World Building Advice (World of Almeria)

I'm working on building a world for a fantasy RPG I'm going to be running, and am trying to put together a map for the game. Right now, I'm just getting started mapping and have very little experience with mapping at all, let alone CC3. However, I've got a start to my world map and am going to be seeking advice for making it better along the way, so that I can try to make it look as professional as possible. Any advice is welcome. I've posted an early map with the mountains, most of the major rivers, and a few minor landscapes. It's still got a long way to go, but I'm trying to determine if the mountain ranges look okay at this point (I'm having trouble with the background area - I want it to have a transition effect, so it's not just mountains on the default green, but I'm not sure what I have now looks right either.)

Any advice on that, or other things I've done so far, would be appreciated.

I'll be regularly posting in this thread as I develop more of the map, hoping to get some advice as I go.



  • My first advice would be to resize the left landmass. It's to square and it follow the borders of the map. Try to put it smaller and put some big islands forming a "way". Another point is that I think that you use too much mountain symbols. I would put bigger symbols or remade the layout. Try to put a big chain in the left and then push "arms" of mountains from it, so it feel more natural and fluid.
  • edited April 2012
    What I would advise is that you study the maps here at profantasy in the examples library - and download a few from the Maps and Catalogues libray here at Profantasy also.

    It's important to study both maps of REAL countries and continents, such as atlas maps, globes, and old maps like you might find at Wikimedia Commons is you search under the MAPS major catagory - and to study fantasy maps from famous authors like J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarrillion, The Hobbit, The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers, The Return Of The King), C.S. Lewis (Chronicles Of Narnia / The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) , Richard Adams (Watership Down), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Princess Of Mars / Tarzan / The Lost World), etc..

    If your just starting out drawing maps - then take time to scrutinize maps done by others first - because I gaurantee you that you will not only learn a lot about stuff that has already been done - but you'll start getting new ideas as well.
  • edited April 2012
    Good evening Corin,

    This is a great start, I really like your rivers; they've got a natural "flow" to them. A few observations about the northern most lake: will the river be draining into or out of it? This will be something the land around it will need to reflect when the time comes (just food for thought... :). As for your mountains, I agree with Mateus, they seem a bit to "rank and file". My one complaint with CC3 "straight out of the box" is this drawing style, I could never get the hang of it (I think it's the shadows most symbols cast, they make it difficult to place them), I always had a hard time with it. That being said I did find a trick that worked for me. I'd draw a looping SMOOTH PATH and use it as a guide line for my mountains:
  • The shape of the line was not important, I just used it to avoid making my mountains look like a square stamp...
  • jonas,

    Could you give an example of the loop method for mountains? I'm not sure how you would use that to determine where mountains go.
  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: CorinTackjonas,

    Could you give an example of the loop method for mountains? I'm not sure how you would use that to determine where mountains go.
    SOrry, multipost, :) Thanks for sticking with me... one more to come.
  • I would like to second that request jonas -
  • Some things to remember if you try this AND find it works for you (there are a lot of different techniques that get the same results; I found this worked for me.

    1. the loop is just a guide line and mountains should be placed from top to bottom instead of trying to "follow" the counterclockwise path. this end you'd want to start your mnts here otherwise they'll be sitting on top and look bad
    3.for the bottom of the loop you'd place your "second to last mnts here and them finish with 4.

    The best advice I'd give you is have fun, it's a powerful program but, once you get the hang of it you'll really appreceieate(sp) its freedom of control. Getting a feel of how the symbol library you've chosen works and expermenting with it will get the results you want. Great start! Welcome to the forum.

    Keep Calm
    Map On
  • edited April 2012
    So, let's say I had a bit of coastline and wanted to add a small mnt range to it. I'd trace the line, plop down the mnts following the "top to bottom, right to left" (except for the "backwards J" bit and then delete the line. I'd draw the SMOOTH PATH on the TEXT sheet (or any sheet really), not on the SYMBOLS sheet to make it easier to delete.
  • That's a good tactic, actually, but how would you use it to make a larger mountain range?

    Also, any suggestions for blending the mountains more into the terrain? It looks a little odd to have them just show up on the standard green land mass.
  • This is probably a VERY complicated way of doing mountains, but it really helped me from drawing them like "L"s or "H"s in the beginning :)
  • For really long mnt ranges I'd suggest multiple lines that cross over each other... To blend them into the surounding terrain I'd scale them down (after youselect the mnt you want to draw RIGHT CLICK your mouse and reset the scale maybe to .7 or .6 then transition into hills (which will need to have thier scale reset to normal.
  • Here's an example from an unfinished part of the first map I drew... Once I had the "spine" in place I just added some mnt fingers to smooth it into what would have been hills, trees, towns, etc... Hope this helps!
  • Okay, I've done a little playing with the land masses, and I changed the mountains on the island (which I left as it was, because I want the crescent shaped island for a specific purpose).

    Before I move forward, I am curious what people think about the continents to the left. I'm still not sure I like them as-is, but I'm trying to get something a bit more natural in appearance than my previous attempt.

    I'm also still looking for some method to blend the mountains/foothills better into the land mass, as I still think that the mountains on the green 'field' like color just doesn't look right, and am seeking any advice there.
  • Now they look better. I would still resize and/or rotate them. They still accompaing the border of the map. I think that if you rotate them, they will look nice. You could also put some islands beteween the two big landmases. Let us see how it progress. =)
  • you could add a new contour with an EDGE FADE, INNER effect to smooth the transition.
  • This is well on its way to being a great first map. Please do keep sharing as you update it.
  • Well, I've altered the large continent again (I decided against 2 continents; I really didn't have a use for a second one).

    I've also added mountains, rivers and lakes to that continent, as well as a small lake area. I'm still trying to determine what I am going to do to blend the mountains in better. (The river coming from the northern lake is moving south, not north into the lake, by the way.)

    Still looking for any advice.
  • You can have the free version of the A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping here:

    If you like it buy the full version that sells also on the same site.
  • I appreciate the link, Mateus, but I'm not really interested in purchasing a guide. I have the guide from this page already.

    I'm looking for the advice of those on this site who have experience so that I can make the map look better.
  • But take a look on the free version it gave a lot of tips about how to place mountains, rivers, how biomes form, how winds and ocean currents work, and even has some pages about how diferent cultures can evolve. Almost all the mapping stuff is on this free version.
  • One important question. You have only the CC3 or do you have some add on and/or annuals?
  • I am working with just CC3 at the moment. I am interested in getting the city designer, dungeon designer, and eventually the annuals, but I don't have the money for them at this time.
  • Mateus090985Mateus090985 Traveler
    edited April 2012
    Based on your current draw I would put another mountain chain on the north and draw some rivers to explain the big lake. I woulsd also put some more rivers floowing to the "central" river. I sugestd some islands (dont botter with my shapes). Last I dont like the swamp area because is very hard for a river to divide in smaller ones.

    Another tip you can try to fractalize your landmasses and islands for a more natural fell. Put the parameters to sometihng like 40% / 11 and you will see a good fractalization.
  • Ah... personal opinion, I like the delta/swamp, my only suggestion would be to check some real world examples of a delta system (google maps, the Nile or Mississippe river deltas). I now have a question for you Corin: Are you happy with how your mountains turned out? If so, the same technique can be used to place your hills. Mateus' suggestion of adding mountains along the north border is a good one (it's got a cool "fjord" look to it) and the mountians there would suggest glacier melt water feeding the lake. I hope you are satisfied with your progress; there's a lot of good change in the last 24 hours.
  • I actually do like how the mountains look on the main continent. I may still change them on the island, as I think they're still a bit too linear.

    I am going to have to review some deltas, as I also think the one I have looks a bit too parallel. Also, I intend to revise the hills, but I mostly just wanted to put a placeholder there for them.

    Thanks for the encouragement; I'll continue posting as I make updates.
  • Here's another update, taking some of the advice offered into consideration. Unfortunately, I hit a snag and don't know how to get around it - when I fractalised the continent, I had to delete the swamp (it's edge no longer matched) and can't seem to get it to trace the continent anymore (when I click trace, CC3 will only let me put the starting point up in the NW corner, and I can't figure out why it won't let me start anywhere!)

    Other than that, though, I've added another small mountain range, and done some river work. It's hard to see, but in each location where a new river joins the main one, it gets a little larger (I added the width of the two rivers, and multiplied by .75 to get an admittedly arbitrary amount to increase the width by, but it seems to work well appearance-wise).

    Any help with the tracing issue, and other advice is still appreciated.
  • One thing that I had only see now. You may want to resize your trees in the small landmass, cause they are a bit big if you compare to the mountains. Otherwise you are achieving a lot of improvement in a small time! Congrats!
  • I'm looking into the resizing of the trees. However, I re-drew the land masses and deleted the old ones to cut down on the file size (I'll probably fractalize when I'm breaking the map into regions for more detail, but for the big map it just makes the file size too large.)

    Let me know what you think of what I have so far here.
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