WIP - Mapping the Underdark
Inspired by these boards, I decided to start on a new map. However, as marketing director for a school, I find I don't quite have the time needed to sit through a full map in one go like I usually do.
I also discovered that I have no good graph paper around, so I had to make do with a single piece that I found somewhat crumpled in a drawer.
Anyways - this is a piece in progress for a D&D game.
- Location that can be used for 1 to 3 fights.
- Set up so these fights can overlap into each other easily, so it could become one huge running battle.
- Abandoned location where a group of drow archaeologists are looking for something
So, I settled on an old fortress of some kind that had a water supply, but where the water level had gone up in the distant past, making it so most of the old site is unusable because it is under a few feet of water.
However, because fighting in knee and waist deep water is no fun, a chunk of the location is above the waterline, and this will include some larger spaces to keep the encounters more interesting, whereas the semi-submerged portions are going to include a lot more 5 and 10 foot halls.
And of course, multiple levels. Because I love 3D battlefields.
- - -
So I started with the main entrance. Right off the bat I got the multiple level effect across by using a stone bridge over the entrance passage. To accent that the raised sections weren't the primary part of the fortress, I've made the stairs in that section a mix of man-made and natural formations.
You can see how my map drawing technique works in this partially done piece. I draw out the sections, and then go back and double-up the main walls, then add the cross-hatching. One of the big advantages of the cross-hatching is also shown on this map - the obvious one is that it makes the stone walls dark and "stoney", but it also makes it so when I white out the grid lines, I can do it quickly without damage to any of the walls, and the grid lines are barely visible in the cross-hatched sections.
This in-progress shot was scanned and a slight increase in both brightness and contrast was applied. For a final, I would increase contrast significantly more to make my pencil drawings look more 'inked'.
Useful tool for making a 2d map 3d.....
Excellent map Hellhound, keep it up ;)
One tool you might want to play around with for help in visualizing complex 3d maps is Google SketchUP. I posted a link to it and to a series of incredible 3d rpg maps a fellow named Nonethewiser had done for Goodmangames here:
Take a look. In None's hands, the results have been incredible. You've mentioned that the time you can devote to mapping is limited, and I don't know how difficult SketchUp is to master--but if you can, the results are well worth it.