As our ideas for the world in our 13th Age campaign come together more, I am keen to do more work on the map as that helps ground the world while inspiring adventures at the same time. Below you can see a version of the map where I was playing with the form and coastal details while trying to think about where the rivers might meet the coast and where the mountains might run.
At first I thought a slightly roughed up coast was complex enough, then when I started zooming in it seemed I needed much more detail and then when I started experimenting with mountains in the North I thought it was looking pretty gnarly.
But then, inspired by the Middle Earth map, I went poking around in Google maps/earth and our land is mighty complex. The first image here is a part of the New Zealand coastline in the Northern part of the South Island - just look at all those crazy jaggy bits. The second one is just a bit South of there showing the crazy mountains and their beautiful colours and mandelbrot-like complexity.
Since I will need swamp as well, just look at these areas of Florida and the wonderful detail that Google brings to us so elegantly.
So, I am now thinking I will do an experiment where I take pieces of Google Earth and meld them together in Photoshop to create a fantasy map with this same level of complexity. It may be too hard to join thing together or to slot in features, but I feel like at least giving it a whirl.