View Full Version : Exploration mapping strategy

04-27-2008, 02:54 PM
I'm beginning work designing the a world for use with a 4E gaming group. The big thing I wanted to get out of the mapping strategy is starting with a small local map. The key is I'd like to be able to grow the map as they explore, gain new pieces of information, etc. I didn't want to necessarily map the entire thing out right out and then just remove the fog, but have the flexibility to design on the fly as I need.

Any suggestions of map styles that are easier/more difficult to do with this goal in mind? Has anybody done this and run into any sorts of problems or difficulties?

Thanks in advance... this is my first thread here and I'm fairly new to mapping.

04-27-2008, 03:37 PM
If you use software like photoshop or Gimp, then you have the capacity of expanding the size of the canvas. So you can start with, say a village and if your group move east, expand the canvas to the right and draw in what they find. It hadn't occurred to me before but this is a nice way to make a map that evolves with the direction the group moves in.

The downside is when the map starts getting a lot larger, the detail will be lost (and in fact will look like a mess) if you zoom out too far, but if you're thinking of printing your map on paper then because print resolution is much higher than screen resolution, it shouldn't be too much of a problem until your world gets really large.

My advice is that it can be done in this way, but you need to keep a close eye on resolution / point sizes for fonts etc.

The alternative is to have a map at a smaller scale for the macro stuff and make individual maps at a larger scale for the micro stuff.

Welcome to the guild!

04-27-2008, 04:39 PM
Good points... I think perhaps the best bet might be to keep an atlas scale map and then develop individual maps for regions/cities/towns that are particularly important to the campaign.

Thinking a bit more about it, a neat woodcut style map might look pretty slick for an atlas. Getting some generic stamps ready would make updating it in the midst of campaign planning fairly easy. It'd also give a nice illusion of characters having a parchment that's filled in as they explore and learn of new locations.

Are there any sort of "wood cut stamps" for things like forests/mountains available as resources?

04-27-2008, 04:58 PM
Try doing a search on 'woodcut' and see what the site throws up. As far as I know there are no 'stamps' but there are some good tutorials on how to achieve a woodcut effect on your own drawings.

05-06-2008, 10:58 PM
Haven't really found much in terms of wood cut stuff, though if people are interested I did find this hand drawn brush set with various map items:


05-07-2008, 05:10 AM
Did you see This one? (http://www.io.com/~sjohn/uresia-maps.htm)

05-07-2008, 07:41 AM
I've always somewhat followed this concept. But to a slightly larger scale. You're going to need some background mapping...I'd at least generate a general world map or at least a continent map depending on the level of technology and exploration of the people of the world.

There's also cultural references you'll be missing out on in your storyline...such as casual mention of other cultures or societies on the world or continent that the travellign sort would need to know about...unless you can whip that out on the fly, your worlds culture will seem kinda empty without at least a background world map plan...I'd generate a continent and start populating it as the players encounter parts AND as you mention other societies and cultures you can draw them in to the empty spots.