At the start of the month I released the Iconic Island – a map pack with an island map and a load of individual map icons indicating things like castles, cities and ruins. Today I’m covering how to create your own icons. This is a slightly longer tutorial than normal and will cover some new Photoshop techniques, specifically using the pen tool, and more on layer blend modes. There’s also a video at the end of the tutorial to help illustrate the steps in more detail.
The Iconic Island
Islands have a special place in our collective imagination. Islands are the other, they contain treasures hidden from society, mad hermits and castaways, and desperate mariners relieved to find fresh food and water.
Pirate Ship Map: Keel Haul the Mutineers!
Piracy is in the air this year. Open Design is now well underway with Journeys to the West – an anthology of adventurers set in the exotic unexplored western ocean – and Paizo is set fair on a course for the swashbuckling adventure path Skull and Shackles. But what good is a pirate (or, ahem, privateer) without a trusty ship?
Well, to resolve that particular problem, this month I’ve put together a pirate ship map that any peg legged terror of the ocean waves can be proud of. After some feedback on my previous ship map pack, this one comes in a number of formats. The pack contains 2 maps of the full ship, one with the ship underway with sails billowing and the other with the ship resting at the harbour quay. In addition, the pack contains fully detailed maps of all three interior deck levels, with captain’s table, storage and crew hammocks. Continue reading “Pirate Ship Map: Keel Haul the Mutineers!”
Charting the Unknown
Normally when a client comes with a map commission, they know what they want you to draw – or they have an idea of the major locations, or at least a landmass. But Open Design doesn’t always choose ‘normal’. Right now I’m mapping the unknown – literally:
The vast ocean will not remain unknown for long. Explorers will board ship in Barsella, the City at the End of the World, and traverse the uncharted waters off the west coast of world of Midgard. They will happen across strange and wondrous lands and populate them with fantastic and deadly beasts (such as the Nethysule). As they create the world, the map will evolve to show their discoveries. The Isle of Morphoi is already taking shape:
Who are the explorers? Well – anyone who chips in on the Journey to the West Kickstarter(it’s not a press-gang, crew on this voyage are entirely voluntary). This project, like many Open Design projects, is a community driven affair. If you contribute $25 or more, you’ll get to jump into the forums and help shape the lands beyond the horizon. The project’s already funded, but there’s no limit on the number of crew for this particular voyage. And, if the kickstarter hits the top goal of $6,500, the final version of this map will be printed out in lustrous glory to adorn the walls of those intrepid explorers that decided to jump the life to come and set out into the storm lashed waters of the Western Ocean.
Free city and archipelago maps
So it seems it slipped my mind to post these maps up. They were created for Wayfinder #3 (a long time ago) and are free for people to download for their own use. I tend to stick to battlemap scale maps for my fantasy map packs as I feel those are the most useful. If you’d like to see maps like this as map packs – let me know in the comments.
First up – an archipelago:
Second – we have a small city (well, really a large town):
These are free for personal use. Feel free to download and share around under the CC-BY-NC-SA license. Who know, a series of islands and a fortified town on the water might be just what you need for the pirates in your Skull and Shackles game!
Pirates off the Starboard Bow!
The latest installment in the Fantastic Maps series takes us to the high seas with pirate ships! I’ve always enjoyed sailing and the tales of dashing captains and dastardly pirates, and when running my home game I decided it was time to get them onto a heaving deck. As Ben McFarland once said to me ‘nothing good ever comes from getting on a ship’. That turned out to be true, and the ship in question ended up on the floor of the bring deep (in this shipwreck map).
Now you too can have your players adventure on the high seas. This map pack has two ships. The first is a modest 35′ two masted pinnace (25′ without the bowsprit) suitable for green adventurers starting out island hopping in an archipelago, or for sneaking up on a larger vessel silent-like: Continue reading “Pirates off the Starboard Bow!”