[WIP] Village: Port Therlu

Early days yet, but the start of my drow town, Port Therlu. Hard to get a good balance on the darkness so it looks subterranean yet you can still see details! Much left to do, obviously...


  • I can't make any comments yet, other than it IS a bit too dark for me to make out....but are those buildings on water? will that be docks?
  • What size is this map?
    I would like to start a map and this seems like a good size.
    But i can never get it right. Always too large or too small.
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Looks like a good layout, Scott.

    I'm with Lorelei on the being a bit dark thing. You can make things look dark without them being really all that dark at all, just by adding points of light and manipulating the colours a bit. For example, if you make it more bluish grey or grey instead of all-out black darkness, and then add tiny pools of orange lamp light using the dungeon lighting scheme, you can have everything a lot lighter and more visible than it currently is.

    The only quick example I have of this (and you will have to forgive me here for posting an image on your thread) is an extract of a night time village I did based vaguely on the concept contained in the Demon Cycle books by Peter V Brett - of a village that must be protected from demons by magic symbols that glow with power in the dead of night. In this example the light is bluish green, but it would perhaps have been more effective if I had chosen yellowish orange light and given the crops around the magic glyphs daylight colours where the rest is bluish grey.
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    I think the grey/purple scheme is the answer and will rework things in those colors. As I say, it's very early days. Part of the city has been built out into the water, but there will be docks and walkways/bridges added in. The size is 1500x1500. And no worries about posting an image, Sue. Works as a great example of what I'm trying to achieve.
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    Here's a color-adjusted version, as per Sue's suggestions. Much better. Towers are still a bit dark, so I may change them, but overall I think it looks better. More night-like and less just dark.
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Oh, much more visible :)

    How about doing the title a bit smaller. It kind of screams out of the map at that size. Maybe half the size would be better? If you did it that big to make it stand out from the map, how about putting it on a plate of its own - not too different from the background... maybe a bit like a bit of parchment?
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    Yes, the text is too large. Will probably just make it smaller instead of putting it on a plate of its own. Still working on it, so lots to do...
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    I addressed the font issue, lightened the land and sea and did some road and bridge work... Water needs contouring, more docks to put in as well as details. Getting there, slowly but surely...
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    Don't like the glow on the font and I think the size of the bricks for the roads need to be adjusted a little. Shadows on the bridges and docks might be a bit too long, too.
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Try changing it to black glow. Might sound a bit crazy, but the font is already very pale and would easily stand out all by itself. A black glow would simply 'clear' any background details that might otherwise interfere.

    You might want to EFI the edge of that raised level a bit. Its a bit harsh.

    Other than that its looking really good :)
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Oh, and I like the way you've put the map on some kind of stone table ;)
  • There seem to be a lot of buildings that have no access to the roads. And the ones in the water - it appears you have either to go through the houses to get to others, or else go by water. Finally, not sure the compass and scale design go with the map. Otherwise, as Sue says - great map, and inspiration to me for later.
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Oh dear! I thought that was mud and rock :O
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    Thanks for the input, as always.

    Yes, I need to add in smaller roads yet. These are just the major ones. The original idea for the buildings on the water was to run docks along them but that is going to be a tedious endeavor, so I have to rethink that unless I just use a wood fill...

    Agree about the scale, although I thought the compass face was sort of Drowish. Maybe I'll throw a mask over it to bring down the color and change the scale bar.

    Also, agree about the land being too sharp and needing an edge fade.
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    A little more work...
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Oh I love those trees!

    iridescent colours get me every time.

    So it really is water? Hmmm. Maybe something a bit more watery than that might work better?
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    Well, it's a water fill... perhaps waves and shoreline breaks? There will be docks and ships eventually, which will help.
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    Maybe its not the one to use with that particular darkening method. If you are using an RGB matrix and blend mode over the map to turn it all blue-grey, then you may need to use something with a tad more contrast on the black/white scale (though obviously not very much more - just enough to show some kind of texture)
  • The trees and colors are really great. Looking forward to see how it looks when it‘s done.
  • oooohhhh.....i like where this is going
  • Giant mushroom forest!

    Mapping anything in the underdark is always a challenge. Your maps hit the mark every time. I will eventually send my players back to the underdark just so that I can use your maps. My players will not be happy. :D
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Oh dear!

    I'm not getting this at all am I!

    First I think the water is mud, then I think the mushrooms are trees.

    Maybe I need to do some research on Drow stuff so I don't get it all mixed up in the future...
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    Lol, Sue. No problems. Drow are just subterranean elves with dark skin and light eyes. I think I solved the water/mud issue by changing the water fill I was using. Will post an updated picture when I've done more...
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    A bit more done... Not sure what else I want to do with it, beyond labels.
  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer
    Looking really great.

    That's a better water texture.

    Its such a pretty map it would be a shame to put labels all over it. Is there space for a legend? Not really I suppose.
  • Your map is coming along nicely, Scott. One thing you might try is add a bit of transparency to the title text. I think that may add a subdued mood to it which would fit the setting of the map. It would also allow the background to add a bit of texture to it.
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    I know, I hate labels ruining beautiful maps! lol! I probably will do a legend in the lower left corner in an opaque box.
  • I love the texture on the left, the grey one. is it from CC?
    I really like the map. At the beginning I had no idea how to find it, as I never did something in the underdark nor played there, but over the time my understanding grew and now you got me!
  • ScottAScottA Surveyor
    That grey texture on the left side is just a normal water texture. The whole map has had an RGB filter thrown over it to bring the colors into the blue shades and make it look like a night or subterranean scene.
  • Thanks, scott, great inspiration!
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