Empire know better than to waste time and money on precision navigation instruments when we can spend it on looking fabulous and conquering the world.

Glory to the Emperor! Glory to House Itomas! Glory to the Western Empire!

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:30 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Captain_Nibbz wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
It looks pretty cool. One thing I notice though, due to the shadows on it, the cardinal points all appear to be bent off of true N, S, E and W.


That rose looks really good, but I do agree with Whiskey that it does look a little off kilter because of the shadows. Either way though, keep up the good work! This project is looking fantastic!


Well shucks. I guess I'll have to try something else then.

How's this?

I wanted to try a curvy taper with the compass rose, but the shadows do make it look a little weird. Forget that silly compass, then! I had some time this morning, and I liked Kiralon's suggestion. Not about having wood (A wooden compass? For the Throne of Humanity?! Pshaw! Away with you, filthy peasant!), but rather having a compass that looks like an actual, usable compass.

I found and adapted a compass-drawing tutorial to suit my needs, and I went with gold for the case because the Western Empire is filthy rich. I also incorporated some imperial symbols in and around it because Emperor Itomas can afford that, too.

P.S. Before you ignorant peasants get all uppity, yes, I know that in your world there aren't 120 degrees in a circle. We of the Western Empire know better than to waste time and money on precision navigation instruments when we can spend it on looking fabulous and conquering the world.

Glory to the Emperor! Glory to House Itomas! Glory to the Western Empire!

That is so western empire and awesome at that same time


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:50 pm
  

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kiralon wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Captain_Nibbz wrote:
Whiskeyjack wrote:
It looks pretty cool. One thing I notice though, due to the shadows on it, the cardinal points all appear to be bent off of true N, S, E and W.


That rose looks really good, but I do agree with Whiskey that it does look a little off kilter because of the shadows. Either way though, keep up the good work! This project is looking fantastic!


Well shucks. I guess I'll have to try something else then.

How's this?

I wanted to try a curvy taper with the compass rose, but the shadows do make it look a little weird. Forget that silly compass, then! I had some time this morning, and I liked Kiralon's suggestion. Not about having wood (A wooden compass? For the Throne of Humanity?! Pshaw! Away with you, filthy peasant!), but rather having a compass that looks like an actual, usable compass.

I found and adapted a compass-drawing tutorial to suit my needs, and I went with gold for the case because the Western Empire is filthy rich. I also incorporated some imperial symbols in and around it because Emperor Itomas can afford that, too.

P.S. Before you ignorant peasants get all uppity, yes, I know that in your world there aren't 120 degrees in a circle. We of the Western Empire know better than to waste time and money on precision navigation instruments when we can spend it on looking fabulous and conquering the world.

Glory to the Emperor! Glory to House Itomas! Glory to the Western Empire!

That is so western empire and awesome at that same time


Agreed, that looks fantastic! Did you really whip that whole thing up just this morning? I'm honestly impressed!

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:19 pm
  

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Thanks! I adapted a very good tutorial to suit my purposes, but yes, I put this together this morning. It's a lot quicker and easier to vamp off a design when you know it works than to try to make it up as you go.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:22 pm
  

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That is pretty gaudy. Kind of perfect and awesome for the empire. :)


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:22 pm
  

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Update: The Political Geography version is almost done. Sorry, no more in-progress looks until it's done (though I might post a backer-exclusive in-progress look on Patreon tomorrow). It's so close that there won't be a lot of difference between its present state and its finished state, and I want to give my Patreon backers an exclusive first look at the finished version.

Changes from the previous version:
+Added three large cities to Phi and labeled the Citadel of the Sun as its capital city. Glen Evans was gracious enough to allow me to use the names/locations in his Phi manuscript in this map. Thus, they're not exactly canon, but they may well become so.
+Established a color system for the non-Western Empire cities. If the city welcomes human visitors, then it's yellow. If not, it's red.
+Added a gaudy gold compass rose that actually looks like a functioning compass. Thanks for the idea, Kiralon!
+Added some gold title text to match the eagle and wreath around the compass.
+Moved some labels around to make room for the new labels.
+Changed the cyclops logo to give the eye a bit more definition and make the lightning look more like it's coming from the eye rather than striking through it.
+The Four Sisters label no longer overlaps with one of the ruins icons.

Still to do:
-This map has no legend yet.
-The map has no frame yet (And what to do? I'm still thinking blood marble, but a gold frame might be interesting, if difficult to pull off). However, its dimensions are perfect for putting in neat lines (the black and white alternating lines that surround maps; useful for eyeballing distances).
-Nor does it have my signature thematic frame inscription yet. For this map's subject, I feel like I should write up something worthy of a Ron Perlman narration: grim, dark, and mellow.
-That little river in the northeast corner still isn't in yet. You'd think I'd get sick of writing this.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:27 pm
  

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Backers can now look at the nearly-complete political map on my Patreon page. Enjoy! I hope to have this done in about a week.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:38 am
  

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So I'm considering three options in sizing this image for printing:

Option A is to add a frame and a heraldry explanation section/legend where I show each house's heraldry in higher definition along with a short description of each, similar to what I did in my maps of the Great Northern Wilderness and Eastern Territories. The result would be 4050 pixels tall and 5400 pixels wide (3/4 ratio of height to width) and would be suitable for printing at several sizes: North American ARCH A (9x12 at 450 dpi), ARCH C (18x24 inches at 225 dpi, probably what I'd recommend) and ARCH E (36x48 inches at 112.5 dpi, good for folks who want it printed huge on a wall and don't mind shelling out some dough for it).

Option B is to add a frame with a thematic inscription, but no heraldry explanation section, and have a small section explaining the basic marker shapes only. The result would be 3600 pixels tall and 5400 pixels wide (2/3 ratio of height to width) and would be suitable for printing at ARCH B (12x18 inches at 300 dpi, probably what I'd recommend), or ARCH D (24x36 inches at 150 dpi, which would be fine for a wall).

Option C is to forgo a frame and size this map to print on 17x11 stock. It would have neat lines (black and white checkered lines around the perimeter) but no decorative frame, thematic inscription, or heraldry legend. It could print on standard ledger or tabloid loose paper or ANSI B (all are 11x17 inches at 300 dpi) or ANSI D (22x34 inches at 150 dpi, fine for a wall).

In terms of printing cost, the 17x11 size would be significantly cheaper than any of the larger poster-size prints. In terms of artsy stuff, Option A would probably be the best-looking.

Of course, I could make all three. It would be something of a hassle, but it's doable.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:56 pm
  

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Comment: Kill it with Fire.
What you have been doing works, as the prints at A1 size look great, but i'm no artist so i'd go by what you think.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:33 am
  

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Soldier of Od sent me a message last night pointing out that Colfax (Scarlet Mountains' regional capital) may actually be on the coast. Thanks, Soldier of Od!

Looking into this further, the information seems to be conflicting.

+The p115 map of Colfax seems to suggest some body of water on the southern edge of the city.

-The city description makes no mention of any body of water nearby.
-The city description mentions none of the industries we usually see associated with having access to the sea (fishing, ship manufacture/repair, navigation stuff, et cetera)
-The description of Colfax has it in the mountains.
-There are no docks on the map, which I would expect for a coastal city.

How I'm explaining these discrepancies:
Colfax is next to a small lake in the mountains. This lake has little to no commercial value; the streams/rivers leading to and from it aren't navigable, and the fish there are either scarce or don't taste good and/or the water is gross due to the accumulation of filth from the city over the centuries.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:23 pm
  

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Hotrod wrote:
Soldier of Od sent me a message last night pointing out that Colfax (Scarlet Mountains' regional capital) may actually be on the coast. Thanks, Soldier of Od!

Looking into this further, the information seems to be conflicting.

+The p115 map of Colfax seems to suggest some body of water on the southern edge of the city.

-The city description makes no mention of any body of water nearby.
-The city description mentions none of the industries we usually see associated with having access to the sea (fishing, ship manufacture/repair, navigation stuff, et cetera)
-The description of Colfax has it in the mountains.
-There are no docks on the map, which I would expect for a coastal city.

How I'm explaining these discrepancies:
Colfax is next to a small lake in the mountains. This lake has little to no commercial value; the streams/rivers leading to and from it aren't navigable, and the fish there are either scarce or don't taste good and/or the water is gross due to the accumulation of filth from the city over the centuries.

Me again! :D

This is how I see it: the map shows that the coastline is all cliffs, bar a small patch of "beach" at the bottom of one end. I say Colfax is on the sea, but has no proper access to the sea because of the sheer cliffs. There's a ladder or some small steps pictured, so maybe a few fishermen do a bit of fishing off the coast, but only small amounts that they are able to lug up a ladder by hand! And... it is a prime spot for smuggling! It does mention on page 111 that most of the region's coastline is made up of sheer cliffs.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:18 pm
  

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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2001 1:01 am
Posts: 2585
Location: Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy
Soldier of Od wrote:
Hotrod wrote:
Soldier of Od sent me a message last night pointing out that Colfax (Scarlet Mountains' regional capital) may actually be on the coast. Thanks, Soldier of Od!

Looking into this further, the information seems to be conflicting.

+The p115 map of Colfax seems to suggest some body of water on the southern edge of the city.

-The city description makes no mention of any body of water nearby.
-The city description mentions none of the industries we usually see associated with having access to the sea (fishing, ship manufacture/repair, navigation stuff, et cetera)
-The description of Colfax has it in the mountains.
-There are no docks on the map, which I would expect for a coastal city.

How I'm explaining these discrepancies:
Colfax is next to a small lake in the mountains. This lake has little to no commercial value; the streams/rivers leading to and from it aren't navigable, and the fish there are either scarce or don't taste good and/or the water is gross due to the accumulation of filth from the city over the centuries.

Me again! :D

This is how I see it: the map shows that the coastline is all cliffs, bar a small patch of "beach" at the bottom of one end. I say Colfax is on the sea, but has no proper access to the sea because of the sheer cliffs. There's a ladder or some small steps pictured, so maybe a few fishermen do a bit of fishing off the coast, but only small amounts that they are able to lug up a ladder by hand! And... it is a prime spot for smuggling! It does mention on page 111 that most of the region's coastline is made up of sheer cliffs.


That's an interesting and very valid interpretation. In this context, what we see on the map could be cliffs leading to a mountain lake or cliffs falling away to the sea. The lack of any mention of the sea being nearby makes me feel ok with my current interpretation, but that feeling might also be due to the fact that if I'm wrong, it's going to take a lot of work (including going back and changing the underlying land sculpt) to fix. I'll stew on this some more as I get version 1.0 of the map put together, and maybe I'll revisit it later.

In the meantime, I've put together a framed version, an extended framed version, and a neat-lines-only version of the map. I still need to come up with some thematic text for the frame, and a few pithy words about each regional house.

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Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:17 pm
  

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Adventurer

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:32 am
Posts: 642
Location: Great Britain
Cool. It's your map to do with what you see fit! Looking forward to seeing the final version!

I've already used one of your draft versions - one of my player's characters wanted to buy a map of the Empire last week while they were in Arcadia! :-D


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:21 pm
  

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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2001 1:01 am
Posts: 2585
Location: Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy
In other news, I also misspelled "Colfax" as "Golfax." Gah!

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Hotrod
Bizantium and the Northern Isles, p65 map
Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
Check out my maps here!
Also, check out my Instant NPC Generators!


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