Map (Click to enlarge)
Created in: Gimp
The Pirate Cove map is a wonderful blend of the artistic and the functional. Drawn entirely in GIMP with a tablet it exemplifies what one can do with not only artistic talent but also the understanding of cartography as art. This map is being used in MapTool, a Virtual Tabletop, and as such the artist wanted to provide an immersive feel, but also required a "playable" area where tokens could be placed and moved around thus the need for high resolution. Since creating this map Torstan has received many requests for the "objects" within the map so that others could use this great artwork for their own maps.
This map was designed for use with the Mysteries of the Moonsea adventure by Wizards of the Coast. The story is that a group of pirates and bandits have an uneasy alliance and that they both use the same cove as a base of operations. They have recently been forced to coexist more closely as the pirates have suffered damage to their ship and are holed up mending it. This, coupled with monsters in the treasure cave, has created a tense atmosphere between the two parties. Inevitably the arrival of the players is the catalyst that sparks the conflict.
The encounter has lots of interesting potential but the provided map (shown here) is very minimalist. I wanted to create something that made more use of the pirate/bandit camp idea - such as rope-bridges, tree-house watchtowers and (of course) a pirate ship. I also wanted to allow a number of different entries to the camp to avoid a linear adventure.
I also wanted to try out a new style. I've tried photo-realistic maps and they take a very long time and usually fall short of the result I'm after. This map had a tight time-frame as I needed it for my next game so a highly detailed and textured map was not an option. After the warm reception of a more hand-drawn set of cave maps I decided to try to pin down a consistent hand-drawn style. This was in part inspired by the maps of Rob Lazarretti, the cartographer for Mysteries of the Moonsea, and partly by the recent acquisition of a graphics tablet.
This gave me a good framework in which to work and with the ever-useful comments and criticism from the community here the map, and the style, took shape. I'm very happy with the results and plan to use this style in my future maps, hopefully refining it further on the way."
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