View Full Version : Encounter Maps- feedback please

05-24-2009, 11:26 PM
I have two encounter maps made for an adventure I am writing. The first, is set in an disgusting alley (those are dead rats- hard to tell at this resolution- and that is a manhole cover). The second is supposed to be a trail through the forest.

It wasn't planned, but both encounters have the PCs entering from the bottom of the maps.

Many items came from Dundjinni, and textures came from where ever I found them, some Dundjinni some who knows where.

Feedback is encouraged so I can improve.

05-25-2009, 09:38 AM
There's an awful lot of food set out for an alley containing a dozen visible dead rats. I think I'd replace the food with some crates and trash. You could also grunge it up some—make it look real dirty.

Check out http://www.cgtextures.com/content.php?action=tutorial&name=blendmodes for a tutorial on how to use Photoshop's blendmodes to apply textures. The Darkening blendmodes one is particularly useful for grunges. And they conveniently have lots of free textures on that site for your use.

05-25-2009, 04:00 PM
The food with dead rats is on purpose. :) Sort of a thing to make the PCs wonder about the quality of their food. The two buildings are taverns and that is the food waiting to be used for dinner.

The rats on the other hand, were not all dead until very recently when a goblin got bored and started using his sling to pop them. The goblin lair is through the pile of bones under the pumpkins in the upper left of the alley.

I did a little Multiply on the alley itself, the crates and the buildings after you mentioned it and it looks dirtier now. I don't imagine such establishments as being very clean at all. I also don't imagine many PCs will just pick up and start eating on an apple. lol

Thanks for that, I like the dirtier look much better.

05-25-2009, 09:46 PM
You might consider adding a little more grunge to the red roof (which, while a bit dirtier than your original post, still looks fairly clean). Also, you could try a gradient overlay on both roofs, which struck me from your first post as just a little flat.

Your forest is very light (as in very few trees), is this your intention?

05-26-2009, 09:07 AM
The forest has to be fairly open for a combat to take place. Too many trees and there is too little room to maneuver. Especially with horses. I looked over the forest map and realized that horses will make me have to add at least double to the map. Also that is a well traveled part of the forest, right at a main trail.

I COULD make the trees more dense I think, especially if I double or more the size of the map. But I want to make sure and leave plenty of room for horses to maneuver if needed.

I LIKE the idea of the gradient to the roofs. Makes sense as well. Currently I am running on two hours of sleep, so will tackle that when I wake back up! lol I'll post the remade forest map (expect it to be much bigger) and the revised alley.

Originally, I had wanted to restrict my maps to 8x10 inch maps, if possible for the adventure. But that forest map, I just don't see any way around expanding it. The biggest problem with expanding the forest, is I now HAVE to increase the number of monsters.

The plan was the 1st level PCs stumble into a trap and ambush by some kobolds. Now, 4-8 little kobolds could be a threat on a single 8x10 page. I expect I will need 4-8 kobolds per page now, to manage the combat.

And yes, I wanted the PCs to run into both goblins then kobolds in these two encounters. Seems to me, PCs should face classic foes at lower levels, and what is more classic that goblins and kobolds! lol

Actually my tired brain is figuring out ways already to keep them on one map, but extras might be nice to have, just in case! Nets are good at stopping movement! Now, back to Paizo to ask help on a technical rules question this raises! :)

05-26-2009, 09:54 AM
Dang! Tired old mind couldn't go back to bed! Had to work on that alley way.

I noticed something else that was bugging me. The building I used with the red roof, had shadows built in for the chimney and pipes that were cast the wrong way. So I switched sides for the buildings. Lighting is coming in correctly now (Light should be coming from the left of the map).

So an updated map with a gradient on the roofs so the bottoms are in shadow. A little dodge tool work to create a few subtle highlights on the red rood slate. And switched sides.

Next, work on that forest.

05-26-2009, 10:56 AM
Almost completely redone forest map. It is now 16x20. Lots more trees. Yes there is a reason for the clearing in the top left :)

Reducing the map to 8x10 for here created a lot of blurriness and a LOT of loss of detail. I compensated for displaying here, by adding some sharpening. So if it looks too fuzzy or even over sharpened or whatever, it is an artifact of the reduction, not the real deal.

Honestly, not real happy with tree placement. I didn't want it looking ordered and man made, but it just looks sort of random and haphazard to me.

The trail allows the players to place themselves up to 4 wide in some places, other places only 2 wide. Some parts of the woods allow maneuvering, others don't.

There are hills on either side of the trail. Not sure they really show up on the reduced map. How distinct should those hills be? I don't want them to look like a computer drawing (lol), but clear enough players should see the transition in elevation. There are in fact three levels of elevation supposed to be shown: Trail level is lowest, hills rising up right by the trail on both sides- but not very high maybe 2 feet, then another level peaking at about 4 feet above trail level. All in all up to 4 feet seems pretty steep to me, which will cause movement penalties. Any suggestions for displaying this better?

Steel General
05-26-2009, 10:58 AM
These are coming along nicely...

05-26-2009, 05:17 PM
That shading really made those roofs come to life and gave some depth to them. So I'm thinking that maybe a similar treatment of the trees would make then look less flat as well. That alleyway is lookin really swell now.

05-26-2009, 07:24 PM
Okay, that forest map was driving me crazy. So I went back to the drawing board, and started over from scratch. New textures for the forest floor and hills. Same texture for the trail.

I applied some drop shadow to the trees and some gradients for depth. Applied an inner shadow to the trail to make it appear slightly recessed. Brightened the hills somewhat.

To me, the whole scene looks like the trail could be a small dried up stream bed between two hills.

Again the top left is supposed to be empty. The next map I work on will be located there. A small underground ruin.

05-26-2009, 08:38 PM
Lookin sweet, I like that stream bed idea and the trees have some depth.

05-26-2009, 09:11 PM
I was going to suggest a bit of body to the trees but you beat me to it. Looking good.

05-26-2009, 09:59 PM
Thanks, guys. I like the last forest map the best. Any suggestions or criticisms, feel free to leave them. Can't improve without them!

Okay. Next we have the first draft of my underground tower. This is what is in the upper left of the forest map. I'm tired so not sure I have the spiral staircase working right. I need to grungify it, and add some damage, still.

There are five levels deep and a surface map.

BTW the opening at surface level drops the PCs into level 1 right by the door, slightly right and south of the wall. There is a grid there against the wall.

05-26-2009, 10:00 PM
and here are levels 3-5. Levels 1-4 are essentially the same image, just rotated 90 CCW, each.

I know I need to make the wooden floor look decaying. I figure on making it dirtier with Multiply, and applying some holes of various degrees. I need some furnishings too, to attract the PCs.