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

29 July 2016

the Elyden Globe Project - part 1

I’ve reworked the base map after deciding to go for a simple black and white image that I’ll paint once it’s stuck to the globe. That should keep the printing costs down and help me exercise my painting skills, which I haven’t used in ages.

Gores + nullambit - finally

My work on the map also led me to cracking something I’ve been flummoxed by for a long time now - the Nullambit.

The Nullambit: is a region and supranatural phenomena that spans the globe, at an angle to the equator. It is equidistant from the Atramental and Firmamental fonts (the Black Fountain and the Menisucs; at 8o57’33”S 27o56’20”W and 8o57’33”N 152o03’40”E, respectively) and is the farthest point from the two regions, circumventing the globe of Elyden.
The closer one gets to the Nullambit the weaker the effects of the Atramenta and the Firmament become, making shaping and technarcane use a lot more difficult. The farther one moves from the Nullambit (and closer to the antipodes of the Black Fountain or the True Meniscus) the stronger relative shaping becomes and the more pronounced the respective effects become. Within a radius of 10 - 100-miles of the antipodes survival becomes close to impossible, with both the Atramenta and the Firmament coming up many horrific and inventive ways of debilitating and killing mortal life there.   

TLDR: it’s another equator at a tangent to the real one, whose poles are the two magical fonts, which are antipodes.

Nullambit 3D

I’d been struggling to get this properly depicted on a map and after lots of maths, messing about with projections, flipping things back and forth, I gave up, knowing I’d have to revisit it at some point. When I end up wasting loads of time on something without progress, I;ve learnt to let it go, and then come back to it later with a fresh perspective. And lo, that’s what I did and it worked.
Now I can go back and add the proper Nullambit to my finished maps and the atlas maps too.

So now that’s out of the way I can concentrate on the actual map, though I won’t be going overboard with the labels (mostly due to the annoyance of having to split up names between gores)! - so just nations, capitals, major cities and landmarks that are pertinent on such a scale, sea routs, trade routes, rivers and the lagest geographical features.

#elyden, #fantasyglobe, #globe, #fantasycartography

27 July 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN #12 - Jurras

I just finished he'd the latest map in the Altas Elyden project, Jurras:

ATLAS ELYDEN #12 - Jurras

A Vassal to the Secular Republic of Parthis, Jurras is largely autonomous, with Parthis using its lands and resources as necessary and controlling its military forces in defence, though otherwise leaving its people to continue in their lives.

Following the retreat of the Korachani empire in 3143 RM, the region was left in the hands of imperial caretakers (known as the Interreges) who commonly rule by proxy in the empire’s absence, forging relations with those who will rule once the Interreges depart. Worship of the Undying Machine was enforced by the imperial rulers, as was customary, with local deities either deposed by iconoclast forces or assimilated and turned into imperial saints. Like in neighbouring Karakhas, this practice was met with native resistance and much of the imperial tenure there was wrought with periods of intermittent strife, which culminated in c 3000 - 3100 RM, with many people reverting to worship of their ancestral deities, the Simulaeka.

This worship of the Simulaeka continued during the reign of the Interreges and became absolute with their retreat in 3226 RM, following civil conflict that led to the storming of their stronghold in the city of Ekadha. The AInterreges retreated later that year, leaving the Jurrasi to self-rule for the first time in over 2,700-years. The region was weak for a while, with many of its resources left spent by the retreating Interreges, but they managed. The nation was divided into 4 districts, with a major city taking control of each. These solidified into a tetrarchy that continues to rule to this day, its Arbitrator caste exercising total control of its people. Atramental  use is restricted, with practitioners sent to a college that divides prospective candidates into two - those who will be sacrificed to keep the capital of Samaris safe form Atramental taint, and those who will go on to work in government positions in a more permanent manner.

Relations with Parthis grew over the centuries following Jurrasi independence, and in 3696 RM the nation entered into a vassalage agreement with Parthis, which established a controlling presence in the city of Kethra, which remains a cultural and administrative centre, rivalling the capital on the other side of the nation. Many believe that, should Parthis remain in control of Jurras for much longer the capital will be relocated to Kethra.

NOTE: anyone waiting for a tutorial - it's on the way, I;m still working on it between the maps and commissions:)

* * * 

Thanks to my Patreon (link below), I've reached enough funding every month to reach my first goal, which is to create a globe, so you can expect some updates about my progress (read: struggles) in crafting the globe and sticking the gores to it. Lots of swearing to follow, I'm sure :)

#atlaselyden #jurras #encyclopaediaelyden #fantasycartography

13 July 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN map #11 - Lyridia

So, it's another new map from me today, this one detailing two regions - Lyridia Dhai, and Lyridia (though the focus is on Lyridia). I'm working on the encyclopaedia entry for the region and will polish it up and post it over the coming days. I have a few commissions lined up so it will probably be a while until i get round to getting another map posted.

Atlas Elyden map #11 - Lyridia

Lyridia is a relic of another time, a place ruled, not my magnates, or a sovereign, or a puppet answering to a foreign lord, but Firmamentists. Lyridia is ruled by the Abulia or Watchers: nine seers, ancient beyond knowledge, who are entombed within an archaic technarcane structure high in the Kythi Mountains, where they are locked in a fugue state between life and death. There they sleep a dreamless slumber, their bodies unageing, their senses dead to the world. Yet still they are worshiped as gods.

In their stead rule a caste of augurs in proxy. They command absolute authority, though in times of need they might call upon the Abulia for otherworldly aid. Powerful personages and leaders from across Elyden might also seek to learn the secrets of the Abulia… at a price. When needed, the Abulia are stirred from their engineered slumber by the augurs, and immediately they begin convulsing, uttering prophecies that are recorded and interpreted. Though the source of these prophecies is unknown, it’s believed that they are ancient whisperings and teachings of the demiurges, somehow observed beyond the gulf of time. How accurate or meaningful these prophecies (or if indeed they are even truthfully prophecies) is debated by outsiders, but they are the foundations on which this strange nation is built. Lyridia is a rich place and its rulers are not ashamed to show it with large fortresses and monuments dominating its lands, even as its people live in relative squalor.

Beneath the godly Abulia are the augurs and their white-robed policing force, who rule through fear. The populace is otherwise divided into two distinct factions - troglodytes (descendants of natives who traditionally dwell in cliff-hewn settlements, who form the lower classes and rural populace) and Lyradeans (descendants of the parent nation from which Lyridia emerged). In some areas the division between these castes is strong - the north and east are home to mostly Lyradeans, though small troglodyte settlements hewn from cliff-faces or ghettos within the cities are not uncommon; and the region around the Kythi mountains is home to large numbers of troglodytes, who either live mud-brick settlements or even in their traditional cliff-hewn abodes. In other more urban or recent areas the division between castes is less severe, with both making up a large part of the population (though the troglodytes are rarely nobility and usually menial or unwanted jobs). The nation itself is situated along the cusp of two worlds - the Korachani empire dominates the west, the reformed Sarastroan empire lies to the south and to the west are free lands. Influences from all three regions are not unfelt in Lyridia, but the rule of the augurs is harsh and contact with the outside world is restricted to merchants (though this has relaxed in recent years), the nobility and diplomats. This xenophobia is perhaps understandable as Korachan has stared hungrily east to this land for many years, attacking it at various points throughout their history. It was partially successful and annexed a large part of the nation’s west, which later became a korachani territory known as Lyridia Dhai (literally: new Lyridia), and Lyridia remains wary of outsiders to this day.

* * *

And here is the updated mosaic of the Inner Sea:

#atlaselyden #lyridia #encyclopaediaelyden #fantasycartography

03 July 2016

Encyclopaedia Elyden and the Inner Sea map

This is a little post to show my followers what I'm aiming towards.

These maps I've been posting are part of an in-world atlas, known as the Atlas Elyden, which is the fifth volume in the so-called Encyclopaedia Elyden, which is a 5-volume book detailing, in meticulous effort, the world of Elyden, which I have been working on for about 10-years now.

  • Vol 1 is the traditional encyclopaedia (think Encyclopaedia Britannica). Currently 400,00 words - this is the most comprehensive volume so far. 
  • Vol 2 is the natural encyclopaedia, detailing things like physical characteristics (astronomy, geology, continents, climate, flora and fauna, and various miscellania. Currently 80,000 words - certain parts are finished whilst others are little more than place-holders so far. 
  • Vol 3 is the travelogue, detailing both extant and extinct nations, city-states and major cities. I imagine this to be like the regional portion of an RPG campaign setting. Currently 200,000 words. Many regions are fully-fleshed out, though most are still just a title and little else. 
  • Vol 4 is the mystical book, detailing religions, mythologies, creation stories, and magic. currently 40,000 words - apart from the creation myths and generic magical info, this book needs the most fleshing out by far, though it would be the smallest book once completed, anyway. 
  • Vol 5 is the Atlas, containing all sorts of maps in the style of the atlas maps ive been doing so far, including different scale maps, so it will eventually feature cities, continents, world maps, featuring different things, like climate, trade, politics, etc. Iv'e barely scratched the surface of this book so far, and only really have these 10-maps finished, out of possibly hundreds... 

Inner Sea map outline 

The above map shows just one region (equivalent to the Mediterranean in our world) and all the maps I've done so far. My short-term goal for the project is to flesh out the so-called Inner Sea region, with an eye towards an amalgam map (one at A3 size for the atlas, and another at A1 for a poster). The A1 map would not just be a scaled up version of the A3 one, but will be redone from scratch as the A3 map will (due to size constraints) have a lot less labels than the maps I've made so far, so will only feature major cities and features. The highlighted area in the map above shows the area that will be covered by the Inner Sea map (at both scales)

So that's that :)

#Encyclopaediaelyden #Atlaselyden

02 July 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN #10 - Vaalk

“At the end of all things there will remain only one. When the seas are gone and the land is dust and death, one being will be left, observing. As Elyden dies He judges the actions of those who perish. He is the Knower. He is the keeper of tales, the rememberer of histories, the crux of all knowledge.”
- Vaalkan Legend

Atlas Elyden #10: a map of Vaalk 

The Knower is more than national folklore, he is the closest thing the people of Vaalk have to a religion. He is such a part of everyday life that people justify their actions by thinking how the Knower will judge them. “By his actions will the Knower Judge him,” is a common grave quote.

Vaalk was once a Korachani territory, though following the Sundering of the empire in 3705 RM the empire lost most of its southern territories to the Reformed empire of Sarastro. Vaalk, whose loyalty to the Archpotentate Malichar (ruler of the Korachani empire) was absolute, resisted Sarastroan takeover and fought against his forces for 31 years before being finally defeated. Worship of the undying machine was, which was never strong, slowly died, and was replaced with a more fervent worship of the Knower. It remains now as a martial territory and its armies still look to Malichar as a patron.

* * *

This one was done relatively quickly - the topography and most of the labels were already done thanks top my older maps, and it was a relatively small land area to work with. The large empty space in the top right corner will likely be filled in with something informative (maybe a city map of the capital or a zoomed-in version of somewhere else, not sure yet).

C&C are more than welcome, and remember, you can follow my patreon for high-res maps, textless maps, more details on the world and other exclusive content, thanks :)

#Vaalk, #Elyden, #Atlaselyden, #Fantasycartography,

28 June 2016

ATLAS ELYDEN map #9 - Hololach

I hate this map so much! The topography took so long (especially in the south). The labelling took so long (largely as this was a region that i had not explored previously, and all I knew was the coastline and mountains in the east and south). But i finally finished it, and I have to say it's one of my favourite maps. I can technically do a lot more labelling in the south, but I'm so sick of this map that I'm calling it finished for now :)

Atlas Elyden, #9 - Hololach

Hololach is very much a land out of time. It is dominated by two geographical features that separate it from the east – the Toliasor mountain chain that runs uninterrupted from north to south for 1,000-mniles; and the Holiasor mountains, which dominate the southern coast for 520-miles and is very difficult to navigate due to the large number of lochs and undulating rises along its length (attributable to ancient glaciers, whose force can still be seen in the boulder-strewn plains of Saleb).

These features have left Hololach largely separated from the east of the Inner Sea and helped forge its relations with the west – Sagittaria, Gnoth, Aquariia, and, more recently, Parthis. Its separation from the west means that many features introduced through industrialisation are not at all common here. Nomads, descended from the first Volupis of Hololach remain common, travelling the lands of Hololach and beyond in a long circuit that can take as much as a decade to complete, in caravans of hundreds of individuals.

The land is still ruled by a Volupis – halfblooded descendant of the first ruler – who is recognised as a divine being and treated as such. Hololach is divided into eight prefectures, each of which is ruled by a docent: practitioners of the Volupis’ divine teachings and shapers of unparalleled success – a dubious honour for the art of shaping is forbidden outside the docent caste, who maintain a strict vigil over the demiurge’s old art due to the dangers of its use there. The region of Oghyathav, in the north of the nation is a twisted wasteland where the Atramenta manifests as tangible nightmares thought to be ancient remains of a demiurge’s presence there millennia past. The nightmares take the form of twisted blackened formations, vaguely reminiscent of humanoid shapes or evoking emotions. Atramentists and scholars have studied the region hoping to learn more on the art of Oneiromancy (divination through dreams) and the history and mythology of the area.  

#hololach #atlaselyden #fantasycartography #elyden