View Full Version : June Entry: Druid's Tree

06-10-2009, 04:15 AM
When asked by the lord of the lands why he lived in a tree out in the middle of nowhere, the druid replied, "Your castle may be made of stone, but iron his stronger than stone."

After letting the lord look appropriately ignorant, the druid explained. "My tree is made of ironwood. Have your wizard do the math."

06-10-2009, 05:40 AM
nice mushrooms!:):):)

And the maps nice too!

06-11-2009, 05:59 AM
Most of the exterior is done here. I had a lot of fun figuring out a good texture for a tree as seen from above. Ended up tweaking some photos I took recently of tree textures. Tossed out all the other trees for now as they were very distracting. Drew some fern bushes (which took way too long) and flowers and a grass texture with subtle beveling to give the appearance of rolling mounds. I've tried to give the water a semi-transparent look to give the illusion of depth, and I might add some debris and plants to it, but I'm going to move on to filling out the rooms of the tree first (there will be three stories) and come back to the exterior later if time permits.

### Latest WIP ###

06-11-2009, 08:00 AM
Lovin this. My only crit is that the water looks like it has green dye in it instead of it tinting stuff green with more depth. If thats still on a layer then maybe you could tweak that a bit.

06-11-2009, 10:54 AM
Very nice, I like the idea.

Question: How do you access it from anywhere in the world?

06-11-2009, 02:48 PM
Lookin' pretty sweet, but I agree that the really green water is a little ... off?

06-13-2009, 10:24 AM
I like the green water - it works for me.

I really love the map, it has a very self contained feel to it. Lovely clear style as well.

06-13-2009, 10:32 AM
While I agree with everyone - nice druid's tree, well done graphics work, I also have to agree with Talroth. The challenge specifically states this to be a "home away from home".

So, MysticMagellan, you need to somehow tie this location by some means for the Druid to access from anywhere he travels, whether through some teleportation device, an anchored sanctuary spell or something.

The challenge is more than just to create a home for somebody, it must "travel" with the user everywhere he goes - reread the challenge rules for this month to be sure.

Otherwise great map location.


PS: I'm fine with the green water myself. I hate the fact that most mappers will only use blue for water in maps. I'll do that only for convention when the water is difficult to see amid the background. But I live in Illinois and rivers here are muddy brown. So I make my water green, brown, red, black and sometimes blue. In fact the water in my bathtub and sink in my entry is teal, which is really blue green. Don't let anyone force you change your water color - its fine!

Steel General
06-13-2009, 12:58 PM
Isn't there a spell "Transport Via Plants"? :)

06-16-2009, 05:40 AM
I was so wrapped up with the design that I forgot the access anywhere prerequisite. Anyhow, here it is...

Long ago a druid found and shaped the wood of a massive ironwood tree into a home for herself. She spent decades of her life living within its protective shell. Then one day a pride of evil dragons came to the forest where she lived. Unwilling to abandon her loved home, she cast a spell of awakening upon the great ironwood tree and together they departed to safer woods. When the old druid died, the ironwood tree sat silently mourning for many years, until one day a young boy, lost in the woods, hid beneath its leaves for shelter. The tree opened the door to the boy and let him inside, where the boy found the old possessions and wisdom of the tree's first master. That boy became a great druid in his own right, and became famous for his ironwood home.

Few know that the Druid's Tree is sentient. Fewer know that it is capable of withdrawing its roots and walking the earth of its own accord. In addition, the second Druid of the Tree enchanted his staff so that he could travel far from home, and still sleep in his own bed at night.

Summary Notes: The Druid's Tree is an awakened ironwood tree that is linked with a magical staff crafted from one of its branches. Upon command, the staff plants itself in the ground and grows into a young ironwood enchanted with the ability to transport up to six visitors to the Druid's Tree. The planted staff remains behind, but allows any transported visitor to return to its location by touching the outside of the Druid's Tree and asking politely.

NOTES: The interior layout resolution is a little too small to my liking, so I will probably create closeup inserts of each room. I'd like to be able to see the bloody chicken head.

### Latest WIP ###

06-16-2009, 11:14 AM
Im glad to see this is going to multi-leveled.

The only thing I see the looks off so far is the flat stone path leading up to the tree through the mushrooms. There is a big root that is covering over the stones.

Seems like a lot of work for the druid to get the stone under that root. I would maybe remove the stones that are being run over by the root.

Its small, but it does stick out.

06-16-2009, 01:16 PM
I tried to create some shadows that indicate that the roots arch above ground in places, but perhaps it's not clear enough. I'll look into it.

06-16-2009, 01:24 PM
So, this would be a house where the walls really could talk?


But very cool design so far.

06-17-2009, 03:38 AM
I hated the last layout of the interior, so I redesigned it a bit adding more decor, a cabinet, shelves, scrolls, a few more chairs, a rug, and a large brass scrying bowl to the center table.

### Latest WIP ###

06-17-2009, 04:33 AM
Absolutely love the new interior MM GReat work!

06-17-2009, 09:17 AM
I agree Mystic, you new interior looks much better. Look much more like a "common" room in a house. Great work, and Im really looking forward to more.

06-17-2009, 09:27 AM
I tried to create some shadows that indicate that the roots arch above ground in places, but perhaps it's not clear enough. I'll look into it.

You know what? I didnt even notice the shadows. Now that you mention it, they are right in front of my face. Now that I see them, yeah, the stones look just fine now.

06-19-2009, 07:59 PM
Here is Level 2 of the Druid's Tree. The layout follows the theme of a work room, complete with tanning table, tools, barrels and shelves for storing tanning solutions and dyes, and cabinet for books and scrolls related to crafting. Everything is custom drawn in illustrator and touched up in photoshop.

I've isolated the level on textured parchment, and I'm wondering if I should do the same for Level 1, then isolate the exterior from the interiors for anyone interested in using it as a terrain map.

### Latest WIP ###

06-19-2009, 08:35 PM
Heh - I like that, its awesome with the bear 'n all. That was his best mate there until Mr Ranger stuck him with a few quarrels. >:) Ahh but poor ole Gladys the bunny - shes not half as chatty all stretched out like that...

06-20-2009, 01:14 AM
Isolated Level 1. Added front door.

06-22-2009, 10:53 PM
Here is Level 3, the Master Bedroom.

And yes, that's a chamber pot on the bottom left.

06-23-2009, 08:47 AM
I love the comic look to your items/decor. Are you drawing those yourself? Great work if you are, great colors too! Bold and clear. The details of these maps are excellent. The ferns and plants, the muddy beach, the font...all are awesome.

I feel unqualified to offer suggestions, but I will anyway. They are more optional ideas than suggestions because they may be lame.

Maybe add some shelf fungus on the inside walls. If not there, maybe on the outside of the upper levels, just to help reinforce that it's a tree. Maybe a branch too, possibly with a little birds nest in it?

The bed looks a little normal, not so druidzy. maybe make it a bit more organic, as if built from branches or even grown into shape.

Maybe for light, the druid uses phosphoressent fungus or summoned fireflies, rather than candles or torches.

The first thing I thought of when I saw the bear skin was, "What! The druid kills animals for fur? That doesn't seem right." But then, why not? I don't have a suggestion here, just sharing my first thought - that the hide was somehow inappropreate.

Also on the hide floor, the stairs look like they both lead down, not one leading down and one leading up.

Map Vandal
06-23-2009, 09:16 AM
Here is Level 3, the Master Bedroom.

And yes, that's a chamber pot on the bottom left.

Looks great! Only suggestion I have is for a lid on that chamber pot.

06-23-2009, 04:08 PM
Great suggestions Still Pond and Map Vandal. I played around with moss effects, but personally felt they were distracting (or maybe I just wasn't able to incorporate them to my satisfaction). I'm of the thought that too much in a map can lead to important aspects getting lost in the mix, but I'm also fairly new to this, so perhaps finding the right balance comes with experience. I'll most likely modify the bed, and I thought about extending the third floor out onto a limb balcony, and still might do that (and if there's a bird nest there, you will get credit for the idea), but time is catching up with me. Currently, the interior is lit by magical faerie fire (the purple-blue fires). I might add some faerie fire torches to the walls, and I thought of putting some will-o-wisps outside, but I'd rather include them as pngs for VTT mobility.

About the bear skin - I think druids are more like practical Native Americans, rather than PETA tree-hugging Hippies. Every illustration I see of druids has them wearing animal hides or bones, so I don't see anything wrong with a druid who tans his own skins.

06-23-2009, 05:59 PM
Every illustration I see of druids has them wearing animal hides or bones, so I don't see anything wrong with a druid who tans his own skins.

I thought of that, and I agree. I just told you my initial reaction so you could have it for what it was worth. Don't be surprised if your players, (assuming you use this in game), react the same, that's all.

And I totally agree about keeping things simple. I wouldn't over clutter it - the cleanness and clearness you have going here are part of what makes your map great. I was mostly suggesting one or two small embellishments of fungus or limbs around the exterior of the tree for a bit of flavor. However, your map hardly needs more flavor. good job!

06-24-2009, 04:57 AM
Created a Composite with exterior separated from interior levels. Drew up a new bed and put a lid on the smelly chamber pot.

### Latest WIP ###

06-24-2009, 08:59 AM
I'm not wild about the tree where you filled it in in the center trunk part on the larger image. It kinda looks odd, like a rock or big shapeless hump. I'm not sure how to fix it, and it doesn't look bad really, just off. Also, the tree's shadow seems like it would be longer. You have shadows for the roots, but not the body of the tree it seems. Maybe it looks better that way though, *shrug*.

When you have the floors stacked that way, I had the thought that wouldn't the ones on top be slightly smaller in diameter than the lower floors? That might be more work than is worth it. Maybe it is the broken stump of a once large tree, so the rooms don't change size much as the base taper is very slight. You could also show moss or ferns growing from the broken top of the stump on the main picture, instead of the vague filled area that I mentioned above. Also, this would explain why there were not any lower branches as usually tree branches start higher up.

Am I being too much of a nit-picky pest? Maybe, but keep in mind I think this map is great! Full on professional looking, so take my comments for what they are worth. I like the leaf background paper as well as how you've organized it all on one image with the floors to the side.