Where to go from here
So I have put together a map of my party's home base in Inkscape. It is pretty basic, still could use a visible grid for when I run combat on it. But what I am wondering is where to go from here.
I mean sure it is functional in it's current form, but what could I do to improve it. First things that jump to mind are the walls. Some way of denoting the wall's construction would be good.
Would room contents be good? Or would that just make it to busy?
Any suggestions on how you would enhance it and possible links to tutorials would be appreciated.
Also, is there a good tutorial out there on creating a grid layer in inkscape that is consistent? Since I cannot seem to include the document grid in my export I am stuck with turning up the grid snapping and drawing a bunch of straight lines. To mixed effect.
You can enhance your map by adding drop shadows and lighting effects. Adding textures to the walls and floors can add visual interest to your maps also. If you want to get really creative then you can add the fine details to your rooms such as; furniture, treasure, weapons and other items of interest. I use photoshop CS2 for my map creation along with Dungeon Designer 3 and a 3D rendering program called Imagine, which is now shareware.
I have been using Maptools with a HDTV for my games. They share my wifes laptop and its connected to the tv. They can move thier tokens around and I control the rest on my laptop. It also makes it very interactive. The other week they decided to move the beds and tables around so that it blocked off halls and doors. The fact you could grab a bed and move it made it so much more 'real'.
www.rptools.net is where you get it from, you could upload your maps and just turn the grid system on. It would not take much to adjust them to the right size.
OK, here's the thing.
While the map can be prettified by putting in drop shadows, textures etc, the question boils down to this.
What is the purpose of the map? Is it solely for the GM? If this is the case, sure textures and shadows are cool and all, but really serve no functional use as no-one but the DM sees it.
If it is to be used as a battlemap itself (the figures and what not are placed and moved about the map), then these details are most definitely needed.
The same goes for the goodies. As a DM, I highly recommend that ANYTHING that contributes to combat be marked on my DM's map as it is relevant. Case in point: In a past game where the Players were doing the recent WotC Module: THUNDERSPIRE MOUNTAIN, the party was battling a group a Duergar. One of the PCs, an Eladrin Rogue, was shifty about and was standing in front of a fireplace. The Duergar Leader, Bullrushed him into the large fireplace and then stepped into the fireplace blocking his escape.
Now, if the fireplace was NOT marked on the map as a feature, and only mentioned in the descriptive text, how many people would think to include one on the battle map? Same for Chairs. I have had PCs throw chairs in combat as improvised weapons. Same for bags of coins (OK that was an ogre against the PCs, but the point is the same :)).
So, again, what is the purpose, and for furnishings, how important is it to the encounter? A small pile of coins & a scroll? Not overly important. A dagger? Important: someone could pick it up and throw it, best to know where it is. Chairs and tables and beds and other large items. Very Important, Provides cover, obstacles, etc.