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Gamerprinter
12-23-2008, 12:32 AM
I'm starting a new D&D homebrew campaign, and at this moment more concerned with encounter locations than the region or world itself. Loosely working with my Celanta map - I'm gonna change it for this new campaign (cold on top, hot at the bottom), as well as having a Conan-esque flavor.

Unfortunately my players want D&D 3.5 fantasy, not sword and sorcery, so I'm taking out the demi-human races, but leaving the current level of magic, spell use and magic items. I want to be like Conan, like Jason and the Argonauts, like Odyseus, like Beowulf - the heroic age, and still keeping the players happy... this is a home brew.

The PCs will be barbarians from the cold north, a land still locked in the Ice Age with Plieostecene mammals (mastodons, cave bears, etc.), ogres, hags and giants with the last few remaining dragons in the world.

To the south are the Old Kingdoms (land of the Celts), the Empire of Cer and the Nine City-States further south, Egypt-like Umir (Lich Priest King) ruling a desert kingdom steeped in magic south of that, a steaming jungle rich with monsters and ruins beyond that, and a ruin of lost city from a past age at the horn at the World's End - only sea is south of that... it is the Campaign to World's End.

[WIP form, no furnishings yet...]

Craefort is a hill fort village, inhabited by the nine extended families of the Pictish Great Clan, Crae. The fort is built against a hill, with a stockade of great Sentinel Spruce trunks surrounds the base of the fort pierced by a single gate. The fort is really a network of interlocking longhouses, with larger common areas between.

1. The main entry to the fort from the yard with the stockade, is called the Hounds Hall, as the forts hounds are kept here, the houndmaster is quartered here with his dogs and family. The stablemaster and animal handlers of his extended family is in the longhouse chamber adjacent to the Hounds Hall, so he can be kept close to the stables in the yard. A ladder of stairs reaches the next level of the fortress.

2. Crafters Common and surrounding longhouse chambers belong to the various craftworkers of the clan including: timberwrights and woodcutters, spinners, wool-dyers and weavers, smiths and stoneworkers. Also on this level the longhouse chamber between areas 2 and 4 houses the Clan Sorcerer who works permanent enchantments through tattoos onto the clan warriors.

3. The old tower is a stone structure built by a Crae ancestor in a forgotten age long ago, the height of 3 stories, though only the base, stairs winding up to the roofed Watch Deck atop. The base serves as the fort's smithy, the most important craft of Crae. The Smiths longhouse chamber is beside the tower. A 10' rise of ladder steps access the tower from the chamber below.

4. The Chief's Great Hall - surrounded by the closest kin to the clanhead in four chambers. The men here serve the highest posts of the clan - Clan Druid, the Runemaster Bard and the Clan Champion, the longhouse chamber nearest the Great Hall, is Chief Malcolm Crae's abode. A short ladder of stairs rises from the Sorcerers chamber to halls of Crae.

I don't want my barbarians to be limited to warriors and shaman only, I desire a more complete culture of classes, though their isolation from the south still makes them barbarous in the comparison.

This will serve as the typical Pictish stronghold, though I may create a walled roundhouse farmhouse, a hamlet of 2 longhouses with a stockade, and a broch tower of a more powerful clan. Perhaps a couple monster caves too.

After that, I'm leaving the north and beginning the march south through the Old Kingdoms of Celts - the next part of the campaign to World's End!

GP

PS: I'll be adding those other encounter areas to this same thread.

Steel General
12-23-2008, 09:34 AM
Nice work as always GP!

My only nitpick, and its very, very minor would be the repetition of the pattern on the stockade wall, and I don't see how you can get around it without a whole lot of tediousness (is that a word?).

Gamerprinter
12-23-2008, 10:28 AM
Nice work as always GP!

My only nitpick, and its very, very minor would be the repetition of the pattern on the stockade wall, and I don't see how you can get around it without a whole lot of tediousness (is that a word?).

I was being lazy, but that's an easy enough fix. The wood texture on all those walls is the same, but the texture is much bigger than the piece of wood, so all I need to do is move the texture on each and they will look different - thanks for pointing that out, SG.

GP

Gamerprinter
12-23-2008, 04:57 PM
Now the Fort of Clan Crae is complete!

I "shrunk" the straw texture in a few places where they appeared to large. For SG I've moved the textures around in the stockade walls so they don't look so repetitive.

I placed torches on sconces along the walls of each chamber, I placed some barrels and crates for food and personal goods of the extended families in each longhouse chamber. I placed table and benches in every room. To give the Craft Common room a look of "craftiness" I placed a stretched skin to show work being done in this room

For the beds, I decided to use Tartan blankets (plaid), since they are supposed to be Pict, very close to being Scot - I thought Tartans were appropriate.

Finally I placed a throne chair for the Chieftan to sit with a tartan cushion.

This encounter site - the home base for my PCs is complete. Next I will create a few roundhouse hamlets, a broch tower (which should be cool), a crannog lake house (cool too!), and maybe some winter wilderness encounter areas, like a frozen river with an icebreak for a monster to attack from... more coming soon!

GP

Turgenev
12-23-2008, 07:40 PM
Very nice map, GP. I would rep you but it won't allow me (I need to spread it around a bit more). I get cold just looking at that map. ;)

Gamerprinter
12-23-2008, 10:06 PM
I get cold just looking at that map. ;)

I'm sure that half the inspiration in these encounter maps is looking out the window and see snow falling on top of ice on top of snow - ick!!

OK, I mentioned I wanted to work on a Broch Tower next, so did it!

Broch Towers are the coolest thing, a roughly 40 foot tall round tower built by Iron Age Picts over 2000 years ago. Mousa Broch on the Shetlands is nearly intact, though I love Dun Carloway Broch which though partially collapsed shows the unique structural aspects of a broch tower best.

Imagine two stone towers, one built inside the other. The internal tower is not quite as stout or sturdy as the outer tower, but is stable because of long flat rocks that connect the outer tower to the inner tower. These connecting stones are such that they are used as a stairway to walk between the tower walls upward to the higher floors. The outer tower is up to 18' thick at the base and just a few feet thick at the top.

As in my map, the ground floor was reserved for the fireplace in the center, sometimes firewood, and dry stores were kept in this level as well. Going up the "stairs" the first floor (above the ground floor) serves as the Great Hall. The next level up the sleeping quarters, while the top floor is usually reserved for storage and servants quarters.

The tower would be topped by a conical thatched roof. There is no chimney however, as the smoke would seep through the thatch and escape at the roof, which meant the both the second and third floors were always smokey.

The first photo below is for reference showing Dun Carloway Broch as a reference to the kind of structure I'm trying to recreate. I know my stairway is wider, but that's for playability rather than accuracy.

Then its my four floors of Donal Broch, of Clan Donal, a powerful Great Clan which will have a clan feud with the Crae's of Craefort. In the Donal treasury is an ancestral sword of Clan Crae, stolen during the last Winter War. The PCs will be trying to regain this item that belongs to their clan.

Even though Clan Donal is a more powerful clan than the Crae clan, their extended families reside in longhouses and roundhouses surrounding the base of this broch tower, outside its walls, but within its own stockade and gate.

Next I want to start working on my Crannog lake house - but I think I'd better finish up my December Challenge entry tomorrow, just to get that out of the way...

GP

Steel General
12-24-2008, 09:41 AM
More cool stuff GP!

Turgenev
12-24-2008, 12:36 PM
While I am currently in Toronto, I grew up in the snowbelt region of North-eastern Lake Ontario (near Kingston) so I know all about snow. Actually we have a ton of the stuff here in Toronto right now but I doubt it will last long after Christmas (I hope). ;)

Man, those Broch Tower maps are freakin' awesome! You've outdone yourself, GP. I really have to spread some REP around so I can rep you again. Keep up the great work! I can always use more maps for my own games. *grin* :D

Gamerprinter
12-24-2008, 01:17 PM
I just love these prehistoric structures of Northern Britain. I've always wanted to map some for games, and I finally compelled myself to do so, with the D&D campaign I have planned. The next structure is Gandry Crannog.

A crannog is an artificial island built by Iron Age Picts and early Celts. Basically a shallow part of lake, not near the shore is located and timber pilings are driven in below the surface that raise high enough to be used as wall and roof supports. Once enough pilings are driven in - stones, sticks and mud is placed in layers until reaching the proposed floor level usually 3 to 4 feet above the water's surface. A large stone is placed top center to be used as a hearth for the center of the Crannog.

Once this stone flooring is in place, timbers are used to create a flat, useable floor with a hole opened to expose the hearth stone. The walls are usually constructed of woven vines tied to the upright timbers, then daub and wattle covers the vines for a weather-tight mud panel surface. The roof is thatched.

Also interesting an access path of placed stones located just beneath the waters surface so it can't easily be seen accesses the crannog to the shore. Usually these paths have a couple elbow turns - only the crannog men and their allies are aware. Enemies attempting to attack the crannog will often drown falling off the path into the deeper water. Path is hidden in this map.

In my storyline, Gandry Crannog is a lesser clan under Clan Crae, a runemaster bard is the chief of the crannog - a person sought by the PCs to learn more of their future quests.

Gandry Crannog - enjoy!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-24-2008, 11:20 PM
OK, a last minute Christmas Bonus to stick in your stocking... the Ogre's Den. I needed a little fantasy to brighten an otherwise mostly historical thread.

But I like to think on theories about Neandrethals, if mankind didn't interbreed them out of existence, we may have caused them to become extinct taking away shared resources to hunting them down.

If a small population of Neandrethal survived up to several thousand years ago living in the mountains hidden away from humans, but were larger, stronger, a distinctly human-like non-human race that wielded stone-age weapons... wouldn't you call them ogres? Could the last remaining neandrethals have been origins of the idea of ogres - just a thought.

Attached is the Ogre Den, an encounter for my World's End campaign, basically a cave in the mountains with an entry way, where a guardian ogre and his trusty dire wolf would sit searching the horizons for "man sign". A tunnel leads in. The larger chamber to the left houses the living quarters for the main ogre band with 6 ogre-sized bedding piles of straw around that roaring fire. No doubt smoke would be filling the upper reaches of this chamber exiting out the entry way - the cost of staying out of the weather.

The smaller chamber to the right is the Shaman Hag's chamber. [In my world there are no female ogres, instead there are annis hags who are my ogre females. Ogres are a matriarchal society led by sorceress/druidess hags. They are eager to eat the flesh of men, and hunt them vigorously during the bleak months of winter.

A caged area to the north of this chamber holds victims both for sacrefice but for food as well. Two bed areas are there, the bottom right bed is nearest the "fireplace" niche is where the hag sleeps. At the center of this chamber is the sacreficial rock with a celtic symbol of eternity carved from its surface soaked with the last victims blood.

Merry Christmas, enjoy!

GP

Gandwarf
12-25-2008, 08:16 AM
Beautiful maps, Gamerprinter. The Ogre Den is especially cool.
Repped.

Steel General
12-25-2008, 08:30 AM
GP, even after being here several months, the speed and quality at which you work never ceases to amaze me.

Ascension
12-25-2008, 08:48 AM
Rather cool encounter map, I like it. I especially like the rock.

Gamerprinter
12-25-2008, 02:11 PM
GP, even after being here several months, the speed and quality at which you work never ceases to amaze me.

Thanks for the comments everyone, and Merry Christmas!

SG, though I enjoy the act of creating a map, I really don't want to spend to much time creating, I'm more into the final result. The way I work, is the same as the way I work in my day job. Knowing the technique and having a clear idea in my head as to what I want is set in stone ahead of time. Then I dive right into Xara and start creating. Clearly I don't want to spend more than an hour or two creating these maps.

If you've got the technique down pat, and the final map in your head, its just a matter of doing it and getting it done. That's my philosophy and that's how I work so fast. Being inspired is necessary, though.

I'm not trying to impress anyone more than myself in getting the work done.

GP

Gamerprinter
12-26-2008, 02:04 AM
Although I've come up with some cool backstories to some of my map posts, I have not been a true teller of tales here. I decided to make an exception, here is a very short story (3 pages) about the lives of Clan Crae in my Pict barbarians of the World's End campaign setting. There's a little gore, but not gratuitous and some descriptions of Pictish Clan law, as they fit my world.

I call it "A Druid's Wife" - enjoy!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-26-2008, 11:54 AM
Someone on another forum where I posted these maps have requested through Email, whether I can offer my map designs as downloadable PDF files sliced so they can print them on their own printers.

Now, normally, that's not my business model, since I print maps at full scale, large format dimensions, laminate and ship.

However, I've been giving it some more thought, and maybe I will experiment with the idea - using these latest barbarian maps. Perhaps offer each map for $2.75 each (most are 24 or more pages to print entire map.) Then offer a set of 5 or 10 maps for a discounted price (get one or two free for example.)

Just a new idea to explore, looking for more ways to sell my maps - just a thought.

GP

Gamerprinter
12-26-2008, 10:29 PM
First of my wilderness encounter areas, Screaming Chasm bridge. This bridge allows access between Crae and Epper lands. Its about 80' from the bridge to the water.

GP

Steel General
12-27-2008, 12:29 PM
Another great job GP!

...and now for my minor nit-pick :) the orange of the rope on the bridge is a little bright" to me, I think it needs to be a more tan-yellow color. Now if there is a reason for it to be that color than by all means just ignore my prattling. :)

Gamerprinter
12-27-2008, 01:24 PM
There's a novelty line effects menu in Xara, and the orange rope is in there, I used it, I tried to change the color to more of a yellow grey, but it didn't let me, so I may replace that with something of my own in the correct color. But for expediency, I left if for now. I completely agree with you, too orange!

GP

Korash
12-27-2008, 06:17 PM
damn...these are nice, and whether or not you wanted to impress with your description of your work method, I need to tell you that it impresses the hell out of me that you only spend an hour or two on them. I understand what you are saying about having the vision first then just getting it done. I just can't work that quickly on the vision, and it is impressive that you can.

having said that, and admitting that my little pet peeve on images is shadows (not that I know how to do them properly, just that it is one of the things that always catches my eyes) I do have a nit pik for you. The shadow of the bridge and the treas do not match the shadows of the posts. Also the bridge shadow is too straight at the lower parts of the chasm.

sorry for the crit. great work none the less

Gamerprinter
12-28-2008, 02:08 AM
The shadow of the bridge and the treas do not match the shadows of the posts. Also the bridge shadow is too straight at the lower parts of the chasm.

sorry for the crit. great work none the less

Don't be sorry, critiques can only help! After creating the bridge, I knew I had to create the shadow - with all the planks I got real lazy, but its worth fixing, thanks!

GP

Gamerprinter
12-28-2008, 08:02 PM
OK, I haven't fixed the bridge shadow or the orange rope yet, but on to the next map.

This is a druid's circle on a slight hill - nothing fancy, just needed a place for the Crae's to worship. I've insribed the central stone with Runes surrounding a Pictish symbol for the old gods.

The runes say, "Caillech Bheur the mother of the World" - as in the Pict belief, the Caillech Bheur or Winter Hag is the first goddess from the time of the first Ice Age, when only giants and ogres walked the earth, before the rise of man.

GP

PS: next I'm creating a Barrow of the Chiefs - a burial mound, maybe a place for Wights to visit those who visit them... 8)

Redrobes
12-28-2008, 09:15 PM
Both good maps there GP. I think the rocks at the chasm look suitably hard and pointy :)

Gamerprinter
12-28-2008, 10:15 PM
OK, SG and Korash, I made the fixes. Surprisingly I figured out how to change the color or the rope and keep the ropey look.

The shadows were a bit problematic. Since these shadows are an afterthought. I used a 3D app to try to recreate the chasm is it should look in 3D, but I couldn't quite match the terrain. I placed a plank bridge, put the sun to the southwest and let it cast a shadow.

Then I cut the shadow out, sliced it moved it around, applied some transparency and ended up where I am.

I'm not completely happy, but it will work for now. Is it an improvement?

GP

PS: on looking at the Druid's Circle, I'm think too boring. Yes, I've tried to keep the barbarian structures somewhat historically accurate, but after the Ogre's Den, I want to create something more elaborate for the worship area. I'm thinking barrow hill with semi-circle of stones outside, entrance under barrow to burial culdesacs and internal pagan altar. That sounds more fun to me anyway!

PPS: which is giving me ideas for my game as well. I was going to have the Donal clan having stolen the Crae Sword of Chiefs, and the party has to retrieve, it, but now I'm placing the sword in the Donal's Barrow Altar in the hands of the Donal that thought the sword should have been his. So party will have to steal from the dead, and cause a wight to rise up in revenge - bwa ha ha ha... :lol:

Gamerprinter
12-29-2008, 01:40 AM
The Donal Clan lies north and west of the lands of Crae, and led the last Pictish Defense against the Invasions of the Winter Hag and her host (frost giants, ogres mounted on mammoths, the meaner beasts - wooly rhino, dire wolves, sabre tooth cats, and her champion a winter werewolf, said to be a fallen Donal.) They're are one of the most powerful great clans among the Pictish peoples. The Crae clan is greatly respected by other clans as well.

67 years ago, Chief Angus of the Donals fell in love with a lovely lass from the clan Epper in the south. She spurned him to run into arms of Bran the son of the Crae chief. The Donals ambushed the two and slaughtered them. The Donal's druid betrayed them as their act was sacriledge to the druidic way.

This began a feud which has no end, though at times there seems an uneasy peace. Recent activities have involved the death of the current Donal's eldest son in an initiation rite of the Craes. This will bring a resurgence of hostilities in the immediate future.

42 years ago the Donals made a lightening raid on the Craes while they were defending their northern border from ogre incursions. The chief of the Donals stole the ancestral blade of clan Crae. It is said to be kept in the Donal Barrow in the arms of the chief who stole it. He who takes the blade from the dead, can expect a chief's revenge. But to touch any other treasure in that hall of the dead, would mean doom with all the Chiefs rising. Can the heroes return the Sword of the Craes with their souls intact?

Donal Barrow - this one is 36" x 48" at 100 ppi, no grid, 1.94 MB JPG.

GP

Gandwarf
12-29-2008, 06:15 AM
Stunning work, Gamerprinter. Especially considering the fact you have spent only a few hours on each map...

Steel General
12-29-2008, 08:52 AM
As always GP, great stuff! I especially like the barrow and I think it's the best of what you've posted so far. Though all of them are really quite good.

Gamerprinter
12-29-2008, 10:24 AM
As always GP, great stuff! I especially like the barrow and I think it's the best of what you've posted so far. Though all of them are really quite good.

Of course you think its best, SG - its a temple (sort of) :P

Got a few more ideas then I'll be done with the barbarian part of this...

GP

Ascension
12-29-2008, 04:33 PM
GP -- Lol, too funny. True though :)

Steel General
12-29-2008, 05:09 PM
Maybe I should change my Alias from 'Steel General' to 'Steel Priest'?

Korash
12-29-2008, 07:52 PM
Maybe I should change my Alias from 'Steel General' to 'Steel Priest'?

A priest by any other name.....

and what would you call a priest who heads the steel arm of the temple to a war god?

Gamerprinter
12-30-2008, 01:05 AM
SG, you know I'm just funnin' with you. I always appreciate your comments!

OK, got some more ideas on my campaign, I need yet to create the Hall of the Frost Giant King, the Barrow of the Cursed Pictish King, and Ice Cavern Fortress of the Winter Hag, accessed by a glacial chasm beneath the center of the glacial field of Caillech.

So the upcoming maps should be more exciting as well.

GP

PS: I've already altered part of my original campaign arc, though it might remain in some level, the Winter Hag is going muster her giant-kin host now that she has acquired an artifact that will enable her to restart the Ice Age and retake all the lands of northern Celanta. Also the Picts originally came to this land by following the herds of caribou that retreated with the glaciers thousands of years ago.

The PCs must try to recover five lost Pictish artifacts that will be necessary to repell the recently empowered ogre goddess from accomplishing her goal. They will go to the Southlands, where the items were lost on the way to the North Lands.

Steel General
12-30-2008, 10:02 AM
GP - I knew you were just joking around, so was I - besides why just go for 'Steel Priest', why not 'Steel Arch Bishop' or 'Steel Pope' even! :D

Looking forward to seeing these new maps you mentioned.

Murgh Bpurn
02-11-2009, 01:04 PM
With the upcoming release of Hellfrost (http://www.tripleacegames.com/HellFrost.php) for Savage Worlds, these and your Mountaintop Battlemaps are definitely going to be getting some use!

Keep up the good work! :)