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View Full Version : March 2014 Entry - Behold the Cliches



madcowchef
03-12-2014, 10:59 PM
I already had a one page dungeon laid out for the contest by the same name, but am going to go ahead and make a separate one for the guide challenge. This is for two reasons: 1. I don't feel right having additional preparation time 2. the one page dungeon contest usually has very little to do with the map. So I'll be designing a fairly cliche narrative involving a necromancer's undead experiments, with four side rooms and one main one with the mighty beast in it. The main critter which already killed its master (who clearly meddled in god's domain and paid the price *cliche*) is a take on Frankenstein's monster in as much as it is exceptionally bad at staying dead. I'll put up some more crude notes when I have them. And as a final note one man's cliche is another man's classic!

The_Buce
03-14-2014, 07:55 AM
You can always have fun with a cliche - and you can always turn it on it's head! Maybe your necromancer is a lady necromancer who only became a necromancer to bring her long lost love back from the dead!

Lingon
03-14-2014, 03:13 PM
@The_Buce: So if the necromancer is a woman, her motivation must be love, which would be less cliché? I know you didn't say "must", but… it didn't feel like a great example of turning a cliché on it's head ;)

But anyway, clichés can be fun if done right! Looking forward to your map, Madcowchef :)

The_Buce
03-15-2014, 04:43 AM
In that case, before he died he squirrelled away her dowry (we're going fantasy, so I'm assuming there's a dowry - and she has access to knowledge, so she's from an upper-class sort of family) alongside much of the rest of his little fortune, and she wants to get her hands on it! Love be damned lol!

Or she hated the guy (or gal/beast/alien/demon from the nether-hells) so much that she brought him (/it) back to life again so she could kill him (/it) over and over and over again until she felt better about the whole thing :D

madcowchef
03-17-2014, 09:47 PM
TLDR writing (for the values of the word writing where my abilities spelling and sentence structure wise count):
This is the outline I'm going for.

Sotry Hooks:
1. Creature killed or badly injured a NPC beloved by the party.
2. Characters come into town after creature attacked and there is a reward.
3. Characters are in town when the creature attacks and are the vengeful sorts.
4. Characters are involved in a larger plot involving a undead god figure and the necromancer in the story clearly recieved divine inspiration from them.

Location: A mostly burried tower that was part of a fort destroyed in a landslide. It has since been cleared and added to by its current inhabitant a necromancer.

Back "story": Necromancer (possibly influenced my higher powers) fearing his own mortality was running experiments on seeking immortality through a process by which there would be no way to lay him to rest. Not wanting to experiment on themselves they made a test subject from some spare parts. They created 4 seals that represent the four main forms of attack and 4 common ways of laying something to rest that act as protections. The process worked but the creature in turn destroyed his creator and has been violently doing as it pleases ever since. Having discovered the town and all the wonderful things there its come several times and proved immune to all harm, and strong enough that all attempts to capture or hold it have failed miserably and with the loss of life. It needs to go back to its lair to rest so presumably if there is a way to destroy it the answers lay there.

Basic mechanics:
Big heavy seals representing common attack forms are stashed in four rooms. Breaking any one of them would allow the creature to be harmed, but its on the outside of the parties ability so presumably if they are to succeed they will need to break at least a couple. The four attack forms are:
1 Metal, naturally occurring acids, etc.
2 Magic
3 Natural weapons (wood tooth and claw)
4 Divine magic or classical rituals

The creature is resting in the lab but will awaken if many of the seals are broken, it takes strong notice of the party, or its harassed in any way.

madcowchef
03-18-2014, 09:25 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions for the ideal font size to pack as much info as possible without getting so small as to be unreadable? I'm one to write two rows to a line of notebook paper so I'm not sure I trust my own judgement.

anomiecoalition
03-18-2014, 09:44 PM
I would say between 10 and 12 depending on the font (I used 12 on mine and was still able to fit in a lot of text). I also switched my orientation to landscape which somehow illogically seemed to give me more space. I think anything smaller and you run the chance of annoying people because they have to squint.

Azelor
03-18-2014, 11:01 PM
Working at 300 dpi you will have a hard time to find a readable font at 10 or 12 of size. It's not impossible but it's much more limited. In my last map I used the size 16 or 18 for the smallest labels and it was a pretty simple font : Babylon 5 Credits Font | Free fonts on fontsy.com (http://www.fontsy.com/font_details_446.html)

Bogie
03-19-2014, 12:47 AM
The rules on the OnePageDungeon site say the font size is up to you, but if it can't be read when printed on normal paper it won't get judged favorably. That being said, I've seen some pretty small print on some of the winners.

madcowchef
03-19-2014, 07:12 PM
Thanks for the answers on the font size they give me something to go off of beside my love of tiny lettering. My "writing" awaits editing by my wife before I subject any of you to my spelling in its raw dueling banjos form. Here are the initial map elements, I decided to go with a line illustration style for them for clear printing in keeping with the theme of the challenge. I need the internal details still, as well as the labeling when the writing is closer to complete. Then some doodles around the edge and it will be dungolicious.

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Xeonicus
03-20-2014, 12:22 PM
For a moment I interpreted your description incorrectly and thought the necromancer created 4 "seals". http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/294/d/0/evil_seal_by_tf_grimlock_movie-d5iijf9.jpg

Midgardsormr
03-20-2014, 01:02 PM
Depending on the typeface, 10 point type is typical of most printed materials. 12 starts to look oversized in large blocks; my wife complains about my use of 12 point type on my resume—she thinks it's too big.

That's for typefaces intended to be used in body copy: Times, Helvetica, Caslon, Garamond, and the like. A stylized font may be unreadable even at 12. I'd say print out a paragraph in your chosen typeface and hold the page at arm's length. If you can read it easily, then it's fine. If you have to slow down, then it probably either needs to be larger or replaced entirely.

madcowchef
03-20-2014, 01:31 PM
Hmm no printer. I don't think I'll go for an overly decorative font, my rambling writing style is making thing difficult on me space wise (probably a good thing). Here's some random illustrations that will be scattered about the page. Tracings of animals as the base then some monsterfication with freehand details. Old public domain books on insects are full of the most hideous monsters you will ever hope to invent. I'm mostly ready to begin the actual composition as soon as I can get my text pared down and readable.

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The_Buce
03-20-2014, 03:21 PM
This looks cool, I like the back-story and the fact that the actual 'dungeon' area is quite compact - it will make for an exciting encounter, I'm sure :)
I like the monsters, too - particularly the evil mutant death-bunny!

madcowchef
03-20-2014, 08:31 PM
First run of elements are in but fairly randomly placed. I still need to do more text editing and then format, border, resize font, text box etc. the whole thing. I'd like to add more mapping elements and maybe a random encounter chart for getting to the dungeon to begin with, but I need to see what it looks like after some formatting before I can decide on that.

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Edit: Hmm layer rather than liar, makes it sound like a cake.

one more with numbers so you can vaguely tell what's going on!
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madcowchef
03-21-2014, 04:14 PM
Oh a fancy semblance of order. Not sure if I should do some coloring on the background images or leave them as line work only. I definitely exceeded good taste on miniaturization of the little map who sole purpose is to show that the monster lives a bit a ways up in the foot hills but I'm not sure I have the heart to take it out and I sure don't have the space to fit it. Some decision making and some text editing and I'll be done I hope.

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Domino44
03-21-2014, 09:55 PM
It looks great!

Bogie
03-21-2014, 11:47 PM
Great One Page! Very cool idea!
'

madcowchef
03-25-2014, 02:01 AM
OK baring any major errors this here should be about it. Now to go to work on the one I plan on entering the contest.

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Cunning Cartographer
03-25-2014, 07:31 AM
Only thing I'm not so keen on is the font, something a little more decorative might add character to the piece instead of a standard ariel (not so fancy that it becomes illegible). Also, given that you have such a large line height, you could consider reducing it and increasing your font size so it's even easier to read (not that it's difficult).

I'd also maybe consider cutting out the white of the "Lair of Frangag's Monster" title/logo as it doesn't really blend with the rest of the image.

Other than that it looks pretty good.

madcowchef
03-25-2014, 01:36 PM
Did some reading up on small readable fonts as well as standing back and squinting a lot at a computer screen. I came up with two possibilities to chose from. One is fancier and nicely in fitting with the style as well as surprisingly readable, the other is cleaner, but at least a nice serif font to keep with the feeling of the thing a bit better. I haven't optimized all the text yet as far as scooching it about and making sure everything is in the same font that should be wanted to get some thoughts on the two fonts first. Opinions?
6260962610

Cunning Cartographer
03-25-2014, 04:29 PM
Without a doubt the first one.

anomiecoalition
03-25-2014, 05:22 PM
Yeah - I would have to agree that the first one is probably better given the amount of text.

madcowchef
03-25-2014, 09:49 PM
First one it is. I played around with some text dividers but they only added yet more clutter, which I have a vague suspicion I might not need. So I just cleaned up the alignments on things, converted the remainder of the text over, and wiggled some of the illustrations a bit. Any artsy fartsy stuff I want to do is just going to make it less readable so unless people pick out any more corrections or have any issues with it should be about there. Thanks for the text advice I think it made a major improvement to it.

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arsheesh
03-26-2014, 01:40 AM
This is a fantastic entry MCF! Also, I definitely prefer the new font to the old one.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

- Max -
03-27-2014, 12:24 PM
The dungeon itself looks good though I'm not personnaly convinced by the overall layout design.

madcowchef
03-27-2014, 02:40 PM
Any suggestions about placement that would improve the layout?

- Max -
03-27-2014, 03:12 PM
I'd get the introduction inset sticked right beneath the title. This could be easily done on the left column, moving the map on the right corner for instance. I'd also keep the miscellaneaous drawings in the text column width, for aesthetic reasons. Using some bold or some color on the main subject of the key (Entrance, Corpse hanged, door stucked, elemental furnace etc.) would also highlight what's it's about, especially if you accord the number style aswell .

madcowchef
03-27-2014, 06:48 PM
Second verse same as the first. After following some advice about layouts from some guy named "max", whom I'm sure you've never heard of, I've got a new version. The placement of #8 is about the worst thing about it to my eye. That's what I get for failing to follow all the good advice given me (due to a lack of layout planning from the get go). Over all I'd say a nice bit of improvement over the previous version:

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Maezar
03-27-2014, 08:06 PM
Seal up 1 & 2, create water and drown the monster? Sorry, just kidding.

As far as typefaces go, this might actually be a good job for Caslon Antique.

madcowchef
03-27-2014, 08:28 PM
You can't drown it without breaking the 3rd seal, though after that you can certainly drown it to your hearts content. I've spent years dealing with conflict aviodent players, whole cave systems of sealed up monsters. I suspect its people like them is why you end up with a Balrog situation: "Hey why would someone bury something like this?" Don't buy into the Silmarillion hype, it was my players that buried it there.

Hmm I'll have to see if I can't find that font. I'm enjoying the small size and readability of the current one at least, but there is always room for improvement.

arsheesh
03-28-2014, 04:28 PM
I do like this version better too. Well done!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh