View Full Version : [WIP] Making a map usable for roleplaying

07-20-2010, 05:57 AM
Hello again, fellow cartographers :)

After some silence (and a few nasty exams), I'm back to mapping again. Holidays are such a great invention.

This time, I'll try something new. I want to change an already existing map into something more useful. So I'm not primarily concerning about the look of the map rather than features such as:
- easily printable (good resolution, b/w)
- clear contrasts
- enough space to make notes

Checking the picture in the attachment- it's a pretty little map that shows me everything I (as gamemaster) want to know. But I don't want my players to say "Oh, there's a violet house over there, it must be interesting, let's go there!"
Plus, distinct houses could come in quite handy if the asked where exactly a certain NPC lived. And they would allow me to show which areas are more densely populated than others and so on.

I'll give it a go by removing colours, drawing single houses and so on. I'd be glad if someone with more experience in low-style black&white maps could give me some advice! :)

07-20-2010, 06:28 AM
what exactly are you seeking advice on? :) ... how to draw a b/w map? ... cause the map you have looks good. If you just need a "flat" map for players to get an overview and make their own notes on, I'd do that in illustrator. that way you can always zoom in on a part of the map and put in details if needed for a "city-region" map :)

07-20-2010, 06:38 AM
Hi Aelyn,

another option is to create a layered pdf. As tilt said you start with a flat map and add city infos on different layers. You could also add links to other maps or houses (equivalent to hotspots in html).

07-20-2010, 06:41 AM
Unfortunately I don't have illustrator. I guess PS will have to do. All I want is a nice map that can be printed to probably A3.

What I was looking for was things like: How to make the fields, the trees, the cemetery etc. I already figured out a nice solution for the trees, but I really don't know how to depict the cemetery (top right, A9). And I am not sure whether to make the houses grey or leave them white...

07-20-2010, 08:06 AM
I gave it a try. Still I feel something is missing...

07-20-2010, 08:21 AM
looking good.
I don't think you should make the houses grey they look fine and you'll save on ink when printing. Concerning the cemetary, you could put in some smal rows of dots depicting headstones, and a mausuleum here and there - or place an easily recognicable church by it ... they sort of go together :)
the fields are a little blurry concidering the rest of the map, I'd work on those some more :)

07-20-2010, 08:34 AM
Alright, I'll try to make some rows. The thing with the church is- there is one. The rounded buildung right underneath the cemetery is a temple, and to those playing the game, the shape will be easily recognisable as the wheel of the death god. But the rows are a nice thought, any idea on how to make them?
What do you mean by "blurry"? Should I just get rid of the inner glow?

07-20-2010, 08:51 AM
yes, I think that removing the glow would help :)
Either make a square brush (dotted line) and paint them in. Or make one little square, copy the layer, move it a bit to the side, merge layers, copy the new layer with two stones etc :)

07-20-2010, 09:47 AM
The square brush is a fantastic idea! Some angle&size jitter and a bit of spacing and it might just work out perfectly. I'll try that immediately :)

Edit: Here's what I came up with, including the removed inner glow.

07-20-2010, 04:31 PM
The graveyard looks good now, but something in the fields is missing. Perhaps symbols for different cereals or crooked lines or similar.
I would also try to emphasize the river a bit. It has the same grey as the trees now.

07-22-2010, 04:38 AM
This is what it looks like now. I appreciate your input, but I decided not to change the fields. I tried to, but it made the whole picture somehow distracting. The city is the focus of my work, the fields are just hinted at so my players will know that around the town it's not just meadows. Don't get me wrong, I like detailled, richly styled maps, but for this one I really need to go for a very clean, straight look. Usability beats beauty.

How would you change the river then? Adjust the colour, or more?

07-23-2010, 01:28 AM
I would color the river just a touch darker to emphasize it a bit. Perhaps you will try to widen it a bit? Just a few pixel...
The border is nice and matches good into the map.