When developing a a like this, I tend to start loosely. Then I draw on the ideas of other people, incorporate them into the core ideas, and elaborate upon them.
The general idea is to centre the map on the region where the LARP takes place. Next, we have a mysterious Empire to the east, a wilderness to the west, mountains blocking off a wasteland to the north, and a local kingdom to the south.
I've worked with one of the other players to develop some details about the western lands and the major cities of the area.
I've predefined a few mountain ranges, but if this is a large land mass (perhaps even continental in size), then tectonic plates might be responsible to the ranges. his in turn leads to a logical lacement of other mountain ranges across the map. Similarly, thinking of the general weather patterns of our world, regions to the west of mountains tend to be dry, and the way the map is laid out, it makes sense for this to be replicated across the land depicted. I always consider geographic realism when drawing maps like this.
Time to ink the outlines of the land masses. I hate mas that neatly fit in rectangular boxes...they just feel unnatural, so I reinforce the jaggedness in certain parts of the land. Archipelagos are always fun, and I had a rough curvature to the eastern part of the continent. It wasn't deliberate, but this reminds me of a crater edge, as well as being a result of tectonic continental drift.
Once coastlines have been drawn, the next most prominent features on a map at this scale are the mountain ranges, so it's time to ink them in. There is a deliberate impenetrable barricade between the majority of the continent and the wasteland to the north. Conversely, there is a deliberate opening to the eastern empire, since that's going to be a major storyline element which will become more prominent over the next few months of play.
Another element that was added, was the coastline ripples. Purely added for artistic effect, just because I think they make a nice touch.
More to come tomorrow.