View Full Version : August 2012 Entry: Bridge of Tears Prison...There is no return.

08-25-2012, 01:18 AM
For the last challenge I made a bridge over a river of lava. As it developed I pictured it as a bridge to a remote prison from which no one returns, hence the name Bridge of Tears. Seraphine suggested that I finish the prison for the sake of continuity. I liked that idea as well, though I'm not sure how I'm going to get that rock texture to cover such a large area.

For anyone who didn't see the previous entry here it is again:


08-25-2012, 01:21 AM
So, despite running out of time, here is my first WIP, the basic prison walls and floor.

### Latest WIP ###


08-28-2012, 01:54 AM
Now I have added more details to the wall and the beginnings of the interior elements. I spent a lot of time modifying a circular stairwell to create an oubliette. I still need to add a bunch of cells and detention pits.

### Latest WIP ###


08-28-2012, 10:17 AM
theres a lot of cool stuff going on here, but I really like the detail on the floor.

08-28-2012, 10:18 PM
Thanks, will be adding a lot more cool stuff soon. The floor is great, made by Cisticola, an old friend at DJ forums, I merely tweaked it a little.

08-29-2012, 02:36 AM
### Latest WIP ###


08-31-2012, 03:17 AM
Here is the final version of The Bridge of Tears Prison. As I said in the first post, I had made a bridge over a river of lava for last months challenge. That entry showed only a tiny bit of the prison on the other side of the bridge. Seraphine suggested that I finish the prison for this challenge.

Since the prison map is much larger than the bridge map I had to make the lava river longer and fill in the rock texture all around the prison. I also needed a new border as the other one was just not large enough.

So here it is, The Bridge of Tears Prison.

### Latest WIP ###


The map is done at 100 dpi resolution, is about 40 x 31 inches. 1 Inch = 5 ft. Each square of the border is 1 inch.
Constructive criticism and comments welcome.

Cunning Cartographer
08-31-2012, 05:05 AM
As a DnD GM I can definitely see the fun you could have on this map. I'm generally not a massive fan of Dunjinni elements (which this looks like, kudos though if it isn't), mostly because of the duplicated elements that so often feature on a map. Case in point is your prison cells; whilst having the base image of the cell is fine (it IS a great image) I would personally go over them and add in some extra elements/shading/mark of my own so they didn't look so uniformed. A wood grain different to the others, a blood stain on one. It's not a big issue, but for me the best maps are the ones that really take into account the little details at the end, unfortunately it's usually the little things that our players really wouldn't care about so it's sometimes hardly worth the effort :D

With the shadows you have clearly thought about the shadows on the walls and worked on the drop shadows of each object, however, the objects dont seem to cast shadows on other objects and so elements look "placed" on the map. For example the shadowing you've done on the walls to the floor should effect the objects that sit in that shadow (below comparison to get my meaning across a little better). As you will see it really ties the objects into the map a lot better overall. This can be done pretty easily by just creating a layer on top of them and going around the edges with a soft low opacity black brush (20%) for a quick and easy effect.


Similarly with the shadows is the oubliette itself where you have a shadowed wall to show the depth of the pit going from lighter at the top to darker at the bottom (as it should be), but then the floor is lit up and can be seen; the only way this can happen is if there is a light source (which should be added and then making the walls a little lighter as well at the bottom as it wont only light the floor). Or far easier would be to simply not be able to see the floor at all and cover it in darkness. When players come across it they have no idea how deep it is, who or what is down there, but if they drop a stone or something they can hear it rattle off the stone floor (so they know it's not some bottomless pit!). An extra niggle is that the manacles at the bottom in scale to the width of the diameter of the oubliette are far to big to hold anyone and if working on a typical 1" = 5yds then each ring would be wider than a persons body.

The composition of the prison itself is great (albeit the guards are going to have to be pretty careful when putting some people in those cells that are so close to the edge of the oubliette!), there's a wide range of potential objectives whilst all the elements tie in well to make one fun 'dungeon'. A few technical issues, but overall a great job.

08-31-2012, 09:58 AM
Thanks Yospeck, glad you like it. I make my maps with a DM's eye towards playability. And yes, players hardly ever notice the details! The prison itself was made with DundJinni, the terrain was done in Photoshop. Since DJ is not a drawing program it is hard to draw in those little details. That and the repetitiveness of some objects are a drawback to DJ, but it allows a person without artistic talent to start making very good maps very quickly.
Thanks for the tips on shadowing. I can't do that in DJ, but I could go back in Photoshop and fix them.

I did consider the closeness of some of the cells to the oubliette but realized that whoever built this prison would not care much more about the guards than the prisoners. It also poses a potential risk to the players as well. So they'd better be careful where they walk.

The central floor of the oubliette is not at the bottom of the pit, it is a pillar that has a flat top just below the main floor level, so the lighting and the manacles perspective are correct. The wooden bridge is pushed out to provide access on and off the pillar. I couldn't find a way to show the sides of the pillar without going to an iso view that looked out of place. So I put the bridge there as a clue and will simply tell the players what they see. I thought about leaving the bridge across the gap so they could see the pillar is there but then that rules out them having to rescue someone from the oubliette.

Cunning Cartographer
08-31-2012, 10:11 AM
Ahhhhh. Yeh that all makes sense now (also as to why the wooden walkway is there!), I think calling it an oubliette instantly leads you to it being a deep pit. Not that it matters too much as once you tell the players what they are seeing it is a lot easier, but I think perhaps the soft edges of the pillar make it harder to tell. Perhaps as your light source seems to be coming from the North West direction then maybe have the pillar cast a shadow on the South East side of the wall, if the shadow reaches to the top of the pit edge it will also show the columns height, though it could just be too subtle to be noticeable. Also an option would be making the floor of the pillar the same stone texture as the floor of the courtyard, but that's a design choice :)

Anyway, it's all moot as there's no real NEED to change any of it, but just thought I would throw in some feedback.

08-31-2012, 10:26 AM
Feedback is always appreciated, I like the idea of the shadow on the side of the pit. Thanks.