Remesiana, Cheliax

Round 2: Create a map

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka SirGeshko

Remesiana, Cheliax


This map reference is decent at first glance.

There is a compass rose and a scale bar.

The colors used make it fairly easy to see most of the relevant information needed to understand the map. Example: the market tents are very easy to spot right away before I even read the small key.


The roads do seem a bit too quickly laid out and very grid like , without taking into account the lay of the land, or the growth of the city over the years.

I want to know what the evil looking building is with the pentacle in the courtyard?

Some buildings are labeled and other locations are not.

The whole city feels a bit empty to me, just another city map that I have drawn many times before.

I do not recommend this map to progress to round 3

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
It's a city map, so points for tackling a harder subject.

There's a scale, a compass, and a bit of a key.

The Bad
City maps require some detail about the landscape. Is this city built on a featurless salt flat? If not, then you need to communicate where hills, plains, and other terrain features are, usually using the road contours.

City maps also require a lot of attention to detail. What's in all the white space between streets? Are there smaller side streets? Buildings? Parks? Markets?

Is Weir Falls a bridge? A waterfall? If it's a waterfall, why doesn't the surrounding city layout reflect the sudden change in elevation?

The citadel is just a series of boxes.

I could not turn this into a final map with a lot more questions.

My Judgement
A lot of ambition with none of the necessary follow-through. I strongly do not recommend this map for advancement to the next round.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Drawing from my blog on maps, and the rules for the round, I’ll judge the maps on a number of questions.
Is It a Full Page Map?
Does The Map Have A Compass Rose and Scale? Are They Used Well?
Yes, and probably. I'd prefer the city be tilted and north stay at the top of the page, and with no buildings I can’t say if the scale is reasonable.
Is The Map A Place I Want To Adventure?
I don't know, and that's this map's biggest problem. There is nothing here that a GM or cartographer could grab onto.
Is the Map Clear?
Is there a 500-foot-long key sitting in a giant field of yellow grass in the city? A cartographer may not be an expert in our game setting, and won't know to say "I bet that's a temple to Abadar.
Is the Map Detailed?
A city is not its roads and the names of its neighborhoods. A city is terrain, and buildings, and nooks and crannies that evolve over time. This full-page map names 5 structures, and no roads.
Is the Map Imaginative?
I do not recommend this map for advancement to round 3.

Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

First thing I wanted to know was info on the pentagram location too. There just on't seem to be enough locations, and what locations there are seem to be arbitrarily placed or not descriptive enough.

The lifts are intriguing, but mostly just make me ask questions. I can *guess* what they are. But that's about it.

Why is the Lady's location of particular interest?

I'm guessing the citadel is on a promontory, but without elevation indicated again I'm only guessing.

I have enough Golari-fu to know Cheliax is devilish, so perhaps the Traitors Market and Companion Academy are thematic, but I'm not sure.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

I have a lot of questions about this. What are the blue boxes vs. the red boxes? Buildings? If so, the place appears pretty unpopulated. Also, what's so special about Zebub's Fine Dining vs. the unlabeled pentagram? I see a pentagram and I want to know more! I need more detail and some interesting locations to get me excited about this.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Last year when we had to submit maps as part of our location, the rules weren't really specific on the creativity behind the map. The map needed to be legible, a certain size & DPI, a key, compass and map details. When the judges nailed my map as boring, I was a little angry because I thought the round was all about the location and the map was incidental. Then I saw Mikko's map as well as the judges comments on it. And for me, that was an epiphany moment. Even though the rules didn't spell it out, I knew what they were looking for.

Your map is uninspired. It leaves too much creativity up to the cartographer and that isn't their job. A cartographer is supposed to bring to life what you have given them, and this map hasn't really given them much to bring to life. You have left the cartographer the dirty job of naming all of the streets, naming the buildings that haven't been named, the cartographer must choose what if the roads are cobblestone or dirt, the cartographer must determine what the white spaces between the roads are... i could go on but you get the idea.

This critique may be harsh but it is the harsh reality that I was faced with last year. I applaud Mikko because his map from last year was Superstar. I looked at it before reading the location and said... THAT is an awesome place for an adventure. I hadn't even read about his temple yet, but I knew if it promised half of what the map did then I was all over it. If your map doesn't do that, then it isn't Superstar.

Robert Lazzaretti wrote:
I want to know what the evil looking building is with the pentacle in the courtyard?
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
First thing I wanted to know was info on the pentagram location too.
John Bennett wrote:
I see a pentagram and I want to know more!

It's a Chelaxian town, and that's the holy symbol of Asmodeus. I probably wouldn't have gotten the yellow triangle with the key if Owen hadn't called it out, but I'm pretty sure that's an Asmodean temple.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

Remesiana, fading cousin city to Westcrown; Cheliax, the Empire of Devils; the Order of the Nail, once based in Citadel Draythe; the Bay of Solva and Iseld River; Abadar, the God of the First Vault whose symbol is a key; and Asmodeus, Lord of Hell whose symbol is an inverted pentagram.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

5th map I have seen, current rank is 4th.

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is some evocative imagery here to be found in areas like the lifts and barge port. With a name like Weir Falls, I think you have built a cliff-top port town where goods are lifted and lowered to the sea-docks from a port designed to take goods to and from barges navigating up and down the river.

But that is all I got. And it was supposing a number of things. You left out what is a dock and what is a cliff from your key, so I'm making a number of assumptions. What are those black lines between the bargeport and the Weir that a bridge? Or a fortification? There is far too much area that is left undescribed or labelled.

I think there was an interesting looking city here with some very creative ideas, but your map only hints at them and leads to confusion. I will not be voting for this entry.

Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I think I have to give this one a pass.

Not because a lack of artistic talent, I'm keeping that out of it, but due to lack of creativity, which was a fear I had of this contestant when he made the top 32 using the monkey king legend with nothing new for spice.

This one hasn't got my vote.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Mark D Griffin

My favorite thing: Tackling a city map is ballsy and I respect that, also Cheliax is cool country and I'm always down for more maps from that region.

Other things I like: Traitor's market you say? I would like to visit this market, tell me more.

My least favorite thing(s): You didn't do enough with this city. Looking at how detailed other Paizo city maps are, this leaves a lot of information up to your cartographer.

Will I vote for it: I will not be voting for this map.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

Christopher, I'm afraid I have to agree with Feros and Thunderfrog. I think Frank's right that the left side of the map is intended to be up on a cliff -- it's got the lifts and has Kestrel's Bluff and Cardoon Heights as names -- but I just can't tell.

Even if I could, though, I'm not sure there's enough here to make me want to come adventure in this city. The monstrous menagerie intrigues me a little, but that's the high point for me.

Best of luck!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

My criteria:
My Map-fu is weak compared to some of these contestants but I shall endeavor to give feedback. I'll be looking at the following:
Challenge: Is this map difficult to execute? Does it in my opinion demonstrate the characteristics of a Superstar designer?
Technique: Did the designer show some skill and consideration in the choices made on the map. Are the words used in the key wise choices that add to the overall utility of the map?
Utility: Can a GM/cartographer make sense of the map and make immediate use of it?
Overall:[b] I'll rate the Map as an A for strong recommends B for weak recommends C on the bubble D for weak rejects F for Do not recommends

Challenge: A town/city is not hard mode for me because I've drawn dozens and for the most part its the most familiar RL map. The HArbor is in fact the hard part of this map and that raised the bar for the rest of what you did here.
Technique: The harbor is not well executed and there's a lot of white space that detracts from the map... Even picking a colored background would have helped. There's touches of really smart choices but not enough of the percentage of this map.
Utility: I can draw this but I'd fix the harbor as it just doesn't look natural to me.
Overall: D+ rating as in a weak reject for me, competition could put it up to a C or on the bubble but I took a quick glance at everything already and I'm comfortable with this rating.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

So by now you know what this map is and what you need to know now is how to improve. My first feedback is that you chose an awkward brown for your roads, and then gave us roads that aren't the same size. You compounded that by underpopulating the buildings, so the whole road structure just looks like a big mess.

There's a big problem with scale, also. There's a bay areas so big that it can host dozens of barges at once, making it just a really massive city. The wooden bridge that hosts the barge is almost a quarter mile east (ish) and then 3/4 a mile north (ish). That's a lot to ask for a fantasy city, especially for extending the bridge so far north. ish.

Also a scale issue: the monstrous menagerie is San Diego Zoo big. You drew a space as large as the castle and grounds next to it, but there are no buildings in the menagerie, or details that make the menagerie interesting. If it's not interesting, then it's not a place people will want to adventure.

What are the black lines at the mouth of the bridgeport?

The map isn't just not superstar, it's a clear indicator you have a lot to learn about locations and adventure design. Of course, you can learn those things (always be learning) and come back stronger and better. I hope the feedback from the judges and voters gives you enough to grow on.

Dark Archive

Don't really have much new to add, most looks covered already. A bit more fleshing out is needed, the roads need to be cleaned up a bit. The scale is feels a bit off to me, but not sure I'm no cartographer.

Marathon Voter Season 8

The way I'm reading this map is that the area called The Lifts is the only area near water level and the rest of the city is elevated, with the citadel towering over the bay and the city both. Though the addition of docks wrapping around the citadel detracts from that, so I might very well be wrong, but I like my image so I'm going with it.

Unfortunately the map is so confusing that all of our guesses are pretty much valid, meaning that this doesn't fulfill its basic function. First of all, what are the red and grey buildings scattered around the city, the map key doesn't tell. I got the two different temples, though I don't see any reason for them not to be named just in case. Why are the academy and the tavern lifted above else, probably more important locations? Okay, academy seems important, but a single tavern?

I like that you did your research and included the hellknight citadel, but now that I checked the wording again, it was supposed to be near Remesiana, not in it. Still, a minor mistake and I appreciate the effort.

In the end there just isn't enough detail here to convince me to adventure in it. The bare bones are alright, but it seems you ran out of time or trusted the cartographer to fill in the blanks, which just isn't Superstar.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

What is a temple of abadar doing in Cheliax? My knowledge of Cheliax is that only Asmodeus is publicly worshiped.

Some things being labeled on the map and others having numbers seems odd as does the lack of elevation or a key. My other concerns have been covered by others. Like several other maps this feels like it could have been a cool location to adventure in, but requires way to much work for a GM to do with an already existing map.


Dark Archive

I don't think it snows this much in Cheliax...
I see no way to use this map in a game.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Another 8-bit NES map. Lacking charm and any detail.

Harbor is massive. If they're doing that much shipping the city should reflect that level of wealth and commerce- even if the city is fading in wealth and importance it's not like the old buildings would have disappeared.

Points for thinking of defense at least.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Official Round 2 Note: On Map Resolution

We’ve had some comments on legibility of smaller type on the maps, and the contestants are (by the rules of the contest), not allowed to clarify anything, so I want to make a general statement about maps and resolution.

When we required all contestants to present maps at a specific dpi and size, we did so because in past years we’ve had some issues with maps (for the encounter round) being sent to us in different sizes, resolutions, and dpi, making it difficult to give them all a high-quality presentation for the contest. We found that asking for a higher dpi than we’ll use in the end allowed us to create a standard of presentation that kept all images crisp and clean. For encounter-round maps, this has worked well.

Unfortunately, since this round requires all text be provided on the maps themselves, many contestants used the dpi and size standards we required as the basis for making sure their text is clear, and otherwise tried to keep words as small as possible so as to not clutter their maps. This was done in the (reasonable) belief that the maps should look good at the size we asked for, rather than in any different size we might present on our website. When resized for smaller, high-quality images, this can result in words that aren’t clearly legible.

We’ve made a change to rescale everything to the higher end of maximum image size for uploaded images for all maps that were entered this round. This should allow for better legibility for voters when selecting their favorite maps to advance in the contest. It is our fault that this process was not properly communicated to our contestants, so consider this when adjusting or finalizing your selections.

Obviously, we’ll explain what is going to happen to the images of maps, and how to allow for it, more clearly in future rounds (and future contests). My apologies to any contestant with a map that has suffered as a result of how we handled scaling in this round.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka FaxCelestis

This is how your map appears to a colorblind end user. Some of your markings become indistinguishable. Since about 10% of the populace is colorblind, this is something you need to keep in mind.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

I'm critiquing this without having read others':

River inlet to a lake and a bay city type place. Ok good, I like cities.

I like that the compass rose doesn't point up as north and that makes the city layout more interesting, although the way the bay lies is kind of weird. A south facing beach is a thing of course, but the way water currents generally isn't north to south (or vice versa), it is east to west and vice versa. That's not to say it doesn't happen but the way this bay would have formed would be an odd current.

You give me five numbered locations, and a bunch of symbols that mean nothing to me. Are the orange-ish/brown-ish lines roads? Are they long buildings? The gray lines I assume are walls are pretty thin looking compared to the roads.

The docks (I assume the orange parts by The Lifts are docks) are a little odd as well.

Overall, I'm not feeling this map. There are a lot of questions I'm asking in my head and I don't know if there is enough in the key (or even drawn in) to make this interesting. I would think that cities are going to be a hard sell this round because the map itself should take a full page and it needs another page for locations (or even more likely a whole gazetteer number of pages).

Star Voter Season 8

First off: Congratulations on making Round 2, and the best of luck in the votes!

How I rate these:

Coolness: Do I look at this, and want to use it in a game? Does it provoke wonder or amazement? Does it hold potential for interesting encounters, adventures or roleplay? How much mileage does this map have in it?

Usability: How usable is this for me as a GM (being that GMs are actually the primary audience of most maps)? Is the legend clear and in logical order for play? Does it give me enough information to easily visualize the parts and wax poetic about the varied locations? Does it have the necessary details for me to run with it on the fly, or will it involve a lot of improvisation? Does it have any glaring oddities that stop me mid-breath to go "what the hell is that?!"?

Craftsmanship: Is it clear, legible and containing all the necessary bits and bobs? Does it make good use of the space? Is the scale appropriate for the detail (and visa versa)?

(I suppose you could also call them "Creativity, Functionality and Skill", but I like my terms better :P).

Coolness: E

  • Positive: I want to see what is served at a Zebub's restaurant…. from a distance.
  • Negative: FAR too little information for a city map. There are almost no buildings. What are "The Greens"? I would expect something with that name to be fields or grass for the townsfolk… There just isn't enough info for me to visualize this place, and that basically means no desire to use it.
  • Verdict: E. There may be cool buried in there, but I just can't see it.

Usability: D

  • Positive: It has a scale, some locations and the vaguest hint of a theme. If I had to, I could probably use it as a loose guide to a location.
  • Negative: I'd be using it as a loose guide to a location I wanted to spend as little time in as possible, I'm afraid. With the overwhelming lack of detail and information, I'm left with the task of inventing the rest of the city.
  • Verdict: D.

Craftsmanship: E

  • Positive: It has the requisite bits and bobs, and it uses most of the page.
  • Negative: There's space enough for a lot more detail. A lot of the fundamentals of a city map are missing: Buildings, alleys, terrain, notes on districts and industries.
  • Verdict: E. Honestly, this comes across to me as too much time lost in trying to wrangle unfamiliar software to actually complete the map, and is something to be chalked up to lessons learned.

Overall: E+

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Morphemic

Here are my ratings for this map:

First Look: C
A basic city map. Some of the shapes are interesting.

Interest Level of Location: D
Lacks the level of detail needed to make a city map worthwhile.

Tactical Depth: NA
I am not rating this category for maps that are not of a tactical scale.

Adventure Potential: C
There are a few potential adventure sites on the map, but I'd have to make up pretty much everything about them myself if I wanted to use them.

Clarity: D
Lack of detail leaves many unanswered questions.

Logic: B
Missing important information like elevation, but otherwise reasonable.

Overall: C

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I thought this map was lacking in inspiration. Sorry, this wont be getting my vote.

Good Luck

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Cyrad

The map just doesn't feel fully realized. Nothing really excites me about it. Nothing really shows what the designer is capable of.

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