View Full Version : New Member - Underdark - Dark Fungi

08-27-2010, 03:07 AM
Hi guys, long time lurker first time posting. I know another battle map :D.

This is a replica of the maps found in the Underdark 4e supplement. I know they are crude and unpolished but I tried. Probably not gonna revisit these and rather just try something new.

08-27-2010, 11:15 AM
Heya. These look pretty good. Those are some pretty serious piles of dead people. There's some fungus (violet?) that eats corpses or blood or something. Might think about having some of that nearby if you do something similar in the future. Think maybe the 3.5e Lords of Madness book had something about a beholder den with some of this in there...eating the runoff from his slaughters. Gods, I love that book.

Anyway, for next time, you might want to think about making the surrounding rock a darker for that Underdarktm feel. That would be a simple change, really...just replace the texture and you're done. I'm always torn about how to map places that should be dark...you have to make things light enough so that the viewer can see what's going on in your map but it's also good to imply the lighting situation if possible. Here you could have maybe made the whole thing darker but used the ambient light from luminescent fungus and a couple of torches to bring out the visible detail for the viewer.

Looking forward to seeing more maps from you. Have some rep for posting a map your first time out!

edit: Argh. Rep tool window is disappearing on me again. I'll hit you back when I can.

08-27-2010, 03:29 PM
The more battle maps the better so keep posting them. People always want different styles of BMs (not bowel movements) and a lot of what we do is on a larger scale that most folks don't need...they need skirmish areas and ambushes and whatnot. Soooo...post 'em, if ya got 'em.

08-27-2010, 05:11 PM
Thanks, I maybe should have put this as a WIP, but I had been sitting on this for several months. The funny thing is I rarely if ever game but I just love exploring locales and reading up on them. Thinking about fleshing out areas in the Nentir Vale by creating battle maps, expanding on NPC's and creating back story, as it seems many of people seem to be drawn to the Points of Light setting.

As for this map, the reason I chose the lighter texture is primarily contrast seeing as I had a lack of textures at the time. Also this is located in what is called The Shallows so in my mind the oppressive nature of the Underdark isn't fully in play. Since I use map tools whenever i do play it provides lighting features for me that sorts out that mess. I guess internally it's more of a debate of a more artistic end product or easier to work with.

08-28-2010, 03:04 AM
Hi Geamon, they look really good, especially for your first maps - nice work. As Mearrin says, you could work with a darker setting, and personally I think that the texture on the surrounding walls were to blurry. A good way to get your maps better is working with your shadows - those fungi are probably high and thus casts long shadows - this also gives you the opportunity to show some shapes that you can't see from above. The bodies could use a small drop shadow too :) ... and returning to the bodies - I'm of course not sure about the scale you're working at - but most battlemaps work at 1 inch = 5 feet - in which case your bodies are about 4-5 feet tall?
But good going, post the next ones in the WIP section so we can help you improve :) ... and have some rep with my mace of nice repping +5 :)

08-28-2010, 04:02 AM
Nice maps, repped.
I'm going to use them most possibly in my Thunderspire Labyrinth adventure I'm running if my players decide to venture in the Underdark(and I think they will).

08-28-2010, 11:50 AM
Thanks again for advice, the shadowing your refering to is pretty much offsetting the objects based on height and applying blurring for the most part correct?

08-28-2010, 12:07 PM
You can do basic shadows that way but they start looking a little hinky (like they're floating) if you do it too much.

One better way is to copy the layer, make it black (paint over it or use color overlay and merge down), shift it a little in the direction of your shadow...then copy that and shift the new layer more. Repeat until you've got a shadow that's long enough for your tastes. Also, it's kind of realistic looking if you use a Gaussian Blur filter on each layer, increasing the value a bit the further you get from the object. When you're done, merge all of those layers together, set the blend mode to Multiply and change the opacity to suit your lighting situation.

If you want *awesome* shadows then you should visualize the silhouette of the object from the point of view of the light source and hand paint that concept onto a new layer in black. Then use the Blur tool to progressively blur it the further you get from the object. I suggest trying this only if you'd like hand cramps, a headache, and a prescription to Zoloft. :)

Of course, if you have any skill with 3D modeling/rendering tools, they can turn out shadows that are just about as accurate as you can get.

Edit: With your map above, however, we don't have any really defined light sources. It's underground, so none of the sunlight we often rely on for shadows in our maps. Your job gets more complicated in the case of something like this...because you're either going to have a very dark map or a lot of light sources (torches in sconces, glowing fungi, whatever) that are going to interact in funky ways. I wouldn't want to tackle it! Maybe somebody with more experience with interior maps can share their experience here. Torstan? Anybody?

08-28-2010, 12:19 PM
in the battlemaps I've done I've basicly ignored light sources and just made shadows anyway - not as realistic I know, but still looks good :) ... I rather liked my shadow work in http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10832-June-july-Evil-Necromancer-Tower which is based on the same concept as mearrin says only I mostly handpaint the shadows.

08-28-2010, 12:51 PM
I'll try some of these shadowing suggestions on my current WIP and see where it goes. Since I rarely if ever do play and this is more for the joy of making, might as well be more artistic and let the DM's who use it worry about functionality. :P

08-28-2010, 01:42 PM
yeah.. go artists! :)

08-28-2010, 07:43 PM
I like these and I reckon they will find their use in many a game. Theres scope for some improvement but thats ok - I'll leave commenting for future wip maps. I think its great you have decloaked after such a long time lurking. So big welcome.

09-02-2010, 09:50 PM
This is really good as well, unfortunately I can't rep you again for it though! Maps like this have infinite versatility and usability for a wide variety of things. I'll be using this in my upcoming Dark Sun game for sure!

09-08-2010, 04:25 PM
can never have too much Underdark stuff Nice job!! (repped for first post too!!)

09-10-2010, 09:37 AM
I'm going to redo these when I get back from Los Vegas. So just be patient for better quality battle maps.