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Thread: [WIP]VTT Maps for The Dragon's Demand (Pathfinder)

  1. #1
      Raiko is offline
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    Wip [WIP]VTT Maps for The Dragon's Demand (Pathfinder)

    I've lurked on these forums for years and years, picking up great tips and seeing amazing maps without ever actually posting anything, mostly because I start maps then never finish them.

    I'm about to start running Paizo's PFRPG module "The Dragon's Demand" and wanted some 100px per square versions of the dungeons from the module, so I'm determined to post them here as I go along.

    *** The following thread obviously contains SPOILERS to the module, please stop reading if you're going to be a player in this module! ***

    This is a nearly finished WIP of the adventure's first dungeon, the basement of the "Collapsed Tower." I've set myself a target to have this map finished within another week, then move onto the next map.

    I had a few false starts with this dungeon using GIMP, Inkscape and CC3 before settling on a style that I liked using CC3.

    [WIP]VTT Maps for The Dragon's Demand (Pathfinder)-collapsed-tower-3000px.jpg

    Main dungeon floor texture is by Nejour.

    Symbols are all from the Dundjinni forums or Greytale's Nook and are mostly by Greytale, Neyjour or Bogie.
    I'll properly list and credit what I've used when I've finished the map and purged all the unused symbol definitions.

    These are the things that I'm still working on:

    I'm going to swap the beds in the barracks area for different symbols, the white mattresses look out of place and the beds need old blankets on them, due to the circumstances of the dungeon's abandonment.

    The weird triangle artifacts that appear in places around the walls are caused by CC3's bevelling, they vanish if you have a plain (solid) fill underneath, but I forgot to update the underlying sheet before outputting the image file from CC3. I'll fix that in the next version that I post.

    Similiarly the lighter grey 'outer' part of some of the walls is thicker in some places, that's because I forgot to tweak the darker part last time I adjusted the walls. So they'll be fixed next time as well.

    The boulder piles are supposed to be stacked in three sheets, but at the moment they're only in two. I also need to tone down the shadows of the top boulder sheet - they're currently combining with the wall shadows and giving the appearance that the top set of boulders are floating in the air above the others.

    The shadows from the top boulders plus the way that the bevels are shaded also make the cavern tunnel walls above the treasury look higher on the right than the left, so another reason to tone them down!

    The multicolour shape in the central secret area is just a placeholder for now. I need to find or make a steampunky looking clockwork winch with "gears and chains." I haven't found a suitable map object yet, so I'll probably need to try and construct a suitable object using gears, chain, etc from the dundjinni forums.

    The two large chambers in the dungeon that are currently bare need furnishing (and I forgot do add the door to the northeastern one).

    I need to fix the split that appears in the large cavern walls between the smooth and non-smooth parts. I'll probably end up converting the smooth path into a non-smooth fractalised path, then a CORNER command will fix the spilt.

    Because of the textures that I've used, I think the dungeon cells look cleaner than corridors thanks to Nejour's amazing tiles. So I'll probably try to grunge up the cells a bit more.

    The pit trap (small room on the south corridor), will be hidden on the final map.

    Any comments or advice are most welcome!

    I've uploaded a 50px per square version of the map, which is still 3000x3000px. This is the first map I've posted, so I'm not sure what works and what doesn't, when I've finished I'll post the 100px version in the completed maps area.

  2. #2
      Bogie is offline
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    Excellent start to your WIP. Looking forward to seeing the finished map!

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      Raiko is offline
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    Thanks Bogie.

    Just a small update to the map.

    The only changes in this version are that I've fixed the problems with the walls (bevelling artifacts and the splits in the cavern wall). And I've remembered to add the missing door.

    I'm thinking of trying to swap the narrow bevelled edge around the cavern walls for a wider fractal edge that matches the "cliff" areas. The second dungeon map in the module is a cave complex entered from a quarry, so I want to get a good look here that I can use in the next map (where I won't be able to rely on Neyjour's tiles to make my map look good!).

    [WIP]VTT Maps for The Dragon's Demand (Pathfinder)-collapsed-tower-basement-v4.1-x3000.jpg
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  4. #4
      Raiko is offline
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    I had a go over the weekend at redoing the cave walls to better match the stepped "cliffs" in the caves. The results were disappointing though, mostly because I didn't manage to combine thicker fractalised cave walls very well with the way that I've made the map background (which is actually a "foreground", because it's on top of the sheets with the walls!).
    I like the way the background works with the dungeon walls, so I'm going settle with leaving the cave walls as they are. I'll revisit this problem for the next map, which is entirely a cavern map.
    So far the biggest challenge has been to get a unified look to the map that I'm satisfied with simultaneously for the three aspects of the map: (1) intact dungeon, (2) damaged dungeon, (3) caverns. While I'm not 100% satisfied with the cave walls, they're good enough for me in this combined theme map.
    I'm still not happy with the way that I've done the collapsed areas, especially because I went a bit more overboard with the collapsed areas than they were in the adventure’s original map, I did this in order to add more variation to the repetitive corridors.
    The rubble areas themselves are also repetitive because I've used the same two rubble symbols throughout the map. Again, even though I'm not 100% happy with the rubble areas, they’ll do if I don’t have enough time to significantly improve them.
    Ideally I’d like to adjust the way that I’ve drawn the actual walls and backgrounds around the rubble, rather than just using the Dundjinni style crack and shadow overlays, but that’s time consuming in CC3 as it requires editing polygons, creating more polygons underneath the first and playing with sheet effects – you can’t non-destructively edit the walls by creating a couple of new layers like you’d be able to do in GIMP or PS.
    I do prefer working with vector based programs rather than raster programs for dungeon and building maps though, perhaps because I’m an engineer rather than an artist! So I’m determined not to switch back to GIMP for these maps.
    My need for this map isn’t as immediate anymore, so I’m giving myself another two weeks to finish. My plan is as follows:
    1) Finish furnishing the rest of the dungeon, and place some story-essential bodies amongst the rubble in the large cavern. This will ensure that I’ve got a usable map when we eventually start the adventure.
    2) Tweak the dungeon walls. I like the existing look, but there’s no variation. At the very least I want to add some archways, alcoves, etc. to make it look a little more real. If I have time I want to experiment with different ways to draw damaged walls in CC3 to help make the collapsed area look better, and to help with future maps.
    3) If my experiments with damaged walls are successful then I’m going to have a go at redoing all the collapsed rubble areas from scratch.

    Sorry about the long, rambling post without an actual map update. I thought I'd at least write down my current thoughts though! I promise an update to the map next time.
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  5. #5
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    This is a wonderful map Raiko - congratulations.

    I love your background and cave walls just the way they are: elegant and easy to read. I'm glad you didn't try to make them realistic.

    I agree you achieved the 'unified look', and I know what you mean about the collapsed areas. Is the rubble a bit brighter than it needs to be? One idea to get a less repetitive rubble is to find a photo of gravel or similar, stretch it across the entire map so the size of the gravel is about the size of your rubble (you need a really good photo of gravel for this), recolour as necessary, then use a layer mask to only show the gravel in collapsed areas. I've used this technique well in the past (for a dwarf mines map I did). The trick is to find or take a really good photo. I'm not sure how the technique would translate to vector-based programmes.

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      madcowchef is offline
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    I really love this piece. Great textures, great layout, love the detailing, and the lack of too many high saturation colors. I'm not sure what can be done in the program you are using but the biggest problem I see is the rubble piles and the interaction between those, the cracks, and your background. I'd personally like the background a bit darker, its lighter than a lot of your flooring so it makes it look like a floor above the map rather than fill around it, and this only gets worse near the cracks. Though there are a lot of options for the rubble, as you've mentioned, one thing that would help for me is a simple gradient on it so it gets darker as it moves away from the lighted halls into the cracks. Not sure if that's possible with your program at all.
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      Raiko is offline
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    Thank you both for your kind words and helpful advice.
    Unfortunately CC3 doesn’t have layer masks, or easy methods to apply gradients to selective areas of the map. However I could set up the rubble in GIMP and then import it back into the CC3 map. In which case I’d be able to take on board everything that both of you have suggested. Thanks!

    @madcowchef: Hee hee, the “background” does indeed look like it’s above the floors/walls. I liked the style of these floorplan tiles, that Kristian Richards of The Crooked Staff, posted on Google+ (I can’t find any posts by him on this forum unfortunately). So I wanted to try and have a similar raised, bevelled “surface” above the walls for my dungeon map.

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      Raiko is offline
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    Iíve finally gotten back to working on the map; I hope to have it ready for play this weekend, so I should be making daily updates until itís done.
    Iíve been side-tracked a little checking out the most recent version of Maptool, itís actually a couple of years since I last used it and I had originally planned to use Roll20 instead before I saw what you can do using ďWolph42ís Bag of TricksĒ. So Iíve spent much of the last couple of weeks getting used to Maptool again.

    [WIP]VTT Maps for The Dragon's Demand (Pathfinder)-collapsed-tower-basement-v5-x3000.jpg

    Changes in this version:
    • I used JdRís map bits as fill styles trick on the various floor, grunge, dirt, flat symbols and lowermost rubble sheets. These were all replaced by a single png file, which is great because I can now see the ďfinalĒ version of the floor without needing to turn effects on, and the whole map updates a lot faster when effects are active.
    • Iíve started to furnish the interrogation room, mostly using butchered versions of Bogieís excellent presets from the Dundjinni forums (theyíre probably in Bogieís Mapping Elements, Starting with Preset Tables and Chairs thread as well. Iím finding this harder than expected, the prison is supposed to have been abandoned for decades, so I canít use straw or gore to make it look authentic, but I still want it to look dirty and ďrealĒ. Iíll be adding some rusty tools to the table, and will have another go at aging Bogieís excellent furniture if I have time.
    • Iíve added some pillars to the larger rooms, I still need to add some to the treasury room. These pillars werenít in the original map, but the interrogation room looked better with pillars than without, so Iíve added them to other rooms as well.
    • Iíve hidden the trap layer, so the pit had vanished. The place-holder ďmachineryĒ is also hidden for now.
    • Iíve added sconces to some of the pillars, Iíll be trying to add the rest of this sort of minor set dressing tonight.

    TO-DO:
    Apart from what Iíve already mentioned above, Iím going to rotate the floor texture in the interrogation room and then try to line the step shadows up with the mortar, the horizontal alignment of the texture looks rubbish where the steps are.
    The large octagonal room on the southern corridor needs is empty in the adventure apart from a guardian construct, but Iíll try to do something to stop it looking featureless, even if I just add a few cobwebs and loose stones. At the very least Iíll make the eastern archway look better.
    Iíve decided to leave the rubble alone for now, Iíll hopefully have time to tweak it slightly in GIMP when Iíve finished the CC3 stuff. All your suggestions above gave me ideas on how I might have done the rubble/collapse areas differently, but as the next map in this adventure is a large cave lair I think Iíll try different techniques on that map.

  9. #9
      Raiko is offline
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    [WIP]VTT Maps for The Dragon's Demand (Pathfinder)-collapsed-tower-basement-v5.1-x3000.jpg

    Almost done!

    I made the pillars a little smaller in this version, added a little clutter to the octagonal room plus a minor edit to that room's eastern doorway to symbolise an archway rather than a hole in the wall. And I've added pillars to the treasury.
    Still to-do:
    • Add some rusty tools to the table in the interrogation room.
    • Shift the caged area in the treasury 5ft to the right, it looks weird off-centre now that the pillars are added.
    • Add some machinery into the central secret room.
    • Create separate small images showing the open pit, and the missing ledge section raised (allowing the green liquid filled trench to be safely passed).
    • Create separate small images showing the secret doors opened.
    • Add a border, title, scale, etc.

    I'll try to get as much of this as possible done tonight.

    I've actually got three separate games that I need to make maps for now, so I'm going to have to become a bit more prolific with my mapping. I've learnt a lot doing this map though, posting it online has made me think about what I'm doing a lot more than I normally would. I think my workflow will be different in future, so I hope my next few maps will be of at least the same quality, but more quickly produced.

    For the record, the maps that I need to make are for Rise of the Runelords and Savage Tide as well as The Dragon's Demand. Thereíre loads great of RotRL maps already on the internet, but I still fancy doing my own if I can! I find that running published adventures it helps a lot if you've produced your own maps, as you can remember better which room description goes with which room, I tend to have a bit of a disconnect in my brain between keyed locations on a map and the actual room description!
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  10. #10
      madcowchef is offline
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    Looking great. I agree about work flow, 9nce you can nail that everthing goes quicker.
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