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    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2014
     
    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.


    I don't have anything to link the 800x800px version of the map to yet. In future I'll try to post a high res version of each update onto an imagehosting site. For now there's a 3000x3000 (50px per square) half resolution version posted in my WIP thread on the cartographer's guild.

    http://www.cartographersguild.com/virtual-tabletop-battlemap-mapping/26161-%5Bwip%5Dvtt-maps-dragons-demand-pathfinder-new-post.html

    Main dungeon floor texture is by Nejour.
    Main cavern texture was knocked up in GIMP.

    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! :)
      Collapsed Tower x800.png
    • CommentAuthorKenG
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2014
     
    This is very nice, I like the hallway fills and how the cliffs in the caverns look. How did you get that effect?
    Keng
    •  
      CommentAuthorMedio
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2014
     
    I really like the colour and the background of the floors. Thumbs up!
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2014 edited
     
    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.

    Thanks Ken, the cliff parts of the cavern wall are fractal polygons using the caves texture from SS2A.
    Each layer of polygons has it's own sheet, and the whole stack is hidden beneath the wall sheets. I'm at work at the moment, so I'm not 100% sure what the sheet effect settings are, but I think each sheet has the following effects set:
    Bevel: Len 1.0, Str 30%, Fade 5
    Glow: Outside, Black, Str 1, Blur 0.5
    Glow: Outside, Black, Str 0, Blur 5

    Over the top of the polygon stack, in another sheet, is another polygon copied from the largest poly in the stack. This poly has the fill changed to the Dirt, Light texture from SS2A.
    This overlay sheet has an edge fade inner effect: Width 2, Inner 50 Outer 10.

    The dirt textures from SS2A look like they must already have varying alpha levels, so using edge fade on them makes them nicely patchy.

    The cave floor is a little lighter, it's knocked up in GIMP using plasma noise and difference clouds. It's desaturated then with some colour added back to bring it close enough to the nice colour of Nejour's floor tiles. It's overlayed with the same dirt texture from SS2A, this time with an edge fade that's 100 at the outside and 30 ( I think) at the inside.

    Here's a link to a 50px/square (3000x3000px) version. I'll post a link to a 100px/square version when the map's finished.

    @Medio: Thanks, I can't take any credit for the floor tiles - they're awesome, they're awesome but they're the work of Neyjour. You can find her work on Deviantart, the Cartographer's Guild and the Dundjinni forums, this texture pack's from Neyjour's Deviantart page, but there's a lot of variations of the same tile pattern on the Dundjinni forums. I just needed to make sure that my cave floor texture was a fairly close colour match to her tiles. The SS2A Cobbles used in the cells is close enough already.

    EDIT: Switched the dropbox link for a Photobucket one.
      Collapsed Tower - Basement v4.1 X800.JPG
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeFeb 18th 2014
     
    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.
    • CommentAuthorMirithol
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2014
     
    Raiko - can't wait to see your results. Out of curiosity, how do you present such a large map to your players? Make tiles? Tile the map using .pdf and show the whole thing with an overlay hiding the undiscovered bits?

    Cheers,
    Miri
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2014
     
    Thanks Miri, I use Maptool to present the maps to my players.

    We use two instances of Maptool, one on my Laptop, another on a player's laptop which is connected to an LCD TV in the room where we play.

    Here's screenshots of a quick test using this map (screen's reduced to 50% scale to fit the forum better):

    GM VIEW:
      gm_view.png
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2014
     
    And here's the player's view:
      player_view.png
    • CommentAuthorMirithol
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2014
     
    OH! I've got to get me some of that! We often play in the "boardroom" downstairs from where one of my player's lives. Conference table, comfy chairs and 2 big TV's.

    Thanks - you may have changed the way we game. ~Miri
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2014 edited
     
    That’s great. I’d recommend using maptool to anyone – it’s got a somewhat notorious learning curve, but no more than CC3 has.
    If you do give it a shot then I recommend taking a look at this forum thread first.

    Wolph42’s tools are amazing and he includes a link to the most recent version (1.3b90-beta), which for some reason hasn’t been added to maptool’s download page yet, despite being the most stable and most feature packed version.
    There are many other virtual tabletop programs available, but most of the other good ones (eg d20pro, roll20, battlegrounds, kluge, etc) have to be bought. In my opinion maptool is better than the paid VTTs and it’s free! :)

    If you find Maptool’s learning curve too much though, then I recommend giving the free trial version of d20pro a go, especially if you’re playing Pathfinder, 3.5, 4th Ed or Next. It’s easier to set up and still inexpensive if you’re just getting it for a face to face game rather than to play over the internet.
    • CommentAuthorMirithol
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2014
     
    Cool - Thanks
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2014
     
    I’ve 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 it’s done.
    I’ve been side-tracked a little checking out the most recent version of Maptool, it’s 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 “Wolph42’s Bag of Tricks”. So I’ve spent much of the last couple of weeks getting used to Maptool again.

    I’ve got the maps uploaded to photobucket now, so the image below should be clickable for the 3000x3000px version.



    Changes in this version:
    • I used JdR’s 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 “final” version of the floor without needing to turn effects on, and the whole map updates a lot faster when effects are active.

    • I’ve started to furnish the interrogation room, mostly using butchered versions of Bogie’s excellent presets from the Dundjinni forums. I’m finding this harder than expected, the prison is supposed to have been abandoned for decades, so I can’t use straw or gore to make it look authentic, but I still want it to look dirty and “real”. I’ll be adding some rusty tools to the table, and will have another go at aging Bogie’s excellent furniture if I have time.

    • I’ve added some pillars to the larger rooms, I still need to add some to the treasury room. These pillars weren’t in the original map, but the interrogation room looked better with pillars than without, so I’ve added them to other rooms as well.

    • I’ve hidden the trap layer, so the pit had vanished. The place-holder “machinery” is also hidden for now.

    • I’ve added sconces to some of the pillars, I’ll be trying to add the rest of this sort of minor set dressing tonight.

    TO-DO:
    Apart from what I’ve already mentioned above, I’m 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 I’ll try to do something to stop it looking featureless, even if I just add a few cobwebs and loose stones. At the very least I’ll make the eastern archway look better.
    • CommentAuthorRaiko
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2014
     

    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. There’re 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! :)
    • CommentAuthorDogtag
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2014
     
    This looks fantastic. Great job!

    ~Dogtag