Saturday, August 21, 2010


A couple of days ago I produced the coastline for Italy.  I have a confession to make - there's something odd about the map.

Ignoring the fact that it's pink - a color I use because it designates land without being similar to any part of the terrain color scheme - it is also stretched.  The pan format I use always produces distortion, particularly as most maps are oriented to look 'normal' from a north to south perspective, and my mapping system stretches things east and west.

That aside, Italy I can see is going to be very tight.  Can you believe that I'm going to squeeze 430 cities into this space?  Not including the bit of pink in the bottom left corner, that being Africa?

I've already started this morning.  To keep things straight I usually move from the top of the map to the bottom, doing each province as I go; thus, Milan, Piedmont and Veneto will get done first.  Occasionally, I might mention in posts how its going.

P.S.: please ignore the bits around the edges; this was cut from other maps, made on the program publisher, and I thought some of the designers out there might enjoy seeing how the various pieces are laid together.


Carl said...


I have a friend looking into using GIS (geologic information service) software to put hexes over a physical map I have of Italia and Carthago. We messed with it a bit in Publisher but haven't been happy with the results yet.

Publisher is not my preferred tool for this kind of work, although I understand that the tool you use is the tool you use best. I'm considering a Photoshop or one of the various RPG-specific mapping programs to do this work, but I think GIS will be up to the job.

I went through my notes and dug out all the "named" NPCs that the party had interacted with over the last 63 campaign days and they number 32. I started working out stats for them and getting their numbers down along with possessions, henchmen and hirelings.

Alexis, would you post a comment on magic items? My group found a small horde of coins that contained some scrolls and they immediately wanted to sell one of the higher-level scrolls for some much needed adventuring capital. I dealt with it and they got their money. I'm curious about how you handle this sort of thing. When the party does come across temporary magic like scrolls and potions, wands and such, how do you handle the sale of such items, and what is the likelihood that such items will appear in such a horde?

Here's a tangent that might help you get a little context for my game. In Rome, there are a several officially-recognized groups of "priests." I put that in quotes because some of them are magic-users or illusionists. The haruspices are the creepiest and lowest on the social order of priests in Rome. They are all "acanists" in my game. Magic Users who are called upon to predict the future, cast spells and so forth. To me, it makes sense that these "priests" produce potions, scrolls and wands, likely for the legions, but it would make sense that Senators and other prominent and wealthy Romans would have access to these "priests" for production of magic items.

Thanks in advance.


PatrickW said...

I like the map so far and look forward to seeing update and/or the finished product (having already seen the Finnish product - sorry, couldn't resist).

I've been using your technique for my Southern Reaches maps. I've been making the water edge blue shapes on top of land-filled hexes to maintain the hexes. I think I'm going to stop doing that as it makes coasts take longer and I'm not certain I'll ever do much water travel justifying the hexes. How do you/would you handle water travel, like crossing the Adriatic Sea?

Alexis said...


I'm not sure what question you're asking. Time of travel would be typically 4-6 knots per hour, depending on the ship. For a description, I have a number on my Tao's Campaign site, under the heading 'Buffalo,' such as here.