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Thread: 'llo, folks. (Pic Heavy Post)

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  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice Plastic_Jack's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    Post 'llo, folks. (Pic Heavy Post)

    I've been running a DnD campaign for a few years now, and my favorite part of DMing has always been scribbling up maps. My players have always given me a hard time about my over-indulgence in my self proclaimed cartography fetish, so imagine my delight at stumbling across a community of like-minded individuals here.
    We play a weekly game, so my prep time is always extremely limited, but I've come up with a system for myself that lets me crank out a couple of functional dungeon, town, or wilderness maps in an evening's work - along with writing the next section of the campaign and populating the nooks and crannies with the usual suspects.
    Of course, most of these are never seen by the players - things unfolding as they do in blue dry erase pen on the battlemat. Only occasionally can I find the excuse to work up a slightly more detailed map - drawing it up by hand, scanning, and tweaking/coloring in CS4.
    At any rate, I look forward to learning from the experienced GMs and cartographers out there, and C&C, even of the most brutal variety, is always appreciated.
    Without further ado - here's a few of my quick n' dirty night-before-the-game maps for perusal. As I said, noone sees these maps but me, so the coloring is just to help me remember the intended atmosphere when making up descriptions on the fly.

    Like this little port town the PCs came upon as it burnt to the ground in the wake of a raiding party.

    A mid-level dungeon map.

    The ubiquitous crypt.

    An eerie, crystalline-stalagmite studded cave system.

    And a small, fortified frontier town experiencing an unexpected population boom of war refugees, ramshackle wooden buildings being thrown up outside of it's walls.

    Thanks for taking the time to look!
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    Last edited by ravells; 05-12-2009 at 04:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Welcome to the guild. These looks good to me, especially since they're meant to be quickies. I don't see anything that I'd change and it's a nice easy-on-the-eyes style. Very nice.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)

    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  3. #3
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Surrey, Canada, EH!


    Welcome to the Guild!
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  4. #4
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    Welcome Aboard!

    Have some 'rep' for showing us some maps in your intro post. *bonk*
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  5. #5
    Guild Journeyer msa's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    New York, NY


    Very nice maps! I like the gradients on some of them, although I can tell you need to be careful or it affects readability. I also like the texture/pattern you use on the background. How do you make that?

    There are a number of tutorials on the site that explain how to use feathered selections and clouds/noise to randomize mountains or the edges of continents. They also work really nice for creating realistic rough cave walls. You might try one the cavern map and see how it turns out.

  6. #6
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    I love the style - that's great. That's a very nice solution to making pretty maps in a short time. Welcome to the guild.
    Fantasy Map Blog | My food illustration
    Everything I post is free for use and redistribution under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence, except where noted otherwise in the thread.

  7. #7
    Secret Super-User StillCypher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    That is a really pretty style you've got going there with the textures and gradients. I like 'em!
    “It is not down in any map; true places never are.” (Herman Melville)

    “A good map is both a useful tool and a magic carpet to far away places." (unknown)

  8. #8
    Guild Apprentice
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Virginia, mostly.


    Love the style and the maps in general. You should post some of them up with their keys, I'd really like to know what all the important buildings in Theradyn are, your trap keys for your dungeons, etc. etc. Mostly so I could steal these maps and use them in my own campaigns

    They're beautifully done and look like a lot of consideration went into them too, even if they are just "quick n' dirty night-before-the-game maps."
    Both of my main programs are free! Find them here:
    SketchUp 7
    Note that you need a SketchUp to Kerkythea exporter, which can be found on the Kerkythea website.

  9. #9
    Community Leader Gracious Donor ravells's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    London, UK


    Hi Plastic Jack and welcome to the guild - some very nice maps you have there! I hope you don't mind but I've uploaded them locally so they thumbnail (it keeps the massive filesize down in the post) - if people want to see them in all their glory they can click on the thumbnails.

    To thumbnail a map, click go advanced, click the paperclip and follow the instructions.



  10. #10
    Guild Apprentice Plastic_Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    Thanks, all. The kind words are greatly appreciated.

    @msa - I like that background texture quite a bit, as I'm sure you can tell by the fact that I slap it under pretty much all the maps. I'm sure there's an easier way with the world-bending powers of photoshop to achieve a similar effect, but I did it the 'old-fashioned' way, I guess. Stained a piece of cardstock with coffee grounds and a few washes of sepia paint, scanned, and dropped it in as a semi-transparent layer, opacity of 25%ish.

    @Novarri - Heh, thanks! That is the sincerest form of flattery. I'll see if I can dig up those old dungeon keys, I've got them saved somewhere - Theradyn is the 'hometown' in my current game - building names, descriptions, relevant NPCs, price lists, etc all piled into one reference document for me to use during the game... so the key is something like twenty-six pages long, might be getting more than you want, there.

    @ravs - Thanks for taking it upon yourself to do that bit of legwork for me, mate. I appreciate it. I knew that'd be an issue, hence the thread title disclaimer, and intended to muddle through it later today - but you've saved me a good bit of trial and error. In the future, thumbnails for all.

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