Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday Cyber Monday

Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales are in effect at DTRPG. #Calidar PDFs are heavily discounted for the duration. Don't miss this opportunity to complete your collection or discover this new world.

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

City Design WIP: Part One

"Medieval Street" © 2016-2020 Aleksandr-osm on Deviantart

Designing a fantasy city always is a challenge. Other than using random city generators (some of them are fairly good and fun to use), drawing one’s own requires balancing creativity vs. desire for realism, both of which demand planning. The city described here, Mythuín, is a work in progress. I intend to include it in my upcoming gazetteer on Calidar’s elves. I hope to post updates between the early stages shown below and the final result.

            The first step was to establish Mythuín’s physical size and therefore the scale of the map, and how big the streets would look on paper. After some back and forth with cartographer Thorfinn Tait, we went for a 1:11,000 scale. From this, he generated the coastline, based on the existing topographical map from cal1 In Stranger Skies. The next milestone was to figure out the size and graphic resolution of the map’s image, with one version intended as a two-page spread in the gazetteer and the other as an option for a separate 12”x18” fold up map. The red dotted line on the illustration shown below marks the outside limit of the book’s map. All in all, the area depicted is about 2 miles north to south (a little over 3 Km). The grid is set to 1 square = 100 meters (330 feet).

            From this, the widths of the streets could be calculated fairly accurately. For example: a “small” street could be thought as being 18 feet across (a little over 5 meters). On paper, this would be just 2 millimeters thick. I know this actually works, based on the Glorathon city map from cal1. Tracing such a street on a computer screen requires a line 6 pixels wide. Actually, it’s not really as narrow as one might think, so far as Middle Ages streets go. Those of you living in Europe or Asia know what I mean. I Google-viewed the old quarter of my home town of Nice, which is a good example of what a medieval town might look like. Some streets there are 10 feet across (3 meters). It’s great for shopping and ever so quaint to visit, but they do get pretty crowded. On the plus side, there’s no car traffic there. At the scale I’m using, these would show as simple lines, maybe dotted lines on the map.

Rough Draft 2 City of Mythuín ©2020 Bruce A. Heard. World of Calidar™ Fantasy Setting.
            Actually putting pen to paper begins at this point. Besides the existing coastline, I needed to draw the city’s main features. For Mythuín, I wanted a cliff with multiple waterfalls, and a giant oak tree in the middle. First, I drew the edge of the cliff. Then came a river splitting into three branches. The northern waterway is intended as navigable. It requires a river port and a shaft lock linking with a marine channel through a tunnel at the bottom of the cliff, 40 meters lower (130 feet). Two hand-drawn drafts and two computer versions later, I finally have a layout I can live with. I then added bridges and “access towers.” These large towers contain spiraling ramps for mounts and horse-drawn vehicles to reach either side of the city cliff. They also feature levitating shafts running along their central axes.

            With all this in place, I can begin “roughing in” streets and boulevards connecting all the key elements described earlier, which will produce city blocks and open areas. The map shown here is just an early draft with labeled details penciled in as guidelines. Click here for Part Two.

Nice's Old Quarter, Southern France