View Full Version : Post Apocalyptic Campaign Planning Map WIPs

12-26-2010, 03:06 AM
'llo folks. Thought I would post the last couple of maps I've been working on for some C&C. The fantasy game I've been running for the last three years is finally drawing to a close, and I'm toying with the idea of running a post apocalyptic themed game next, for a change of pace. Still in the planning stages at the moment, so I thought I'd start with a general overland area map and a more detailed map of the PC start area I have in mind before I get cracking on all that writing that needs to be done. Fun now, work later.
The overland map is meant to be a bit sparse, if I use it, it'll be as a handout for the PCs to make notations and mark points of interest outside of the major pre-labeled settlements and landmarks.
I think I may have gotten a little carried away on the scrub grass in the Jakob's Cross map, but I did have an awfully good time drawing that giant fiberglass peach wrapped in christmas lights mounted on the roof of the local brothel.


Thanks for taking the time to look.

12-26-2010, 10:34 AM
Nice job. looking forward to seeing more maps and ideas posted.

Steel General
12-26-2010, 01:12 PM
Looking good so far. Not a big fan of the font, doesn't feel 'post-apocalyptic-y'.

12-26-2010, 01:28 PM
Yep. Loves me some P-A and those are nice maps indeed. Agree with SG about the font though. If you're using CS4 as your info indicates I think you'll have access to a font that I believe is called "AR Decode"...it's one of the ones at the top of the font list if that's not the name. I think that one makes a nice P-A font. barring that, there are quite a lot of "grunge" fonts out there on the free font sites that would do nicely.

Would love to hear more about your campaign when you work it up. I'm getting ready to run the old Gamma World 1st edition module Famine in Far-Go on the 10th (here's a map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12838-Famine-in-Far-Go-area-map...) I remade). We're also going to try out the new "D&D" Gamma World - it's light and fluffy but it does sort of maintain that old-school gonzo feel that the first edition had. I personally like a grittier feel to my P-A...we're talking "The Road" and "The Day After" and "Threads" here, but not everyone has the stomach for that so I settle! :)

Good luck with it!

12-26-2010, 07:56 PM
Very nice maps. I wish I could make a mountain like that but so far in Gimp it seems to elude me.

12-27-2010, 12:51 AM
I've never played the previous editions of Gamma World, but I picked up the last boxed set Wizards put out a few months ago. My group had a good time with it, but the system didn't really seem right for a longer-term campaign. It's fun, but I agree with you - looking for something a bit darker for a longer term campaign. d20 Darwin's World seems like a good fit, rules-wise, and I'm busy concocting a world. Trying out an Obsidian Portal wiki to help me with the world-building. I'll put a link up once I get it a bit more fleshed out, for anyone interested in a wall o' text.

And yeah, I can see the font complaint. I think the one I was using, Blackadder, has more of a 'Western' vibe, than I was going for anyhow. I was trying to get away from my personal standby for fantasy mapping, Caslon Antique. I love that font, but that is probably just due to the nostalgia connection of it being all over everything in the Heroquest board game I had when I was a kid. Found one called Postnuclear, appropriately enough. I like it a bit better. Easier to read at any rate. Trimmed out some of the excessive labeling, and then compulsively added some more in different areas.



12-29-2010, 03:59 AM
Did some more tinkering, bearing in mind that the intent of making these maps was to include them in a batch of handouts for the group. Decided to go a different route, focusing more on the intended ambiance than overwrought PS pseudo-realism. Shooting for gritty here, not cartoony. With that in mind, I tried to make it look more like a battered old daguerreotype photograph with typed and handwritten notations. Taken from a dirigible, of course. I think the intended feel comes across much better.


12-29-2010, 07:52 AM
If the map is actually a photo with notations, I'd either get rid of the grid in the background, or make it an overlay (hand drawn, maybe?). Or maybe just hint at a grid with crosses in four corners as if it were a military recon picture (check images of the moon landing to see what I mean with "crosses").

Oh, and I'd hint at perspective with the help of shadows, and then make it greyscale (sepia colour in old photos is a result of the materials used to capture light, and not a result of aging).

12-29-2010, 11:54 PM
Gave the overland map a similar treatment, though less sepia, and more metallic-looking. Not sure which I like better. I see what you mean with the implied grid corner crosses from military recon photos, and I like it. So let it be written, so let it be done. Only a little more fiddling to do with these maps, then I'll move on to a few new ones. Corner crosses, color adjustments, and misc tinkering, and I think I'll leave them alone.


12-30-2010, 12:23 AM
I really like where you're going with these. They'll be great handouts!

12-30-2010, 03:43 PM
I love the wrecked cars; just enough detail to tell what they are, without making them so sharp they look out of place with the rest of the art. Great job.

01-04-2011, 04:13 AM
Thanks all, for the kind words. After doing some more writing for the campaign, I decided that the overland map needed a serious overhaul. As air travel will play a key role, it needed to be massively upscaled and I wanted to add more interest to the terrain. A barren wasteland doesn't have to be a boring one. Thought if I was going to go through the trouble of reworking the whole shebang I would experiment with a different style, outside of my comfort area, and try to learn something. I like what I've got going here so far, still need to add major roadways (suggestions?) and other things - like making the labels legible.


Much thanks to Tear for the Saderan tutorial! (oooh... THAT'S what layer masks are for.)

01-04-2011, 05:14 AM
Hey! Nice maps! Some comments:

You'e using Chisel Hard beveling in Photoshop a *lot*. I've fallen into that trap many times as well, so I know how easy it may seem to get quick houses and mountain ridges. But they all look very "automatic" which is unfortunate. As for the first map of the road and houses, I think you should draw the houses individually and not use beveling. You can create them in Illustrator if you want them to be perfectly square.

Be sure not to overuse drop shadow as well. Drop shadow in Photoshop creates a flat drop shadow based on the outline of the items in your layer. This is very effective for 2D objects such as text, but not that much for houses or other stuff. The height of the house and the shape of the roof would make the drop shadow look completely different, which means that using PS drop shadow actually just makes them look strange.

Also, when using textures as overlays for your map, be sure to use a texture that is big enough where the repeating pattern isn't all that obvious. I'm sure you could find a nice non-tiling texture to cover your entire map canvas, just do a nice google search for "grunge background". Also make the textures small enough so they look like they fit to the objects they are supposed to texture :)

In the overview map, the chiseled mountain ridges is a quick way to make them look correct. If this works for you then I have nothing to say about that. I'd remove the outer glow on them, however, since they seem to be floating off the ground at this point. Then perhaps add another layer with a smaller bevel to create smaller mounds and hills on the map, to make it look not so very flat with huge super-sharp mountain ranges.

BTW, I see now (oops) that you've changed the overview map, but I'll let my comments stand either way - the new Map looks a lot better! :)

01-04-2011, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the C&C, Sandman - and yeah, guilty as charged. The world bending powers of layer styles are a fairly recent discovery for me, and it is awfully tempting to go the 'click click click done' route, even if the finished product isn't exactly what I'm looking for. But hey, I'm here to get better, and I think the new overland map (with nary a Hard Chisel) is a step in the right direction. Thanks again for taking the time to look and offer advice! (btw - That is some truly beautiful stuff on your website.)

01-05-2011, 02:31 AM
I can totally relate to how tempting it is to use the automated styles to create content. And sometimes it looks really good as well. But then you take the time to actually do it manually and both the level of satisfaction and the end result is a lot better. And yes, your new overview map is a lot nicer! I'm sure you could improve your closeup-map in the same manner :)

Thanks about the comments, back :)

01-07-2011, 02:40 AM
Final workup of that new overland map, I'm pretty happy with it. Time to move on to the next town... I'm having a ridiculous amount of fun with these.