Spotlight on Design 21 – Mountainous Terrain
So many designers use mountainous or hilly areas as design features in their maps; however, it is very hard to get a realistic and effective looking mountain scene using the Stronghold editor. It requires a combination of elevation techniques, vegetation, and various rocks and stones. Below are various screenshots that show different approaches in making a highland scene look good in original Stronghold and Crusader.
This first mountain scenery is from brave sir robyn’s map Soylent Green. He has gone for quite an open and flowing design, trees are evenly dispersed, and rocks and stones increase in numbers as the height increases.
An even more calm and flowing mountain scene is depicted here by Duke of York in Alwyne Valley. The mountains here are plateaus, and rocks are delicately used around the outside of these flat-topped hills. The river also bends carefully around the hill at the bottom. Mountainous areas are excellent for forming valleys and shaping the course of rivers as in this example.
This is a much more intense mountain scene taken from Warlord Designs’ map Hunters Valley. There is a lot of variation in height and trees have been placed generously and allowed to grow as they please. Rocks and stones cover the scenery as well, especially on the steeper slopes where they increase in concentration.
Jack of all Trades in his map Beaumont Motte 1102 AD has put in a ridge to separate sections of the map. This is a clever tool and can be used to corner off other settlements and resources.
The screenshot here is from the Siege at Jeslaphor by theKman_01, and shows a steady slope dominated by 2 mounds of rocks. Grouping rocks together like this can be an effective piece of map design especially in hilly and mountainous areas.
This glacier created by Lord Ako is in his map The Ice Age and shows what can done using higher ground as a map design feature. Lord Ako has used the Himalayan mountain trick to create extra high mountains and then covered them in water to create an impressive glacier.
In Crusader mountainous scenes are harder to create as the elevation feature does not look as effective and there are not as many types of rocks and pebbles to use. Personally I feel that using cliffs, a few rocks and some sparse vegetation gives the best feel as in the screenshot below by Stratego in his map Slave Revolt.
Or alternatively mountains can be created like in this example taken from Shadowlands by NAT. These mountains are impassable but can be very effective as blocks of map design. The same effect can easily be made in original Stronghold as well.