The World of Ellos
I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons near the end of middle school, and quickly obsessed over the idea of being able to build my own worlds and design my own locations. One of my favorite hobbies at the time was playing StarCraft, Blizzard Entertainment’s titanic real-time strategy game and father of what we now know as “eSports”. I was never particularly good at it, but the one aspect of it that I loved was the included “Campaign Editor”. This tool allowed anyone to create their own campaigns and essentially design their own games. For a kid like me that had no knowledge of coding other than basic HTML, this tool was a godsend. I made a ton of maps – well I started a ton of maps, never really managed to finish any as I’d always get side-tracked with new ideas – but they were always stuck within the limitation of what was possible with StarCraft. So needless to say when I was introduced to D&D where the only limitation was your imagination, I was sucked in immediately. I’ve developed a bunch of D&D campaigns over the past decade, but the most recent was the world of Ellos.
I started with a simpler design, at first. I felt like there was something sort of pretty about the simplicity of the flat landmass and subtle blue water surrounding it. Even though this was meant to be a rough starting point where I’d then clutter it with drawn on trees and mountain ranges, I just really liked how it turned out on its own and planned to just leave it like this. And then I realized that was great if I just wanted this as a stylized artistic piece, but I ultimately needed it to be functional. After some failed experiments with the hand-drawn style of landscaping, I decided to go with a more colorful approach.
I started with the basic landmass from the simple version and overlaid a sand texture with a slight color overlay. I then added a layer of rocky texture with a bevel effect to make it look raised where I wanted my mountains. Next I used two different grass textures (one lighter green and one darker) that I would mix to form the foresty areas. I colored a chunk of it with a dark brown overlay, as well, to try to give it a burnt feeling after being scarred by a dragon attack some time prior. The last section I wanted to add was a beach area near the ocean, so I took the sand texture from before, shrunk it smaller (to give it a finer texture) and added a white overlay to brighten it up.