Dungeon on a strip-map?

I keep an eye on a few other places online than this Forum from time to time, and today came across this recent posting on Dyson Logos' blog. It concerns a very long, thin, detailed dungeon map, and you can download a free copy of it from the blog page in its coloured version, as well as a zip file in black-and-white with and without a grid. I've not come across anything quite like this previously.

What occurred to me was that this might be an interesting idea to try using the strip-map technique, highlighted back in May 2009's Cartographer's Annual issue. The nature of the map on Dyson's website would make it difficult to draw something similar using CC3+ as-is, as just being so long, but a chopped-up version like the classic strip map could work quite well.

Long walk for the player characters if the entrance and exit are at the same end, and the big treasure room's at the other, of course!

mike robel


  • MonsenMonsen Administrator 🖼️ 46 images Cartographer

    @Wyvern wrote

    The nature of the map on Dyson's website would make it difficult to draw something similar using CC3+ as-is, as just being so long,

    Not sure what you see being a problem with just making a long map in CC3+? You can set the map dimensions to whatever you want, there isn't a problem drawing a long map. I envision much more issues when using it afterwards, that being printed out or used in a VTT.

    Drawing them on a strip map should work just fine though. What would be really interesting is to not just make a chopped-up version as a strip map, but make it as a true journey map through the dungeon instead. Clearly useless as a battle map then, but could give an interesting view of the dungeon.

  • I've wanted to do something like that for a wargame. Two examples. The TF Baum Raid to Hammelburg, which was an attempt to liberate US prisoners from Stalag XIII. (yes. really. It didn't go well. The WWII version of the company I commanded got destroyed there.) The map would look something like this:

    The US player would start on Map 1 and have to fight his way to map 10 and attempt to return somewhere (on another set of maps). The idea would be to portray a long battle but not need a big area on which to fight.

    The second is to protray a battle like a Movement to Contact, say between a US Divisional Cavalry Squadron and the elements of a Soviet Combined Arms Army. They would start on different map sheets, but it would be randomized somewhat so the units could collide sooner or later in the game. Each force would start on a given map then move to each others. As they approached, the maps would become adjacent. Sort of like seen below in the next post.

  • The US force could start on sheets 1 to 3 and the Soviet on 9 - 11 so they are not sure where they will make contact. The 2nd map would ideally be geomorphic, so the terrain wouldn't be the same every time or could be switched out randomly, but my attempts at sketching such maps never fit my need for realism. How to physically draw the individual sheet in the first reply escapes me because I think it would be difficult to me to figure out how to draw the whole area, then cut out the maps I want or to draw them individually with enough precision that the maps look correct to me.

  • edited February 2021

    @Monsen commented:

    Not sure what you see being a problem with just making a long map in CC3+? You can set the map dimensions to whatever you want, there isn't a problem drawing a long map.

    The primary problem is trying to visualise the whole map clearly while drawing it, especially a dungeon map where you're trying to add detail as you're going along. Obviously, it's not beyond the powers of CC3+ to draw it like this, I quite appreciate.

    Dyson's map is also drawn vertically, and that would be even worse to do in CC3+ if you needed to look at the map beyond a very segmentary, zoomed-in impression of small bits at a time. Of course, you could create the map that way and export it however you wished, but it would be tricky to draw, and - speaking personally - not very pleasing to do, because you can't really see what you're doing with the whole thing.

    @mike robel - I think SPI did something like this for their monster boardgame "Highway to the Reich", the Arnhem airdrops in September 1944. I never played it, but a friend did try to play it with a group at a weekend wargames convention once back in the late 1970s, and I recall they had it set-up on a line of tables across one of the smaller halls, around 10 or 12 feet long I think (BoardGameGeek confirms around 3 metres just for the maps). Took them half a day just to set-up the counters (2400 of them!), and I don't think they got beyond a couple of game-days into it by the end of the convention three real days later...

    Also, quite a number of the WW2 Western Desert boardgames from the 1970s and 80s were long and thin like this, as the conflict essentially occupied the coastal strip between the western Nile Delta west to Morocco. I still have those, as it was a theatre I was particularly interested in back then. Most weren't at the same scale as this (don't mention the 10-foot long maps for Campaign for North Africa!!! I once managed two days of this solo; took me nearly a fortnight!), so weren't nearly so fearsome.

  • Yeah. Like I said, I'm not sure how to export them map in such a way for the Hammelburg map to make sense. The hypothetical one I can do pretty easily I think by specifying the amount of overlap in the pages when I print it. But I want it to more geomorphic so the terrain isn't the same every time. At the same time, I don't have much luck in composing geomorphic maps to my liking. They seem too simple, contrived, and unrealistic to me.

  • I can see a strip map for a dungeon as a group going in, ignoring side passages and hoping their exit isn't cut off, and heading in until they find something like a good enough treasure to pay for the excursion, then exiting out the same way.

  • primoprimo Newcomer

    Think he used this for the style :)

  • edited February 2021

    I rather suspect Dyson Logos originated it in his own maps @primo, though the hatching has become popular with a number of online fantasy cartographers in black-and-white in recent years.

    @JimP - Yep, I've done something similar, but hand-drawn as a player handout back in the day, as one of the classic original D&D "treasure maps" that used to be a part of the randomly-rolled treasure hoards with monsters. I've seen a few down the decades in published scenarios for RPGs too. Such a convenient way to catch unwary players by not warning them of the complexities and traps of a dungeon before launching them into it!

    @mike robel - Have you tried any of the random map generators, Mike? Mostly they're for fantasy RPG worlds, but the better ones are based in reality, so will try to create more or less realistic maps, and you may be able to adjust the parameters to better suit your requirements before generating one.

  • @Wyvern Nope. Didn't even know they existed. I take it you mean not in CC3?

  • Not CC3 Mike, just online more generally. It will depend exactly what you're going to need as to which might be more useful, and I don't want to send you down avenues that may not be helpful, especially as I'm not so familiar with those that cover larger areas of land.

    As one example more familiar to me though, I do know that the Inkwell Ideas Worldographer hex-mapping system will generate an entire world randomly, which you can then zoom into, down to regional levels, and which will let you change the terrain in any hex (at whatever zoom level) as and when you want. It also randomly populates the world with civilizations from nations down to villages, and all of this is the automatic standard (on the paid-for product; I'm not sure if the free version provides all these options, however, as I've really done very little even with the paid version still). Pseudo-medieval fantasy only for the population stuff, but much can be adjusted at a very detailed level. You can get to the Inkwell site either through a simple search, or via one of their downloadable product pages on DriveThru RPG (there are links on all).

  • Azgaar's Worlds also do this, plus religion, trade etc. And it ties in with Watabou's Medieval Fantasy City Generator.


    I do stick with my own creations, apart from Watabou, though.

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