View Full Version : April/May Lite Entry - Troglodyte's Lair

04-20-2013, 05:01 PM
Really like the challenge theme this month - just hope that real life doesn't keep me too busy to finish it. I've decided to map a small cavern that houses a small tribe of Troglodytes (around 30 excluding hatchlings). The cavern is situated beneath an Inn on the outskirts of a coastal fishing village. There are actually 3 entry/exit points - The first is through a well on the surface which drops about 50 feet into a larger pool of water (top right of the map). The second is a small dock (bottom left of the map) where you would sail into an alcove on the side of the cliff. The 3rd is a secret stairwell that runs from the basement of the inn to the top right of the map (not sure how to actually depict that yet). Ultimately, I plan on having a small trickling stream of water running through the map from the pool of water in the top right to the sea in the bottom left. I have a number of traps planned for this adventure (but, haven't figured out how i'm actually going to depict them - i.e. when you step on certain false steps you will break a jar of Trog Musk which will alert others of your presence.)

Backstory - The cavern is an entry and storage point for a smuggling operation run by the Inn Keeper. He has found a way to manipulate the Trogs into protecting it and often disposes of meddling adventurers in the well (If all goes as planned - PCs would be drugged by the Inn Keeper and wake up falling into the dark cavern - they will need to fight/sneak their way through the lair to the safety of the dock).

Made with CC3. I still need to work on the bevel effects so they are more gradual and cut down on the darkness of the stairs. I'm also not completely sold on the textures i'm using. Having said that - looking forward to any comments, suggestions, and criticisms you guys may have.

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04-20-2013, 09:55 PM
Cool so far! (I edited your title to reflect the correct month/s.)

I would say, so far, the thing that's standing out the most is the fuzziness of where the walls meet the floors compared to the crispness of the stairs. The contrast is jarring.

04-21-2013, 11:13 PM
Thanks - yeah, the original goal was to try to do the walls so that there would be a smoother transition to the floors in a way that looked more natural (so the fuzziness would almost look like rubble or smaller rocks)...but, it wasn't very successful my first pass through. Won't have time to work on this again for a bit - so quick export with the stair shadow reduced and edge-fade effect on the walls taken out.

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04-22-2013, 12:05 AM
Good start Anomiecoalition. I like the stairs better in the second version, and I didn't like the fuzziness of the walls in the first version. But, I did like how the shadow from the floor went part way up the wall in the first map. Also, very good storyline.

04-22-2013, 03:45 AM
Looks great anomie. I also like version 2 the best. Your pool of water is not entirely convincing, however - perhaps give it more defined edges?

04-22-2013, 05:43 AM
version 2 looks much better anomie. The only thing that jumps out at me with version 2 is that the walls in the middle look somewhat like floating clouds above the floor. It may be because they are all separate from each other, but joining some up would lose you some access paths...2 cents

04-29-2013, 12:17 AM
What Allerion said. This version looks better, and I like the textures you are using for the cavern. However the entire cavern appears to me to be floating over the floor. I think this is in part due to the fact that you are using different (non-blended) textures for the cavern and for the floor, and also in part because the lighting isn't consistent. Judging from the bevel you've placed on the caverns the lighting appears to be coming from the northeast, but you have shadows at the base of the caverns where they meet the cavern floor, making it appear as if the lighting is coming from directly above (in which case the lighting settings for the bevel don't make sense). Hope that helps.


05-02-2013, 01:16 AM
Haven't had as much time to work on this as I'd like...but I have been playing with it when I can and have tried to incorporate the many useful suggestions you guys have provided. I think I'm happy enough with the cave walls (for now) to start thinking about throwing some symbols in. Probably keep it rather minimalistic - they are troglodytes after all...

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I've also been thinking about the traps. My thought is that most of the sets of stairs will contain one of those hollow-floor-spikey-type traps with the twist that the weight of your foot going through the steps will crush a glass bottle filled with the juice from the Troglodyte musk gland (which in addition to alerting the trogs within the cavern of your presence will also cause severe nausea and discomfort). I figured that I would try to actually draw it from the side view and then incorporate into the side of the map somehow. Problem is...I can't draw...and I have no idea how to convert my hand drawing into a more useable image through photoshop or CC3. So, that's something I'm going to have to try to learn over the next 2 weeks (unless anyone has some helpful suggestions.....)


05-02-2013, 08:25 AM
Nice work Anomie, the cave is looking very good!!

05-03-2013, 01:37 AM
made a few small adjustments and started adding some dungeon dressing.

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05-03-2013, 03:07 AM
Anomie, you pools of water look like turquoise rock outcrops to me. This is because you have a 'rough water'/'rocky cave floor' type of texture. I think if you had a smoother texture (you can smoothen your existing texture by reducing the contrast) with less saturated colour it would look more realistic. That said, it is a really nice colour and effect, and you might prefer to keep them exactly as they are, especially if you are not aiming for a photorealistic finish.

05-04-2013, 01:03 PM
Looking better and better!!

05-08-2013, 12:30 AM
Here's another lame attempt to draw a trap - think it came out better than my stair trap...but we'll see if I can clean them up and incorporate it before the deadline next week.

Again - the idea with both is that PCs disperse the Troglodyte "Musk" whose scent alerts them that enemies are about. The Chest trap will be situated with other cargo in the map and is used to alert the Trogs when smugglers besmirch their otherwise impeccable reputation for integrity by trying to steal loot...if you can't trust a smuggler who can you trust?

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@Jack - Absolutely right about the water texture - i've played with it a bit but saving my next wip for when I make a little more progress.

05-08-2013, 01:20 AM
Clever! .

05-09-2013, 10:25 PM
Little updates. I think i'm through with the dungeon dressing (unless anyone's got some cool ideas for stuff to add). So, now just trying to put things together. This is the original export from CC3


and this is it with my first quick attempt at adding shadows (to indicate relative floor height) and contrast in photoshop. Obviously need to take my time with it, but I suppose it gives you an idea of the plan.

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And, here's some minor updates to my traps...Still have no idea how i'm going to incorporate this, but then again, I will need to add a map key anyways, so maybe i'll just expand one of the sides of the map...anyone have a suggestion on which side to expand?

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05-10-2013, 03:43 PM
My vote is to expand the right side. I'm not exactly sure why... I really like that you've done your traps in side view, these would make a great little vignette somewhere on the map. Nice work!

Could use a little rubble or dirt scattered here and there, but that's maybe just me.


05-11-2013, 12:23 AM
I was also feelin a right side expansion. Tinkered around with this quite a bit tonight. Decided to just go with a stroked outline of my traps (cause really they looked like Sh*t before - this at least hides it a bit better). Pretty happy with how the whole thing turned out - Would have liked to have depicted the elevations of the different levels a little better...but...something to shoot for next time.

Welcome any last minute suggestions before this thing wraps up.

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*Also - this is the same thing w/o added photoshop darkness on the lower floors...wondering if anyone has a preference


05-11-2013, 01:12 AM
Nice work. I prefer the slightly darker top version to look at or to use with a VTT. But if I was going to print it out I would go with the lighter one as everything prints darker than it looks on a monitor. Both are better than the previous very dark version. The pools look much better in these also.