View Full Version : *WIP* Why did it have to be snakes? Aka, the Yuan-Ti temple

05-01-2013, 11:54 AM
It's a abandoned temple on a desert island. Surrounded by thick jungles and taken over by a vile serpent cult. It is a promise of untold riches and even greater danger. But, more than that, it is adventure, whispering in the hears of every would be adventurers!

I started working on a project for NathanC (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapmaking-requests/23213-yuan-ti-temple.html) and here is the top floor so far...

The original plan is Nathan's and, while there is not too many of them yet, the furniture (and in particular the really cool "Snake pool") come from Dundjinni...


As usual, I would appreciate any advice and recommendation and, in particular, I'd like to hear Nathan's opinion about whereas the project is going in the direction he wants...

05-01-2013, 09:05 PM
Nice reference. :)

I love the engraved snake in the lower right room.

So is the story then that the cult made the engraving after they took over the temple? If so, do they attach particular significance to that room?

05-02-2013, 05:09 AM
* Shrug*
It is one of the priest's private quarters...

I am working on somebody else's plan so, I don't necessarily have the full background story for this place, but I had initially put the engraving at the bottom of the main room. Then I found the snake pool (the original plan calls for w pool there) and decided it was just to perfect a fit to pass on... I can imagine players jumping on the snake from the nearby balcony and sliding their way down swashbuckler style...
But I liked the engraving too and wanted to use it...

Basically, at this point, I throw everything cool at the wall and see what sticks/ what the coauthor thinks is worth keeping.

05-02-2013, 12:33 PM
Coming along nicely, think the huge snake statue/fountain is a great touch and believe me my players will be jumping all over that and thanking you for it..

Let me give you some background on the Temple:

The Yuan-ti as a whole has not been seen in the world since 800AD (game time it's about 1900 years after this temple was built) . The Serpents, built temples to a demon serpent known as Slas. The temple you are creating is the first and most holiest temple the Yuan-ti build to Slas, it was here that the Yuan-ti first made contact with their god, and began to wage war against the other creatures of the world.

The first Floor:
This floor of temple is the living quarters. The two roundish side rooms was shared by 2 serpent priests each. the room directly behind the balcony is the high priest's room. The hexagon shaped room is a place to take meals. the small chamber off the the left of the balcony is a room containing many holy objects used in the worship of Slas. The upper most room is a hidden room, that contains various trinkets that the high priest keep for himself from raids and sacrifices. The Balcony is where many sacrifices too place, there is an altar there covered in dried blood.

The 2nd floor:
This is not on the map yet but it contains an armory, slave pens (where a human has dug his way out of), a library, a laboratory, and an breeding pit. There is a secret entrance to a room one floor down that contains a portal to another temple.

In the 61st year of the third age of the world, and wizard by the name Kelack discovered the temple with a group of adventurers, he an many others studied what they found, specifically scrolls referencing Slas and the sacrifices and experiments they did in the gods name. After a member of his research team was attacked, and nearly killed, Kelack sealed the temple, to keep others (and his new found knowledge) safe. The temple was never searched fully, as the breeding pits were never discovered. In these pits thousands of Yuan-ti eggs lay waiting to hatch.

05-04-2013, 11:38 AM
Ok... The next floor was a bit tougher. Partly because the scan was not as good (the vertical squares were not really visible and I had to guess a bit); partly because the building was more complex in shape and a bit confusing at time. So, I took a few liberties and it is not as faithful a rendition.

What do you think of it Nathan? I will probably need to rework the dirt texture in the tunnel, and I still need to add the stairs and work on the secret passage.

Also, what kind of furniture do you want? I vote for simple and kinda minimal to suggest function, in order not to cluter the map too much...

Anyway, here is the map:

05-06-2013, 03:28 PM
Looking good, is there a way the walls in the room north east from the snake fountain, could look a little thicker, of not it's cool.

As far as furniture, I agree, just enough so you can know which room is which. I found some decent lab table here on the dundjinni forum (http://www.dundjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=8989&KW=lab)

the left hand section of the lower right room should be a caged area on big cell basically that opens along the creates a wall. so like a pile of straw in that ares, where prisoners can. maybe with a table for the guards adjacent from the cell door.

The library (the upper most large room) could have a few broken bookcases, and at least one that's still standing. it's going to be an encounter room so some good cover for a bow would be an alright touch.

the armory (room with the thin walls) could have a few weapon racks thrown up against the walls, mostly empty, I have a bow that the party is going to find in there so maybe a table on the southern most wall i'll pop the bow icon on that in D20pro so they can pick it up.

It's looking really good Simon thank you for doing this.

05-06-2013, 04:04 PM

Yes, I love Dundjinni myself and already have a fair amount of stuff from there on my hard drive.

I have a couple of broken bookselves from this (http://www.dundjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=4192&KW=bookcase) and this thread (http://www.dundjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=4554&KW=shelf).
Dundjinni also have a fair amount of bookpiles that I could place there.

I also have a this fence that I think will work fine to define the slave pen: 54289

And here is what I found for the straw (http://www.dunjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=11244).

Finally, thickening walls should be half a minute job. No problem, but I am not quite sure what room you are talking about. Are you talking about the alcove just left from the armory?

05-06-2013, 04:34 PM
Map is looking good.
Years ago I made a Yuan-ti temple and I used that same snake floor engraving.

Here are a couple snake related objects you might find useful. They are from DundJinni Forums, not my own work.


05-06-2013, 04:48 PM
Cool! I had found the thread with the snake on the right, but I don't remember the golden one being there... It actually looks even better and statue-like.

And the skeleton... the skeleton... is awesome beyond words!

Thanks a lot!

05-06-2013, 11:46 PM
Lets see what else I can find.


The round cage is in two parts so you can put whatever you want inside it.

And here are some cage parts;

And some snake eggs

05-07-2013, 03:51 AM

I am pretty sure I will make us of the rusty cage parts. Better than what I have.

The bas-relief also looks great I will look for a place to use it.

Man, that's some creepy looking eggs!

05-07-2013, 02:23 PM
I just found this thread on Dundjinni with a lot of cages on it.

Dundjinni Mapping Software - Forums: First Post and its a cage request 2 (http://dundjinni.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=11020&KW=cage)

05-07-2013, 04:06 PM
Here is the original that the snake floor etching was made from:

And a snakeskin rug

I also made 4 new snake fountains and posted them in my mapping elements thread,
you can find them at the bottom of the page here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/16821-mapping-elements-starting-preset-tables-chairs-37.html

This is one of them:

05-08-2013, 12:42 PM

Talking about the Armory itself and the lab area.

That straw bed from the Iron Dwarf thread on Dundjinni is perfect and the bookcases rock too.


Thank you for the contributions I've always enjoyed your maps.

05-08-2013, 02:34 PM
Ok, here is the version with the thicker walls...


I didn't time myself, it mighty have taken longer than 30 seconds, but not very much...

I will trap to start the last section tonight.

05-08-2013, 05:55 PM
Ok; I toyed around with the breeding pool...

What do you think of it so far?


Ultimately, I would like to make it a fairly dark room with a few torches casting strong shadows and stark contrasts...

Next, I think I will go back to the first map and add the furniture.

05-09-2013, 08:01 AM
Thicker walls look great and the breeding pool is great.

I agree with the dark feel you want to go with on the breeding pool. This is the final encounter area, so you can make it as menacing as you want.

05-09-2013, 08:42 AM
The way I see it... I already made the lower floor darker than the top one (to make shadows and give an impression of depth in the room with the snake pool) and I will do the breeding pool even darker.

It makes sense some sense as the cave is the furthest away point from the entrance and should help make the players feel more threatened as they progress through the adventure...

05-09-2013, 11:11 AM
If you want to make the walls in the breeding cave look creepier try this dark root wall texture from Kepli.


This is an example of what it looks like as a wall in DundJinni.

05-09-2013, 12:39 PM
Thanks Bogie.

I had to tweak the scale a bit and unfortunately, most of the creepy is lost at this scale. Still here it is what it looks like:

As mentioned, I worked on the furniture from the top floor.

Here is what it looks like:


And; here is the version where the secret passage still lies undiscovered and hidden:


Balancing furniture is a always a bit of a puzzle, on one hand, you want to provide enough to feel somewhat natural. On the other hand, if you do so, the rooms will be cramped and hinder the game during fight scenes (strangelly enough, it would seem that, in the real world, providing a suitable battlefield for a mortal clash half a dozen warriors and spell-caster, rate fairly low on the list of most interior decorators...

05-09-2013, 04:44 PM
So true, I can't see anyone on HGTV saying, "Now, the reason I positioned the dresser 10 foot from the bed so you can take advantage of a flanking bonus during an encounter" :)

Looking good.

05-09-2013, 05:32 PM
Of course you wouldn't!

'cause, you need at least a 15 feet line for a flanking bonus (you; your target, and your flanking ally on the other side, 5 feet for each) ;) .

Next, I guess, will be the furniture for the lower rooms of the complex...

05-10-2013, 07:05 PM
The lower floor with furniture added:


Next stop, back to the breeding cave...

05-12-2013, 02:27 PM
Here is the breeding pool with the eggs (tyhanks again Bogie) and some light sources...

What do you guys think? I think it could use some work, but I am not sure what...


05-12-2013, 03:20 PM
What do you guys think? I think it could use some work, but I am not sure what...

I like it! But if you want to do more work on it, I can come up with some ideas:

- does the tile texture Bogie found you looks a bit strange here? - perhaps remove it and see what it looks like without?
- does the colour of your grid seem to fight with the colour of your cavern floor?
- your lighting is really great! But I'd like for it to be even stronger than you have it at the moment. Consider increasing the contrast between bright and shadowy areas on your map, which might make it look even better and more mysterious.
- maybe you could put some shadows along the foot of your wall, to make the wall pop out a bit?

05-12-2013, 04:48 PM
Good suggestions, as always.

I was a bit wary of increasing the darkness too much as, from my experience working on the Duergar forge, stuff that just appear "kinda dark" on my screen, are quite a bit darker on other people's. I don't know why; Maybe it is due to the change from a GIMP to a compressed PNG file...

Maybe I should twick the colour of the "mud gird" a bit...

Anyway, I deviated a bit from NAthan's original plan and made up a statue to give me something to work light and shadow effect on (looking at it again, I think I need to darken the base a bit to match the statue better)...


05-12-2013, 06:39 PM
Simon, you don't need to make a map darker to make it more shadowy. For example, I added a layer of white and a layer of black to your map really quickly to illustrate. Now I know that other people might not like my bleached-out style, but I'm just trying to point out that shadows do not require a darker map.


Here is the black and white layer. You can just stick these two over your map (normal layer - don't do overlay or blending or anything special) for this effect (by the way the black and white maps are simply exact opposites of each other):


05-13-2013, 02:02 AM
I like it. I might use a pale yellow layer instead of a white one though, but it seems very close to the effect I would like to achieve with much smoother light halos than I can manage.

Can you give more details as to how you achieved it? Is it just very blurry halos or did you use a mask?

I really like the effect... Thanks!

05-13-2013, 02:38 AM
It's very easy Simon. You do each light source one by one. I used the 'make a circle shape' tool to make a big circular shape around one of the light sources, then I filled the circle with a gradient fill (white>transparent). I then used the lasso tool to remove areas I thought would be in shadow. Repeat for all four lightsources on four layers. Then merge the four layers. Then make a new black layer over this, go back to your white light layer, select all to alpha, then delete that from your black layer. Then reduce the opacity of both layers to 40%.

05-13-2013, 03:12 AM
Interesting, I will try that tonight. Thanks!

05-13-2013, 10:46 AM
If you have any trouble let me know and I can go through it step by step if you like.

05-13-2013, 11:06 AM
I would also be interested in seeing how you do your lighting Jacktannery, it's really good. I'm also interested to see how you apply it to your map Simon33600.


05-13-2013, 01:43 PM
If you have any trouble let me know and I can go through it step by step if you like.

Yep, I will try it on my own but I won't be shy to come begging for help if the challenges prove beyond my little brain...

05-13-2013, 02:33 PM
Ok; here is my try...

I ended up using a "pale yellow to transparent" gradient. It made more sense to me as the light is yellowish...

I also couldn't remove the areas in shadows and make it look natural. Instead, I reused the handmade shadow layer I had already made and lifted up above the light effects... What do you think?


05-13-2013, 02:58 PM
Simon, I think that looks very good. Really nice work on this breeding pool - just don't forget to put your floating-spawn objects below your water-emboss/bevel layer (otherwise it will look as though they are floating high above the water).

05-13-2013, 03:35 PM
Well; I pictured them as floating on top of the water...

YOu think this looks better?


05-13-2013, 03:37 PM
Have you moved them below your water layer? I meant to place them above your water layer, but below the layer that has the dark shadows at the very edge of the water. That way they will look like they are floating on top of the water.

05-13-2013, 04:20 PM
Something more like that?


05-13-2013, 05:03 PM

05-13-2013, 05:52 PM

Well, next, I guess will be doing some lighting and shadows back on the top floor...

05-14-2013, 08:35 AM
This looks fantastic. Great work Simon, and thanks for the suggestions Jacktannery.

This is coming out just how I had envisioned it.

05-14-2013, 03:32 PM
Thank you very much, glad you like it.

I am indeed extremely grateful for everybody's help...

And now, here is the top floor with some lighting (thanks Jack!) and shadows added...

05-18-2013, 05:27 AM
Ok, I did the lighting effect and associated shadows for the lower floor:


Because some of it shows through the balcony area, here is an updated version of the top floor:


At this point, I think I went through everything that I could think of.
So, I would be curious about what you guys think. Anything I missed or could improve on? I would, in particular, be curious about my co-author's opinion about the map.
Does it seem complete? Should I move it to the "completed map" section or does it require more work?

05-19-2013, 11:14 PM
Excellent! Great map, should make for a great game!

05-20-2013, 10:38 AM
I am so excited to use this. Great work Simon

05-20-2013, 12:24 PM
Great job Simon; well done for taking on NathanC's request and producing a brilliant map for his game - you should be proud of yourself.

05-21-2013, 04:25 PM
Thank you guys for your very nice words...

That makes my face all the redder as I got a bit confused in all my layers.

On the top floor picture, the stairs in the secret passage are not showing on the picture I posted. Here is a corrected version:

Similarly, it is the wall's outlines rather than their texture that shows on the lower floor. Here is a version where it is fixed:

Finally, while I was at it, I stated the dungeon as a 4th level adventure for Pathfinder. It's like free RPG day!

Nathan, can you go over the maps one last time. Please tell me if you think they are finished and I will email them to you. The website has a limit to the size of the file it can host and, hopefully, I should be able to email them to you at a slightly higher resolution...

05-22-2013, 01:52 PM
Simon, they are perfect and finished just in time since my PCs found the tunnel entrance last night :) I build a full escape tunnel map in D20Pro using this (http://neyjour.deviantart.com/art/RPG-Map-Tiles-01-277913559) tile set from Neyjour. I will try to upload, just as soon as I figure out how to get it out of the program at a nice res.

Once I finish writing the rest of the adventure I'll post a copy for use.

Thank you for all you hard work, I really appreciate the effort you put into it, and happy to donate to help keep this site running.

05-22-2013, 02:46 PM
Well, no problem, it's fun and I got to learn stuff. Glad you like them. I will email you the higher rez maps sometime in the next few days.

Thanks for helping keep the site alive...

*Ok, I emailed you the uncompressed picture, have fun with the game! *