[WIP] Community Atlas - Town of Shessaria

To honor my promise to Quenten, I've started the town of Shessaria in his Kentoria Mid-West map. I'm just laying out the terrain to start, so have a long, long way to go.
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Comments

  • I love it when you do a map, Shessar :)
  • Thank you, Shessar.
  • 9 days later
  • edited July 20
    I managed to find a bit of time to begin work on this. I decided that the farming in this region is predominantly olive groves and vineyards so am designing with that thought in mind.

    I'm still pretty early in the layout so I'll probably change my mind a million times before I'm done but as always I'm willing to take input as I go. :)

    And yes, I'm aware of the transparency acne on the eastern bank of the small river. It won't show once I begin developing that area.
  • The areas south and east of the town seem a bit sparse. Are you going to fill them them with something? If they are uncultivated then for a temperate non-arid climate forest would be a natural fill (grass or savanna for a semi-arid climate is acceptable) but unless there are going to be other points of interest closer to the south and east borders of the map (perhaps on the islands in the river) it might be better to trim those areas off. (On this map at least; on a larger area regional map you would want to preserve the roads and rivers.) Very nice so far though, but then that is to be expected. 8D
  • Gosh, i just love your rivers. Coming along nicely. I especially like your arrangement of the fields in the upper left
  • jmabbottjmabbott Traveler
    edited July 20
    I'm liking what I'm seeing. As there are a lot of newbies here, myself included, would you mind sharing some of your process? For instance, I assume the contours in your first pic are just wide black lines at low opacity with a blur effect to act as a guide for the structure of the map?
  • This is turning into a lovely map :)

    I've got a fix for that TA if you want it, Shessar. Copy the dark grass texture from the TERRAIN sheet to the background and turn it into the light grass texture. It seems to fix it if the textures are perfectly aligned.
  • Thanks Sue. Good to know that the light grass texture in this style can block the TA. Useful advice for sure. :)

    Posted By: jmabbottI'm liking what I'm seeing. As there are a lot of newbies here, myself included, would you mind sharing some of your process?
    Sure, I can do this. I'll start from the beginning, just to show how I go from imagery to an actual map. I'll focus mostly on techniques that I use since that would likely be most useful to new users. The techniques and effects that I use tend to be very simple and basic, because as I've said before, as a DM I don't often have the time between gaming sessions to make maps, so quick and easy is my method.

    Be patient with me though because I have three major projects going on in real life, so my mapping time is rather sporadic right now. This map is likely to take me a few weeks to finish.
  • RalfRalf Surveyor Administrator, ProFantasy
    Lovely map and great use of the Cities of Schley style.

    One thing that I wonder about when I see the layout: Why two bridges over the same river? Building a stone bridge is a pretty hefty investment and not done lightly. It would be more natural to build the second bridge over the small tributary, making it quite a bit cheaper. If the town is large and rich enough to support more bridges across the river, they would probably be further apart.

    Not saying this layout is not possible (it absolutely is), but it provokes some questions why it is this way.
  • edited July 21
    The Town of Shessaria - From Concept to Finished Map

    My ideas began with Quenten's map and his layout of the region around Shessaria. When I looked at this area I saw a town in a valley between mountain ranges. The colors in his map looked warm and full of sunshine. The town sits where a tributary meets a larger river and with farms all around it is likely fertile. It's in a valley but is surrounded by hills and mountains so while it is not rugged land there will be at least some rolling hills in the terrain.

    So, his map brought images of warmth, sunshine, fertile fields, vineyards, olive groves, a slow and casual life of shared wine and bread dipped in warm olive oil. Wine, olives, bread - here is the basis for the towns economy and the use for the fertile ground. The rivers, the fields, the terrain as it rises from the rivers - here is the basis of the land layout.

    I now have a concept for the map.
  • Posted By: RalfLovely map and great use of the Cities of Schley style.

    One thing that I wonder about when I see the layout: Why two bridges over the same river? Building a stone bridge is a pretty hefty investment and not done lightly. It would be more natural to build the second bridge over the small tributary, making it quite a bit cheaper. If the town is large and rich enough to support more bridges across the river, they would probably be further apart.

    Not saying this layout is not possible (it absolutely is), but it provokes some questions why it is this way.
    Good point Ralf, especially considering the setting and location. Thanks for the input!
  • edited July 21
    Since I decided to base the farming on vineyards and olive groves (as well as some wheat fields) and I have little knowledge of the first two, I had to go looking for real life images to base my fields on.

    Here are some of the images that I uses from California, Greece, and Spain.
  • Now, to determine the map size...

    This is the most difficult part for me. How big should my map be for the size of the town that I want? I'll confess that I usually have no idea. I dislike doing city maps for this reason. How big is a town and more specifically, how big is this town?

    So I have a rather unorthodox method of figuring map size. I start a bunch of maps of different sizes, plop down a few symbols on each to see how big they look, then pick the one that has symbols the size that I want. For gaming, I like to be able to see only the needed details in a map with out having to zoom in too far. I then base the size of the town on that map size. Backwards methodology? I guess, but it works for me.

    This map is 1500 feet by 1200 feet. Small? To scale? I don't know. I only know that it has the look and feel that I want. I can always re-scale the map later if I feel that it need it. Since generally in a town map it doesn't matter how many feet it is from Tom's house to the general store, but it does matter where those two places are, I don't worry about scale in a town map.


    One of my players once said to me, "The purpose of any map is to show me where to go. The map of a city should show me where things are and how to get there. I won't care how many bushes someone has until I have to hide in them. At that point it becomes an encounter map, not a city map." This has become my city mapping philosophy. :D

    I started this map with a water background. You'll see why in my next post.
  • Rivers

    The next step is how I often do rivers on city and dungeon level maps.

    **Before we begin, it is important to note that I only occasionally use the predefined drawing tools, preferring instead to use the drawing command buttons on the right side of the screen. So if I say to draw something I mean to use one of these tools unless I specifically say to use a drawing tool on the right toolbar.

    First, I need two sheets. The one with water as seen above that I will rename to BACKGROUND WATER and a new sheet named simply BACKGROUND. Both can go on the BACKGROUND Layer.

    With the Sheet and Layer set to BACKGROUND, the Line Width set to 0, Line Style set to Solid, and Fill Style set to the Default Grass texture, use the Box tool to draw a rectangle a little larger than the current Map Boarder. I make it larger so that effects that I will apply will be hidden on the outer edges of the map.
  • Next, Change the Fill Style from the Grass texture to Solid and set the color to Pink #6. Also set your Line Width to the width that you want your river. Keep the Sheet and Layer on BACKGROUND.

    Using either the Path or Smooth Path tool, draw your river. Reduce the Line Width and draw the smaller river, then reduce the Line Width again and draw the smallest side shoots to form the islands.
  • jmabbottjmabbott Traveler
    Thank you so much for taking the time to explain your process, it really is helpful. I’m no stranger to dungeon maps, they’re my forte, if you could call it that, I’m not an expert but I’m far better at them than overland maps and I’m completely new to CC3+. So any tips are appreciated.
  • You're quite welcome. If you have questions feel free to ask. :)

    Next, on the BACKGROUND Sheet, set up the Color Key Effect to use the Pink #6 that you used to draw the river and 0 Replacement Opacity. What this does is cuts a keyhole in the sheet anywhere the color #6 is. I also ass a Lighted bevel and Several Inner and outer glows to add depth and definition to the river.
  • Here's the river in its final form.
  • What template are you using? The sheet and effects list looks a bit intimidating.
  • I started with the SS5 template but have added a lot of my own sheets and effects. Usually I just delete all of the predefined sheets and just create what I need as I go, and then create my own template from that, but this is the first time I've made a map in this style so wanted to see if there was anything useful to me in the sheets and draw tools before dumping them all.

    Hmmm, maybe I'll clean up the list before I go further in the tutorial to eliminate any confusion. Thanks for pointing out that the sheets list was a bit messy.



    So, to anyone following along on a map of their own, please delete all sheets except

    BACKGROUND WATER (which we just created) - No effects

    BACKGROUND - Color Key (#6, 0), Bevel Lighted (just a small bevel and settings to your personal taste), Glow, Outside (#67), Glow, Inside (#40), Glow, Inside (#0) Glow settings to your preference except for the black inner glow which should be just enough to outline the land.

    MAP BORDER - whatever the default effects are is fine. Change this as you wish.

    We'll create the Sheets and Effects that we need as we go. Your sheets and effects should now look like this:
  • 7 days later
  • I'm very sorry, but I'm just not going to have the time to make a tutorial for this map. Besides, Ari Gilder has a series of blog articles on creating cities in CC3+ that surpass anything that I might write. Why recreate the wheel (especially when it is a much better wheel)? :D Instead, I will answer any questions that come up as I post updates to the map.

    I have the north west section of the town finished and am just starting on the area south of the main river. I took Ralf's suggestion to heart and eliminated the second stone bridge opting for a small wooden bridge instead.
  • I still think there is a lot of unused area around the town. According to the District Map you based your map on the surrounding area is more cultivated than forested so a few hedgerows breaking up the landscape might be appropriate. (Even fallow fields or grazing areas need boundaries.) Maybe some farmhouses near the roads could suggest a human presence. An out-of-town manor for some rich aristocrat/merchant might make an interesting feature too.
  • DaltonSpence, please forgive me but I have no idea what you're talking about. Unused areas around the town? Do you mean spaces between the houses? Please explain.
  • I mean the areas on the other side of the rivers beyond the roads and houses. Unless you are planning to trim it off you should put something there. The town is perfect as far as it goes.
  • Wait...so you're talking about the unfinished parts of the map? You're telling me that I should finish the unfinished sections? LOL. Okay.
  • So it's unfinished? And still looks so great? Amazing!!! ;)
  • Thank you! Glad you like the completed bits. :D

    For future reference, when I put WIP in the thread title, it means that it is a Work In Progress. I do this for a couple of reasons. When it is a complex map it gives the opportunity to get input as the map progresses and before it gets too far along for easy changes. It also lets new users see the steps taken to create a map and to ask questions along the way. I almost always do a WIP thread if I'm posting a map here on the forums. I'm a slow mapper and really only finish a couple of maps a year for the community since I'm also making maps for my game world at the same time. Posting a WIP lets me participate in the forums rather than just showing up two or three times a year to add a map. :)
    Autumn GettyLoopysue
  • 1 month later
  • I'm between major projects today so found a bit of time to work on this map again. Still lots to do on it but it's coming along...slowly.


    QuentenMonsenWeathermanSwedenjmabbottLoopysueLorelei
  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 12 images Mapmaker Administrator

    Looking great. Starting to look much more like a map now that those big open areas are getting filled in. Looks like a lovely place to live.

  • DaltonSpenceDaltonSpence Traveler
    edited September 1

    I like the suburbs, vineyards and orchards to the south but lets not over fill things here. One major estate in the north-east section should do it, but fenced pastures for livestock would be preferable to crops (horses mainly, some sheep, maybe a few cattle). A large manor house for a high ranking local figure would be nice but there should be a barn for feed and equipment and maybe a stable to shelter the more valuable animals (and staff). Something more bucolic than functional.

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