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Thread: Vampire Hall

  1. #1
    Guild Member rlucci's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Minnesota, USA

    Map Vampire Hall

    My first Map! My first Post!

    I created this last weekend in Photoshop and posted it in an EN World forum. A couple fellows suggested that I come over to Cartographer's Guild. So here I am!

    I had such a blast doing this that I want to do more! But I want to get better and faster, too. I did this one in about 8 or 9 hours, but I think I can do better with templates and re-usable objects. That and the great tips I've been picking up from this site! Gawd, I didn't realize how many wheels I was re-inventing.

    Anyway, I'm looking for any thoughts or suggestions for improving future maps. And since this is my first post, I have no idea how big I should be making my attachments (this post is about a quarter of my original). Is there an unwritten preference?
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    Last edited by rlucci; 11-30-2007 at 08:53 PM.

  2. #2


    I'd say shoot for however large you need to communicate what you want to say. That size is adequate for that map, I think.

    There are file size limits listed on the attachments screen--if you're shooting for maximum detail, those are good guidelines. Generally speaking, most folks around here seem to prefer the PNG file format because it's compressible, not lossy, and permits transparency.

    Now, on to the comments about the map! I like this style very much--it strikes a nice balance between photoreal and illustrative--artistic and yet neat and clear enough to be understood easily. I think it could use some more textural variety--something to "dirty up" the flagstones, make them look less manufactured, perhaps.

    If you haven't already seen it, take a look at Torq's entry to September's Challenge: A few blood splatters, some soot, and light made a huge difference on that map.

    I don't think you should go quite that far with it, but throwing some lighting variations on the floor, especially in the great hall where you can exploit those columns, could look really great. And dust collected in the corners--vampires aren't the world's greatest housekeepers, after all!

    Good work, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work!
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  3. #3
    Community Leader pyrandon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Michigan, USA


    Hello, rlucci, and welcome! Good for you, posting a map right off--and a good one too. Very impressive--especially if it only took you 9 hours to create in Photoshop (it took me about 20 to make a map about 1/4 as good when I first tried. Believe me, I know what you mean about re-inventing the wheel!!)

    I think Midgardsormr is right about the texture & "dirtying up"--especially as this is a vampire (and hence, horror) locale. The layout is fine as far as I can tell, and your nice, clean lines show it clearly, but this map has no mood, no sense of tone, which could be easily fixed with a few more layers (with layer styles) on top, lighting effects, some grunge brushes, etc. Just an idea to improve an already nice map!

    Once again, welcome to our abode! Glad you found us and hope you both learn and contribute a lot!
    GM, Westaven
    My gallery is here
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    "Keep your mind in hell, but despair not." --Saint Silouan [1866-1938]

  4. #4
    Guild Journeyer thebax2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Baton Rouge, LA


    Greetings rlucci,

    I posted a few suggestions for future maps on the Enworld messageboard posting, so I will not repeat them here. Welcome to the guild.

    Not to be too contrarian, but I like maps that follow the KISS principle (keep it simple....). There's nothing wrong with grunging it up a little bit, but for those of us who sometimes like to print out maps for an adventure or use them in a projector (those rare times I get access to one) simpler is better.

    A cautionary tale--a cartographer by the name of Todd Gamble did a book of maps for Green Ronin several years back. The book unfortunately flopped because while the maps were colorful, pretty and very skillfully executed, the maps had so many layers and shadings that you could only write on them using a dayglo and it was sometimes difficult to make out small features (like doors).

    Regardless, I look forward to seeing you develop your style and you'll find a tremendous amount of advice to be had around here.

  5. #5


    That's a good point. I think it would be possible to "grunge it up" without disrupting the simplicity, though. The trick would be to do it with a very light hand. Anything that obscured a grid-line, for instance, should probably be considered too much.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  6. #6


    Very well done, rlucci - I was really impressed with this when I first saw it over at EN World. I think you've done a good job capturing the Christopher West style. I love his floor plan maps for RPGs too because they tend to have a good balance between form and function.
    JUST ADD HEROES An ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game Blog by Joe "jaerdaph" Bardales

  7. #7
    Guild Member heruca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Buenos Aires, Argentina


    Great job on this map. It definitely has a Chris West look and feel to it, but that's a good thing. Looks pretty professional. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

    BTW, there's a typo in your map key ("Teasure Vault").
    Looking for cross-platform virtual tabletop software that can be used with any RPG system?

  8. #8


    What an elegant map that conveys a plethora of information without overwhelming the viewer. The floorplan is interesting and the incoming/outgoing sewage tunnels lead one to believe there is more to be discovered.

    If you ever find yourself with the time and desire to produce a tutorial on how to create maps with this style, I would be very interested.
    "Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it."

    Atlas Shrugged authored by Ayn Rand

  9. #9
    Professional Artist mmmmmpig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Columbus, Ohio


    I would pause before grunging it up too much. Think about if these are fastidious Vampires or more ghoulish vampires. Maybe the construction areas or the areas where the lesser vampires roam need to be dirtied up. Just a thought.
    Something witty and pithy

  10. #10

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