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Thread: Isometric vector Goth Gulgamel

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  1. #1

    Wip Isometric vector Goth Gulgamel

    My Ptolus campaign is leading into one of the main dungeons of the setting: Goth Gulgamel. Unfortunately, in spite of the importance of the location and the generally high quality of the writing and cartography of the book, this particular dungeon isn't the greatest map or dungeon in the world. It's not bad, but it could use some help.

    I plan on Jaquaying the dungeon (and changing some of the encounters, which is beyond the scope of this post). At the same time, I want to address the main problems with the official map (namely that the scale is all wrong and the size of some of the locations are impractical at the table). In particular, I want to keep the main set piece of the dungeon (room 14, if you are following at home), with its "several-isolated-encounters-that-might-become-one-big-one-if-you-are-not-careful" setup, but still fit the map on the table. The easiest way to do that is to go vertical, which leads to wanting to build an isometric map of the place, with the new Jaquay'ed changes.

    Some other goals:

    • Build the map as vector art (using Illustrator)
    • Also create corresponding battlemaps, also as vector art
    • Use three dimensions, but in a way that avoids hard to understand overlap when projected onto battlemaps at the table
    • Build the map such that someone could still use the original key to the dungeon in the main book, with only slight alterations.
    • As part of the Jaquaying process, particularly address the linearity of the latter half of the dungeon design.
    • Build a couple portions the maps to be printed as posters (at Staples or whatever). This would include the main set piece location and the layout of the entrance (which is complicated, allowing several ways of getting in, all of which are thousands of feet in the air).
    • Build the battlemaps for printing on legal paper, such that each room can be cut out and laid down when/if the party encounters it. This allows for some paper saving, as the individual rooms can be crammed onto the paper as space allows, rather than as slaves to the dungeon layout.

    I'll be using this space to post some progress notes on the mapping portion of this project.
    Last edited by Wordman; 09-16-2013 at 10:12 AM.

  2. #2


    I did most of the Jaquaying a while ago, using dot to graph the nodes of the dungeon and mucking with the graph until I liked it. I'll include these graphs in the final product.

    Having not done isometric work before, I decided to make a rough model of the idea in my head in Cheetah3d. Here is the results:

    For my own reference, so I can reproduce this image later if I change the model, here are my camera settings:

    Position: 230, 260, 250
    Rotation: 45.0, -35.264, 0.0
    Projection: Orthographic
    Zoom: 325
    Last edited by Wordman; 08-23-2013 at 01:21 AM.

  3. #3


    Here is a version of the same model, from the top down:

    Position: 60, 330, 56
    Rotation: 0.0, -90.0, 0.0
    Projection: Orthographic
    Zoom: 445
    Last edited by Wordman; 08-23-2013 at 01:20 AM.

  4. #4


    Here is a nearly final cut of the isometric plan of the place. Final version will be a vector PDF with dimensions of legal paper:

  5. #5


    Forgot the pits, and some other changes:

  6. #6


    Making realistic lava using pure vector art is difficult. Fortunately, for this isometric version, I wanted a more "sketch-like" representation, but one that was still recognizably lava. I'm satisfied with how it turned out. Gets the message across, at least. Here is a 800% view of the lava in location 14e:

    For the horizontal sections, the main object uses no stroke and a dark red fill. On top of this are squiggles with a simple orange brush. On top of this are a big loopy-loop line with a randomized scatter brush (yellow-orange fill). I made the brush with some blobby shapes, rotated and skewed into an isometric look. The brush randomizes on size and position quite a bit, but only changes orientation slightly (keeping the right isometric feel).

    Based on photos I looked at of real lava, when slow moving magma becomes a "waterfall", it brightens (usually because the hotter magma on the bottom falls first). So, the color scheme was inverted for the vertical falling lava sections. The background is the yellow-orange (actually, most are really a gradient which are yellow-orange most of the way, then fading into the dark red of the horizontal background, with the angle chosen to match the direction of the map as needed), the same squiggles in orange, then a different scatter brush in dark red. To give the illusion of falling, I stretched out some ovals for this brush, randomized much as the other one.

  7. #7


    Location 2 is a razor wire tunnel. According to the book, "it stretches across empty air, with a thirteen-hundred-foot drop to the city below. The tunnel is made of curling razorwire with occasional iron supports."

    This is probably much easier in vector than in raster art. The supports are just some simple grey lines, drawn to an isometric perspective. These probably should be a bit less regular and symmetric, but whatever. I found a free razor wire brush by killersevendesigns on deviantArt, so the wire is just some loops (again, keeping to the perspective) with that brush.

  8. #8


    Probably the final version of the isometric map:

  9. #9

  10. #10


    Nice work. Have you ever tried Maya?

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