View Full Version : *** May Challenge - Cut to the Chase! (RPGtonight.com sponsored)

05-01-2009, 08:44 AM
In a surprise move by the site administrator (me) I'm posting the May Challenge not only on time, but almost RIGHT on time ;) I want you all to have PLENTY of time to work on this challenge, because this is yet another fantastic RPGtonight.com (http://www.rpgtonight.com) sponsored challenge. I'm not sure if you all remember last years, but the prize list was quite generous and I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to offer this year (prize list is forthcoming).

So without any further ado...Here's the Challenge Guidelines.


Just like in the movies, a running battle in an RPG can bring extra
excitement not present in a static encounter that takes place in one
little area. Think of the famous chase scenes and moving battles in Mad
Max, Indiana Jones, the French Connection, dozens of Westerns and James
Bond movies, or the aggressive races in Ben Hur and Rollerball. This
month’s contest involves creating a tabletop or VTT miniatures encounter
map of the scene of a challenging moving battle and chase.

The rules are as follows:

The chase path must be linear in the sense of being a single path with
various features and obstacles. The path can be two ended, with a
beginning that is separate from the end, or looped like a racetrack. You
could make a very thin, long, straight map or a normally proportioned
rectangular map with a twisty chase path. Tiles would be a plus, but not
necessary – the GM could add tiles as the players progress, or turn tiles
around to re-use them for later parts of the path.

The chase path must have a start point and an end point. In the case of
looped tracks, this could simply be the start and finish lines, with
multiple loops taken around the track. In the case of a two-ended path,
the start should be some feature where a chase would logically start – for
example the point where railroad tracks go past a train robber’s hideout.
The end should be some point where the chase would logically end if those
being chased are not stopped – for example the point where the railroad
tracks go onto a trestle bridge where the outlaws can’t follow. The
endpoint might also have an interesting “surprise” (cliff, police
blockade, whatever) that could foil either the heroes or the bad guys if
they don’t make their saving throws.

There must be obstacles, pitfalls, tight turns, roll based traps/events,
or other deadly stuff along the way to make the chase interesting. Some of
these could be in the form of removable objects that the GM can put in
different places, especially if tiles are used.

The path length must be long enough to require at least several rounds of
movement/combat/evasion etc. in the game system of your choice. We’ll
leave it up to the mapmaker to decide how long the path has to be to make
a memorable encounter. Those considering maps for fast vehicles might want
to consider tiling – otherwise the map will be verrrrrry long.

Any genre or era, is OK, and the chase path can be designed for any form
of transportation, or none. Let your imagination run wild! You could
design anything from a rutted stagecoach road in the Old West to the
slipstreams and vortices in a nebula surrounding a black hole.

*** Please be sure to visit our most generous prize sponsor RPGtonight.com (http://www.rpgtonight.com)

*** Link to prize list (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5498) ***


* RPGtonight will be allowed to use winning maps in its onsite collection for use by members in their games.
* Cartographers' Guild is not responsible for any disputes or claims by contestants arising out of or in connection with either the selection of winning entries or with prizes.

05-01-2009, 08:59 AM
Now this sounds interesting!

05-01-2009, 11:32 AM

05-01-2009, 11:58 AM
I have a new, cunning way for creating maps which I might use on this... but unlike last month, I'll start working on it now rather than a week before the challenge ends!

05-01-2009, 04:51 PM
At first this didn't really catch my eye as something I could even attempt, sounding much more "present day" than my more favored "fantasy" but I think I have an idea...naval/river battle. Without having to search all over the forums what is the standard pixels-per-feet ratio for a VT?

05-01-2009, 05:06 PM
10 or 20 px per foot is standard. Dunjinni uses 40 px per foot but that's too high for most vtts I believe.

This does look very cool as a challenge. I'm really going to try to enter, but this month is just crazy busy.

05-01-2009, 05:41 PM
With my semester coming to a close, I'll have to give a shot at this one.

05-01-2009, 08:01 PM
OK...my memory is limited - what is VT? And do we have to adhere to a particular scale?

05-01-2009, 09:23 PM
VT or VTT is a Virtual Table or Virtual Table Top.

Fantasy Grounds

Several others.

The pertinent thing is that the map is shared on a monitor between people who are commonly represented by a token placed on its surface. The map should be designed such that it is convenient to be explored by tokens, perhaps with a radius of vision or a fog of war.


05-01-2009, 10:24 PM
ok! so no size limitation, but hopefully kept at a 20 px to the foot sacle will work?

05-01-2009, 10:55 PM
SCALE: Virtual Tabletops typically have a way to handle the scaling themselves and the measurement is in units. Not feet, meters, yards, or parsecs... units. For example, in MapTool you typically assign a pixel number per unit measurement. MapTool is usually 50 pixels per unit. What that unit is is entirely up to you. To use D&D as the example since most are familiar with it. Each square is 5'. That constitutes a unit. Therefore, based on the previous 50 pixels per unit, that would mean that you would have 50 pixels per 5' or 10 pixels per foot. I personally prefer to go up one doubling to 100 pixels per unit so that when I zoom in the image does not get pixellated. Therefore, it would be 20 pixels per foot. I think for most VTs that would be a maximum. Does that make sense?

05-01-2009, 11:09 PM
Thanks...now, a check of my understanding.

I can set my map where 1 unit is considered to be 1 foot OR 1km OR 1mm?

And then I also define how many pixels are in that unit. So I could have 50 pixels represent 1 foot OR 1km OR 1mm depending on the unit defined?

05-01-2009, 11:20 PM
And there you have it... understanding at its finest! :)

05-01-2009, 11:24 PM
Thanks, guys. Now I can at least set my map to a good size and not be totally stupid.

05-01-2009, 11:26 PM
In fact, here is the preferences panel from MapTool to show you what I'm talking about. I've highlighted the pertinent portion for you.

05-02-2009, 12:15 AM
And a .png/.jpg etc are fine? Or do I need to use one of the VT tools to make it?

05-02-2009, 09:25 AM
Most VT(T)'s use a normal JPG / PNG or something like that as a backdrop for all the static stuff. Anything that moves or might need to be altered, or is hidden from players - as part of the gaming - like characters, monsters, doors, pits, etc are all done with tokens on top. Tokens are also just smaller PNG images which the VTT app puts on top of the backdrop to make up the scene. Its like those books of stickers you used to get as a kid where you place them on the printed card sheet backdrop.

For scale it depends on whether you plan on viewing it on screen or whether printing it out. For VTTs thats normally on screen. So taking about a real inch of screen space for a characters 5 foot base which is say 100 pixels that would be something like 20 pixels per in game foot. So a 15" wide monitor could show about 15 * 5 ft of in game dungeon or 75ft which would be 1500 pixels. Yeah ? Now some apps can deal with more or less res than others so it depends on what your using too.

If the map is for a VTT but you dont have one then you can make the backdrop and the movable items as separate PNG files. Theres several free VTTs out there inc MapTool, DungeonForge, GameTable and RPGTonight. You can also use the layers in Gimp or use an HTML web page with style sheets to place down the tokens at specific places if your feeling really nuts.

Thumbnail entrants below as usual...

### New Challenge Entry:Drahyden,5428
### New Challenge Entry:Gamerprinter,5434
### New Challenge Entry:ravells,5448
### New Challenge Entry:Ascension,5454
### New Challenge Entry:torstan,5550
### New Challenge Entry:Darken,5555
### New Challenge Entry:Steel General,5561
### New Challenge Entry:MysticMagellan,5562
### New Challenge Entry:CBDroege,5588
### New Challenge Entry:Xyll,5646
### New Challenge Entry:gorkamorka,5663

05-02-2009, 01:15 PM
Thank you for the education! I really appreciate your taking the time. I'm off to have a look at these programs now.


05-02-2009, 02:32 PM
Damn ... all of "Leapfrog" is a chase across the Solar System. I swear, these challenges are keyed specifically to antagonize me.

05-02-2009, 06:52 PM
You can still enter, toff a solar system map would be cool. Then again, your Venus Transit map (which I still drool over) would have also been a winner.

05-04-2009, 02:51 PM
Yay!!! Let the Chace begin, thought, can it be a chase where miniatures have to advance on a grid or is it a general map that marks a chase route. Because im looking forward to the first one.

05-09-2009, 12:19 PM
Updated the initial post with a disclaimer/release similar to last time.

05-10-2009, 12:22 AM

A universal challenge that possibly involves tiles?

I might try. I have tons of chase rules in mind.

05-13-2009, 06:58 PM
I'm thinking of doing a simple map with lots of removable/placeable objects. How does one make a "tile" for a VTT? Just a separate square file?

Also, is there a specific filetype we should be using (i.e., bmp, jpg, gif, tif)? Thanks :)

05-13-2009, 07:04 PM
Doesn't have to be square, some kind of rectangle anyway. Check out the VT forums on these boards, or look earlier in this thread, lots of questions were answered here.

JPG or PNG are the preferred formats for VT apps. Resolution here is 50 - 100 ppi and consider all maps will be viewed on PC moniters not printed maps.

The tiles in my entry are huge, 24" x 36" but that's just the way I chose. Many prefer tiles no larger than 2000 x 2000 pixels. Also tiles shouldn't exceed 1 MB in file size - at least those are the needs for the sponsors VT app, RPGTonight.

I'm sure a better expert may come along and help explain all this to you.


05-13-2009, 07:08 PM
Thanks! That answered everything I needed to get started. I had read this whole thread, but hadn't thought of the VTT forum section. Heading there now :)

05-26-2009, 05:58 AM
Bah! got busy, can't possibly make it in time.

06-01-2009, 05:30 PM
When are we gonna close this? I know Big Rob's gonna be busy this week.

06-02-2009, 10:22 AM
I agree with Ascension, this challenge should start its voting and next month's challenge should begin.


Steel General
06-02-2009, 10:54 AM
Let the voting commence!!
(as long as I didn't screw up and win myself the Delgo Faux Pas Award :D)