This is as far as the Etrakien Empire would stretch when it was at its height of its power. In the mountain passes between the Grey peaks and Karpanien the Empire finally clashed with the growing power in the east, Arnoria. In the following war that lasted for one hundred years and brought the people in the area nothing but blood, sweat, death and tears, both Empires would crumble and nearly cease to exist.
Today, two hundred years after the end of the last battles in the great war the area is divided into many countries. In the west on the map you have Krug, an elitist country with a society that is very focused on warfare. To the north lies Illyrien, a very decentralized country with strong city states that cooperate to survive against aggressive neighbors in both the north and west. South of Illyrien lies Truscia a more archaic country that still believes in the lost world of the Etrakien Empire. They still have very good relations with whats left of the Etrakien Empire, in contrast to all the other countries in the region. In the east you have Karpanien, a kingdom ruled by a despotic king that dreams of better glorious times but has to struggle with a population that want nothing else but throwing him of the throne.
Between Krug and Truscia you also have the City of the Lost, or the City of lost souls as it sometimes is referred as. It is a city in the middle of the river delta, that mostly consist of marsh land, built on top of old ruins from the forgotten past. Here mainly people that don’t belong anywhere, outcasts or outlaws lives. The path to the city is a dangerous one to walk, if you don’t know the secrete paths, and from the sea only a selected few knows how to sail.
The map is made in Photoshop, mostly by hand. I like to do my maps by hand, not using that many brushes. I tried to use brushes for the mountains but I never got the result that I was after. When you draw the mountains by hand you can get them exactly as you want and there is no risk of any repetitive patterns. Lucky for me I’ve developed a way to do them rather quick. In my first maps the mountains took forever to do, now it takes me around two days (16 hours) to do a map like the one in this post. And that includes everything.
The city icons are however brushes, or not real brushes, I just copy the icons and place them in a new spot, but they are all the same (yes I do have three different versions in the map, one for large cities, one for cities and one for small cities).
I’ve also used a paper texture and compass from Coyotemax over at the Cartographers guild for this map. It is really good to use his paper texture as the basis for your maps. It brings more life to the colours, and makes them look more hand painted.