29 April 2016

the Republic of Almagest

Atlas Elyden: the Republic of Almagest
Here's the fifth map in the Atlas Elyden. Work slowed down due to illness, some commission work and writing. I Was hoping for 2 maps a month, though I don't think I'll be able to regularly keep up that pace. This one covers a much larger expanse of land than the other maps I've worked on so far and took a while longer to finish, largely due to the topography, and it has quite a few labels, though even looking at it now I can see there's room for more :)

(Note: the pale square in the top right corner will be where another inset map, this one depicting the capital city of Almagest in greater detail, once it's done (as it's taking a bit longer than I thought it would :) mostly because I'm designing it as a full-size map and will then be shrinking it to fit the space. The finished full-size map will be included in the Atlas as one of a handful of city maps describing important or strategic cities)

The Republic of Almagest has a long history: as an independent land of astronomers and scholars based around the coast of what is now known as the Strait of Almagest; as a territory of the Korachani Empire (under the control of which it spent most of its history, prospering as an industrial centre); and as an independent region freed of its imperial shackles since 3014 RM, after a long period of civil strife with the Motherland. Almagest remains a powerhouse of industry, though waning lands have left its many large cities without food. The capital, Almagest, was once the largest urban area in Elyden, with no less than 6-million bodies calling it home. What remains of that is now a greatly diminished city where starvation and disease run rife. Press-gangers recruit desperate people with promises of glory in the army. The reality is quite different, and most who join up trade one form of hunger and uncertainty for another

Please let me know what you think in the comments, as I'm always open to input.

remember you can follow me on my blog at www.vorropohaiah.blogspot.com and become a patron at www.patreon.com/elyden for high res files as well as textless versions or .psd's

25 March 2016

the Path Travelled - part 5

here's part 5 of the Path Travelled, my serialised novel, based in the world of Elyden.

We catch up with Chronicler in the Holy City of Mern, where his caravan has been stuck and a new arrival piques his interest...

Don;t forget you can become a patron for as little as $2 a month, and you will get access to full-res maps and other patron-exclusive content, including a printed version of the novel the Path Travelled, once it's finished, amongst others, thanks. You can access my Patreon account directly by clicking on the banner to the left or this text. Thanks!

02 March 2016

the City-Kingdoms of the Haréshk (and Tamar) - Atlas Elyden

So, another month and another map for the Atlas Elyden is finished.

The City-kingdoms of the Haréshk are relics of an ancient feudal system, and though that system of governance was consigned to history long ago, foreigners still know the Haréshk for its feudal lords, heraldry, classical literature and knights. 

The truth is the region is on the cusp of industrialization, and looks to the West and the Korachani empire with impressionable eyes. Trade with more advanced nations is on the rise, bringing City-kingdoms in contact with Tamar, Khamid, Malan, Saua and Ahrishen, like never before. Even Lydiria, known for its xenophobia, has established trade with the City-kingdoms, bringing a wealth of resources, goods and information into the region. Factories are beginning to appear on a scale as yet unseen outside of Korachan, and wealth is finally moving from the descendants of the ancient feudal families to upstart merchant lords, business owners and magnates.

Unlike other pats of the world, which are variously afflicted by the world's waning, the Haréshk is an idyllic realm of rugged fields, rocky escarpments and clear water, something that the voracious empire of Korachan is not ignoring...

the City-kingdoms of the Haréshk

Work begins on the Republic of Almagest, a large region autonomous from the Korachani empire. As the region is somewhat north of the Inner Sea, I;ve had to start work on its topography from scratch, which is taking some time. I was considering dividing the map in two - having the north-east in one two-page spread and the south-west on another two-page spread - since its a large country, though I'm not sure on how 'nice' that will look, and how easily the transition between pages can be accomplished. Well, it's not something I need to worry about until the topography is complete, speaking of which:

WIP topography

This is a partial stitch of 3 base maps I'm using when working on the topographies (most of the areas in  the above map have only partial topographies, apart from the finished regions, of course). This is here to show how small each atlas entry really is - see the finished Korachani overlay on the lower right and compare it with the Almagesti territories in the top left. Quite a difference, keeping in mind both of those white frames are meant to be A3 in size!

Almagest is actually 3 separate parts of the map - the mainland and 2 'colonies' in the headland to the west and again farther west across the sea. There are also colonies that are farther away, similar to the inset maps in the Korachan map, and if I have enough room on the main map i'll include them too. All will be revealed soon!


#Atlaselyden, #Fantasyatlas, #theharéshk, #Tamar, #Encyclopaediaelyden, 

14 February 2016

Atlas Elyden - index

Here's a mock-up for the Atlas Elyden index, regarding the 3 entries I have so far (Korachan, Pelasgos, Azazem). So far it's turning out to be an average of just under 1 page per entry, though some entries may have more or less labels, depending on the latitude (Desert and polar regions tend to be a lot more sparsely populated than temperate regions - go figure!)

Atlas Elyden - index mock-up
 the pages are temporary, as I don't have enough entries to be able to start laying out the Atlas yet, though as I get closer I can start to come up with placeholder pages (for instance: pages 17/18 will be dedicated to Ahrishen, pages 19/20 will be dedicated to Almagest, etc.). The Inner Sea region needs no less than 25 individual maps, most of which will be 2-page spreads. The whole world will need at least 125 individual maps, and that's excluding special maps (trade routes, pilgrimages, political, resources, war etc.)

I've also started work on the Hareshki map, which shouldn't take too long to get done as it's one of the regions that I'm more familiar with and has been explored in maps before. I'm prepping the Almagest map even as I work on that one and have something special and secret I'm tinkering on that will exercise my 'artistic' skills (largely dormant since I abandoned art about 10-years ago.

11 February 2016

AZAZEM Atlas Map

the Demesne of Azazem 

Here’s the next WIP on the Atlas Elyden: the Demesne of Azazem; one of the original seven nations assimilated by the empire of Korachan, near 4,000 years ago. It has been a major producer of food throughout its presence in the Korachani pantheon of nations, though its role has changed over time, as overworked farmlands have now been replaced by dross farms and hundreds upon hundreds of square miles of greenhouses that are fed by aquifers. Dross, is an artificial grey slurry made to sustain the working classes of the empire and is made from mosses, grains, recycled food and water, charnel and (in some cases) the bodies of the dead (think Soylent Green, but bad J ).

Next on my to-do list are either the region of the Haréshk or the Republic of Almagest. Both are amongst my favourites: Almagest is one of the oldest regions I ever came up with and splintered from the Korachani empire almost 1,000 years ago so has developed its own character. The capital and city of Almagest is one of the largest metropolises in Elyden and is a dystopic version of manhattan, with 2 rivers that are mostly hidden beneath vaulted regraded streets of rusted steel and grey stone. It’s a city of multiple levels and gigantic manufactories all connected by walkways and gantries. It was once a thriving centre of astronomy and industry though starvation has seen it diminish of late, with large areas disused or inhabited by degenerates and destitutes. Cagerunning (Elyden’s version of freestyle running) is common amongst the young. Almagest will likely be one of those maps that will have a small city insert detailing the major city districts – something I;ve wanted to do for a long time.

The second choice – the Haréshk – is one I have visited before, albeit in a more antique style, so will be fun to revisit in the Atlas style, updating it to match world events.

So which is it to be?

18 January 2016

Pelasgos and Azazem - Atlas Elyden

Here’s some WIPs on the next batch of maps. Since I have the topography for all of the Inner sea ‘done’ (I use the word done loosely as I’m already seeing parts I’m not happy with on the Korachan map – I need more levels of topography, so I’m thinking of 15 total, so I need to make a swatch/palette for the extra levels, but more on that some other time) I can now concentrate on the maps themselves – transplanting details and features from my old Inner Sea Map over to the newer and far more precise atlas maps.

the Inner Sea

So Far I’ve been working on Korachan’s coastal neighbours to the west and east – Azazem and Pelasgos, respectively – as parts of them were already done when I was working on Korachan (though that doesn’t mean I skipped half the work – as I each map is a different scale, I have to re-label them, so that text and icon sizes remain a constant size across maps regardless of scale).

Pelasgos is farther along and is almost done. You might notice a new ‘road’ design which represents umbra pipelines. Umbra in Elyden is a magical substance that takes the place of petroleum and oil in the real world. Most technarcane engines run on processed umbra and it’s a vital resource. I just need to do a bit more tinkering, add a few more labels (like rivers, lakes and geographical features, mostly), before I can call it done.


Azazem is a bit more raw, and so far I’ve just managed to transplant the old labels from the Inner Sea map to it and found encyclopaedia entries for the region and am in the process of fitting them into the new geography I came up with. I love this part as I get to rediscover old features and details I came up with years ago that I had forgotten about, so it’s a bit like a historian/archaeologist, piecing history together, expanding upon it and placing it in the world. Azazem is also the first of this new batch of maps to be displayed in landscape mode, due to its orientation.

Azazem - WIP

I mentioned the topography above, and it’s something I’m not 100% happy with. On face value there’s nothing wrong with it, though it seems a bit off – particularly the mountainous levels. They seem a bit bare, so I want to revisit the individual levels to make them more intricate and ‘realistic’, if that makes any sense. At this point it’s just polish though and I can live without it for now, though I do want to go back and revisit the levels in the future, maybe once I have some more regions finished, particularly around the Inner Sea.

Speaking of the future, I’m looking forward to moveing away from the Inner Sea, and somewhere a bit more virginal. I’m thinking of the continent of Bror, in the southeastern hemisphere. It’s an interesting shape and the only true island-continent in Elyden, so it’s something different to the Inner Sea. Either that of the Surrach, which I’ve touched upon before, though not explored in much detail so far. 

BROR - in the S-E of the map

So many choices!

09 January 2016

Korachan Atlas map 'finished'!

The first map in my Atlas Elyden series is finished! Now to start work on the next...

Korachan - Atlas Elyden 'finished'

I spent far longer on the topography than I was hoping to but, I can justify it by saying I was working on a large area that sees the basis for around 6-8 maps largely done, so that will save me a lot of time in the future.

I updated the colour scheme, and went for a simpler scheme for the water (no wave lines any more), though there’s no topography for the water (yet… not sure if I want to do that for now, but its easily something that can be done at a later time). I still need to add some spot-heights (and depths) but they’re not essential to the map and can wait for later. I also had to go over the roads and paths to make them fit in with the elevation better (no roads in steep inclines, for instance).

I removed the greyed out ‘focus’ area in favour of a washed out near-greyscale background for areas outside the borders of the focus nation (in this case all lands not part of the nation of Korachan).  

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the end result and am already on the Pelasgos map, which shouldn’t take too long now that I have the base ready. If I can keep up the pace I might try make some encyclopaedia entries for the regions I’ve finished.