View Full Version : Trying Something Different: Isometric Forest Maps

Cunning Cartographer
02-23-2012, 09:29 PM
So I've seen people handle forest maps in a few different ways, but usually they are top down maps and either:

A view of the treetops and counting the area as difficult terrain/cover/stealth bonuses, etc.
No treetops and just the tree trunk and/or faded treetop with a trunk/marker for the obstruction/cover the trunk provides

I recently made a map that was a temple with large columns and wanted to get the impression of height, so I made them isometric and faded the tops out so it looked like they kept going. I thought I would try doing something similar with some forest maps, making the trees isometric so you can see the trunks and what is/isn't cover, and trying to simply give the impression that a forest canopy is above them. Also I chose to make the trees a little more transparent so that they didn't seem to block out too much of the map. Overall I'm pretty pleased with the results (helps that this is a bare pine forest based from this image:


And so I've knocked up four maps in this style and attached large thumbnails of them below, which are more for referencing to see if they are to your taste. On my DA site I have huge printable versions, 7500x7500pix (these are 50x50sq maps, each square 150x150pix) both with and without the grid (the grid has purple "markers" around the trunks to better identify which square has the trunk in it). Check all the maps in my DA Gallery: http://yospeck.deviantart.com/gallery/35468665

I'm just at the start of a new campaign I'm running, so hopefully plenty more maps to be coming soon :)

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03-01-2012, 08:28 AM
They have a very nostalgic feel for someone who played a lot of isometric games back in the 90s. Looking amazing!

04-07-2012, 11:15 AM
They're more artistic than mappy...but they sure are pretty. I especially like the dramatic lighting in the last village map. I want to see these in a post-apocalyptic ISO game. Maybe The Road. :)

Now, on to trees: I see what you've done with the trees and what you were going for. Cutting off the tops as you have, unfortunately, gives more an impression (to me anyway) that the vegetation is some sort of clumped vertical shrub thing than a collection of tops-removed-for-clarity trees. I'm not at all sure how to resolve the issue however. The only thing I can imagine is to somehow make the trees more distinct from the background so that you can really see the trunk clearly...and see the distinctive break at the top to know there was supposed to be more.

I'm sure I didn't manage to help but keep experimenting and I bet you'll get it down. In the meantime you're inventing a very nice ISO style all your own.

Cunning Cartographer
04-09-2012, 01:08 PM
Yeh I wasn't too sure how they would work, though I was reasonably happy with the outcome and prefer it over a top down circle for a tree trunk where your players look like they're running around on top of the tree canopy like it's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon :D Used them in a session and the players didn't have any problems working out what was what. It probably helps that we've always used screenshots from miniatures as our tokens (LotR/Warhammer/WotC, etc) which are side on pics as opposed to top down like some people use, so when they're against the isometric trees it gives an even better impression. For people using top down image tokens (VTT) or if this was used as a printed map with actual miniatures, then I can see how it's probably not as useful.

It was an experiment, but I think I'll stick with more traditional top down maps :D

04-09-2012, 02:50 PM
Interesting approach. I agree with Mearrin that it is a bit unclear that the trees in the map are in fact trees, but nevertheless the outcome is quite attractive.


04-22-2012, 04:27 AM
I like it, but it surely looks much more like a marsh to me as well.