View Full Version : Intruder Alert! - WIP encounter map...

10-24-2009, 04:04 PM
I seem to be having trouble working on just one map...especially when I have so many to get done. This map is for the first encounter in Curse of the Emperor's Stone (second one is here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=7535)). In it, the PCs are onboard "their" ship late in the evening when two Lushou sneaks come aboard. This is really a "skill challenge" but could well turn into a combat encounter if the PCs make their checks to notice and locate the sneaks. The sneaks are looking for an artifact they believe has been loaded onto the ship (it's not there yet but they don't know that). The final will bear a "Family Circle" style (the Sunday paper comic strip...where the boy goes all over the neighborhood doing something and they use a dotted line to note his journey) path noting where the sneaks come aboard and travel to during their search.

The ship is called the Scalante, out of Florennia (Italy-analog) and captained by Aldo Bonisi. It's supposed to be a caravel (see pic) but I had a heck of a time trying to find deck-plans for a ship. The only thing I managed to dig up was a WotC map from Stormwrack...and, of course, I don't really trust their research all that much. It's a fantasy game but I don't want to get it terribly wrong so, if any of you folks are old ship buffs, please feel free to correct me on any gross inaccuracies.

I did the lines in Illustrator and imported that into Photoshop for some rough coloring. Labels are temporary as are the textures. Any comments or direction will be much appreciated. Thanks!

10-25-2009, 12:42 AM
Here's one with some better textures. Started working on objects but nothing is showing on this map...because they still pretty much blow.

I did, however, also do a little playing around with lighting. I'm totally new to this sort of stuff and haven't seen any detailed tutorials so I'm just experimenting.

I have a folder with three layers. One is filled with dark blue and set to the Color blend mode - in the hopes of giving a nighttime feel. The other two are black-filled with light gradients on them. One is set to Darken, which shadows anything without lighted pixels. The other, experimental and optional, was my attempt to get the light halos themselves in there. I set it to Lighten. The result is over the top...but kind of cool as it looks like lights in the fog (appropriate for a dock scene I think). It blows out any underlying detail though, so probably are only useful for the occasional special effect. I'll probably still do something like it in the final (for outdoor lights at least) but it'll be dialed back considerably I think. So, experts, any lighting tips? I'm a complete n00b here. :)

Steel General
10-25-2009, 07:45 AM
I think you are on the right track here, you may want to make the lighting more yellow than white (depending on the source).

10-30-2009, 10:58 PM
Still making maps...I really am.

Playing around with some furnishings for this map. Here's what I've got so far. For now I've just thrown on a quick drop shadow but I'll be shading it all by hand when I'm ready for lighting...some day. It's very rough, though I like bits of it and it's nice to see it with furniture. I'm seeing potential finally.

As I do this I can now see scale issues with my deck texture and doors. Will have to get that fixed to continue thinking constructively about the furniture.

There's also an issue with the crates because I just scaled down the small one to get some even smaller variety. I'll redraw these at scale so they don't just look like little copies of the next larger size.

Will try to get some more variety in there. Didn't realize how big that friggin' hold really is. I want some non-crated stuff...like maybe a stack of steel ingots or something. Any ideas? It has to be high-value stuff to warrant the trip across the ocean.

Any suggestions, criticism or comments welcome. I'm a total noob here so no suggestion is too obvious.

10-31-2009, 01:25 AM
You have a mess, but no galley. Where is the food prepared?

10-31-2009, 01:39 AM
Ah, the galley is that cabinet at the end of the room. It will have some more detail when I get to it. There will also be some more storage indicated, for items needed immediately...salt, spices, ale, water, etc. Bulk stuff will be kept in the hold.

The WotC map I looked at had a whole kitchen. I reckon that's too much...there's a reason small American apartments have a thing called a "galley kitchen". So, food is cooked and eaten in the fairly small galley/mess. I should change the label I guess.

10-31-2009, 07:29 AM
Looks good so far!
As for non-crated cargo:

- Amphora or bottles of expensive wines
- Bales of wool, textiles or silk
- Sacks containing spices
- Precious metals
- Cedar wood
- Dyes
- Jade
- Paper

10-31-2009, 04:55 PM
Good suggestions. If I want to make this accurate to the story, the ship has already been partially unloaded and is awaiting final unloading the next day. After that it'll take on local goods. I suppose, in practice, things probably aren't that orderly. I might put some crates and such on the deck - maybe the oncoming goods (most of which you've listed...stuff from "Asia"). I'll play with it some more.

In the meantime, I've filled the hold a bit more. Still the same old crates and barrels, though slightly improved, but I've also added stacks of high-grade steel. Threw in a couple of ropes but they're kind of hoopty. Would like to get some various ropes and nets and things in there...as you'd expect that kind of stuff to be all over a ship. I'm going to work on some more interesting items for the hold over time but I guess this is the basic look.

Bear in mind that I will be coming back later to tint and grunge to make things look less uniform. The whole thing's also going to be getting a heavy dose of lighting...and the holds will likely be pretty dark.

Oh, yeah. I fixed my oversized doors. Probably not happy with the coloring still but I'll wait until later. Speaking of coloring, it's likely that the interior flooring is going to be less grey in the final. That's sort of the color I had envisioned for the upper deck surfaces. I think the interior decks will be a little warmer, less weathered.

11-05-2009, 12:57 AM
Meh. Unhappy with the computer-texture look of what I was doing so I'm testing out bringing in scanned lines and painting. I sort of like the rougher look of hand-drawn lines, warts and all, though I'll likely clean this up even more as some of the lines are a little *too* rough.

Some of this is drawn and scanned, some manipulated, some drawn in PS. Laid down some basic colors under the lines and stole my water from the last one as a temporary background...but I'd like to paint something by hand for the final.

I'm testing out a workflow where I can just draw a component or two...say some crates...scan them, place them, and then manipulate them in PS and finally paint some textures under the lines.

Oddly, there's some subtle-looking wood grain on the decks...but it got totally blown away by my planking outline attempt. Guess I'll have to go for less subtle :)

All of this could be a waste of time but it's kind of fun to experiment - and, if it works, it'll be a style you don't see too often for encounter maps. Any thoughts? Should I give it up or go for it?

11-05-2009, 01:33 AM
I'm thinking that's an awful lot of steel to have all on one side of the hold. From a stability perspective I would expect to see stacks on either side. the amount you are showing in that pic would have considerable weight :)

11-05-2009, 02:13 AM
Bah. Spoilsport. :) lol. Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't even considered it. Will change it, whichever style I end up going with.