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.
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.
New Map Pack – The Ice Bridge
It’s the first of the month – and that means a new map pack! This month we’re starting off with the opening scene from the Breaking of Forstor Nagar. This is a chasm of icy water leading to the front gate of a city carved from a glacier. A great arching bridge spans the channel and a longship full of cold eyed killers and explosives hoves into view, heading for the frozen defences.
Here’s the map from the opening encounter as it appears in the adventure:
Of course the map pack does not assume you’re playing Breaking of Forstor Nagar. This could be the entrance to a Frost Giant stronghold, a white dragon lair or a viking clanhold. The pack is separated into pieces that allow you to use it in as many different ways as possible (lots more after the jump). Continue reading “New Map Pack – The Ice Bridge”
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!”