View Full Version : Dec 2013 Entry - Tower of Tyrs

Cunning Cartographer
12-17-2013, 06:40 PM
Kinda timed it right coming back to the forums after an absent stint just in time for this challenge as in the New Year I'm going to be running my "Monastery of Tyrs (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-challenge-archive/22538-march-2013-challenge-entry-temple-saint-patrick-swayze.html)" adventure I designed the map for in the last mapping challenge I entered. I had to do a mini adventure to put before my guys getting into the Monastery map and was going to design a tower, just happens that the Dec challenge was a 5 Room design challenge so I figured I'd gear my map towards that.

Now whilst there are more than 5 rooms in my map it is in a round about way still a five room map, at least it has the 5 core rooms suggested in the challenge (1 starter/guardian room, 1 puzzle room, 1 red herring, 1 boss fight and 1 revelation room). The other rooms are either locations to pass through, so no different to a corridor, or hidden treasure rooms, which aren't necessary for the dungeon itself, however as this is a map I intend to use I don't want to restrict myself with such a linear map (my guys wouldn't appreciate it :D ). For me this map will go at the beginning of my Monastery of Tyrs map, but it could realistically be a stand alone for any adventure. Quite ambitious this as there's quite a few big areas to detail, so we'll see how we go with it.

I'll add the room descriptions and explanations to the complete article, but essentially the puzzle for getting i various rooms is to ring the bells in different sequences (or find the small hand bells as loot so that the big bells don't have to be used), the big boss is a giant necrotic tarantula that lies dormant at the bottom of the tower.

### Latest WIP ###

12-17-2013, 06:49 PM
Off to a great start. Nice to see another entry in the running.


Cunning Cartographer
12-18-2013, 02:48 AM
The initial layout has taken... a while :) Hopefully the WIP should come thick and fast now.. in theory.

12-18-2013, 12:27 PM
Nice layout, should be a fun game.

12-19-2013, 11:06 AM
Yospeck, looks great. Could you comment on your process, such as how much hand drawing vs. PS/GIMP/Inkscape?

12-19-2013, 12:04 PM
You did a really good plan and I can't wait to see what it will look like.

Cunning Cartographer
12-19-2013, 12:17 PM
Thanks guys :)

@PWKerns: It's all digitally hand drawn at this stage, I use an Intuos4 tablet (A3 size) and just lay down some rough sketches in Photoshop with a 1" grid laid down (the finals, which I'll release for sale in the new year when I start selling my maps, will be a 100dpi 1"x1" sq map).

As I do run a game, and have played DM for quite a few years now, a battlemap type design is more than just laying down some rooms and then connecting them with corridors. Anyone can make a battlemap, but it takes a lot of thought to make a fun and exciting map where each room serves a purpose or has some challenge or major feature. That's what, at this stage, has taken the most amount of time to work out... what goes where. Some of the rooms are collapsed in and only accessible from other areas, so the entire place is one big maze on its own, which is fun to explore for would-be adventurers, stumbling on a room you didn't expect to find is always great. Add in trying to combine the needs of my players and trying to meet the Cart Challenge criteria... it's a lot of drawing, cutting and pasting, erasing and head scratching.

Drawing the different levels I had to make sure they connected, give various routes around the tower (I'm not a fan of static maps where there is only one way through the place) and make each room important. If a room is unimportant then don't have it in. I actually originally had the bells (with puzzle) in an upper floor, but realised I didn't want another combat encounter so it made sense to put them on the main starting floors map. Then I move rooms around, work out what has happened in this place (which walls have collapsed in and how that has effected adjacent rooms, lower rooms ie. in the staircase areas where a wall has collapsed it has spilled a mudslide down the stairs and filled the lower room as well, thus blocking access). The whole area, for me, has to tell its own story... I put a LOT of thought into the actual design, not just the drawing :)

I'm currently working filling in the final ink, starting with the walls (they will take a looooooong time) in the style used from my Monastery of Tyrs map with the partial brickwork around every wall. I've developed my own technique to do this a lot quicker than simply hand drawing every brick would be, so it's a shortcut method that really seems to be working. WIP of that process coming soon :P At this stage I'm just hoping I can finish the damn thing before the deadline (I'll still carry it on if not as I need it for my group anyway :P ) time is not necessarily on my side this close to Christmas!

12-20-2013, 05:19 AM
Your layout seems really awesome. Eager to see the final result :D

Cunning Cartographer
12-26-2013, 07:22 PM
### Latest WIP ###


Trying to find the time to work on this has been a nightmare, but with back to back Xmas Eve - Xmas Day - Wedding Anniversary now done, I'm hoping these next few days I can get this thrashed out before the deadline.

Worked on the walls and tiled floor layout for each level, took a hell of a long time. Added in a few dirt piles from the collapsed walls/ceilings in some areas (not all). Next stage is to finish off the inking, then colour, then throw on textures and details, then add some objects, then label this sucker up :D

12-26-2013, 07:36 PM
Wow. I loved the walls! Did you draw all of them 1 by 1?
Cant wait to see it finished! :D

Cunning Cartographer
12-26-2013, 08:05 PM
I made a pretty large hand drawn tile made up of hundreds of blocks, then I paste it over my entire map and mask out the edges, fill in gaps, so that the patterned effect is hidden whilst not having to draw hundreds of blocks for each map (though it still take a REALLY long time to do). Reason being is that the few times I've tried to do maps with walls I draw and draw and draw, and then sometimes when I zoom out I notice that there's big size variations in the blocks and a lack of consistency (really starts messing with your mind drawing them over and over :D ). I tried to come up with an easier method and that was the result, which I'm really happy with as I can rotate, flip, move the tile for each map so it always looks unique :)

Work smarter not harder!

Cunning Cartographer
12-27-2013, 03:44 PM
### Latest WIP ###


Walls and floor tiles pretty much in place. Adding details such as railings and stairs slowly, red rough marks show where the ink details still need to be added. Did a rough shadowing so people can see how the layers/levels overlap (for players dropping to lower levels, or climbing up to higher ones, etc.). Still not entirely sure how some of the misc./optional non adventure rooms are going to be decorated yet :)

12-27-2013, 08:57 PM
Coming along good, hope you can get it finished in time.

Cunning Cartographer
12-28-2013, 04:47 AM
As unfinished as it looks, I'm actually on the home straight :)

I'd say with maps this complex 50% of my time goes into the actual design/layout/story, then 20% of time on the walls themselves. This one is even more complicated as parts of the lower levels can be viewed from upper levels so I have to make sure things line up both aesthetically and functionally (no point letting them jump down onto a ledge that is impossible to get back up from!). Flooring and doors 10%, inking room objects 10%, colouring the map and adding details 10%. So yeh, Believe it or not I'm probably 80% done :D

Cunning Cartographer
12-30-2013, 10:51 AM
Inking pretty much finished, the rooms with red question marks on them are areas I'm probably going to add a little bit more detail to, but after that I'm going to get the maps coloured and textured. As I intend to sell this set of maps I'm going to keep it at a 30% view (with labels), but will add magnified areas on the map to show the detail a little better.

### Latest WIP ###

12-30-2013, 12:03 PM
Your style is great for publishing, nice clean lines. Mine looks good on a monitor, but terrible when squeezed down onto a magazine page. Do you have a commission or buyer yet?

Cunning Cartographer
12-30-2013, 02:08 PM
I'm going to self publish on Drive Thru RPG/RPG Now, etc. I make these first and foremost for my Sunday D&D group, usually a lot rougher than this level of detail. However, as this one is going to be such a big adventure, and it ties in with the CG Challenge, I figured I'd put a bit more time in and make something that is sellable :D

Cunning Cartographer
01-01-2014, 06:07 AM
Final... version... almost.... done!

Cunning Cartographer
01-01-2014, 06:34 AM
### Latest WIP ###


Done :)


So I based my map around the 5 room dungeon, as opposed to simply having 5 rooms (as mentioned, I'll be using this map for my own group so they'll like a few extra rooms to explore). Going into the full details of navigating the complex will take too long to do here, but needless to say players will have to enter rooms from upper and lower levels, navigate around the piles of dirt from the collapsed in half buried tower. Players could just go through the five rooms if they wished, however, extra rooms would reveal some nice loot items and rewards. Some of the rooms will have more items added to them, but for the purposes of this challenge I focused more on decorating those rooms that were immediately accessible and necessary for the 5 room challenge.

01-01-2014, 02:49 PM
I really like the way this turned out. Great job.