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Great Northern Wilderness, Political Map by Will-Erwin Great Northern Wilderness, Political Map by Will-Erwin
A commission for some avid fans of the Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game, this map depicts the single largest region of the known Palladium world, the Great Northern Wilderness. The dominant power in this region is the Wolfen Empire, a new nation originally formed from twelve tribes of the canine humanoids known as the Wolfen.

This version is meant to be the definitive version of the map, depicting every detail from the published material I can include. Since the Wolfen Empire takes up the biggest part of the map, I've given its factions special attention in the form of custom-made heraldic shields. You can see the shields at full size here. I also drew in some national symbols, which are described, but not depicted, in the Adventures on the High Seas sourcebook. For those unfamiliar with the blue lines and bright spots, they are ley lines and nexuses, which are important geographical features for the magic users and psychics in the game.

Two other versions of this map are also available. The first is a natural geography version, which adds labels to the major geographic features. The other a bare map, with no markings or icons whatsoever.

Special thanks to Glen Evans, who has allowed me to include map information from his yet-to-be-published manuscript on the Inland Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coast. I'm also working with him to create a much larger map of the Inland Sea to the south to support his work. Also, thanks to the members of Palladium Message Board who have been following the development of this map and providing very helpful input. Finally, thanks to Arsheesh. Most of my techniques are variations off his tutorials, and if you haven't checked out his gallery, you should.

As a rule, I try to work in new techniques to my map-making process, and this map is no exception. The first new technique I tried is a method for depicting the sea floor and its texture. After a lot of experimentation in previous maps, I've developed a method which creates coastal shadows and deeper waters in a way that doesn't take an unreasonable amount of time and yields results that I'm happy with. I might write up a tutorial for this method later.  The second new technique was to include snow-covered forests to correspond with the tundra climate in the far north.

Palladium Books owns the copyright to Palladium Fantasy and the books that describe the contents of this map. Please do not use any part of this creation for any commercial purposes (unless you work for Palladium Books, in which case, please send me a PM).
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:icon38caution-mk2:
38Caution-MK2 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2016  Student Interface Designer
That is a very well done to the map design! With that hard-working, this map look very detail and almost repersenting to the video game or even Google map! Keep it up! :la:
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much! I try to convey as much detail as I can, and I'm grateful for your appreciation.
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:icon38caution-mk2:
38Caution-MK2 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2017  Student Interface Designer
You very welcome! I am huge fan of map if you didn't know. :la:
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I guess I know now. Have a great day!
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:icon38caution-mk2:
38Caution-MK2 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2017  Student Interface Designer
You too!
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:iconcrocosansk:
Crocosansk Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That inspires me! A nice work anyway. :)
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconnocturnaliss:
Nocturnaliss Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2016   Writer
:iconprojectcomment:

I'm not familiar with the Palladium RPG, so I can't comment on accuracy in relation to locations and geography. The first reaction I had when seeing this is: wow. There's so much detail in this map - and not just the map itself! The wooden texture makes the tribal information pop out, and is in my eyes just the right colour to match the ample greens and blues of the map itself. I love that you added some information as to the current state of things in the world with that contour of text around the map... Very cool detail, and a neat idea. Just looking at it as a whole, you expect this place to really exist, somewhere. I love that feeling ^^

As for the map itself, what is most striking to me is that there seems to be very few settlements and towns. I do have some difficulty with distance, so I tried and compare it to real-life countries and, judging from this map's size (2500² miles?), it's about the same size as my come county of West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (3125km² - if you're curious: www.west-vlaanderen.be/kwalite…). Which does give me a good idea of how big it is. So this is indeed mostly wilderness as far as the eye can see. I can imagine all of the green are forests, and the top parts are covered in snow. I notice most of the major cities are located to the east; does it mean the west is impractible? I know this map is focussed on the Wolven tribes, but I can't but wonder why there are major cities in the west. The lay of the lands seems rather adequate (greenery, rivers...)... but maybe those settlements have yet to arrive? Like I said, I am not familiar with Palladium, so I don't know what is yet to change within this map in time.

As far as the map itself goes, I like how real it looks. It feels like a map you'd find in atlasses, or that kings would use on strategic tables (I don't know the term, sorry) to place their tiny armies and figure out war tactics and plans. I read you put a lot of effort into rendering your sea, and it shows: it looks exceedingly good, with plenty of details that gives an idea of the waters' depths. In fact, the water looks so good and softly detailed that it makes the jagged outline of the country stand out against it. From up close I can see there is a black aliased outline everywhere, which is really a shame. In my eyes, it makes the continent and water stand apart from each other, rather than be a part of one another. This, however, is only most visible when looking at the map on full scale... but I do wonder if removing that outline would make a visible impact on the smaller sizes nonetheless.

I also really like how you portrayed forests. It works well. So do the mountains and, of course, the water ^^ not so sure about the Grasslands however... the colour of it made me think of a desert... perhaps a little more towards the green side of things?
Oh, and I thought it was interesting to add leylines ^^ those would indeed be important to mages and suches!

Globally it's a very rich map, very detailed, and I do need to mention again how good that water looks, and how pleasantly the information around the map is displayed. You clearly put a lot of effort into it, and it shows! It's really well done ^^ I can but imagine the person who commissioned you was very happy with it! :)
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the feedback! Regarding the size of the map, the mapped region is about 3-4 million square miles, about the size of Europe. The placement and sizes of settlements comes straight from the source material, and it portrays this region as being a great wilderness, for the most part. It's not uninhabitable, but the winters are too harsh to support large settlements in most areas.

The black outline on the coastlines is a product of the gradient maps I use, and your point is well taken. I'll try adjusting to eliminate that in future maps. As for the grasslands, I based that on colors from photos of prairie lands.  I have a mild color vision impairment that makes it difficult to gauge color balance, but I'll look into blending in a bit more green.

Thanks particularly for the comments on the water. I've tried many experiments on depicting water in my maps, and this is the first one I've felt good about. It's nice to know that other people like it too.
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:iconnocturnaliss:
Nocturnaliss Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2016   Writer
Glad my comment was useful to you :) and thanks for your explanations! 
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:iconj-cody:
J-Cody Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2016   Traditional Artist
Hello! I'm Jessica from ProjectComment to critique your work. First of all, this is amazing. I'm not familiar with Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game, but it is  clear that you have a great talent for cartography.

Colors and textures: This entire map is rich with colors and textures that work well with each other. The colors have an excellent range of values giving a lot of depth to the land and sea. In addition with the texture, it gives a level of realism that you'd except from a map you'd rely on in real life. The colors are rich, complementary to each other, and executed proficiently.

Font: The font isn't overly whimsical, but elegant and still keeping an element of fantasy.

Rivers: There is so much realism in the way the rivers are etched across the landscape not only with the shape of the rivers, but also how it affects the shading in the land around them. Some even pool into lakes breaking up the monotony of the land. 

Key: The key is detailed and easy to understand. The markers used for locations are easy to spot with the exception of the ruins. Because of the texture of the land, the ruins do not stand out as well as the others do.

Small details: The wood grain even in the measurement scale is a beautiful touch. From the snow caps on the mountains to the otter over the Kingdom of Bizantium to the wording surrounding the map itself, your work is filled with small details that are delightful to discover.

This isn't just a map, this is art. It was a delight to review your work and I hope to see a lot more of it in the future.
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the feedback and the kind words! It's nice to know that so many of the details I worked into this map add to the experience of viewing it.

I've made a few minor tweaks to try to bring the ruins out a bit more. It's not a perfect solution, but I think it improves things a bit.

Anyway, thanks again for the comment!
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:iconj-cody:
J-Cody Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2016   Traditional Artist
It was my pleasure to review your work. And whatever minor tweaks you did to the ruins worked. I can see them find them a lot faster now. :)
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Excellent! Thanks for the follow-up!
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:iconzyanitevp:
zyanitevp Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016
I cannot tell you how happy I am- you keep getting better and better!!
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, thanks! You and your campaign have been a big part of my map-making right from the start, and I've loved the challenge of upping my game with each commissioned project.
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:icontokobauzsos:
Tokobauzsos Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2016
Glory to the Wolven Empire!
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Right up until they get their own wolfy version of Julius Caesar, sure!
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:iconkaribuxy:
KaribuXY Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2016
This map looks wicked. You have my respect and interest.
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much!
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:iconyondoloki:
yondoloki Featured By Owner Edited Oct 1, 2016  Professional General Artist
ProjectComment 

This is very impressive. The amount of detail and care is amazing! O.o I only have one thing to say about this piece that could really ad to it, and that is the highlights and shadows. You seem to use black and white to make depth. Try blend the colours, it would bring more life to the piece and make it seem less digital. For example the words in the border of the map. The shines are pure white next to the warm wood. Try warming that white by adding a bit if that amberbrown colour to it. I know of a great video about colours blending digitally if it has interest: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQllL…

Other that that I don't have anything else to ad but wow. Great job, amazing and keep it up!
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, thanks for pointing that out! The technique I use for that is pretty simple once I have the text place; a bevel and emboss filter does the carving effect as highlights and shadows. In this case, it didn't work as well as it should because I made the text layer 100% opaque black. That helps in a way by making the text contrast with the wood better, but you're absolutely right that it doesn't blend well with the surrounding wood.

I just edited the frame so that the text shows more of the wood texture. The highlight is still a bit shiny, and I may tweak it some more after I check out that video. Thanks for the comment and for pointing that out!
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:iconyondoloki:
yondoloki Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Professional General Artist
I can see you propably ise rhe bevel/emboss effect if you use photoshop. The colours of the highlights and shadows can be changed in the menu :)
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I use GIMP, but the option is there as well. I'll think about adjusting the colors there next time I use it. Thanks for all the help!
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:iconyondoloki:
yondoloki Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Professional General Artist
But it does look much better after you tweaked the opacity
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:icondsegno92:
DSegno92 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really impressive, I have to admit it; these fans will surely enjoy playing with this
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I sure hope they do.

This particular group is a great bunch that have been playing their "rebuild a god" campaign for years. They have a lot of fun with their sessions, and I've been following them since 2012. This is the third map I've done for the campaign; you can see the others here and here. If you have the time/inclination, you should check out their campaign (link in the description above).
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:icondsegno92:
DSegno92 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Inclination, sure! Time...well...let's say I can check up sometimes, unfortunately. Seen the other versions, even those are great, keep going!
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, time, the greatest commodity we have. Well, give their homepage a look, anyway, and you'll get the idea. I'll certainly keep plugging away at the cartography.
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:icondsegno92:
DSegno92 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll surely do it; thanks again for all
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:iconwoodgnome01:
Woodgnome01 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2016
Nice set of maps. Really nice to see both maps with just the bare geography/topography and ones with all the labels identifying countries and places. 
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I tend to worry about obscuring some of the terrain work with labels and icons, hence the triple release (in this case, the quadruple release with the full-size icons). I'm glad you like the full range.
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