24 September 2016

reddit AMA - Sunday September 25th

I'm doing an AMA about the world of Elyden on the /r/worldbuilding reddit tomorrow at 18:00 (GMT +1). This isn't going to be a live AMA that will only be open for an hour or anything, so if you can't make it at that time, don't fret, just ask something and I'll reply. As long as i find comments I'll continue replying to them.

This will be mostly themed towards worldbuilding aspects so ask about things like cultures, religions, toilet habits, themes, etc.

For those of you who don;t know AMA stands for ask me anything, and, well, that's pretty self explanatory. It's used in this case as a way for worldbuilders to tackle subjects and questions that they otherwise might not have thought of. Hopefully something productive will come of it.

Thanks :)

21 September 2016

the Path Travelled - part 8

After missing out a few entries on the blog and a long hiatus on Patreon, here's the latest entry in the adventures of Chronicler.

Bassorah & Ipanah, Madour, and Thamal

While working on the Inner Sea map I took a little time to work on a new map in the Atlas Elyden series. This is the first map I’ve made in the series that doesn’t occupy the entirety of an A3 page. The map itself is 3 distinct unrelated regions, one occupying an A4 face of the sheet, and the other two occupying a space of A5, respectively. You can see the line denoting the page spine once the thing is assembled into a book and/or pdf.

I haven’t yet included the grid (the letters and numbers corresponding to the index that will feature in the back of the atlas, once it’s done) and will add it in later. I also changed the style of the cartouche, going for something more modern. Some people had commented that once the maps are arranged together in an atlas, the cartouche style (particularly the wording) I was using wouldn’t really make sense. So going forward, all new maps will include this new cartouche style, including a rational scale as well as the old scale bar, as well as a short note describing the projection (as it’s a fantasy world some projections - notably those named after someone, like Mercator or Wagner etc. will be renamed to fit into world, though other types of scale, such a the one used in this map - equidistant conic - will retain the same name as there’s no point confusing people just for the sake of doing so :p). I’ll be updating the older maps as I go along as I tend to have to update certain things on them anyway, particularly when working on neighbouring regions that appear on earlier maps that weren’t fully fleshed out.

Most of these maps already appear in other maps, at least partially, and serves as a bit of a spotlight on smaller regions that might otherwise be missed out, like Achera. Bassorah is mostly depicted in the map of Skaros and most of Ipanah appears in the maps of Azazem and Skaros, and Madour is already all visible in the map of Vârr though I wanted to zoom in a bit (I might add some more detail to it in the form of new labels that couldn’t fit into the map of Vârr.

* * *

BassorahA recent addition to the nations of Llachatul, Bassorah emerged from the newly independent Ipanah in the years following the Dissolution of the Korachani Empire in 3705 RM. Like Bassorah, it is a land founded by immigrants and refugees and they have made a name for themselves as traders and merchants, growing rich as intermediaries between Almagest, the people of the Old Forest (Tar Yo-dhai), and the Korachani empire.

The stereotype of the typical Bassoran amongst the people of Korachan is, at best, a moustache-twirling merchant or, at worst, a skulking thief. The truth is far more complex. Bassorah is at a crossroads of cultures, where religions and different beliefs mingle amongst the many merchants, leaving its people somewhat jaded and more world-weary than your typical work Slave in the empire.

IpanahA small, relatively recent nation to appear in Llachatul, Ipanah was settled in c. 3020 RM by refugees fleeing from both Almagest and Korachan in the years following the War of the Artifexes./ Much of the nation is built over the ruins of the older extinct nation of Asibaia, around an ancient cenotaph dedicated to a now-forgotten scion.

Its people were often attacked by slavers, with uncounted thousands of individuals carried into the empire in its ceaseless hunger for fresh bodies. In 3534 RM the nation was invaded by Korachan, and its people taken wholesale as slaves, leaving it largely deserted by the turn of the century. Following the Dissolution of the Empire in 3705 RM, its lands were later repopulated by dverg from Chthyrid between c. 3730 – 3750 RM as well as human immigrants, many of which would go on to expand north into what would by 3800 RM become Bassorah.

AcheraAlso known as ‘the Rusting Citadel’ Achera is in truth a monolithic fortification, comprising redoubt, concentric star forts and miles upon miles of trenches and walls in Llachatul, between Laaskha, Ipanah and Azazem. Originally erected in the early days of Korachani dominance in Laaskha in response to dissident attacks, the network grew into a militaristic conurbation with a population of over 100,000 at its peak. The citadel’s purpose changed over the years, leading up to c. 2910 RM, at which point it had diminished, becoming an independent caravanserai controlling 800-square-miles of land between E Lhaaskha and W Skaros, governed by an order of knights bound to both neutrality and the people it protected (pop. c. 3,000).

In the centuries since then the region has become an autonomous state, still bound to its self-declared laws of neutrality. It is the smallest autonomous regions recognised as a state by most other powers around the Inner Sea and its people, though few, are very proud.

MadourAn ancient city dating back to the early days of the Korachani empire, Madour was once a part of an independent pre-imperial Vârr, then became part of Rhamia before falling to Korachan in 792 RM. When Korachan was driven from the region in 1019 RM Madour became its own entity once again, turning to piracy in the Sea of Propontis, though traffic across the sea diminished over the next centuries. The city then became insular, its merchants and privateers, once a common sight, dwindling until all contact was lost with the outside world. Rumours grew across Vârr that a quarry within the city struck a deep hollow that led to the underworld of Carceri.

By 2200 RM those passing close to its borders would see a towering wall of iron and limestone surrounding the city, with no doors leading out. The Korachani empire reappropriated Rhamia late in the 4th Millennium RM its diplomats and explorers braved the city it in 3989 RM. The old city was found abandoned, a particularly deep mine collapsed, leading into Carceri - proving the rumours. The mines were sealed with reinforced concrete, the high walls levelled and the city - the strategic importance of its location clear to the pragmatic imperial colonists - rebuilt. Now landlocked following the retreat of the Sea of Propontis, a harbour links the city to the sea where slaves from the north east arrive.

A small nation in southern Llachatul, south of the Mull City-States. Thumal is composed largely of islands, which together form the southern-most point of the Toliasor Mountains. Parts of the region once formed part of the Korachani colony of Amondor though broke away in 3820 RM. It is people are the descendants of Korachani colonists and people native to the region, whose blood was mixed millennia past with that of mulls. The capital of Elbia is known for its beautiful and expansive natural harbours.

#Bassorah, #Madour, #Ipanah, #Thumal, #Innersea, #Atlaselyden,

14 September 2016

I haven’t posted a WIP on here for some time. I don’t tend to show most of my commissions here, and my personal maps haven’t had much that I can share before they’re done (at the moment it’s just getting the topography done and then adding the markers/text. Not much more other than that). This is something much more ambitious than any previous map I;ve created before, though.

Some of you might be familiar with my Inner Sea map. That map’s over 4 years old now and personally I think it’s really showing it’s age. I was only then starting to learn how to use Photoshop and was still experimenting with style (and horrible fonts). I’ve since moved on to a more modern style (both in terms of worldbuilding as well as the maps themselves), as can be seen from my Atlas Elyden maps. I’m enjoying the work that goes into those maps, though the topography and stitching that needs to be done to incorporate the maps into a larger whole is quite time-consuming. Just see the screenshot below for the size of the map...

yep, that's how big the uncompressed PSB is...

My efforts so far have seen me map various parts of the Inner Sea region I had explored in that original map 4 years ago. So I’m going to take what I’ve done on these maps (the first was created in January 2016) and apply that to a new map of the Inner Sea, depicting a slightly smaller area than that first version (I’ll be omitting the area of the Dark Sea in the bottom right to really concentrate on the Inner Sea itself).

I’m currently working on the topography, which is the most time-consuming part of the project. I’m probably half done by now, and am busy working on a region of dense mountains in the north west which is taking a long time to get done. Other than that I still need to tinker with the ‘finished’ areas to get them looking a bit more natural. Once that’s done I’ll be able to concentrate on rivers before getting things like borders and labels done.

I’ll be working at A1 size at 400 dpi on this one, with an eye to getting it printed as a poster for myself and patrons who are interested in it (at a cost that’s yet to be decided, to cover printing and postage). I’ll later resize it to A3 and adjust it as needed for the smaller size (removing less important labels as necessary, for instance) for my Atlas Elyden project.

I intend on keeping the same colours as the atlas maps, though I might weather the map a bit, to make it look used and add some texture to the otherwise flat atlas style.

This is what I have ready so far, in terms of Topography. Many regions are still rough (particularly the south and south western areas of the map), with just the first layer of topography finished (like in the south east):

Inner Sea map - WIP

To anyone wondering, the topography is done 100% by hand and none of it is generated. Each level of topography is a separate layer in Photoshop, filled with the respective colour and given a hide all mask that’s painted white and given a 1px dark brown stroke.

More details on how the map is generated can be found on a tutorial I posted, here.

#Innersea, #Elyden, #Poster, #Atlaselyden,

31 August 2016

Elyden climate map

I just finished this. It didn't take too long to make (as usual with maps with text, the text took quite a while to get done, though this time I was able to pinch some words from my notes), but I needed something like this to help me with the regional atlas maps. I expect I'll be updating this and tweaking it as I work on other regions, so nothing is set in stone quite yet.

Elyden Global climate map
The text from the image is copied below:

Put simply, climate is a stable weather condition averaged out over a long period of time (often 25-years), categorized by specific combinations of humidity and temperature; whereas weather is a short-term phenomenon, based on changes in in wind, humidity and temperature.
   Elyden is currently undergoing a change in climate, and is emerging from a warm period, moving into an ice-age. These cooler temperatures result in lower sea-levels as more sea-water is trapped in polar ice. Despite these changes, each of Elyden’s continents is characterized by particular climates and patterns in temperature and precipitation, amongst others.
   Of note are the Atramenta and the Firmament, which affect both climate and weather as well as other conditions in their vicinity, with their effects more pronounced the farther from the nullambit one moves.
   The study of climatology was introduced in 3982 RM by the scholar Phirun Kamerathis, who divides the northern and southern hemispheres of Elyden into five broad bands, or climate zones, each: Tropical, Dry, Temperate, Continental and Polar in the northern hemisphere and the reverse in the southern. Each of these bands is further divided into more detailed bands which were introduced through later adjustments.
   Each band has distinct traits and qualities that are shared to different degrees across all lands and territories that fall under that band. The bands are not regular and may cover different latitudes, depending on the presence of oceanic currents, mountains, deserts and other factors.

Despite its distinction of being the smallest and most isolated of continents, Bror is an example of the climatological diversity that’s possible in relatively small areas.
  The Lahaed mountain, running down the entirety of the continent like a hard spine, it the major arbiter of Bror’s climate. Rain shadows to the north and south of the mountain have created sizeable rain shadows, beyond which are tropical regions to the north-east, and temperate to the south-west.    

As the northernmost continent, it comes as no surprise that Llachatul is the coldest. It is the only continent with a land polar icecap and has the longest stretch of west-east land above the north polar circle amongst all continents (7,300-miles).
  Llachatul is generally divided in two: Gnotha to the west and Malani Llachatul to the east, divided by a line drawn from the sea of Propontis to Bielost. Gnotha is characterized by a continental climate, with its western coast heavily influenced by the Erthydaen Flow, which brings warm waters and currents north from the Sea of Lynnae. Farther south, and closer to Sammaea, it ranges from temperate to the arid-temperate climate that characterises the northern coastline of the Inner Sea. Malani Llachatul has a more temperate climate, though lands east of the Argent mountains are arid to semi-arid, with its south-eastern coast ranging from equatorial to hot humid.
  Southern and south-eastern Llachatul experiences a wet season and a dry season, though northern and western Llachatul experience four seasons.

Dominating the north of the far hemisphere, Meniscea is home to the True Meniscus. It lies between 80O north and 10O south, though is concentrated around 70O and 40O, with a continental climate predominating, with tundra to the north and a more temperate climate to the south.
   The southernmost reaches of the Meniscean peninsula reaches to beyond the equator and displays a hot-humid through to tropical to equatorial.

Sammaea is the largest continent, stretching from 50O north to 84O south and encompasses all climates imaginable, save for polar icecaps. The continent is divided into four – Western Sammaea, comprising all lands west of the Karkarmis mountains; Southern Sammaea, comprising all lands south of the Acharkharan mountains; Eastern Sammaea, or Imperial Sammaea, comprising the lands north-east of the Mulciber mountains; and Northern Sammaea, or Kharkharadontid Sammaea, which dominates the lands between – each of which has distinct features.
   The continent is characterized by vast deserts along regions of rain shadows, both tropics, and the innermost regions of the continent, with the largest – the Kharkharadontid desert – being home to the Black Fountain and the most extreme Atramental terrain. It also has the two largest rain forests in Elyden – the Wold in the west and the Waelmigh in the east.
   Away from these areas of extremes, the climate is semi-arid to temperate-arid, though the south is more temperate, with continental and tundra in the extreme south.

#Climate, #Elyden, #Atlaselyden, #Fantasyatlas, #Fantasycartography, 

26 August 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN #13: the Desolation of Astudan, and Sabia

Here's the latest map in the series, detailing a largely empty expanse. Funny how it took me so long to finish... 

I've added a few new features, including the rock desert ( semi circle patterns) as well as a faint bevel/emboss texture to the land to give the impression of more detailed elevation.

Let me know what you think!

Atlas Elyden #13: the Desolation of Astudan and Sabia 

Remember, if you become a patron you gain access to exclusive content like High-res maps, textless maps as well as more background and history about the world of Elyden.

* * *

Aptly named, this region, which exists as a buffer between west and east, and south and north, is an expanse of cold stone deserts characterised by wind-worn rock formations and boulder fields and very little else. The lands of Astudan are unclaimed by most, though there exists an oasis of culture in its south-east that has as its nucleus the legendary city of Gâtha.

Gâtha is an independent city-state that begun life as a Korachani colony that busied itself mining lodestones, but after high-yield mines were exhausted in c. 3350 RM, Korachan left the region under the leadership of the Interreges. The city experienced a renaissance of sorts decades later and once more became an autonomous region. It attracted adventurers, halfbloods, outlaws, other races, and explorers from far regions, many of whom settled there and its diversity remains a defining feature to this day.

Sabia is situated to the north east of Astudan. Located across the polar circle has made its people hardy and hard workers. Its fishing fleets are well-equipped to navigate the frigid waters of the Bielost and the Sea of Daggers to the north and are legendary for their prowess at hunting whales and sea serpents and it is a major manufacturer of whale oil and ambergris. Like many other regions it was once a target of the Korachani empire, which was interested by its large deposits of meteore under the Echanem mountains. That unfortunate past of servitude and subjugation is now in the past and Sabia enjoys its independence.

Being situated along the Nullambit makes it a place largely neutral to the Firmament and the Penumbra and its lands and culture are also free of their influence.

#Elyden, #Fantasycartography, #Atlaselyden, #Fantasycartography, #Sabia, #Desolationofastudan

20 August 2016

Atlas Elyden style guide

By popular demand, a guide to how I create my Atlas Elyden maps.

This isn't a full-out tutorial, though more of a guide to how I create the maps, so a working knowledge of how Photoshop and projected maps work is assumed. I don't go into details like which exact colours are used and so on as I expect anyone wanting to emulate the style to use their own colours. It's no fun copying things word-for-word :)

Here's a link to a PDF with the exact same guide for anyone who wants a slightly less long version to keep.

Hope you enjoy, and as always, you can check out my Patreon for more images and details of the world. Patrons get exclusive content, like PSDs and high-res JPGs of the maps, as well as textless versions for use in your own work. A more detailed version of this tutorial should be up for patrons later on in the month.

#atlaselyden #fantasycartography