View Full Version : Brushy, Kansas - 1873
08-15-2010, 03:55 AM
I reckon somebody'd better keep Ravells company on this challenge. I don't have such a great track record with these so far but figured I'd give it a go.
So. Campaign starter. A couple of always-DM friends and I recently got together and started playing Deadlands...which is an absolute blast, especially when you're playing with folks that want to tell a story - not bicker over the rules and power game.
Brushy, Kansas is my kick-off location for a Deadlands (or other Wild West) campaign. Maybe the PCs are from Brushy (which has a whopping head-count of 43 men, women, and children) or maybe they're from somewhere nearby. Coffeyville is only about 40 miles away so Brushy, though small, is not completely lost in the wilds.
Kansas is neutral territory in the continuing War of Northern Aggression (okay, my PC in the Deadlands game is a Confederate calvary officer so you'll have to forgive me the anti-Yankee talk) so there's plenty of opportunity for North-South scuffles in the lands surrounding Brushy. The indians in these parts sometimes get up to interesting things as well...in particular, they often hire on as scouts and skirmishers for the CSA. Oh, and, I hear tell there's some sort of mad scientist type up in the hills north of town. He's usually makes himself scarce but sometimes comes into town to pick up some weird gadget or some such that he's ordered from Smith & Robards. And then there's the old cemetary...but folks don't talk about that too much.
Yeah, you get the idea...
Anyway, I've sort of been wanting to do an Old West town ever since I first took a peek at the RPG Citymap Generator (yeah, and Viking and African...but maybe someday). A while back I generated several towns and sort of liked the shapes in the one posted below. So I took that into photoshop and cleaned it up a bit (and rotated it) and then made the shapes into layers for buildings, water, etc. My current progress is posted below. I haven't done much of anything with the buildings (except cleanup) so that's next on my agenda. I'll likely texture them the same way I did the ones in my Haibianr docks map...but with more detail like dormers, chimneys, etc.
Critiques and comments appreciated. Thanks!
08-15-2010, 11:13 AM
Oh, this is great stuff! More!
08-15-2010, 11:29 AM
Nice! If you'd like some reference on a Kansas town from that era, look up pictures of the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita. Many of the buildings there are preserved historic buildings from across the state that were relocated to the museum; they should give you adequate reference for your roofs.
08-15-2010, 12:41 PM
Thanks, and thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.
Edit: BTW, hopefully those refs include boardwalks in front of buildings, hitching posts, etc. I was sort of hoping to add a lot of that kind of stuff to give it a western feel. The choice of Kansas is totally random. Also, I just counted up the buildings and I think I may have to revise upward my population estimate. I had originally said 103 and I might go back to that. Don't know why I made it so low! :)
08-15-2010, 04:40 PM
I just like the fact that it's different than what we always get. Western....see, now that's just cool. It's neither fairies nor lasers. Vive la différence. <-- (google translate, I don't really know French)
08-15-2010, 08:06 PM
Glad I'm not ridin' this trail alone.
Grab some beans and fart with me next to the campfire........Blazing Saddles' style!
08-16-2010, 12:40 AM
Ewww...I mean "Howdy, pardner. Don't mind if'n I do!"
Been researching Old West stuff. Had sort of forgotten about the interesting roof styles of commercial buildings (with the vertical front piece). I'm thinking KS gets snow, though, so some of the flat roofs I'm seeing probably wouldn't work there.
I've only done a little work on this, mostly to stuff that's probably undetectable, BUT I wanted to post an update to get your thoughts on the "sign boards" behind the text. What do you think? Too goofy?
This map, when done, will stand alone and I'll probably use it (or convince the Marshal to use it) for gaming...but for this challenge I think I'm going to end up compositing it with some text that'll describe the town and inhabitants, give some plot hooks, etc. Thinking about a "wanted" poster style of thing.
08-16-2010, 01:52 AM
Yep, in areas that get snow, you'll see peaked roofs behind the sign boards. If you take a look at the Google maps satellite view of the museum, you can clearly see the peaks, and the sign boards are casting shadows out into the street. You can also see the boardwalks there. As I recall, the first building up usually got a porch, then those that went up to either side simply extended their own porches to meet the existing structure. Do note that that map shows a lot more trees than would probably have been present in the 1800's, though. The prairie isn't kind to tall trees, and they tend to only grow near the rivers. When I was growing up, my idea of a forest was what most people would call a copse. I still get a little awestruck by the sheer number of trees I see here in Colorado.
08-16-2010, 01:55 AM
AH. I hadn't even thought of looking at Google Maps. Awesome idea...don't know how I didn't think of it. I was really drawing a blank on how to do this so that'll help. Thanks!
Edit: Oh, man. What great stuff. Thanks again for the tip. BTW, Wichita looks *desolate*. I know it's winter but...
Nice map. Always loved deadlands which version you playing? Also you should check out Dundjinni's user site they have some really nice iso old western buildings. Always wanted to use them but current group only plays d&d grrrrr.
08-16-2010, 12:18 PM
I feel you on the D&D-only vibe. My co-GM and I switch off running 'big' games while the other does short side games from time to time. Usually we manage to squeeze in non-fantasy in the side game slots...but the main game is always D&D. It gets really tiresome sometimes. Switching back and forth really helps though - as does our GM-only game, which lets us play stuff our players would never try...or would try to overpower (I'm running a Star Wars Legacy game for them where they're both playing Jedi...something ripe for abuse).
Honestly not sure which version of Deadlands we're playing (I look over someone else's shoulder since I don't have my own book. It's an early version, I think (i.e. not GURPS, not D20). Stats were determined by cards, etc.
You are playing the original version. Love that version. Takes me back to old times when each game had there own unique systems warts and all. That was the origin of savage world system. Have fun done right it is a blast.
08-16-2010, 01:35 PM
Agreed. The use of playing cards and poker chips gives the game an interesting feel that's very appropriate to the game/genre. I don't think the game would be as fun with the rules-heavy feel of D20 or GURPS. I am surprised, however, how decent Call of Cthulhu is using the D20 rules (also running this for my GM-only group) - I doubt hardcore CoC fans would agree but it's great for a pulpy horror game (with the right players at least).
08-16-2010, 02:04 PM
I love the vegetation...it's got that slightly deserty feel without going over the top. I also like the design of the signboard (few bullet holes through it or is that just a bit too cliched?), but I wonder if it would work better with a different duotone than black & white?
08-16-2010, 02:45 PM
Thanks. I'm actually going to knock back the vegetation a bit when I clear out the spaces that see foot traffic. Just going to tone it down or brown it up in what I imagine would be the drier areas (and maybe boost it in a couple of others). Right now it's all pretty uniformly colored...so some variation from greens to brown would probably be an improvement.
Hmmm. Have to think about bullet holes. Not sure how to make them or if they'd interfere with the text, but I'll check it out. The text could definitely use a different style now. I went with that when it was just text over the map. Now it's a little bright against the light wood (and my little black underlay hasn't helped much).
What do you think about just using the board for the town name and nowhere else? It's a bit heavy really. I still haven't decided whether I like it or not.
08-17-2010, 10:42 PM
Little more work on this. The changes are pretty subtle, I guess. Started texturing roofs. Fixed up some of the roof shading to represent vertical fascia on the boardwalk buildings. Also penciled in the boardwalks themselves. The road's a lot better than before, with ruts and grass and less definite outlining. Still flip-flopping about the signboard.
Edit: I've been doing a lot of flipping between versions as I map these days. It's amazing to me how quickly you get to something that looks pretty great (e.g. the first pic I posted which only took a couple of hours) and then how much extra time you have to put in for incremental improvements (e.g. the map on this post, which has a *lot* more hours in it). If you open up the first pic and this one in different tabs you can see what I mean. The differences are subtle...until you flip between them. Still...show them both to my mother-in-law with a 30 second delay and I doubt she could tell the difference.
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08-17-2010, 11:22 PM
I can see the differences but, then, I'm cool like that. Heh :) This is lookin good, man.
08-17-2010, 11:56 PM
I was wondering if that was just me. I've spent so much stinking time going back and forth on a texture or a slight color shade it's ridiculous. I was recently telling my wife how I almost prefer just doing my work on paper by hand because you can't really jerk around with it like you can digitally. You just do it and it's good or it's not. There isn't the endless testing and changing. The perfectionist in me has to be kept in check or I would never finish anything.
08-18-2010, 12:10 AM
Ah, but then, when you scan it, you can make all sorts of changes to your paper version! :) I ended up spending several hours mucking about with my Haibianr scan...cleaning up, moving buildings, retouching lines, etc. You just can't win...at least not if you have OCD.
nice mearrin, I'd change the boardwalk colors to a light wooden color unless they are old in which case a darker wooden color. Of course if they used larch the boards would go silver with time. The roof texture seems better on the three houses close to the river. And I'm FOR the boards behind the text (actually thought of suggesting that at the first post in the thread), but if you use the boards, then remove the shadows on the text so it looks painted on the boards instead of suspended above it.
And Jax - what is a good westen town without laser toting fairies ;)
08-18-2010, 11:08 AM
@Tilt: Thanks. A couple of the items you mentioned will be taken care of shortly. The boardwalks actually don't have a texture yet - they're just flat color marking the shape. I was planning on a lightish wood texture. Most of the buildings don't yet have texture, just a "grunge" overlay. Hopefully I'll get more of them textured tonight...and get in some vertical sign-fronts on the roofs. I'm still not sure if I'm going to put any more boardwalks, which is why some of the roof shapes haven't been determined yet (still just have the default PS-generated bevel). I'll give the boards a go again but may have to come up with a different board texture (i.e. minus cracks) to make it look like the text is painted on. Actually, maybe chiseled into the surface would look better?
Edit: I've also realized that I need at least a couple of the trees reaching out over the roofs to give them height...right now they all look "shrubby".
if its in photoshop you make it you can put the text layer directly above the board layers - then with ALT pushed down click on the line between the layers to make the "top" layer only show where there are pixels on the "bottom" layer. (text might have to be rastered first to work - not sure)
08-19-2010, 01:20 AM
Haven't done anything with the boards and text yet. Been trying out some different layer styles on the text, though. The red and orange looks very western but maybe it's too southwestern...and it's definitely too much to be applied to all of the text. I think some new, not so cracked boards are in order with nice chiseled-out text. Will work on it. In the meantime, this version has some more texturing, boardwalks, etc. Minor stuff, I guess, but progress. Think I'll be done with the roofs tomorrow.
Gotta find me some horses and carts.
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Gamerprinter put up some horses a couple of months ago ... can't remember where though, maybe in a thread about assasination locations?
08-19-2010, 02:52 AM
Those old signs should be engraved in the wood with the letters left standing out from the surface if you want another opinion. That would seem very western to me. But then I spent many years in a small western town out here in Arizona so I'm all sorts of used to horses, cattle and wooden signs.
08-19-2010, 09:26 PM
So, the map of Brushy was never going to be my entry for this challenge...just part of it. Here's the rest.
The challenge calls for a campaign entry point so I wanted to provide enough plot hooks to get a GM thinking about how to kick off a new Deadlands game. Several adventures are hinted at in town itself and there's a bigger hook to draw the PCs out of town when the time comes. The church and graveyard offer an easy early plot device, while Silas Potter (and whatever damnable thing he's building up in the hills) probably poses a bigger challenge.
I'll still be working on the map itself until the challenge concludes as there's still a lot I want to do to it. The map is "placed" in this PS file, so any changes I make to the original will show up in this one automatically (gods, I love Photoshop sometimes). I do plan to make a piece that's just map...with the signboards and all included.
Okay. I'm not calling it done by any stretch...so C&C still welcome!
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08-19-2010, 09:47 PM
You dog, I'm all itchin to go shoot up the whole dang town now! Who's gonna wanna Yurt when there's all this dust to be kicked up over here?! Yer, killin' me man. :)
I used to play Boothill back in the day and this has me just wanting to do a western. The write up is excellent. I think you have a typo in paragraph 3: "in the joint office" I believe should be, "is the joint office".
Sidenote: So you have your color map linked to this black & white one so any changes you make there automatically update to here? Is that what the linked thingie is in Gimp?
08-19-2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks. I still want a yurt. And a SPACE yurt.
Bloody typos. Thought I caught them all. Thanks for the eagle eye!
Yes on linking, though I'm not sure how it works in Gimp. The B&W and other processing that happens to the linked map are all adjustment layers, overlays, etc.
08-19-2010, 10:25 PM
Now that's real cool. A humdinger! I was wondering how you were going to package the campaign element, really effective! Are you going to sepia tone the photo, it would add some warmth to the colour scheme...
that looks damn nice - really like that, I agree with Crayons a little sepia tone could make it perfect :)
08-20-2010, 02:55 AM
Hmmm. Some research is in order. I thought sepia was an aging artifact. Weren't new photos black and white? Will check it out.
nope - its a toning effect, not due to age :)
08-20-2010, 05:37 AM
Sepia's supposed to prolong the life of a photograph, I think?
08-20-2010, 12:29 PM
Ah, some research...if you can call it that using sources like Wikipedia...has turned up some "facts" on Sepia tone. It *is* a toning process, used to prolong a photograph's life...replacing the silver with silver sulfide. Here's the quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sepia_tone#Sepia_toning):
Beginning in the 1880s, sepia was produced by adding a pigment, made from the Sepia officinalis cuttlefish found in the English channel, to the positive print of a photograph. The term 'sepia' comes from the name of the pigment.
That's the firmest date I was able to dig up, however, which puts its first use after the Civil War war ended...and even after the date of my alternate history Civil War photo. Another source (http://www.ehow.com/about_5068495_sepia-photography.html) says mid- to late-1800s and specifically mentions Civil War photos looking a little brown. It's pretty clearly a layman's piece, so I'm not sure I'm wanting to trust it wholly.
You'da thunk there'd be something more concrete on the Intarwebz somewhere but maybe my Google-fu is weak? Anyway, it's not all *that* important except to a historian of photography...and apparently not even all that important to them, since none have bothered to post anything about it on the net. So, I'll leave it up to artistic preference; give it a try and see which I prefer. While I'm at it I'll also add some more to the map and fix up the various little typos in the text. Hopefully a new version tonight.
08-20-2010, 01:06 PM
Sorry, mods. Just looked at the rules and realized I did not name the thread appropriately. I'll re-read them to make sure I'm not breaking other rules. *ruler smack* deo gratis.
08-20-2010, 09:06 PM
Little update. Minor changes plus typo fix and sepia-toned photo...it does look better, thanks for the idea.
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08-21-2010, 12:27 AM
What are you imagining was used to mark on the map? The writing looks too white to me; I would imagine that whatever was used would be at least a little translucent, and it would likely not be as bright as, for instance, the highlights on the gun. You might also see if there's something you can do to vary the shape of the "#" so that it doesn't look so computer-generated.
I love the sepia tone and the scalloped edge of the map paper.
08-21-2010, 12:32 AM
Thanks. I was imagining a white grease pencil of some sort. I'll do some research on it though...because you're right it's a little strange. Maybe it could use some blurring and translucency.
08-21-2010, 12:40 PM
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08-21-2010, 12:55 PM
"...town isn't growing one whit...and had not done so for thirty years or so."
"...town isn't growing one whit... And has not done so for thirty years or so." ?
Not sure, really - my English isn't the best ^^'
08-21-2010, 12:59 PM
Nope, you're right on that one. I saw it before and meant to change it but did not. I also meant to get rid of the "so"-"so" thing. This is what happens when you write while distracted. :) Thanks for the catch. I'll just make the change and either update the last image or save it for my next update.
08-21-2010, 02:22 PM
The text is OK as it is. It's an issue with word processors that they interpret things like an ellipsis as the end of a sentence and auto-correct by capitalising the next word as the start of a sentence. I'm always "undoing (ctl-Z-ing)" this autoformat problem as I use "..." rather a lot.
"..." is mostly used to
a) indicate removed words e.g. from a quotation e.g. "We shall fight in France... we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be."
b) indicate thoughtfulness on behalf of a speaker "Hrm. let me think..."
c) indicate a "pause" in the narrative - he raised his sword to strike... and with one fell blow
d) indicate missing words in narrative to leave it to the reader to decide "and with one fell blow..."
e) to indicate where to cut the form off to send it back
................................................. (cut here) :D
There are a load of rules about spacing and the like which I feel can be safely ignored. In the end... it all depends on how well versed the General is in Grammar!
PS. Don't quote me on any of this!! With or without...
EDIT - ah! a General in "Intelligence", I think that speaks for itself....?
08-21-2010, 02:39 PM
I might go with something brownish red on those numbers or a dark brown rust. OR go with the light tan of the sepia look to mimic something scratched in. Not sure that the average guy would have access to anything fancy and so would just use what is handy or scratch something in. A photographer probably would, not sure.
08-21-2010, 05:25 PM
they interpret things like an ellipsis as the end of a sentence and auto-correct by capitalising the next word as the start of a sentence. I'm always "undoing (ctl-Z-ing)" this autoformat problem as I use "..." rather a lot.
If it helps, you can type a "real" ellipsis with alt-0133 on a PC. I think that should prevent the word processor from assuming that it's a period. Actually typing your … also has the advantage of the spacing being correct; three periods are spaced a little too widely in most fonts. And an em dash can be typed with alt-0151. Those are the two alt-codes I use the most frequently. Alt-0169 is also occasionally useful: ©
08-21-2010, 06:15 PM
I need to get me a chart of those things, I think there was one posted or linked to here once somewhere.
08-28-2010, 11:17 AM
I reckon this is gonna be mah final entry. See y'all at the shootout.
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08-28-2010, 11:23 AM
What? No puns about who's fastest on the draw???:D
I want one of those guns!
08-28-2010, 11:34 AM
Hah! Never even occurred to me. I'm not very punny. Never understood Dralasite humor...so I always played Yazirians.
That is an 1873 Colt Army single-action revolver. Don't ask me how it got so grunged up *in* 1873. Could be Marshal Krispin does a fair bit of shootin'.
08-28-2010, 12:52 PM
When I'm on clean-up detail at my store I walk around and call myself Marshall Chillin (like Dillon). Marshall Chillin is gonna clean up this here pile o glass. I reckon Marshall Chillin should sweep up these here dust bunnies. Marshall Chillin is gonna mosey over n git a drink...and I mosey all bow-legged. Annoys the others to no end cuz I do that for about 2 hours :) heh heh. I need some chaps, though.
08-28-2010, 01:07 PM
LOL! Why don't *I* work with anyone with a sense of humor?
08-28-2010, 07:52 PM
I think it's against the CG's Terms of Service to make reference to Star Frontiers in a Western-themed thread… This isn't an episode of Firefly, you know!
08-28-2010, 07:57 PM
Hmmm. I'll have to go read those again because I was sure it was okay. I thought Gamma World was off limits. I could see the star frontiers races all dressed up in western duds. A yazirian with a 10-gallon hat, revolvers, and a sheriff's star pinned to his vest. Yeah. I can imagine it as if Elmore had painted it.
08-29-2010, 12:11 AM
Hey! Long live the Browncoats!
08-29-2010, 09:16 PM
Wow. That's all I can say. This totally makes me want to break out my Deadlands stuff again.
08-29-2010, 10:33 PM
Hah! Mission accomplished. :)
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