None of my dungeons are flat. I always have things for people to jump off or fall into. But if you’re laying out a top down view it can be tricky to show elevation on a map.
There’s a lot of old-school gaming posts going round today, and I thought this one would fit in. This isn’t really a tutorial, more a set of thoughts on different ways to indicate walls on a line map. Continue reading
Every week there’s a challenge on Google+ called the #fridayfiveminutemap challenge. This week the theme will be isometric. To give everyone a fighting chance, I’m offering a couple of resources for free.
Here’s a sheet of isometric grid paper. I’d assumed such a thing was easily available, but it seems not. Please feel free to take this and use it for whatever you like. I’ve also attached the .psd file with the grid on a separate layer so that you can get a little fancier with adding a grid to your digital maps.
If you want to dig a little further, I’ve put together a couple of tutorials on illustrating isometric maps:
A while ago I was commissioned to illustrate a three story ruined keep, with a dungeon beneath, for Mongoose Publishing. This was in my pre-Photoshop days (2009). It makes me wince a bit to see the messiness of the linework in these, but they served their purpose for the job at hand, and looking at old work is a good way to gauge progress.
Images © Mongoose Publishing, reproduced with permission
This isn’t quite as formal as previous tutorials. After I created the tutorial for drawing water, I carried on and quickly coloured and shaded the flagstones. Here’s the video of that process, which fills in a lot of my standard working method – base colour and then a collection of overlay layers to add detailed light and shade.
It’s often the case that you find that you have a map from an adventure that has labels on it. You need to remove the labels before you show it to your players or they’ll know where the bad guys are. On many maps this is actually pretty easy. Continue reading
This week it’s all about the dungeon, and I’ve been covering ways of creating dungeon maps without actually drawing anything. These tips should work whether you’re a natural doodler or you think pencils are the devil incarnate.
Castle Defence – a classic gatehouse
Castles are built for more than one reason – people live there, guards are stationed there and often they are political power centers for the region. But first and foremost they are built to keep people out. Continue reading
Ben McFarland, Clinton Boomer and Matt Banach have some strange ideas.
Coliseum Morpheoun came from their twisted minds – a demiplane of dreams and nightmares where teams in search of glory duke it out in a dream warped arena for the pleasure of the Khan of Nightmares.
(click through for a larger version)
This is a mini adventure that spins off from that, or works as a stand-alone in its own right. The PCs are sent down the rabbit hole into the dark chaotic underbelly of the plane of dreams. The adventure takes place across five separate locations – each a little weirder than the last.
I was brought on board to map their creation, and this is the result. I’ve removed any labels to avoid spoilers. I wanted to give a bit of a feel of the disjointed and chaotic nature of the realm, whilst also giving a bit of a feel of a journal of some hapless academic explorer. I like the overall look and feel that resulted. If you want find out what the locations actually hold, then check out the full adventure (currently at a reduced price for launch): 5 Room Dungeon on RPGNow.
Not all the maps I get asked to do are full colour multi-page affairs. Pantheon Press contacted me back in the spring to ask for some black and white maps for their tarot card based game system – Fortune’s Fool. These maps were for their Grimm Tales adventure – I’m sure you’ll recognise a lot of the references:
There’s a special challenge to maps like these. Each map has been uploaded at 100dpi, so the size you see it on the screen is roughly the size it appears in print. That’s not a lot of space to get a lot of detail in, and when you can only use greyscale you lose more tools for differentiating different features.
The sites were fun to walk through, and I got to design the Manor house from scratch – which had some unique challenges due to the nature of the residents. It’s not often that I get to reference Jurassic Park in design discussions on maps – I’ll let you guess why.