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DanChops
07-16-2008, 01:47 PM
So, real life finally gave me a few hours to play around with mapping again. I wanted to try to create an encounter map, so I took the principles from RobA's regional GIMP map tutorial and applied them to a smaller scale. One of the maps includes a grid and transparent foliage for the trees, so as to better serve as an encounter map. The scale is the D&D standard of one square = five feet.

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The other map doesn't have the grid lines, and has some subtle depth added to the foliage.

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Thoughts?

jfrazierjr
07-16-2008, 05:32 PM
So, real life finally gave me a few hours to play around with mapping again. I wanted to try to create an encounter map, so I took the principles from RobA's regional GIMP map tutorial and applied them to a smaller scale. One of the maps includes a grid and transparent foliage for the trees, so as to better serve as an encounter map. The scale is the D&D standard of one square = five feet.

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The other map doesn't have the grid lines, and has some subtle depth added to the foliage.

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Thoughts?



Welcome back Dan! I would really like to see a higher res version of the one without the grids. My initial gut reaction is: hmm can I use this in my campaign?

Joe

NeonKnight
07-16-2008, 06:10 PM
Looks good.

QUESTION: The trees seem really big, and as a player I feel I cannot enter their space. Is it possible to denote where the actual trunk of the tree is located?

Karro
07-16-2008, 06:46 PM
Looks good.

QUESTION: The trees seem really big, and as a player I feel I cannot enter their space. Is it possible to denote where the actual trunk of the tree is located?

I'm thinking the grid-map does. On that one, you can see the path wind under the canopy of one of the trees, and on both trees, there's a dark circle in the middle that I'm guessing is the trunk.

anyway, looks great!

DanChops
07-17-2008, 03:46 AM
Welcome back Dan! I would really like to see a higher res version of the one without the grids. My initial gut reaction is: hmm can I use this in my campaign?

Joe

Thanks Joe! Good to be back. Hopefully RL will let me hang around longer this time.

Here's a higher-resolution version of the one with opaque foliage and no grid. I tweaked it a bit to improve the shadows under the trees. At least, I think they're improved - what do you think?

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Let me know if you find use for it in your campaign. That'd be pretty cool.

DanChops
07-17-2008, 03:47 AM
Looks good.

QUESTION: The trees seem really big, and as a player I feel I cannot enter their space. Is it possible to denote where the actual trunk of the tree is located?

Karo's right - the one with the grid is intended to show where the trunk is. Do you think I should make the foliage more transparent in order to emphasize the location of the trunks?

torstan
07-17-2008, 04:29 AM
I'd make the foliage transparent or an optional extra on the map. As it stands, any player who walks under the tree is going to look like he's flying. That will break the spell a little.

DanChops
07-17-2008, 05:59 AM
I'd make the foliage transparent or an optional extra on the map. As it stands, any player who walks under the tree is going to look like he's flying. That will break the spell a little.

I played around with it a bit and this is what I got.

(For comparison, here is the original "Transparent Foliage" map from my first post:)

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I tried simply making the foliage more translucent, and got this:

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I'm not sure how I fell about this one - it seems that the foliage blends in to the ground too much. So, I tried outlining the foliage and got this:

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I think outlining the foliage has potential, but I'm not certain I like this execution of the idea. I'm going to have to play around with it some more...

DanChops
07-17-2008, 06:05 AM
Here's a refinement on the outline approach. I think I like this one better...
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torstan
07-17-2008, 06:05 AM
I think both have there advantages. I guess the question really is whether the players need to know the extent of the tree's canopy? I can think of no situation where this is necessary. Therefore the tree canopy is just pretty, not useful. What is useful is knowing where the stream is, or a rock that can be used for cover, or difficult terrain. From that point of view I like the first of the two you posted. I can see that the tree canopy is there, but I can also see what the terrain is doing. I don't see a need for outlining the canopy.

The tree on the left has a 20' wide trunk and the tree on the right has a 10' wide trunk, if these are 5' squares. That seems spectacularly large for any tree I've ever seen. Not sure if this was intentional.

DanChops
07-17-2008, 09:23 AM
I think both have there advantages. I guess the question really is whether the players need to know the extent of the tree's canopy? I can think of no situation where this is necessary. Therefore the tree canopy is just pretty, not useful. What is useful is knowing where the stream is, or a rock that can be used for cover, or difficult terrain. From that point of view I like the first of the two you posted. I can see that the tree canopy is there, but I can also see what the terrain is doing. I don't see a need for outlining the canopy.

You're right - typically the exact location of the canopy isn't too relevant to an encounter. However, the encounter I'm putting this map together for has a bunch of goblins hiding the in branches of the trees, waiting to ambush the players as they set up camp for the night. So, I anticipate that the players will want to know how far out the branches extend. Of course, this is part of the utility of these computer maps - it's trivially easy for me to adjust it to my needs.


The tree on the left has a 20' wide trunk and the tree on the right has a 10' wide trunk, if these are 5' squares. That seems spectacularly large for any tree I've ever seen. Not sure if this was intentional.

They're intended to be old oak trees, but, at these sizes, they would also work as, say, weeping willows, or even small baobab trees.

Thanks for the comments!

torstan
07-17-2008, 09:51 AM
I still think that 20' wide is a little steep for the trunk.

I see why you need the canopy for this encounter. I think you've got a good balance with that last map with the more subtle outline. Looks to me like a pretty functional (as well as pretty in and of itself) map. Good work.

What program are you going to be using these with?

DanChops
07-17-2008, 10:40 AM
I still think that 20' wide is a little steep for the trunk.

Yeah, I've been poking around online a bit and I think you're probably right. I found a reference online (http://www.arcytech.org/java/population/facts_oaks.html) to what is purported to be the largest oak tree of record which had a diameter of only about 10 feet. However, 20 foot diameters aren't completely beyond the realm of possibility. For example, here's a picture of the largest of the small forest of baobab trees in southern Oman (for scale, that's me in the red shirt, and I'm about 6'3".) I'm not sure of the exact diameter of this tree, but I'm guessing its at least 20 feet. And, I'm told, the baobabs in Oman are much smaller than those in Africa and Australia.

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In any case, it's not too far out of the realm of imagination that a particular fantastic world may have extraordinarily large trees.


I see why you need the canopy for this encounter. I think you've got a good balance with that last map with the more subtle outline. Looks to me like a pretty functional (as well as pretty in and of itself) map. Good work.

Thanks! I appreciate your comments. What do you think of the colors?


What program are you going to be using these with?

I'm using GIMP, basing my techniques on the tutorial RobA put together for artistic regional maps a few months back.

torstan
07-17-2008, 10:54 AM
Yep. Baobabs are a good example. I saw one on the salt flats of Botswana that was definitely over 20' wide. just assumed that these were standard deciduous trees and thought the trunks were a bit huge. If you want them to be unusually proportioned for whatever reasons them I'm definitely not going to stop you.

I like the colour scheme - it's very clear.

I realise you are using Gimp - I was just wondering whether you were going to drop the image into a virtual tabletop program when you play a game on it?

DanChops
07-17-2008, 11:47 AM
I realise you are using Gimp - I was just wondering whether you were going to drop the image into a virtual tabletop program when you play a game on it?

Heh - I guess I didn't pay enough attention to what you originally said. Silly me.

I actually don't have any firm plans to use this map at the moment - I'm just creating it for the heck of it. I don't have a group where I currently live, and my schedule just isn't quite predictable enough to commit to an online game. I get my fantasy RPG fix these days by creating stuff.

Karro
07-18-2008, 12:11 AM
snip.

Wow, that is one ginormous tree. It makes me sad to think of the amazing things like this that are out there in the world that I haven't yet had a chance to see...

One of the things I like about fantasy worlds is the possibility for outlandishly huge trees. I remember reading a book where a civilization had built cities high up and inside the trunks of these supermassive trees. I always dug on the concept after reading it.