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Vascant
07-23-2011, 06:26 PM
Started working on a set of underground maps, so much time is spent on world maps and above ground I just thought it might be interesting to attempt to run a whole campaign world underground. In doing so will take an investment in time so sat down this morning and started working on the flavor of the maps. Any comments and opinions are welcome of course. This is just the first map, nothing major but more about me figuring out the personality I want the maps to have. I expect to do each section in 8 inch x 8 inch 300 dpi squares just in case I decide to print or something crazy, each section will also link up to the others as well.

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cadric
07-23-2011, 06:54 PM
I love the textures. And the transition between the ground and walls are awsome... hmm.. most rethink my own walls :)

jfrazierjr
07-23-2011, 08:37 PM
Cool... I am currently running an underground campaign(started underground) and they have found a "very" small exit... now they just need to find the methods of opening the "big" exit to get the humans, elves, dragonborn, and halflings out.... Of course... there are some "complications" to overcome first... D&D 4E and they are 4-5 level(I think one just hit 6th level). I use maptool and either a projector or TV, so in most cases, I use tiles and just "stitch" then together to form a layout I like for caverns...

Vascant
07-24-2011, 08:38 AM
I love the textures. And the transition between the ground and walls are awsome... hmm.. most rethink my own walls :)

Thanks, After I get done figuring out the final style I will probably attempt at doing tutorial.


Cool... I am currently running an underground campaign(started underground) and they have found a "very" small exit... now they just need to find the methods of opening the "big" exit to get the humans, elves, dragonborn, and halflings out.... Of course... there are some "complications" to overcome first... D&D 4E and they are 4-5 level(I think one just hit 6th level). I use maptool and either a projector or TV, so in most cases, I use tiles and just "stitch" then together to form a layout I like for caverns...
I never made the transition to 4e. I am not dealing with exits or even finding exits unless the pc's make it their desire, they will come together in a small underground trading post/community center/village which I am doing next. As the 8x8 above demonstrates I am indeed looking at tiles plus I do believe their will be a need for goetiles as well. At some point though will have to sit down and resolve a larger scale map just to link the longer stretches together.

jfrazierjr
07-24-2011, 12:23 PM
Well.. in my case... one of the long term goals is to see the state of the top side as well as return if possible. The humans, elves, a few dragonborn and a few halflings were forced into hiding in this underground city at least as a monster hoard ravaged the surface over 1000 years ago... The eladrin(high elf) in the party has a HUGE racial itch to get out and return his people to the forests, the sun, moon, and stars... At this point, they are just getting wind of a possible invasion of the underground city and will learn "soon" that they need to recruit allies from other cities or face decimation. Some such potential allies lie overa large distance and they will have to make a choice: a) travel underground where travel will be difficult and perhaps take a very long time(no established "roads" to many places) due to elevation changes as well as very dangerous(known dangerous creatures in the underwild) or b) the totally unknown surface route... might be more dangerous, but could potentially broaden the number of allies and will likely be much faster route if proper precautions are taken....


As for tiles... I actually mean more along the lines of VERY individual sections.... so, a 4 square long "wall", a 4x4 square "corner piece", etc. I am currently using someone else's tiles, but will be making my own soon so that I can also create some pre-made room configurations. The main reason I am doing it this way is that MapTool has some efficiencies built in so that if you use the same tile (even if rotated or resized!) multiple times, the memory footprint remains very low(ie, just taking up the size, location and orientation instead of the entire image contents).

Vascant
07-25-2011, 03:34 PM
While I have already started on the basics of the 24x24 map, I decided to take a short break and work on how I wanted to handle small edges and cliff faces. Clearly not all areas are the same elevation. Just a minor change to this map dealing with that and hoping to get some input and ideas.


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Vascant
08-06-2011, 05:44 PM
I feel I am really struggling with water/rivers so if anyone can give some pointers or advice it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks


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mearrin69
08-06-2011, 11:39 PM
Nice work. The textures are pretty great already.

On the water, the biggest problem I can see is that it's very 'flat'. You've got great coloration in there. I'd suggest doing something to make the edges, especially in the 'walkable' areas differentiated from the floor. Maybe that means a slight bevel or maybe it means giving the floor some sort of slope down to the water surface. Because of the grid (I think) the floor looks almost like tile. If you're meaning for it to be sandy or rocky instead then I'd expect there to be a little bit of a slope along the bank of the river. Some more indications of flow might help as well, as you've done pretty well around that large flat rock.

Depending on how realistic you want to get you might also consider giving the water a bit of a surface. Filters like Plastic Wrap might be useful there.

Just some thoughts. Hope they help.
M

Vascant
08-07-2011, 10:14 AM
Thanks for the advice, I played with it a bit and realized I need to gain a bit more experience and such with plastic wrap filter. I found a few tutorials and such on the web so will make the time. I do agree the grid was causing an issue, to put to words I think the grid had become a feature of the map rather then being a measuring device so I lowered it a bit and it really let more of the map stand out.

Just started working on doing rivers/water into my maps so all of your advice was helpful in some way or form, thank you :)

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jfrazierjr
08-07-2011, 11:12 AM
to give the floor/wall edge some more "depth", what I do is put a layer between the two. Then select the shape outline, stroke with a largish brush, select none and then blur... this makes the wall appear to have shadows near the bottom and gives depth.

Vascant
08-07-2011, 11:59 AM
to give the floor/wall edge some more "depth", what I do is put a layer between the two. Then select the shape outline, stroke with a largish brush, select none and then blur... this makes the wall appear to have shadows near the bottom and gives depth.

Yeah, doing the same exact thing.. I think I am on the fence between not doing enough and doing to much of it, if you know what I mean. As I look at the map think I need to take a shot at using the brown and black fade I used on the river bank also to give some elevation to some other areas as well.

After I mow the yard going to work on another 8x8 so I can practice on the river stuff more, think I will work a larger chamber into it and test this out.

Thanks

Vascant
08-07-2011, 07:16 PM
Rivers are getting better I think, just not sure how much better. Some good practice with using warp to run the current also used a bit blur and smudge to enhance the direction of the current I hope. I do want to do a few more river 8x8's before moving on to tackling other aspects, just for practice and work on the style a bit more.

I decided to work on adding a cliff face to see how that comes along and fairly happy with the results.

Any and all comments/suggestions are welcome of course.
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jfrazierjr
08-07-2011, 08:17 PM
That has a slightly off perspective... not ISO but not top down either... if that's what you meant, ok.. if not, I would suggest just going with a hard edge on one side and a blurred shadow on the other... let me know if you want an example...

Vascant
08-07-2011, 08:28 PM
That has a slightly off perspective... not ISO but not top down either... if that's what you meant, ok.. if not, I would suggest just going with a hard edge on one side and a blurred shadow on the other... let me know if you want an example...

An example would be perfect, can use the base image if you want or just toss some quick example together that would be great (which ever is easier for you). Thanks

jfrazierjr
08-07-2011, 08:46 PM
here is a quick crop of how I usually do it. In this case, I just make a path.. stroked one side 2px other 12 px.. the 2px side I Gblured 2px and the 12px side I GBlured about 15 px I think...

Vascant
08-07-2011, 09:20 PM
Thanks for the speedy example, doubt I will get time to try it this evening (Yankees vs Boston game) but going to see what I can do with this first thing in the morning.

Vascant
08-08-2011, 07:58 AM
When I started looking at it wasn't to sure if I was going to really like but after doing it and playing with a few settings I think the results are much better then what I was doing originally. Thanks for the pointers and example with this. This will also allow me to do some things on maps that I had yet figured out "how" I was going to accomplish them.


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jfrazierjr
08-08-2011, 02:22 PM
You should also consider doing the same on the walls(or add a bevel) to give the wall/floor separation/depth. You can see some examples using BOTH effects here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6149-Sea-Side-Cave) and here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6214-Sea-Cave-part-2).

BTW, I also used the dodge/burn tool to give those even more depth. dodge helps darken up the darks and makes for a deep "looking" drop off. While lightening up the "top" of an elevation chance a bit gives just a bit of contrast that really sells the offset between light/dark, high/low.

Oh... and good job there, you have the idea well in hand... I would probably go a darker closer in to the "ledge"(pretty much pure black and with perhaps a slightly larger fade area), especially with the large elevation change you are trying to depict.

Vascant
08-08-2011, 02:38 PM
I've been doing the sides of the walls thus far by hand and currently like it so far, while I agree it is more work it allows me to favor areas and go lighter on some others. I did also wonder/consider expanding the shade and darkening to add some depth. I do like the over all look and feel, especially after stepping back for a bit and then looking at the map. Started a new one after that and going to add a few different points of elevation changes to allow me to work on what you mentioned. So we will see :)

Vascant
08-08-2011, 05:58 PM
Started playing with the new style of how to illustrate a ledge on the map, from my stand point it does seem a lot easier to depict on the map what it is and such.


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jfrazierjr
08-08-2011, 07:41 PM
Very nice... while I would go darker in some places, it is VERY easy to tell now that these are different levels. One question... the exclusionary path, does it come out UNDER the ledge or at the same height? Since it is darker in color, it appears that it goes under the ledge and that the exit is down in the dark area below the ledge. If that is not the case, I would suggest making the path the same color as your main floors.

Vascant
08-08-2011, 08:01 PM
Very nice... while I would go darker in some places, it is VERY easy to tell now that these are different levels. One question... the exclusionary path, does it come out UNDER the ledge or at the same height? Since it is darker in color, it appears that it goes under the ledge and that the exit is down in the dark area below the ledge. If that is not the case, I would suggest making the path the same color as your main floors.

Thanks, yeah I have been steadily looking it over and adding more and more depth where it seems to be lacking or needing it. I do have to again say thanks, that was all you :)

The path is hidden by an illusion but I think I need to shorten that up to just the entry way, I didn't see what you were saying until you said it.

eViLe_eAgLe
08-08-2011, 08:52 PM
That looks very nice.. Repped :)

Vascant
08-09-2011, 02:34 PM
eViLe_eAgLe: Thanks


Next little project in all this, or should I say goal is the ability for this to work as sections to create a much larger map to explore. So I created an 8x8 that exists using 2 of the sections already created.
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This new section fits between these 2 sections
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(Lets hope all this web stuff properly works)

jfrazierjr
08-09-2011, 03:05 PM
for the river, I would suggest either a) reduce the opacity (using a layer mask) where it abuts the floor IF the water is the same level as the floor at it's edge or b) add shadows and a hard edge to the floor to indicate that the water is below floor level.

Vascant
08-09-2011, 03:58 PM
for the river, I would suggest either a) reduce the opacity (using a layer mask) where it abuts the floor IF the water is the same level as the floor at it's edge or b) add shadows and a hard edge to the floor to indicate that the water is below floor level.

While not hard, was creating a kind of shoreline/bank with the shadow and browns but after you brought that up I clearly see I did nothing with the water to reflect that it was a soft shoreline rather then a hard edge. Indeed something to work on, I also noticed I need to be a bit more consistent with how I do the outer shadow of the rock walls, started getting a bit heavy.

Vascant
08-09-2011, 08:14 PM
Took your advice and this is what I came up with, in this effort I am trying to soften the edges of the shoreline/banks. I didn't notice it until you brought it up but have to admit looks much better softened. While not in this case I also can see some times when the water edge will need a hard dark line but I think each instance will be a case by case basis depending on what I am striving for there. I also took note to not be so heavy on the external shadowing of the rocks.

Thanks again

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After all these maps, I can smell a tutorial coming.. *laughs*

jfrazierjr
08-09-2011, 08:49 PM
Yep.. water parts look quite a bit better.... I will say that for "me" NOT having either a bevel or gradient dark->transparent shadow on the "floor" make it appear as if the lighter parts are above the dark parts. this is just something that the mind does (in many people anyway) automatically which is why the making a "hard" demarcation with a dark->transparent "pattern"works so well to indicate "lower" in height transitions.

Anyway.. these are very nice textures you are using.. I really like the floor texture.. where did you get it from or did you make it?

Moe
08-09-2011, 11:48 PM
That added a lot to your water and I dig how you seperated the different ground layers of the cave - nice shading.

>Moe

Vascant
08-10-2011, 07:31 AM
I played with the bevel a bit and really did not like what I was seeing for results so I went instead with the gradient method, still not sure if this doesn't do much more then what I was doing just perhaps on a bit more consistent basis but for walls maybe that is what is needed. Still are still a few places of course for hand touch up where the blur didn't quite cover however wanted to get a feel for if this is what you were meaning. Not sure if I understood.. *laughs*

Moe: Thanks

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Textures: They were free ones I grabbed I think or I took the picture and then darkened or lightened based on what I desired for these maps. I can dig them up and post if you desire.

jfrazierjr
08-10-2011, 07:53 AM
Yes.. that is much better IMHO. I understand about the bevel... it really depends on the map and how you plan to use it. For something like this which I assume is going to be a partial or full geomorph, using a bevel makes it "impossible" to turn to any orientation and look right. Typically, though, I would us a bevel for structures(castle interior walls) some times and "inner glow"/shadow type thingy other times.

One final thing you might want to think about as you are doing the elevation in future revisions, in order to really sell drastically different elevations on the same map, you would want to go darker on at the base for the one with the most height. In this case, 10/15 is not that big a change enough to warrant it, but one at 10 and one at 30 would(and I would even go to 20 being cause for additional darkening).

Vascant
08-10-2011, 08:20 AM
Yes.. that is much better IMHO. I understand about the bevel... it really depends on the map and how you plan to use it. For something like this which I assume is going to be a partial or full geomorph, using a bevel makes it "impossible" to turn to any orientation and look right. Typically, though, I would us a bevel for structures(castle interior walls) some times and "inner glow"/shadow type thingy other times.
Yeah, I came to that same conclusion that on some maps the bevel/glows would be perfect to use, just not in this case is all. Good example is like when I start learning to do towns and such as you pointed out structures.


One final thing you might want to think about as you are doing the elevation in future revisions, in order to really sell drastically different elevations on the same map, you would want to go darker on at the base for the one with the most height. In this case, 10/15 is not that big a change enough to warrant it, but one at 10 and one at 30 would(and I would even go to 20 being cause for additional darkening).

I had this same exact thought yesterday when doing the map and had several different elevation changes and considered perhaps coming up with some kind of standard for myself as to the size of the stroke and GBlur to give a better foundation as to the change. For now I figured when I sit down and write this process out I will make a note of it.

You have been tons of help, really appreciate it

Vascant
08-11-2011, 08:18 PM
Decided to put a bunch of things together (skill and learning wise) and create a more usable map for an underground game. I also wanted to learn/figure out/experiment with doing water completely by hand. Up until this point I have just been using the gradient tool and warping it into the shape I desired but on more complicated water ways this would not always work, so had to figure out at some point how to do it by hand.

This map is much bigger then previous maps so keep in mind this is very much a work in progress, still have some work to do but all comments and suggestions welcome as I am clearly still learning. Thanks

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Vascant
08-12-2011, 01:36 PM
Got a bit done and figured would post a WIP before I start back on the water. I like the water but really could use some personality as someone pointed out to me (and I agree).

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As usual, comments always welcome and thanks

Vascant
08-13-2011, 10:24 AM
I enjoyed doing this map a lot and how it turned out.

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When I am doing a map I have a habit of mentally thinking how I can use it or the different uses it could have, I realized while doing this map that if it just had lava instead of water it would be a perfect map for a red dragon lair or really any fire based creatures. So, decided to give it a try and see how it would come out.

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All comments are welcome


Next map: I have a slave market on my wall I did in graph paper, never got around to really doing it thought. Time to replace that graph paper with some color.

Vascant
08-15-2011, 08:24 PM
Abaxtur Slave Market

Can't think of a campaign or setting that at some point doesn't have some kind of seedy market place but for some reason there is never a map. So while learning to make maps why not see if I can't provide a little something to answer that need.


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Vascant
09-24-2011, 02:02 PM
About a month ago I started mapping out panels for a vast underground campaign, when completed I fully expect to have well over 40 panels that tile together. I figure it was time to share some of my mapping love again in the thread here with a same piece of the first 4 panels that have been released and the 2 up coming releases (I release a new panel every Friday).

Eventually I am going to reach selected locations where some of my map challenge entries will be placed in addition to other things like the slave market.

Thanks and Enjoy

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Guess should of pointed out, if you wish to download any of the panels they are at http://www.rpgattitude.com. No need to be a member or anything, they are free to download.

Drakecoinus
10-28-2011, 04:32 AM
these look great and look forward to finding a way to use them :)

Vascant
12-09-2011, 07:43 PM
Been a while since I posted here so thought I would update the thread. I just recently finished what I call Campaign Map #2, you can download each map panel separately on my website.

Link: Maps of an Uncharted World (http://www.rpgattitude.com/joomla/forum-rpgattitude/maps-of-an-uncharted-world.html)

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I also took a moment and put both Campaign Maps together in a single map just to get a feel for how things were going...

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Thanks and hope you enjoy, as always comments are welcome.

Vascant
01-31-2012, 07:10 AM
Progress Update:
The map is getting fairly big now, had a little problem uploading the full image yesterday so did a smaller image instead. You can download the full image on my site if you desire it as well as each of the map panels.


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dangerdog15
01-31-2012, 09:23 PM
The maze area is a nice touch. So is the large underwater lake. All-in-all it looks great!

maxsdaddy
01-31-2012, 09:38 PM
Wow, thanks Vascant! The Underworld of any campaign is tough to map. Great work. I'm glad you stuck with it. I can see my players moving about on skiff in the lake as I roll up random encounters. And that's even before they get to the other areas you've laid out.

Vascant
02-01-2012, 07:47 AM
Thanks, the scary part is I am not even close to done.. *laughs* Seems like the more I map the more things I come up with that "need" to be added, I want to add a drow city which will be about 9 map panels in size (a quarter of the map in size of what you see now) which will be down and to the right (SouthEast), I also want to map out a small community that lives within the spires on the lake. Another 5 years and I should be done.. hehe

Ninja137
03-23-2012, 12:36 PM
You are an awesome person and you should feel awesome. These maps are great.

Vascant
03-30-2012, 08:13 PM
This is a small version of the poster map, the full version you can download at the link below is 18 inches x 24 inches (7.5 megs, to large for here)

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Full Map (http://www.rpgattitude.com/joomla/forum-rpgattitude/maps-of-an-uncharted-world/50-underdark-campaign-poster-map.html#50)

Piscivorous
06-13-2012, 06:27 PM
My only recommendation would be to provide the slavers an escape tunnel or two. Mount a big enough force and they are in a killing field where they are.

Lyandra
06-14-2012, 12:51 AM
Wow, that is really impressive! The amount of work you put into it...

Jaxilon
06-14-2012, 12:57 AM
Excellent job, having recently attempted an underground map myself in our last challenge I can really appreciate this.

Giant whack O Rep incoming.