Nice narrative - A Lot of fun...
I was interested by the comments on the voting thread about use of encounter area, particularly that the shipwreck map I put together was too small, too arty or had too much overhead clutter for a battlemap. I designed it specifically for use as a battlemap for an online campaign I'm running with maptool and so every decision was made with VTTs in mind. This is why the masts are down, for example, rather than being overhead, obscuring the action.
Now rather than just be irritated, I decided that there must be something wrong with the map, or my presentation of it. The best way I can see to test the criticisms and show how that map should be used was to put it into maptool and see how it worked. This is something of an experiment and I'd be interested to hear any comments.
First of all the party needed a boat. They can't start up on the shipwreck or the adventure is indeed over before it has started.
It is a transparent png so can be used over the sea of this map, or any other.
Right, in the maptool campaign we can then place the PCs on the launch approaching the wreck. They can see a few forms peering over the aft-castle and shooting at them through the stormy night.
They avoid the wild shots of the starving pirate crew an board over the sinking stern. A wild hand to hand battle ensues but they make it on-board.
The fighters head down onto the lower decks to clear more of the defenders, fighting a dangerous battle balanced on the fallen mast against two ragged undead ghouls - the remains of mariners forced to eat each other for survival. Any slip could be the last as the stormy waters hold almost certain death for a heavily armoured fighter who loses his footing.
Behind them they hear a strangled cry of help from their archer. A tentacle the size of his waist has crashed over the side.
The archer is pulled to the rail and fights desperately against the tug of the sea monster. As he is drawn inexorably over the side he sees the face of the beast that is trying to eat him and cries in in horror.
So there's a quick demo of maptool. That's precisely what the map would look like to the players as they were exploring. Obviously that is one particular use of the map and doesn't even touch the use of the bow area. I hope this shows the map in use and addresses some of the criticisms that this is not a practical battlemap.
Obviously this is blatant vote swaying , but given the open discussion on the voting thread I felt that a reply was needed to some of the claims - at least to show how this map would be used in practical VTT use.
You're welcome. It was fun to create a small boat that could be used over the sea background. My players have decided to buy a ship so I think I'll map that as a movable png objects that can be used over a sea background. Now all I need to do is create a tiling sea texture and we can have large scale ship battles in maptool. Should be a lot of fun!
That's definitely the best way to create a large scale, low memory map for VTT play. An infinite tiling background allows for a very large playing area and doesn't hit the processor too hard. We should get Dorpond to showcase some of his massive VTT maps now that we've all had a taste of the challenge of mapping for a VTT.
My Finished Maps
Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Note that the things that are visible/invisible are handled automatically in maptool - so you don't need to hide enemies by hand. It figures out what characters can see and only reveals that to the players. So when they just see a tentacle - they have no idea what's attached to the other end!