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View Full Version : Ongoing project to map...everything.



Askren
01-06-2014, 07:11 PM
So I already had a thread months ago for my Tomb of Horrors map, which was really my first foray into the do-it-yourself world of making better maps than the ones provided. It was kind of janky, low-quality, and overall I learned a lot, but had a lot to learn.

You guys may or may not know, I run a lot of modules and adventure paths, and I come across the same problem for most. Maps not suitable for use, gotta make my own. So that's what you'll see here; my ongoing project to make a homemade version of pretty much every map I will need for the various games I run. Some I use once and never again, but I like the process of making them and if nothing else, they come up on a future google search of someone like me looking for these maps to use in their games.

These first three I would consider "game ready" in the sense that they are done enough to be used, though I will probably do more work on them at some point.
-Thistletop Outside; Rise of the Runelords
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-Thistletop First Level; Rise of the Runelords
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-Thistletop Second Level; Rise of the Runelords
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These are some maps from the second book of Curse of the Crimson Throne, both of which have other floors I'm still working on. I'll get around to making the maps from the first book at some point.
-Carowyn Manor First Floor; Curse of the Crimson Throne
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-Temple of Urgathoa; Curse of the Crimson Throne (WIP)
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Obviously I have more I'm messing around with right now, but as they're for games I'm not currently running, they're not high priority. This includes Carrion Crown maps, Jade Regent maps, Rappan Athuk maps, and some others. I apologize if some of them are not very good, I'm learning more and more about the process each attempt, and hopefully getting better each time, but that's debatable. And yes, I'm aware I use the same floor-tiles for everything. I'm trying to get away from that.

Anyway, thanks for checking my junk out, I'll be back in another month or so with more things finished.

mthomas768
01-08-2014, 10:25 AM
The room of corpses in the Temple of Urgathoa is... disturbing. :D

idendoit
01-10-2014, 08:54 PM
These are very well laid out. I like the artwork very much.

Jacktannery
01-13-2014, 07:28 AM
Great maps - well done.

Bogie
01-13-2014, 01:17 PM
Excellent battlemaps, thanks for sharing!

Askren
01-29-2014, 11:53 PM
Thanks for the positive feedback, guys. I really appreciate that people like my work.

Here's some more I've been working on, or just got through using in my own games.

Curse of the Crimson Throne:
Carowyn Manor First Floor
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Carowyn Manor Second Floor & Basement
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Hospice of the Blessed Maiden
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Hospice Catwalk overlay PNG
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And onto some more work on the Jade Regent maps, where I'm practicing a lot more of using real photo textures, which is not as easy as it seems it should be.

Licktoad Village
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In Progress Brinewall Castle
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madcowchef
01-30-2014, 01:10 AM
These look like they would add a lot to the tactical quality of game play, as well as the fun. Have you learned a lot about the actual layout as it relates to game play by having your players go through these? Sometimes I wish I'd remembered to take notes about what I liked and didn't about the map design after an actual game session. Keep up the good work.

Askren
01-30-2014, 01:47 AM
These are all my own per-pixel rebuilds of maps that come with published Pathfinder adventures, so I can't take any credit for designing the layouts. Paizo buys and publishes their maps at a very low resolution, meaning when scaled up to something useable, they pixelate and get ugly. So all I do is scale them up and then start laying down shapes and textures to make the map, which I try and fill, as closely as possible, with what the rooms are described to contain. I can't say whether or not the full-detail maps contribute to the enjoyment of the games from the part of the players, but I know they certainly assist me, and I know that when you have a map that's just walls and floor and nothing in it, the players are in a bit of a struggle to visualize things you describe to them and how they would impact movement/combat/investigation in that room. But when you have a visual representation, they can actually see what things are there and they have more engaged interaction and movement with respect to those objects. Plus it helps me remember to point out details.

Askren
02-01-2014, 06:54 PM
Last piece of the Urgathoa Temple from Curse of the Crimson Throne. The actual temple map is still getting last-minute tweaks, I'll edit this post with it tomorrow.

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Blinded
02-07-2014, 09:26 PM
Hello - I did an account recovery & password reset so I could log in and thank you for these. My game tomorrow will be far, far, far better for them :)

corycubbage
02-10-2014, 01:59 PM
Hello - I did an account recovery & password reset so I could log in and thank you for these.

As did I! These are amazing, thank you so much for sharing!

For RotR, you didn't happen to do the other encounters, did you?

Askren
02-11-2014, 04:15 AM
Are you referring to thinks like the goblin encounters? No, I used mostly existing or community-made maps for those. I only do my own version if it's necessary due to one of the maps published in the module being too low-resolution to be useful, so for encounters that outright have no map, I probably wouldn't go through the process of making one if I can find one that suits my needs. I can, however, point to the ones I do use, they may or may not be sufficient depending on your tastes.

I probably won't have much of an update in the form of Runelords maps until my group finishes the first book and moves onto the second one.

Since I forgot to post it, the finished version of my Urgathoa Temple map, incase anyone was trying to use it.
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And one of my current projects, the ridiculously huge Scarwall Castle map from Curse of the Crimson Throne's 5th book.
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It may seem large, but more so when you realize this image is scaled down to 50%.

Raiko
02-13-2014, 07:24 AM
Your Urgathoa Temple map is awesome, it's really creepy and makes me want to run CotCC just to use it!

And I'll definitely be using your Thistletop maps if my RotRL players head back there, they left after defeating Nualia, they were too scared to investigate the area where Malfeshnekor is trapped.

Bogie
02-13-2014, 09:33 AM
Wonderful maps, keep them coming.

KenG
02-13-2014, 10:21 AM
These are great. Where did you get the art and the tiles for the Urgathoa Temple map?

Askren
02-14-2014, 03:57 PM
Thanks for the kind words, everyone, I'm glad you guys enjoy this stuff and may even get some use out of it.


Your Urgathoa Temple map is awesome, it's really creepy and makes me want to run CotCC just to use it!
I'd recommend it, if you're good at fleshing out a large city and getting your players immersed in a setting like that. I'm not particularly great at it, but my players really enjoy the second book, as do I. I think it's very well-written. My other group is just outside Thistletop, and scared to go in because they have no healer.


These are great. Where did you get the art and the tiles for the Urgathoa Temple map?
Pretty much all of it is straightforward objects from Dundjinni and these forums. Most of the props are, at least. The floor tiles are a pack by Shaun Ellis, I think I got them off Roll20, but I don't remember. Everything else was made in Photoshop from found textures online.

Askren
02-20-2014, 12:18 AM
Because progress is sometimes a thing I do.

I'm kind of enjoying some of the results on this one, but obviously feedback would be nice so I don't end up making it just one blob of ugly brown as I usually do.
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Jalyha
02-20-2014, 08:55 AM
I tried progress once but it scared me and I ran away :(

I don't know what advices to give, but I just popped in to say I've only seen 2 ugly brown maps on this thread and they were SUPPOSED to be ugly brown so don't be mean to them.

You made them cry.

*goes off to comfort the wittle maps*




Seriously, though, I think they are great and you prolly aren't getting a lot of feedback because you don't *seem* to need it.... or people can't find anything constructive to say! :P

mthomas768
02-20-2014, 11:18 AM
I really like the look of the little keep. Did I miss something or are there no doors to the room in the south wall? I'm also a bit unclear as to how you reach the courtyard.

Askren
02-20-2014, 03:29 PM
I really like the look of the little keep. Did I miss something or are there no doors to the room in the south wall? I'm also a bit unclear as to how you reach the courtyard.

I haven't put them in yet. Not sure how I want to do them, and mostly I just jump around or not. There's no doors to the towers either because I haven't decided how I want to fit them into the circle shapes.

Askren
02-28-2014, 12:35 AM
Bunch of other projects on my plate right now, but I figured I would stop by and get some feedback on a thing I'm trying.

This is something I've wanted to do with my dungeon/building walls for a while now, but haven't really attempted in the past. And let me tell you, I regret that this is the map I chose to do it on, because it's taking forever just to lay out enough for a general idea to extrapolate from.

Still need a lot of tweaking and whatnot, but I feel like on the whole it's not terrible. So, yeah.

Opinions?

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Jacktannery
02-28-2014, 02:09 AM
Might be good to articulate what you are trying to achieve. I've also been working on the same thing Askren, using various shades of near-black and off-white to make simple walls and columns within a photorealistic map, with varying levels of success. The main thing is: it's MUCH quicker, and in my mind it looks better. I like the way you are doing it above.

Askren
02-28-2014, 02:36 AM
Oh, I thought it would be fairly obvious, but that may just be because I'm an idiot.

I'm referring specifically to the center area of the map where I endeavored to overcome my rampant OCD need for textures to map logically by cutting and splicing brick textures so that they follow the walls in a "realistic" way, rather than just be one tiling texture overlay that has no regard for direction of the surface, etc.

It's an agonizingly boring process, and unfortunately the amount I got done there was the result of like, two days of on-and-off work which was mostly me trying to solve stupid problems like the fact that most of the wall textures sit like, 2 pixels lower than the grid line even though all my walls should be perfectly even...

But yeah, that's what I was trying to achieve. The black walls are the same as they were in every other iteration, just with their texture overlay turned off. Very much NOT the look I want.

Raiko
02-28-2014, 09:11 AM
The walls look excellent so far Askren.

I have similar OCD thoughts about walls (mostly triggered by Jacktannery's amazing Gardmore Abbey dungeon walls), and experimented with that style of walls for my current Dragon's Demand map while I was deciding between GIMP and CC3.

I'm going to revisit such walls at some stage using CC3, but I'm convinced that the secret to laying down great looking bricked walls with absolute control is to use a combination of vector and raster mapping like Meshon did to produce these cobblestone streets (http://www.cartographersguild.com/virtual-tabletop-battlemap-mapping/23133-ruined-neighbourhood.html), as described in this tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/23161-meshons-cobblestone-streets-tutorial.html). Unfortunately I can't afford illustrator + photoshop, and GIMP / Inkscape don't behave nicely on my current laptop, because a known bug with the GTK+ toolset and some Windows 7/8 laptops.

Jacktannery
02-28-2014, 01:03 PM
Oh, I thought it would be fairly obvious, but that may just be because I'm an idiot.

I'm referring specifically to the center area of the map where I endeavored to overcome my rampant OCD need for textures to map logically by cutting and splicing brick textures so that they follow the walls in a "realistic" way, rather than just be one tiling texture overlay that has no regard for direction of the surface, etc.

It's an agonizingly boring process, and unfortunately the amount I got done there was the result of like, two days of on-and-off work which was mostly me trying to solve stupid problems like the fact that most of the wall textures sit like, 2 pixels lower than the grid line even though all my walls should be perfectly even...

But yeah, that's what I was trying to achieve. The black walls are the same as they were in every other iteration, just with their texture overlay turned off. Very much NOT the look I want.

Oh that's just hilarious! I thought it was the black walls you were talking about!

Almost as funny, my reply almost works with the actual issue: I did briefly try to do walls like this; on only one map I think; here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/finished-maps/45225d1338235591-assault-nightwyrm-fortress-encounter-maps-z1.jpg however, as you noted, it just took too damned long. Since then I've reverted to a much more basic monochrome textureless wall. Swings and roundabouts!

Riako, yes you are right about the cobblestone streets and vector mapping.

I've also experimented with circular shapes - you can see here http://www.cartographersguild.com/building-structure-mapping/20332-big-castle-3.html#post198139 (posts 25 & 26). I also did some work with Meshon (I think) in the communal theatre thread (in buildings forum I think) on the curving of wooden plank textures.

Askren
02-28-2014, 04:51 PM
Man, I was probably going to swing around to that solution to making the towers, but I had anticipated it would come after a long process of trial-and-error of making the bricks fit one by one, which I was NOT looking forward to. So major props for the idea on the round areas. Those battlements are cool too, wouldn't mind snagging the PSD for those if you had it.

Outside of that...yeah, it's tedious. But, I can never take the easy way out, so I'll probably stick it out. Unfortunately, I've got too many other maps on my plate right now to really put the time needed into just the one. Got both of my Pathfinder games rolling over into their next books, and I need to get all the maps ready for those, so less time every day.

madcowchef
02-28-2014, 06:18 PM
Jack's solutions there are great. You can also make a brush and fake a lot of cobbling and bricking by laying it over a mortar or ground texture and using layer masks: The black in my brush I simply stroke the paths with that and toss some beveling on. I used the same path to make a layer beneath it with a bit large for the ground between the cobbles. All quick and hasty but you get the idea.

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Askren
03-09-2014, 04:06 AM
I figure I should stop by and dump some more stuff, even though nothing is really finished yet. I may be starting Jade Regent soon, so I had to kick myself in the ass to get the early maps done rather than putting them off.

So two days later, I've got these both about 80% done, just needing some tweaks here and there.

First up is Walthus' shack in Brinestump Marsh, both the first and second floors. WIP.
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And second is Old Megus' shack, all moldy and rotting. WIP.
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Like my last few, I'm doing more and more to use real textures, just because I like the look, but I don't know how successful I'm being.

Also, Jacktannery;
I've had nothing but trouble trying to replicate the Polar Coordinates method of making straight textures fit a circle. This could be because the shape I intend to use is a thin wall, but also because I have no idea how to match a specific diameter of circle, while keeping the bricks roughly the same size as the rest of them in the image. I may end up just laying them in by hand.

Jacktannery
03-09-2014, 04:27 AM
Also, Jacktannery;
I've had nothing but trouble trying to replicate the Polar Coordinates method of making straight textures fit a circle. This could be because the shape I intend to use is a thin wall, but also because I have no idea how to match a specific diameter of circle, while keeping the bricks roughly the same size as the rest of them in the image. I may end up just laying them in by hand.

I just tried it again and it works - referring to my notes:

This long line of wall is on a layer which is exactly the width of the image, and about four times as tall as the image, and the image is centred on the layer (changing these parameters makes a huge difference). I then select FILTER>DISTORT>POLAR COORDINATE and press OK without checking any of the settings and I get the circular bottom image.
The important thing to note is:
1) your base wall image must be long and thin. It will shrink when you turn it into a circle so its best to start with an oversized version.
2) before you press filter, make sure your base wall layer is the full with of the canvas, and that the canvas AND layer is four-times taller than the wall.

Askren
03-09-2014, 04:54 AM
No, I got all of that. It's the process of making the end product properly scaled compared to the rest of the bricks that's the problem. I don't know how wide I need my long, thin wall to be so the end product will be exactly the right size to fit in the circle I need it to. I don't know how thick to make it so it will be the proper thickness to match the wall. I don't know how much I need to squash the bricks down so when they get stretched, they'll be somewhat proportional after the filter.

I'm sure there's math for it, but I don't know it, so the best I got is trial and error, and that didn't get me very close.

Askren
03-11-2014, 01:19 PM
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One down, three to go.

Phantos
03-12-2014, 12:18 PM
Absolutely thrilling maps!

Domino44
03-12-2014, 12:56 PM
A lot of really great maps, that's for sure.

Askren
03-12-2014, 08:08 PM
Appreciate the props guys, it really means a lot to me. Feel free to weigh in on how I'm doing, because I know I'm not very good at this yet and kind of just feeling around in the dark as I come up with new techniques. Most of those end up just being "Insert texture, erase edges".

Anyway, this one is about 90% done. Finished the water last night, so it should be good to go as-is, but I plan on adding some more details. I realized my mold and rot stains were not very good, so I'm trying to create a new method for all of that.

I'll probably be throwing in a few props like logs in the water, plants floating on top, and other assorted stains, but I'd really like some input on what can use improving. Aside from the rocky path, I know that's terrible, but I could not figure out a way to blend that well.

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kaiofhearts
03-12-2014, 08:27 PM
Hey these are really cool! I love the combination of elements. I think you've found a great system for your textures because you've done a great job of blending them together. Props!

Raiko
03-13-2014, 09:44 AM
I love them both, looking forward to seeing numbers three and four! :)
I really like the way you use the texture, and I think you’re really good at grunging-up the textures and the furniture. I love the water in the last map. You really turn out your battlemaps very quickly as well, especially for so many games! I’ve been under the weather a bit, so I’ve made no progress on my maps for over a week. :(

I think the path just needs to be made to look more overgrown at the edges. At the moment the edges of almost all of outermost stones look too clearly defined, which would look great for a dungeon wall or a path in a well-tended garden, but looks wrong when the path should be over grown. I think it might look better if the edge of the grass texture partially covered the outermost areas of the path. Then if you added a subtle shadow along the edge of the grass (over the path texture), it would hint that the path is beneath the grass.

With your rot & mould, in the “one down, three to go” map the black grunge looks really good, the green stuff looks a little “misty”, like it’s floating rather than growing on the wood. Have you tried using grain-merge?

By the way, I just read your post in the obituary thread on the Paizo RotRL forum, glad your players finally plucked up the courage to take on Thistletop, hee-hee! (Which also reminds me that I need to get around to posting my own obituaries on there (all from Thistletop so far, what can I say – they tried a frontal assault on the fort, including charging on-mass across the bridge…)

Jacktannery
03-13-2014, 05:39 PM
Superb work Askren. Really love the colours on the last few maps and your water is wonderful (albeit a bit wavy inside the walled area).

Askren
03-19-2014, 12:02 PM
So I'm working on a few new things, namely the second floor of my castle even though I haven't finished the first one yet. I probably shouldn't take on that many projects, but I want to try a few new techniques for doing things like windows, battlements, and other details.

I also started on the Dungeon which is in a very rough state, but you can see where I'm going with it. I'm actually kind of happy with the color going on through the tile floor, and I think the brick edgework came out nicely, I just need to tweak it a bit and then color match it. Also there's the tile/cave transitions I haven't really done, which I'm experimenting with techniques for. Also this map is gonna have a lot of natural cave features, and as my other cave map I'm working on made me realize, I'm downright awful at natural stone. So I'll be working on those too.

Dungeon WIP
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And because I realized no one would ever take up my request to do this map, I just sat down with a beer and started it myself. Because I have no idea how to make realistic-looking region maps with nice textures and stuff, I just took the easy route and went parchment+brushes. It's quick, dirty, and ugly, but it's better than nothing.
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Askren
03-28-2014, 11:54 AM
Vencarlo's Apartment, Curse of the Crimson Throne
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Warden's Shack- Second Floor, Jade Regent
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Brinestump Cave, Jade Regent
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madcowchef
03-28-2014, 12:16 PM
I think your water on the wardens shack is far more convincing than the water you used in the cave. Good layout for your cave system.

Askren
03-30-2014, 12:41 AM
Yeah, I agree. The problem is, water is EXTREMELY hard to get right, and most of the time is just me mashing textures together (good, relatively flat, conservatively-lit water textures are hard to come by), and hoping I can stumble into the same effect I had last time, which I rarely can reproduce. I haven't used the cave map, so I may have time to fix it between now and then, since it was kind of rushed to get done in time for my session on Thursday (shame on me for assuming a simple cave would be easier to slap together than a house or something).

Personally, I like floor texture you used in your caves much better, but I couldn't recreate it.

madcowchef
03-30-2014, 01:23 AM
I feel your pain. I want someone with an ultralight to fly around taking pictures of water from a top down view day and night! I set up templates with a layer for each texture and then set up a layer mask so I don't lose any of my textures and import them between files as needs be. The advantage of my battlemaps is their simplicity so I can take that time to get some nice textures without doing all the hard work of adding much in the way of features, unlike the higher detail work you're doing. If CG textures allowed it I'd gladly hand out any of the textures I've reworked from their originals.

rook420
06-25-2014, 04:58 PM
The Thistletop maps are great and just what I was looking for. It was hard to find the outside map and you've done a wonderful job.
From one DM to another, thanks for the hard work!

Askren
07-27-2014, 12:43 AM
So I've been really busy for the last few months, work and such, you know how it goes. Very little time to actually get stuff done.

But, I've gotten some new campaigns going recently, so I got back into mapping, especially since I have some really big ones I need to finish that I've been putting off forever, and more beyond them that just keep getting piled on. I've been testing out some new techniques, too, mostly in pursuit of a final product that's as visually nice as a lot of other people's that I'm envious. There's a few cartographers I'd love to workshop with to learn new things. So yeah, here's the last few days of work from me.

Anyway, I managed some new work on this basement/dungeon map for Jade Regent. A lot of the work here is mostly experimenting with textures on the right-hand cave-like side, as well as color matching the whole thing. The props haven't been blended or anything, still playing with them. Very much a WIP.
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And just a tavern I threw together for a game called War of the Burning Sky. It's set up for a fairly specific situation, but it could feasibly fill other rules. There's gonna be a second floor too. Obviously a WIP.
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And because I'm just generally an idiot and always want to re-do things better than last time, I decided to re-make Tomb of Horrors for what will certainly not be the last time.
Playing with new techniques and learning new things here, while trying to make a cooler visual experience for everyone. I actually like how some of it came out, the Mosaic Hall especially, though I don't actually like the patterns I used for it. It's supposed to be a colorful mosaic, and I don't like the black in the pattern. Maybe I'll find better to use. Also, I don't like the floor much, but I just can't find anything to replace it with, so I guess I'm stuck with it. WIP.
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