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Thread: May Entry: Bluffs Encounter

  1. #1

    Post May Entry: Bluffs Encounter

    I have seen many maps over the period of many years and I came to realize that there were very few bluff style maps. Yeah, I have seen some small encounter areas built by the great community over at, but nothing that was roomy enough to give a few sessions of gaming.

    So that sparked the idea:
    Make a map that is based in a bluff terrain that is roomy enough to have a couple gaming sessions. This is probably more of a personal challenge more than anything else.

    Well I have the 75k issue. The good news is that we all do. This issue will probably effect me more however since more gaming real estate = less quality. For me to pull this off, I am probably going to have to use the smallest pixel-per-cell setting which will make the overall map look less pretty but give me the space I need for the party to plan, approach, and conquer.

    Planned Settings:
    Dimensions: 1280x1024
    Pixels per Cell: 25

    Mapping Tool: Photoshop CS3

    Here is a concept of the bluffs that I whipped up in Photoshop. It is just a concept of the terrain. When I am said and done with this map, I will do all I can to share the PSD file so that you guys can see how I approach map making. Warning -- I am very messy and make lots and lots of layers. My organization skills with layering definately needs improving.

    More to come...

    (Note: The first image is the concept image, the second image is the contest final - I wanted it on the first page for you all to get to it easily)
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    Last edited by dorpond; 05-27-2008 at 11:57 AM.

  2. #2


    More concept: I quickly sketched some huts to get an overall feel. I threw down some shadows for the bluffs, again to observe the general feel. Not sure if I want such strong shadows or not at this point.
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  3. #3


    Interesting concept! I really like your bridges! Be fun to see how this turns out. How do the people who live on top of the bluffs get down to ground level?

  4. #4

    Post Nice start, Dorpond!

    Nice Bluff Map, Dorpond.

    I'd say to cut those shadows to 50% in darkness or transparency, so you can see the bridges and ground better.

    To getting to the ground either include timber ladders, bridges to bluffs mostly off map, you could say, larger extended bluffs are on the other side of the bridge and that's how people get there. Or, they could be simply be climbing up the bluffs, not unlike the Anasazi do at their cliff dwellings.

    Nice looking map so far!

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  5. #5


    What's really interesting is that I did sort of draw in paths leading up the two northern bluffs. I guess that proves I need to make them a bit more obvious.

    Thanks for the heads up with that.

    As far as shadowing - yeah, I don't think I care for the bluff shadows in the concept and I think they will make the overall map too dark.

    Nice seeing that you agree.
    Last edited by dorpond; 05-19-2008 at 09:52 PM.

  6. #6


    Although I know that you think that the shadows are too dark, I think that might be appropriate for some settings. The world of the gulleys is a dark and forboding area.

    However, currently the shadows of the bluff fall evenly regardless of the elevation of the terrain the shadows fall upon.

    The bridges, for the most part, should be above the shadows and in the light. Likewise, the bluffs should rise out of the shadows. I recommend masking those areas and erasing or increasing the transparency of the shadows.

    The change in lighting should really make those areas pop out at you.

  7. #7
    Community Leader Torq's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Cape Town, South Africa


    I'm loving this map already Dorpond. Great, artistic use of colour and understated contrasts make it tremendously cool. I personally prefer darker shadows because they increase the atmosphere and add to the muted nature of a map, which I prefer.

    What is on the ground that makes the villagers want to buid on top of the high areas. Is it something really dangerous perhaps or are you just bluffing?

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  8. #8
    Administrator Redrobes's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    Great Stuff Dorpond. 23 gauntlets thrown in now. You will get a pic on the thumbnails page if you add a Latest WIP tag. (Click on my entry if you need more info on that).

    People like to comment a lot and throw lots of ideas in and around. I'll see a little more as you have lots of ideas already. I reckon a little shadow is alright tho... especially if your a priest with good turning ability.

  9. #9


    That's really sweet.

    Something to remember, these are battle maps. You need enough open space in order to place minis. Don't get too carried away filling up the blank spaces.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by GM's Apprentice View Post
    ....The change in lighting should really make those areas pop out at you.
    Yeah, after looking at the whole shadow thing, I think I am going to approach this more with the sun at mid-day or something. Shadows are nice but I think the general viewers will focus more on the accuracy of the shadows instead of the overall map. To be completely honest with you, I am not an artist by any means so I probably have the hardest times with the shadows.

    All very helpful though - thank you!
    Last edited by dorpond; 05-19-2008 at 09:11 PM.

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