View Full Version : December/January Challenge : Cavern behind the waterfall

01-04-2011, 05:20 AM
I have always done these from top dead center overhead so I'm going to try doing this from a slightly different angle. I'm not sure if I can pull it off because I haven't done it before but that's what keeps it interesting.

The party has found a lovely cavern behind a waterfall to spend the night. Unfortunately for them, they aren't the first to discover it. Muahaha.

PS. After viewing it on here the grid lines bug me. I'll have to see about them.

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01-04-2011, 05:43 AM
That's really cool. I'm guessing it's hand drawn with some form of photoshop layer effects such as textures and such?

I would get rid of the grid which doesn't really fit a map that isn't top-down.

01-04-2011, 05:54 AM
a good start jax, perhaps you should "lay the grid down" to fit your perspective :) ... hand drawn iso map perhaps.. or just good-old-perspective (although that would be hard to play on - you'd have to draw the map on a battle map in addition to your map :)

01-04-2011, 09:36 AM
This is beautiful! Jax, this is great! I would recommend you lower the resolution when you are done. The only problem I see is that when you zoom in, it gets a slightly muddy look that is occasionally problematic in some of your images. But! in thumbnail and in the slightly zoomed out version, it is perfect. Honestly, one of the best I've seen from you. I can't wait to see what else you add. The perspective is great, too!

01-04-2011, 11:46 AM
It looks really good so far Jax! Maybe try off-setting the grid for the upper levels from the lower one a bit. It would probably look better if they didn't line up exactly.

01-04-2011, 01:06 PM
Thanks guys. I will pop my lines so you all can see the original drawing (I did it with my mouse so it's rough). I tried tilting the grid at about a 65 degree angle so it lined up just right with the cavern entrance but it sort of looked wonky.

@Sandman: Unfortunately I have to have the grid as it is part of the challenge requirements this time around. I'm hopeful that I can make it work for the map but I'm not 100% confident. I agree though that it does look better without it.

@RE: I know what you mean with the muddy look I sometimes get. It happens most often when I try to get layers to smoothly merge (I'm still trying to perfect that). Oh and I can at times get a little wild with the smudge tool because it's just so much fun!

@moutarde: That's a great idea. I think I'll try that.

01-04-2011, 01:43 PM
Ah yer killin me Jax.. It already looks awesome... :)

01-04-2011, 02:28 PM
Hmmm - well, the rule says there has to be a grid - doesn't say it has to cover the whole map sheet. Say your hapless campers are well and truly stuck on the lower level... "climbing the cliff succeeds on 4 or less, on a 5d10 roll.... sorry, FAILED." Agreed the vivid, sharp grid looks off, but how about a subtle gridding of just the cavern floor, and MaYbE the terrain just outside?

01-04-2011, 03:49 PM
I chilled the grid quite a bit and tried what moutarde mentioned. I think it helped a lot but when I posted as jpg it was back to crap so I'll just share the lines I drew with my mouse to start this project (told you they were rough). Somewhere along the way I got into them a bit with the blur stick too :-/

01-05-2011, 02:24 AM
Ok, I think I got the grid thing worked out so it doesn't overwhelm the map. I may have to change it again because I think I'm off on the number of pixels I made it at...which sucks because I don't really feel like jacking around with the grid to be honest. I want to get on with setting up the camp :)

Anyway, here we are.

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01-05-2011, 02:59 AM
I like the differing grid angles - gives a good seperation of the different levels :)

01-05-2011, 03:21 AM
Yeah I think it worked out pretty well. The top grid might never be used but I figured if the battle spills out into the basin area it would be sweet to have an archer or two up there on the grassy knoll. :)

01-05-2011, 04:30 AM
hehe - good one ;)

01-05-2011, 03:10 PM
I can't leave things alone. I think I may be happier with using a Hex grid on this and it covers more of the bases. I also think this one would print out in a usable format.

So I can go with either Grid, just wondered what others thought. Also, now I can move forward with the rest.

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01-05-2011, 03:29 PM
I don't usually use hex grids, but I think in this case it's a really good move as it makes it easier to maneuver in the more natural terrain. I like the way you offset the grid slightly between the top and bottom levels. I'd never think to do that, but it really helps separate the two levels.

01-05-2011, 08:33 PM
A lot of folks are doing firelight and lanterns for this challenge and while I'm sure many of you have your own method already there may also be some who have no clue what to do. I figured I would share what seems to work ok for me. I am using GIMP so this will use Gimp terms but the idea should be pretty easy to follow whatever you use.

1) First draw the light source, in this case fire. That's the center point.
2) Make a new layer set to Overlay and fill it with black or close enough to darken everything.
3) Next, draw a circle with the radius being however far the light source can travel (typically 20 to 40 feet - add a little more for "buffer"). Drag the circle so the center is right over the middle of the fire's location.
4) Select a light color (white is ok but fire is usually more golden yellow) as your foreground color and black as your background.
5) Select the gradient tool and set: Shape = Radial, Repeat = none.
6) Drag the line from the center of the circle towards the outer edge coming up short just a bit depending on how your gradient comes out (I undo this a couple times to get it right). You could feather your circle at the start if it's still to defined where the light hits the dark (the "buffer" space should have taken care of this though).

Sometimes I will Gaussian blur that it if it's not even enough for me. You may also want to duplicate the layer if you need a bit more darkness around the outside.

Here is a screenshot of the concept.

You still have to go back and eliminate light that is shining through objects and add shadows where appropriate.

Hope that is of some use to someone.

01-06-2011, 04:05 AM
Updated with some camp items and lighting from a small fire and a few lanterns. Have to think about what else I can do now.

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01-07-2011, 05:49 AM
Just a proof of concept screenshot from RP Tools. Credit and thanks go to Devin Night for the tokens! I don't plan to actually have them on the map for my entry but I wanted to make sure everything would work. Also, a little story that I imagined as I was building the scene.

Breegan and Shar were exhausted from the days long march and the battle with that creature that seemed to just rise up out of the earth. Both had taken to their rolls and passed quickly into fitful slumber. Learin sat at the makeshift table pouring over the map the party had "procured" two weeks back. Lord, but it seemed like a month had passed since the band of four had started on this trail. It was not turning out to be as easy as they had thought. Trying to decipher the writing that was barely visible when held before the light of the lantern was proving to be frustrating. Even with his excellent vision it was giving him a headache.
Across the cavern, Scout was on first watch. Even though they had found this cave by blind chance that did not mean they were the only ones who knew of it's existence. After all, it seemed like a dream come true. Still, each one of them had welcomed the hidden shelter and all had agreed to camp. Something about the silent stillness of the night put Learin on edge. What had changed? He could feel it, like a tiny tingling down his spine that made the hairs on his neck stand up. Was that a new smell on the air? As he lifted his eyes to the sentry across the cave he saw Scout was suddenly standing, facing the entrance with a drawn bow....

01-07-2011, 11:22 AM
Looking good Jaxilon! :)

01-07-2011, 10:04 PM
Now that's not fair..your already a FAR better cartographer than I am and now you write better too?...hehe just kidding great map and great story..what happens next? :)

01-07-2011, 10:50 PM
Now that's not fair..your already a FAR better cartographer than I am and now you write better too?...hehe just kidding great map and great story..what happens next? :)

I don't think so. I may have a year on you making digital maps but you are closing fast. As for the story, where do you think I got the idea to even include it? As for what happens next, someone will have to load this up and tell us.

01-08-2011, 03:41 PM
looks really good.. and kudos for throwing a tut in there too :)

01-08-2011, 04:29 PM
Thanks tilt. I'm debating on putting anything else in there. Some trees might be nice but I don't want to clutter it up too much.

01-10-2011, 02:44 AM
I figured I better put the darkness over this before I forgot. :)

I reduced the size by 50% so it will be quicker to load and is easier to look at when zoomed in (I'll put a full size in the finished maps section eventually). I've left out any sort of character tokens because while I figure they tell a story this is designed to be useful as a VTT or printed map for miniatures. You can never have too many different battle maps.

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01-10-2011, 02:51 AM
That looks like a pretty nice place...kinda like where I live now but plushier. :)

01-10-2011, 12:26 PM
Very nice Jax I think I want to go there... :)