View Full Version : Many historical ships

03-06-2009, 07:31 AM
My D&D campaign having taken a turn towards the seas, I tought it would be fitting to have ship plans - at least the exterior decks. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any color ship plans, much less multiple standardized ones.

So I went surfing for as much historical ship information as I could find. I settled for the pre-galleon-dominance era so as to have as much diversity as possible. The main ship types I used are the cog (bulky, slow, 1-square-sail ship designed for cargo), the caravel (sleek and fast), the carack (outrageous castles, kind of a galleon caricature) and the early galleon. I rounded those with smaller boats.

I was using Gametable at the time, so each square has a 64-pixel side, same as my existing maps and creature icons (I later found MapTool). Having just upgraded from MapX to Photoshop Elements, I decided I'd go for high-resolution textures instead of pixellated colors.

For consistency and ease of use, I decided against directional shadows. My ship plans have to make sense whichever way they face. Instead, shadows diffuse all around according to height.

Also, I'm a DM first, so I tend to prioritize ease of use instead of artistic merit. I make sure every square is clearly defined so that players never have to guess whether they're on the ship or in the water. All ship contours are as close to their real-life inspiration as I could make them while still fitting the squares well.

I also designed two other ship types for a nation that had some kind of magical-industrial revolution. Y'know.

Apart from the free textures found on the web, everything was done more or less automatically in Photoshop Elements. Ropes were drawn using multiple lines and shadows by abusing "Feather Selection". I strayed as far as I could from my semi-pixel-artist Paint roots and drew every element using shapes and tools, usually creating similar parts of every ship simultaneously. Also, the ships are surrounded by their own shadow and paler water, so they should feel at home on most maps (or water textures).

But enough talk for now.

03-06-2009, 07:33 AM
Four other ships.

03-06-2009, 07:34 AM
The two magical-industrial revolutionized ships.

03-06-2009, 07:35 AM
Two smaller boats (no paler water around those, so they fit on the bigger ships). Also, 3 sizes of ever-essential ramps.

Steel General
03-06-2009, 07:56 AM
Nice, thanks for posting.

03-06-2009, 09:20 AM
These are great. I always try to have some kind of a sea-faring story arc in my campaigns. I'm downloading these babies.


03-06-2009, 10:32 AM
Just in time for a sea chase in my game. Thanks!

03-06-2009, 11:08 AM
These are exceptional and nice high res too. Do you have a sharing policy for these ?

Map Vandal
03-06-2009, 11:39 AM
I will definitely have to add a sea adventure to my upcoming game in order to use these.


03-06-2009, 01:05 PM
Thanks! I needed this...

03-06-2009, 04:12 PM
"Sharing policy"? The usual, I guess: give to anyone, but don't get paid or take credit wrongly. I also don't mind if the images are disassembled or modified. They can be posted anywhere, but a nod to this forum would be appropriate (for feedback and requests).

To quote the Finished Maps guidelines:
"We would prefer that maps have an appropriate WIP thread posted in one of the Mapmaking forums and discussed through to finalization before posting your map in here. Alternately, if you have a map that you consider finished, post it here."

I don't suppose this thread could be switched to the Finished Maps forum?

03-16-2009, 04:26 PM
I really like these! I know they're going to come in handy for my pirates...

05-29-2012, 04:47 AM
This is a few years old, but it turns out to be exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for posting this, and take some rep!