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Worldbuilding in RPGs (Part 5)

So we're now on the final stretch of this series of games, and it's time to reveal our map. It's worth noting that this particle article in the series will focus less on worldbuilding in general, and more on the country that we've been making so far in the series. So, feel free to skip this one, if you feel you've learned enough, otherwise, read on. :)

First off, is a very very rough sketch, of where things are, more or less, where I imagine them to be.

There are 2 capitals, one in the east and one in the west. There is a more or less natural border now separating the 2 (a river that goes most of the way from the southern shores to the northern lake) along with a warzone area that's been devastated (just north of that lake). There is a large natural resource in both the west and east (the east has the food supply, and the west has the timber) and there's a natural border of mountains that separates the country from its southern neighbor. It does have a northeastern neighbor just past the arable land (and delineated with the black line).

Then we tighten up the image a bit, and we get this one.

Here we've simply made the map a bit more easy to read, so that it's easier for an actual cartographer to work on the map. A lot is still left untended, but it'll suffice to show people where everything is and where it should go.

And then we put this through Inkarnate (I'd prefer an actual cartographer here, but since we're only doing the map for this article, I don't think we need to go deeper than this).

Here everything is now color-coded or marked with icons. Importantly, we've also added the roads here. As you can see only some cities are connected, and that's because, as much as possible, the cities will rely on shipping routes instead of land routes. A ship can take far more cargo than any wagon, and in many cases will also be faster. However, as shown on the map it's not always possible. Each city is now also near some sort of natural resource (coast, river, farmland, forest, or mountain) so each city has a type of industry to it.

On this map, there are 3 major exceptions (and 1 minor) to this rule: one city on each side of the devastated battlefield, from where it's possible for the 2 factions to muster troops and arms, and gather themselves for any attacks or defense.

That last major exception is the one city south of the western capital, which is near no water or natural resource. Perhaps it is the leftover from before the western forest had extensive deforestation work done to it. Perhaps the land there is decent, if not as fertile as in the southeast. Or perhaps there is something else hiding here, like a series of magical workshops or something similar.

The minor exception is in the east (to the west of the eastern capital), and serves simply as a trade-stop for anyone transporting their goods between those 3 cities.

And there we go. A fully-fledged world in a few relatively easy steps. :) See you back next week for the final part where we flesh out the last parts. :)

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