Map – Arch Above The Ruins

I’ve been doing some more map making to wind down in the evenings – this time using Inkarnate as I get used to the layering options and thinking about the constructive layers involved in areas with multiple levels. In this case the concept was a battle location on a walkway high above some ruins below in some vaulted space underground. Depending on which way any of the various groups wander this may turn up in a session at some point as something I can just drop people into.

The map is for a 40×30 grid square on a landscape orientation for a virtual tabletop – with the main battle areas being the more brightly lit landings and walkway connecting them. The ziggurat and other buildings below could be any depth below depending on how you might want to run the encounter – anywhere from tens to hundreds of feet drop. Even now, looking at it, I’m considering how I might add a blur to the lower level so its implying a different height for the purposes of suggesting eye focus.

I’ve added a couple of lighting shades and textures to the lower level to try and suggest depths apart from the braziers on top of the ziggurat – and then added some lanterns on the walkway to make it stand out a little and draw the eye.

The types of encounters that could be run here range from being cornered by guardians, being attacked by flying predators, stand-offs threatening an object being dropped over the ziggurat’s flames, traps defending the entrance to the complex while implying what is to come later – go wild – and if you let me know some of the uses you put it to, that’ll be lovely.

Enjoy! The map is yours, freely.

Map – Closer View of Amberhammer Environs

I’ve been catching up on shows this evening through the fog of painkillers and decided to spend a bit of time fleshing things out around the DDC adventures – so I’ve just drawn this up on Inkarnate. Its only a first draft to get used to a different style of map so I’m not sure yet if it will get used in this format or see major revisions.

parchment-style map of land bracketed by mountains and hills with extensive forested areas. A river and lakes descend along the left hand side. Various unnamed icons are dotted around suggesting ruins, farms, a mill, and a main settlement within a shield shape

I wanted to suggest features I threw in off the top of my head while describing the area during sessions – with hilly approaches from the south east and north east, and a mountainous pass to the north west. I also made mention of a forest that the DDC fled through after their first encounter with the denizens that had taken over the Hold, so that had to make an appearance. I’ve dotted a few farms – two grain and one gourds to the north, and marked good fishing to the west along with a mill.

During the attempts to draw together allies I mentioned an abandoned settlement near a depleted mine so reasoned there would likely be several of those in the area – marked with ruins and mine signs dotted around. There’s also a nice big open plains area to the north of the Hold where the main pitched battle took place, but that can also develop into a location for a trading hub now that House Sivis has opened the teleport circle. I’m still mulling over how much of a time elapse there will be in-game before the next game chapter – if only so the poor adventurers can have a rest and catch a bit of a break to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Map – Village Edge

I made this in Dungeon Alchemist a few months ago as a test piece – wanting a simple encounter map among fields at the edge of a village. A small bridge over a stream can act as a focal point for people arriving at, or leaving, a location. There’s plenty of fences and items for cover for ambushes. There’s trees and shrubs and terrain height differences to play with (or ignore) – and the time of day is set in this sample to sunset. I’ll post a file below with the original file and text file for light sources.

Roll20 have an API for importing files from Dungeon Alchemy that can be set to run so that you don’t need to manually set the map size. Simply upload the graphic and set it to the background/map level and then copy and paste the text file into the chat input box. The map is then resized appropriately, and you’re set up for Dynamic Lighting if you use it.

And here’s the zipped file for download: Village-Edge.zip

Map – Abandoned Riverside Hut

I’ve been using Dungeon Alchemist since backing it as a Kickstarter and then editing in Roll20 once I’ve imported it there – it helps automate a lot of scenery and placement of items when I’m not particularly fussed about the details or if I’m looking for inspiration for an encounter. The software is available through Steam and had some interesting updates recently allowing you to import Heroforge counters and walk around in first person around in the maps when generated – I’ll be watching that with interest.

This map was quickly spammed up to have a generic outdoors encounter space – and in the end I used it as a camp location while the group was travelling to Amberhammer Hold. Its where Caeluma learned it was their birthday and where their celestial patron manifested briefly to help celebrate.

The map was generated with a semi 3D perspective to make it pop a bit better – and as Dungeon Alchemist is aimed at producing maps for export to virtual tabletops it also produced a lighting map for Dynamic Lighting. As an outdoor scene set at dusk, I wasn’t so worried about light levels, but I’ll include the text file to download if anyone wants it

Have fun – the original jpg and text file are in this zipfile: Loggers Hut Pack

Quiet Day

I worked more than a few extra hours over the last few weeks, so with a nod from the boss I claimed today back to recover a bit, and I’m glad I did. There’s some family stuff that landed yesterday, mostly related to people’s health, some of which is in the “eh, okay” pile and some in the “oh” pile.

So in between being shattered, I’ve also been processing that – and part of how I’ve been doing that has been making more maps. So that’s a bit of a good news/bad news thing: been an unsettling day, but here’s some creative stuff for your gaming needs.

Enjoy! I’ll stick them up in the respective gaming pages in due course

Shut Down

Yesterday was exhausting due to a number of people going sick, but in general it was still just as rewarding. There are so many young families rediscovering the libraries and hearing the laughter of small children back in the library has been uplifting.

We were going to game this evening, but general exhaustion and lack of spoons led to us deciding to have a night off – so I’ve been making random spare battlemaps on www.inkarnate.com that may end up being used, or may not. I’ll add copies to this site in the next few days.

Meanwhile, here’s some pretty dice that arrived this afternoon:

Clicky-clacky

Cave Map

I’m going to get on with making a page just for maps, using old and new material, probably starting this evening.

In the meantime, here’s a very quick cave map with a stream pubbing through it from a spring at the back. A group of smuggler’s (or other antagonists of choice) have made use of a cluster of side caves and installed a portcullis style gate to deter intruders.

Further back in the cave there is a branch where a fissure opened up and a number of cave fishers (or other suitable pest-level monsters) have settled in, eating vermin and fish that emerge from the depths in the water. By and large the two sets of inhabitants ignore each other barring opportunistic encounters.

Lady M made an unflattering comparison to a set of mutated ovaries and associated organs, but she’s flying on painkillers post-surgery so I’m going to nod and smile…

Getting Creative

In between a couple of odds and ends, plus doing a week’s groceries or so, I’ve spent time fleshing out the adventure the DDC is most likely to have over the next few weeks – mostly in terms of flavour text and items – on an old imported map I made a few years ago.

The thing is, perfectionist that I am, I’m not entirely happy with how the grids align with the layout. The grids are what each counter or token are set into on the Roll20 maps. At present they’re slightly off so items and characters could end up halfway into walls. In addition, its a simply styled drawing generated by a webpage, so it looks somewhat plain compared to some of the full colour ones I’m generally using.

I do have the option to switch off the feature that snaps items to the grid, but at the moment I’m trying to simplify things for the less experienced players – and there is that whole graphics element as well…

So thats why I’m taking the modular stone building set i mentioned the other day, and have started recreating the map in a version two. There’s probably more productive things I could be doing, but the map making geek in me is happy as a clam.

Maps and Mapping for Roll20

I’ve been using the pyromancers.com website to handmake the maps I’ve been using in the Wartorn Roll20 campaigns over the last year or so, but it’s not the only resource I’ve been making use of.

There’s a few more websites that have recently caught my eye, and I’ll probably start dipping in to using them from time to time. A few of the maps that my group have yet to encounter have been made up using graphics from these sites, so I’ve tested them for ease of importing the resulting graphics in to Roll20. So far, each has been useful in different ways.

simple map of connected roomsThe first – ANAMap – is a map generator that allows me to make old-school line drawing maps and export them as PNG graphics, which are fully supported by Roll20.

When you start up, you are presented with a blank sheet of graph paper-style unreal estate and a series of tools on the left hand side that allow you to carve your nascent dungeon with a few simple clicks. Each square on the “graph paper” is cleared as you click on it, and refilled if you click back on it again, making editing and changing your mind a simple task as you go along. The palette is simple, and the icons are rudimentary, but if you’re looking to generate something quickly with a clean set of lines, this is probably what I’d prefer to direct you towards at the moment. As an added bonus, the site does remember where you got up to, and so you will see your most recent edit when you go back.

You can save and reload maps as you need to revisit them, which is a nice touch and making the grid disappear is a matter of clicking on the Draft button. The Dark theme reverses the palette to make a neon dark blue and glowing walls effect, so that might prove useful if you want to do some mirror-world or dreamscape representations of maps.

Randomly Generated series of tiles that create a series of connected rooms and tunnelsThe other site I’ve started using has been more for inspiration or throwing together very quick locations, and I think I’m only really starting to scratch the surface. Dave’s Mapper uses tiled templates to randomly generate areas. It too allows you to export maps as PNG format graphics and these can be resized as required when you import them into Roll20.

There are all sorts of filters available to choose the style and design of the tiles used, and whether the maps are close edged to make a contained location, or open-edged (for generating a location within wider streets or tunnels, for example). By default though, the maps tend to resemble the example here, reminiscent of classic hand-drawn dungeons in original D&D products back in the days of yore. I really like it, and I might use it for generating treasure maps for handouts to players, using them as a template for a map put together with the pyromancers site instead.

Hopefully, one or more of these resources will be helpful to you too, let me know in the comments, or feel free to suggest other map making resources that you treasure.