View Full Version : Zion Canyon Commission map

01-07-2010, 08:04 PM
Talk about one of the toughest mapping terrains I've ever had to work with, I am beginning my first of seven maps for Dog House Rulez, Sidewinder - Recoiled, old west RPG - a regional map of the Zion Canyon area in south central Utah.

Zion canyon is a fabulous canyon varying from a half mile wide to just a few feet wide and 800 feet to 2500 feet deep surrounded by sandstone mountains, mesas, some of them with canyons, slot canyons, box canyons cut into them, yet hundreds of feet over the main larger canyon itself.

This is the hand-drawn portion of the mountains and canyon cliffs only. I have yet to place the north fork, west fork and south fork of the Virgin River, place bevels and shadows for the various land forms, both conifer and cottonwood trees groves and much more. Of the seven maps, this is the most complex.

This map will take me most of this week to create, the other six should be done in the next week - I've got a January 31st deadline to meet.

The other six will be closer in sections of the canyon area, plus encounter scale maps of hidden canyons, caves and slot canyons. At least one of the canyons and caves is completely fictional though matches the terrain, and for all intents and purposes could be a hidden actual place, by looks of it. At least the towns of Springdale and Grafton (ghost town) need to be created as well.

I've got the rough draft of the adventure as well, which describes the encounter scale areas I need to create, but it looks like a fun adventure!

This map, to the best of my ability matches actual terrain, however. I used a Google topographical map for reference in the creation of it.

Complex, yet still fun. I'll keep posting as I get updates to this thing.


01-07-2010, 08:19 PM
very nice start!

is the style going to be similar to the under thieves guild?

01-07-2010, 08:23 PM
I think it will be very similiar, yes, but more of an wilderness style than the Under Street Guild which is mostly urban. I will have a couple small old west towns, but they will be minimal in structures - town hall, church/school, a couple rows of long buildings - though every other map will be canyons, caves, boxed mesas, etc.

What makes this regional map really tough is its an actual place so I can't just make stuff up, I have to match some really tough terrain fairly accurately. It makes it tougher than a similiar fantasy terrain.


01-07-2010, 10:43 PM
Experimenting with colors and bevels - still lots to do. I think its working. When I add the forests and river, it should look lots better. When I add the parchment paper background, it will change the colors a bit.


01-08-2010, 02:15 AM
Gettin' raht purdy there!

01-08-2010, 04:24 AM
Thankee, pardner!

I might throw in a border, perhaps a square grid, definitely need a scale bar, and I might change some fonts, but I'm not putting in a forest. This map works quite well for my needs and I have to work on the other maps. So this is just about done. I told you the parchment would change the colors a bit and so it has.

Oh, I scavenged my cow's skull compass rose from my Superstition Valley map - my first challenge win, back in November 2007.


Steel General
01-08-2010, 06:24 AM
I think this came out quite nicely GP.

01-08-2010, 12:43 PM
your colors look really good. this post got me looking around that area.
i found some imagery that so closely matches your hues. (just darker)
nice work. i like the fonts, and the skull cardinal.

01-08-2010, 06:50 PM
Thanks, Hub - oh and post some larger Arc GIS/GIMP maps - I want to throw some Rep at you!

Incidentally, the fonts used: Zion Canyon uses a font called Willow, which is essentially the title font used for the movie, Willow. Found the font at my favorite: http://www.acidfonts.com - free fonts are alphabetized at the top of the page, bottom fonts are paid-for fonts. I use the free fonts, there.

The other font, I think came with Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0, which is called Bandicoot - a classic looking font, better than Helevitica or Century Schoolbook, but the same style, though more square, I think.


01-08-2010, 10:44 PM
you know, i have this other nice map (demographic map for client) that i had to use gimp alot on to finish off, but i cant get a low enough file size to post here. they fall apart when lowering dpi. (i will keep trying though)
this seems to big my biggest challenge in sharing my work online, or even getting images that even closely look as good as the map itself when printed on my printer with nice paper.
i would have posted many maps on this forum already if it werent for this predicament.:(
the minute detail and amount of data in the maps slows the post-editing process so much, i crash adobe like nothing else when i reach a 80 MB file or bigger. and my 300 MB arcscene stuff? forget about it...
i find gimp handles them better for digital printing, and still using adobe or just my printer interface for hardcopy.
can i post just a picture of me holding my finished maps?? and still get some rep?:idea:

01-08-2010, 11:17 PM
You could always just crop out some small enough section - generally anything 4000 x 4000 or smaller, in terms of pixels, and anything under 4.7 megs as a jpg.

01-08-2010, 11:37 PM
ok, cool. will look for some pieces that might look good.
my maps are all pretty big, but i will start posting snippets.

01-14-2010, 03:04 AM
Next map in this commission set is called the Narrows, which is the narrow (30' wide) canyon at the very top end of Zion Canyon (so this map is turned 90 degrees clockwise from north.)

Still more line work to do, I need to add plants and more rocky terrain. The heavy emphasis on the bevels is to try and depict steep cliffsides. There is a walking trail on the lower face of the cliffside to the top of map. There are "switchbacks" where the trail descends one way, then turns and descends the other way, for a dangerous half climb, half walk down towards the river bottom.

Part way down the switchback trail there's 3 rocks and a "shelf" with no exit down just beneath it. There will be a gun fight here between the PC party and three bandit/rustlers - its the first gun fight in this adventure, so this is an important encounter map for this "Buckshot" as Dog House Rules calls their Sidewinder adventures.

Lots more to do. I think of the seven maps needed for the adventure, this is the hardest one to do (for me at least). I have a slot canyon, ledge path to a hidden canyon, and cave map to do - which should all be easy enough, though the latter two have quite a bit of campsite detail necessary.

I should finish this tomorrow. Then I'll hit the slot canyon map next.

WIP so far... enjoy!


01-14-2010, 06:45 AM
the stream between Grafton and Rockville doesn't quit get to the main river, you might wanna fix that. otherwise, looks great!

01-14-2010, 11:12 AM

You type "Canyon Narrows" and my brain starts in with Canyonero (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4QgWRycd7I)....

She blinds everybody with her super high beams,
She's a squirrel crushing, deer smacking, driving machine!

Canyonero!-oh woah, Canyonero! (Yah!)

01-14-2010, 11:26 AM

You type "Canyon Narrows" and my brain starts in with Canyonero (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4QgWRycd7I)....

ROFL - cute!

Here's the wrap on on the Canyon Narrows - Canyonero!


01-21-2010, 06:25 PM
OK, the art director, needed some major tweaks - two defined trails where on the upper one the PCs travel, on the lower one some cattle rustlers await them for a shoot out. So I had to redo the entire thing. Here it is! I've got five more maps to work on, then a personal map for the art director for his own Sidewinder adventure he's running this weekend.



02-03-2010, 11:01 PM
I haven't posted to this in a while, but here's the next map - almost done . This is Hidden Canyon Hideout. Its a ledge on the lip of a canyon that is at least 150 drop down. Notice the ledge path on the right side of the map, that is the precarious entrance to this cattle rustler's hideout in the labrynthine canyon terrain surrounding Zion Canyon. (This is a ficticious location, the follows the terrain). On the far left side of the map is a cave, used as sleeping quarters the gang's leaders and their kidnapped victim.

I say almost finished, because I have to place lean-to's, campfire's, crates and other specific map objects to follow the adventure's description. However, I thought at this stage it might work for a good encounter map for any kind of RPG game. Note the final map will be All Rights Reserved, but at this stage it could probably be used CC licensed - use it, but don't share it, as its intended for publication.



02-03-2010, 11:05 PM
Looking awesome, as usual :)

02-04-2010, 12:43 AM
I love the look you're getting with this style. They look absolutely incredible zoomed out and painterly zoomed in.

02-09-2010, 02:59 AM
This is the last map for the Sidewinder: Recoiled - Hidden Canyon adventure map for Dog House Rules. I put this one off until last because I had to draw "people" for this map. Not that that's a big problem, but tougher to do and look right. Since this work was hand-drawn, hand-drawn people, cows and horses was required and are more problematic, but I'm done.

Doing this instead of my Challenge Entry - less fun, but still OK (this one pays money.)

Zoom in on the people around the campfire - got one guy playing a guitar... :P


Steel General
02-09-2010, 11:15 AM
Nicely done GP!

02-09-2010, 01:15 PM

Here's where the adventure begins - in the (now a ghost town) town of Grafton, in the Mormon Territory. The PCs will be eating and drinking the watered down beer found at the Prickly Pear Restaurant - the closest thing to a tavern in this Mormon village near Zion Canyon. The protagonists, a Mormon couple has had their daughter assumed to be kidnapped by a little known gang of rustlers and need rescuers.

Above the encounter map is a map of the village of Grafton, and the Morman family's ranch about 1 mile west of town called the Four Oclock Ranch. This is the only structural map for this commission set. Now I'm done for sure!