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View Full Version : Catacomb map spanning a whole city



Ceraus
03-21-2009, 11:19 PM
As a challenge, I decided some time ago to see if I could create a whole city map for my D&D campaign. After all, my players would spend much time and adventure there, and a complete plan would be interesting.

Then I decided that many of the city's most interesting places adventure-wise would be in its abandoned catacombs/mines (technically, they're not catacombs but rather an ossuary, but I digress).

So I made some kind of realistic plan the players would get before diving inside. Knowing strictly nothing about catacombs, I spent some time on the internet learning about them and finally found the detailed plans of the Catacombs of Paris, which were great inspiration. I then shamelessly borrowed elements from them.

I created my plan... in Microsoft Word. Just like the city map, actually. While I never finished the city map, I include it for comparison as both plans are quite related.

Note that the catacomb plans come with glorious French annotations about places, monsters and dangers.

(Edit: For some dumb reason, Word red-underlined what it interpreted as spelling mistakes before exporting, and that even though I had disabled spell-checking. Glad I switched to Photoshop Elements.)

Steel General
03-22-2009, 09:19 AM
Other than the font on the catacombs map being a bit difficult read, nice job. It's a neat idea, one I'd like to see you take even further and do more detail on the catacombs.

DevinNight
03-22-2009, 09:52 AM
Hey Ceraus,
Nice maps and a great idea.
I popped them both into PS to see what happens if you try to line up the two maps.
With some tweaking you could make the sewers and and the city line up. Though maybe you have plans to remake the city map?
I'm no expert so this is more of a question but can they/did they tunnel under rivers?
I think making both maps line up, knowing all the entrances and exits would make for a great base for writing some great adventures.

Redrobes
03-22-2009, 09:58 AM
These are really great. I think there might be a vertical map challenge some time in the future where I can see people doing sewers and catacombs as part of that challenge. Still impressed that people can use 'Word' to do maps or rather they put up with its strange quirks for so long before switching.

Ascension
03-22-2009, 10:22 AM
The fonts look a lil wonky, have you changed the scale for posting? I like the colors on both and I like the almost 3dishness of the second. Pretty cool.

Gandwarf
03-22-2009, 02:44 PM
Ehh... do I understand correctly that you made these maps with Word and not with any graphics software??

If so this is amazing (to me). I would really like to see a tutorial.

The city map looks really good. I love the way you did the city walls, the docks and buildings. The only thing I don't like is the texture for the cliffs, it looks like crumpled paper.

The catacombs map is also very good. Although I don't like the font you used to label it.

Have some reputation!

NeonKnight
03-22-2009, 04:30 PM
Champignons Toxique! POISONOUS MUSHROOMS! (About the only french I could look at translate!)

Good job on the maps!

ravells
03-22-2009, 05:00 PM
Great Map, Ceraus!!!

You're not a secret member of Les UX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Untergunther) are you? :)

Ceraus
03-23-2009, 03:24 AM
The fonts looked better when printed on a 11x17 sheet. I did scale the resolution down before posting here.

The maps definitely line up! The green and blue circles represent open and closed entry points, and they correspond to real places on the map. For example, the blue circle that says "Tour des Mages" is right underneath the round tower on the city map. "Ferme" leads somewhere around the farms to the north and "Voie sublime" near the lower-right building that the river wraps around. I actually drew the catacombs over the city plans and deleted the latter, so I'd find it quite strange if they didn't line up.

I have not used Word in map-making (or drawing in general) for one year, so I don't think I'll ever complete Onust. I also doubt I'll ever find the drive to remake it from scratch, not when the current map works well enough for my game. Still, it's a shame I never finished it, as I spent days planning the city before even opening Word. Ah well.

The cliff texture is crumpled paper. I still think it looks great. Smart guy. ;)

Champignons toxiques does mean "poisonous mushrooms"! Here are a few other rough highlights:

Carrefour de l'octogone: "octagon crossroads"
Passages du claustrophile: "ways of the claustrophile"

Other words describe the many dangerous denizens, from the lowly rats to the deadly aboleth, and yet others simply indicate the state of the passage, like if it's collapsed or flooded.

The text at the right is meant to emulate standard warnings about entering potentially dangerous places at your own risks. It might lose some of its flow in translation.


Warning: entering and walking around the catacombs of Onis presents dangers that the sole possession of a plan cannot prevent. Those dangers can prove lethal because of monsters, pits, falling objects and collapses.

By entering the catacombs, you inevitably risk injuring yourself, possibly causing severe complications due to the inaccessibility of possible rescue.

These catacombs are also part of the underground heritage of Onis. They are a fragile place and contain a high number of historical and geological remnants as well as ancient indications that deserve respect.

Access to forbidden areas entails high fines.


"Onis" is the old name of the city, but those responsible for providing the maps have only changed it in the title, preserving the original text (for story reasons).

While I'm here, I might as well point to a map that features Onust and its surroundings:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=55220#post55220

I don't know if a Word tutorial is worth the trouble, but I've included the Word version of both maps right here so you can see how they were done. Essentially, they involved a lot of "Edit Point" use, auto-3D manipulation and sanity-preserving macros.

And as an added bonus, have some Catacombes de Paris plans.
http://exploration.urban.free.fr/catacombes/v5-zoom-us.htm

And "Les UX" sound like great, adventurous people, but my French is waaay too Canadian for that. :?

NeonKnight
03-23-2009, 11:45 AM
Delicious map. Lover it!

Map Vandal
03-23-2009, 01:59 PM
I love this idea. I might have to map one of my own future cities in this fashion.
Have some rep.

ravells
03-23-2009, 03:15 PM
And "Les UX" sound like great, adventurous people, but my French is waaay too Canadian for that.

Hah, maybe you should start the Quebecois chapter!

Ceraus
03-24-2009, 12:38 AM
Problem is, we're only a few centuries old and are very lacking in the way of creepy underground places.

Heck, Montreal's underground is pretty lively.