View Full Version : 'llo, folks. (Pic Heavy Post)

05-12-2009, 12:39 AM
I've been running a DnD campaign for a few years now, and my favorite part of DMing has always been scribbling up maps. My players have always given me a hard time about my over-indulgence in my self proclaimed cartography fetish, so imagine my delight at stumbling across a community of like-minded individuals here.
We play a weekly game, so my prep time is always extremely limited, but I've come up with a system for myself that lets me crank out a couple of functional dungeon, town, or wilderness maps in an evening's work - along with writing the next section of the campaign and populating the nooks and crannies with the usual suspects.
Of course, most of these are never seen by the players - things unfolding as they do in blue dry erase pen on the battlemat. Only occasionally can I find the excuse to work up a slightly more detailed map - drawing it up by hand, scanning, and tweaking/coloring in CS4.
At any rate, I look forward to learning from the experienced GMs and cartographers out there, and C&C, even of the most brutal variety, is always appreciated.
Without further ado - here's a few of my quick n' dirty night-before-the-game maps for perusal. As I said, noone sees these maps but me, so the coloring is just to help me remember the intended atmosphere when making up descriptions on the fly.

Like this little port town the PCs came upon as it burnt to the ground in the wake of a raiding party.

A mid-level dungeon map.

The ubiquitous crypt.

An eerie, crystalline-stalagmite studded cave system.

And a small, fortified frontier town experiencing an unexpected population boom of war refugees, ramshackle wooden buildings being thrown up outside of it's walls.

Thanks for taking the time to look!

05-12-2009, 01:02 AM
Welcome to the guild. These looks good to me, especially since they're meant to be quickies. I don't see anything that I'd change and it's a nice easy-on-the-eyes style. Very nice.

05-12-2009, 04:51 AM
Welcome to the Guild!

Steel General
05-12-2009, 06:51 AM
Welcome Aboard!

Have some 'rep' for showing us some maps in your intro post. *bonk*

05-12-2009, 07:41 AM
Very nice maps! I like the gradients on some of them, although I can tell you need to be careful or it affects readability. I also like the texture/pattern you use on the background. How do you make that?

There are a number of tutorials on the site that explain how to use feathered selections and clouds/noise to randomize mountains or the edges of continents. They also work really nice for creating realistic rough cave walls. You might try one the cavern map and see how it turns out.

05-12-2009, 08:46 AM
I love the style - that's great. That's a very nice solution to making pretty maps in a short time. Welcome to the guild.

05-12-2009, 01:36 PM
That is a really pretty style you've got going there with the textures and gradients. I like 'em!

05-12-2009, 02:57 PM
Love the style and the maps in general. You should post some of them up with their keys, I'd really like to know what all the important buildings in Theradyn are, your trap keys for your dungeons, etc. etc. Mostly so I could steal these maps and use them in my own campaigns :D

They're beautifully done and look like a lot of consideration went into them too, even if they are just "quick n' dirty night-before-the-game maps."

05-12-2009, 03:23 PM
Hi Plastic Jack and welcome to the guild - some very nice maps you have there! I hope you don't mind but I've uploaded them locally so they thumbnail (it keeps the massive filesize down in the post) - if people want to see them in all their glory they can click on the thumbnails.

To thumbnail a map, click go advanced, click the paperclip and follow the instructions.



05-12-2009, 04:41 PM
Thanks, all. The kind words are greatly appreciated.

@msa - I like that background texture quite a bit, as I'm sure you can tell by the fact that I slap it under pretty much all the maps. I'm sure there's an easier way with the world-bending powers of photoshop to achieve a similar effect, but I did it the 'old-fashioned' way, I guess. Stained a piece of cardstock with coffee grounds and a few washes of sepia paint, scanned, and dropped it in as a semi-transparent layer, opacity of 25%ish.

@Novarri - Heh, thanks! That is the sincerest form of flattery. I'll see if I can dig up those old dungeon keys, I've got them saved somewhere - Theradyn is the 'hometown' in my current game - building names, descriptions, relevant NPCs, price lists, etc all piled into one reference document for me to use during the game... so the key is something like twenty-six pages long, might be getting more than you want, there.

@ravs - Thanks for taking it upon yourself to do that bit of legwork for me, mate. I appreciate it. I knew that'd be an issue, hence the thread title disclaimer, and intended to muddle through it later today - but you've saved me a good bit of trial and error. In the future, thumbnails for all.

05-13-2009, 01:45 AM
Hey, and welcome to the guild!

Nicely done, they're very pretty and very self-contained, if I can say it that way. They're small enough to not require lots of tiled pages of paper, and I love the clean look of them.

05-13-2009, 04:47 AM
building names, descriptions, relevant NPCs, price lists, etc all piled into one reference document for me to use during the game... so the key is something like twenty-six pages long, might be getting more than you want, there.

That's absolutely amazing! I wish I had the mettle to sit down and detail all that information, you must run some really in-depth games. And no, 26 pages is never too much, if you want to share it (I fret the tiny details, so any information generally fits into my "want" list :D). But...wow!

05-13-2009, 04:35 PM
Heh, I suppose 'mettle' is a nicer phrase than obsessive-compulsivity. I'll try to pare it down a little, and put it up when I get a little free time. Thanks for the interest!