I've done a google search to find a definition of this term, but only come up with a vague dystopian theme.

From the point of view of making a 'grimdark' map, what exactly does that mean? Is it some kind of special mapping style, or set of colours that should be used?

Anyone have any idea?


  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 43 images Mapmaker Administrator

    It's more about the tone of the settings than the colors of the map. Just think "the world is not a happy place" and adjust whatever you need to accomplish that. Ruins, war and conflict are all central elements.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 10 images Mapmaker ProFantasy

    Thanks, Remy :)

    I've had a lot of similar responses over on the FB Group page today. It's also been suggested that I look at Warhammer maps for inspiration. It does seem that the main link between them (since they really are very different from one another at first glance) is the lack of any bright colours. It's all grey and various different types of brown. Ruins play an important part. So Spectrum isn't the first style I would think of to do a grimdark map, just for example.

  • Definitely not Spectrum Sue! That is the antithesis of Grimdark - without de-saturating it a lot. Is this for a commission?

    You could try using the Ancient Realms or Dark Realms annual styles if you want colour. A B&W style on parchment would also probably work.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 10 images Mapmaker ProFantasy

    At the time I wrote that last comment I was just trying to work out what it meant as a result of being asked to do a grimdark version of one of my city maps for another member of the team.

    Since then, however, I've started generating a few fills and talked a bit with Ralf about a Grimdark Fantasy overland style for next year's Cartographer's Annual. The basic colour scheme will probably be cream->dull green->dull purple with blue water and gold leaf border. Not sure about anything yet, though, so it might not be anything like that at all.

  • Sounds like I'll be getting next years Annual as well then...

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 10 images Mapmaker ProFantasy

    Well, even if I don't do it, an annual is always a good buy :)

  • WyvernWyvern Surveyor

    Chanced-upon something of possible interest in this line today. The OneBookShelf download sites (DriveThru RPG, etc.) are currently running their annual Hallowe'en promotion, part of which is to hide away spooky freebies behind Hallowe'en-themed miniature graphics on various pages scattered across the site, as a kind of treasure hunt. One of those freebies this year is an RPG called Xas Irkalla. It normally retails at $15, reduced to $11.25 in the Halloween Sale at present, but free using the special link.

    Firstly, you must have an OBS account (free to open) to download anything from the site, but you don't have to give them more than a few basic details to do so (no credit card or bank info, for instance). Secondly, Xas Irkalla is an adult, hard, very deadly RPG that uses the Strain survival-horror system. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But, y'know, this topic is about grimdark, so... This is the core book, so ALL rules and details about the setting needed to play the game are included.

    Oh yes, the special freebie link! Use the "My Library" link at the top right of the normal OBS page. Once there, scroll to the foot of the page, and towards the lower right corner, you should see a glowing pumpkin head. Click that, and the freebie will be added to your cart.

    If you'd like to hunt for others, there are at least 11 more to be found just on DTRPG.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 10 images Mapmaker ProFantasy

    Thank you, Wyvern :)

  • There are 2 Grimdark-like styles for overland maps - Issue 120 (2016 annual) - Dark Realms, and 140 (2018 annual) - Dark Fantasy.

    My Atlas map of the Bleakness in in this style

  • MedioMedio Surveyor

    I feel that the HW style would fit well on a grimdark style.

  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 10 images Mapmaker ProFantasy

    It seems the definition is a very broad one. Basically it seems that any style will do, as long as there are no bright colours in it.

  • MedioMedio Surveyor

    Humm yeah, indeed.

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