Serpents bay

Lately I’ve worked a lot on different city maps, especially when I also made the tutorial that lasted for seven posts. When you don’t have unlimited amount of time to spend on mapping it’s easy to use tools like City designer 3 from Profantasy. In a very short time you can create something beautiful that in a program like Photoshop would have taken you hours, that is the strength of the program. The weakness is that you don’t have the same flexibility that you do have in Photoshop. That is why I prefer to do overland maps in Photoshop and not in Campaign Cartographer 3.

As you probably have figured out now this post wont be about a city but an area named the Serpents bay, on the eastern part of the”old world” in the Etrakien world, that I’m mapping. The map is completely done in Photoshop CS5 (and the Pixel bender plug-in). All graphics are made by me and the only things borrowed are the background paper texture and the compass, that both are made by the user Coyotemax over at the cartographers guild homepage. When I do maps in Photoshop I always start with a paper texture as the base, on which I’m then painting everything.

That’s about it when it comes to the technical stuff. Now lets look at the map and some of the back story of the area.

Serpents bay (Ormbukten) has got it’s name from the Sea serpents that return here to play before mating every three to five years. Their scaly skin, teeth, bones and blood are all valuable on the market. From the skin you get armor, teeth will be great arrow heads or spear heads and the bones and blood can be used in medicine or the dark arts. If you manage to hunt down and capture a serpent you will surely be well rewarded. But the price to do it can be high. No other creature in the known world is as dangerous as a wounded or cornered serpent. In every hunt more than one sailor will loose both his life and boat.

There are two countries next to Serpents bay, Andamar and Nib. They are both known for their skill in crafting serpent armor and weapons. A trade on which they can live well. The stories say that in the beginning Andamar and Nib was only one land, but when the Etrakien Empire expanded and conquered the western part of the land, that today is Andamar, they never succeeded to get there forces over the bay. The stories claim that the serpents came to Nibs aid and killed the intruders that tried to cross the water. No one knows if that is the truth but that fact is that Nib stayed independent from the Etrakien Empire, never to be conquered.

During the end of the war between the Etrakien Empire and the Arnorian Empire a revolt for independence started in Andamar that in the end resulted in the freedom of the country. Since then the relation between the former masters in Etrakien and the inhabitants of Andamar has been quite tense.

When I created the map I decided to give all names in Andamar and Nib German names, in contrast to the Etrakien names that are based on Latin. The reason for this was that I wanted to make it quite clear in the map itself that we had two different types of cultures here. Two kind of cultures that in the beginning developed apart from each other. At the same time the names in Nib and Andamar shows that they share certain cultural aspects.

As a side note I must admit that I don’t know neither German or Latin. All names in the map are created by combining words I translated. So if you do speak any of those two languages you might be in for a laugh :).