View Full Version : Inhabited Tower [WIP]

01-31-2014, 06:15 PM
OK so I have the floor plan and basic layout of my tower, but have to fill it with all the junk of its wizardly inhabitants. One can only assume wizards are a bit like cats and thus the preference for living up in towers where they can look down on others. the walls are thickest at the base level which is storage, followed by the work area. I put the head honcho's room next. He's understandably paranoid about his apprentices working in the lab while he's not there to supervise, so they have to walk past him to get there. He's getting too old for all these steps anyhow. Clearly one of the apprentices had a bit if a mishap. You don't want to know how much trouble it is to get a mason out to a remote location. If an apprentice wants to blow holes in the roof let them sleep with the draft! There is a "time out" room (vs. a room out of time which was simply going to take too long to enchant) room below the first floor but it doesn't see a lot of use. Last time someone was in there one of the other apprentices was neglectful of his duties "emptying the bucket" and the lingering scent ruined the masters one joy in life at his age: eating.

I put in a parchmentish background hoping that it would allow me to do some fancier border work without it looking out of place with the map elements. Any thoughts on the color and shadow balance so far? I'm not sure I'm happy with the block style window framing, but its at least functional if I can't think of anything better. Comments much appreciated.


01-31-2014, 08:36 PM
Looks cool so far. I recommend dirtying it up a bit. Old things of any sort are worn ,discolored, not so clean and new looking. Like the story by the way. Have some REP to encourage your progress.

01-31-2014, 11:22 PM
Hey there, quick tip of advice: A prevalent theme I see with top-down structure mapping is that floors tend be hideously similar (the actual texture not the layout), and while you have literally some of the best stone flooring i've seen, it gets kinda repetitive across ALL the floors. Considering it's a tower, maybe make some of those upstairs floors wooden?

Either way, very excellently done, it is of the utmost craftsdwarfship!

02-01-2014, 01:52 AM
More worn is definitely coming up, thanks. That's an excellent point about varying the textures more, especially when there is good reason. Maybe I'll switch out textures for the upper stories and add supports to the lowest to explain the weight of the second floor resting on it. Definitely want the stone floor for the lab, anything else isn't up to wizard lab safety codes. Thank you for the insights.

02-01-2014, 02:53 AM
If someone or something is living in it or is using it there will be junk / debris in it. Also what do they sleep on or sit on? Also supplies of food and or drink, books, etc. It looks good so far. Hope this has helped.


Cunning Cartographer
02-06-2014, 06:38 PM
For five very similar shaped levels, you've definitely done wonders with the internal layout and walls. Anyone using curved or diagonal walls is on the right track as far as I'm concerned; all too often I see rectangular room after rectangular room.

Break it down to what you think every level should be and go from there. From the rough design I made for a mages tower a while back I went with a nice herb garden on top of my tower which added a different feel to the levels (and you can't beat magical plant monsters) with a little area for the wizards telescope. Some nice library and fireplace in the middle for reading, and the bottom level was a welcome area then a large area with a permanently marked out summoning circle where he could teleport into his tower from exotic faraway places (4e ritual).

The danger with making a place like this is that you focus too much on it being a realistic place where someone lived, it's still a BATTLE MAP so has to serve that purpose; each level has to be fun and interesting. So when thinking of the purpose of each room, also think about what monster, trap, treasure or lore they're going to find in each level.

Looks great so far though, maybe consider tinting the light coming in through the windows like they're stained glass? Just an idea though and completely unnecessary :D

02-06-2014, 11:05 PM
OK here's the next stage. I loved the idea of stained windows definitely have to use that in the future, but this here wizard is a curmudgeonly inheritor of his master's tower ("Why the man ever thought a round tower was a good idea is beyond me, the man must never have had to go furniture shopping in his life."). He doesn't have the gold to waste on fancy things like a more competent house keeper or stained glass windows. As is the only apprentice that is paying him half of what he's worth as a teacher is a half crazed pig of a man-child that almost causes more damage than he pays for. I see what you mean about the adding enough to make it interesting rather than accurate for actions sake, but sometimes I get caught up in the narrative in my head overly much. I am considering if adding sketches in the background would add interest or merely clutter it up. If I can ever find a font I like I'm considering adding a title and maybe basic floor descriptions as well.


Cunning Cartographer
02-07-2014, 01:50 AM
I dont think the extra illustrations are necessary, I would go a little lighter on the border shadows though as now it looks like you are mapping a wall on the outside of the tower and not a border element.

Presumably doors will be going on at some point (would expect someone to be able to just walk into the main bedroom). As for the bedrooms themselves; firstly is there a reason for three bedrooms? Unless it's vital for the story then to me it seems excessive and a waste of space that could be filled with far more wondrous things; bedrooms are boring. If they are important to the story (he is one of three apprentices and he had to fight the other two to inherit the tower) then I'd personally have had the wizards room higher up (as would be common given this type of setting to show status/importance) and as far as the adventure goes the wizards room should be more important/interesting than the apprentices/guest rooms, so for the adventure you should reach them later.

Looking forward to the next step :)

02-07-2014, 03:23 AM
You might want to consider trying to shade the stair ways so that they appear to be ascending/descending rather than extending alone one plane. It makes them kind of hard to read as going up and down as they are. That said it is a very cool looking map you've got going on there.

02-07-2014, 03:42 AM
Very nice tower. I agree with the responses above: super textures and layout and overall great work. Although I usually prefer uncluttered unfurnished maps to ones full of furniture and clashing elements, in this case you have done a great job in keeping a consistent colour scheme so it works; but at this stage you might consider paring things down rather than adding any extra details or fuss.

Since you are seeking criticism I have two comments:

1. My only criticism is that the symbol you use to represent the door is so similar to the symbol you use to represent windows I can't tell the difference without the floor numbers. having said that I really like your door and windows and I don't think this is a problem, if I were you I would keep it as it is.

2. I don't think he directional (top left to bottom right) shadowing on every interior object adds anything to the map. I can see why you might want to it with features that are outside, to represent the sun in the northwest or whatever, but indoors it just looks a bit odd to me. If you are using an automated procedure such as dropshadow, you might consider changing the settings to give an even shadows all around interior objects rather than a directional one.

02-07-2014, 05:12 PM
Thanks for all the feedback folks, really some good finishing improvements to be had. I implemented the following changes: interior object shadows, directional offset, and intensity reduced (looks less like they are floating hopefully); gradients added to stairways along with correcting the way one of the walls was casting on a stair that was climbing above it; border shadows greatly reduced; doors added with their fixtures; added some random filth to the paper background; light intensity some objects was reduced, as well as any saturation I felt was too high; and labels added. Not sure how I feel about the fonts being different for the enumeration and labels but I'll leave it for now. I concur with you about the windows, next time I will make insets in the walls to indicate them, but I'm going to let it go on this one. The usefulness of bedrooms definitely depends on on how story/investigative vs. combat driven the game is. The order also depends on weather the challenge lies in getting to the top or getting out through the tower again after you've reached the top and activated magical dangers below (turn back from that one skiddish players).


02-18-2014, 08:29 AM
I really like this map. I love your choices of colours and textures.

It's also a nice generic map that's easy to slip into anyone's fantasy game, but you've even been nice enough to build some intriguing story hooks right into the map. It's almost forcing it's way into my game (obviously the work of the powerful mage who lives there!) :)

02-18-2014, 01:11 PM
Glad you like. I hope it proves useful to you should you decide to throw it at your unsuspecting players.

02-18-2014, 07:53 PM
Very nice. I'm curious about your process. In particular, how'd you go about making the basic wall shapes? The fact that the gaps between stones in the masonry retain radial symmetry all around the circumference of the tower is nice.

02-18-2014, 08:15 PM
Walls are all done by cutting out sections of a layer mask, I used a grid so things would be even up. For the lines on the walls I simply made a line and rotated it about a central pointed and overlaid it.

02-18-2014, 08:52 PM
Hmm, good technique. I'll have to remember that.

02-18-2014, 09:17 PM
I really love the map, but the anal-retentive in me cries out for a spell-check :D (laboratory, apprentice).

Seriously though, very nice work. Really like your texture choices and I think you've made it feel very lived-in.

02-18-2014, 09:29 PM
Sadly no spell check in Photoshop and I could not, under the best of conditions, spell my way out of a wet perforated paper bag. Thanks for catching that for me.

02-19-2014, 12:04 AM
From one spelling challenged person to another, Great Map!