Quite recently I made two maps for a Swedish RPG called Fantasy! It is an old school game that goes back to the roots of the RPG hobby. This means maps in black and white. I found it very enjoyable to make those maps. It is something special to just use black and white while making maps. You just have those two colours nothing else. No grey areas just those two opposite colours, it is a bit like working with negative and positive spaces and try to make it look as good as possible.
After finishing the maps, which I had to do in a very short space of time due to a deadline coming up, and I came in rather late in the project, I felt that I wanted to push this style a bit further. I felt that I could make much more of it, that there were a lot more boundaries to explore here.
The map in this post is a very early version of the more developed style I’m now working on. It is of a dragon that has moved in to the entrance of a Dwarven underground kingdom. A perfect place for a short evening scenario where the players have to rid the entrance of the dragon, so that the Dwarves can start using it again.
For the style I’ve also decided that I will make some more monsters, not just having a dragon. This is a way for me to try to develop my drawing skills as I’m not very used of doing monsters or creatures. I used to do a lot of drawing while in school so many years ago. But since then I’ve nearly only done map art, like mountains and trees. So you can say I’m a bit rusty.
I thought it was time to try to push my skills a bit forward and challenge myself with something else then mountains. So at the moment I’m trying to make a list of creatures that might come in handy, except dragons, while making old school maps. I’m trying to focus on larger monsters here not the ordinary orc soldier. The picture below is of a great spider, spiders are always fun to throw at your players. Any suggestions of other large monsters or creatures that like to reside in dark dungeons or catacombs?
As I wrote in my earlier post I’ve always been fond of underground constructions by dwarves even though I’m not that fond of dwarves, so I like to inhabit their deserted cities with more fun creatures.
This map is an old one I made in Photoshop. It is quite simple and retro in its style but I kind of like the black and white look and feeling of it. Originally it was made for an adventure I was making where the players had to get into the old burial place in the city to retrieve an artifact. The burial site is the oval location on the left side of the map only reachable by water.
The players could take different paths into the city. They could either go from the outside top entrance on the map, or the bottom entrance that is situated in a great cave system. The easiest way though would be to go by the underground river.
The city itself was abandoned by the dwarves a long time ago and now a small clan of goblins and mountain trolls lives there. So the task wouldn’t be very easy for the brave heroes to complete.
Unfortunately the adventure never happened, as many times before it stayed with a map and a synopsis of an adventure. So I can’t tell you if the brave heroes succeeded with their quest or not .
I’ve always been very fond of Dwarves and their mines as a great location for an adventure. I guess you can blame this on Tolkien and his description of Moria. I still remember how excited I was when I saw the Lord of the rings on TV for the first time (now we’re talking about the old film, not the new ones) and they entered the old mines full of orcs.
This map however is only of the entrance to a Dwarven kingdom. It is made in the Dungeon Designer 3 add on for Campaign Cartographer 3. The style used is from the 2011 annual, Jon Roberts Dungeon. This particular style is actually free for anyone to download.
When I map some kind of fortification I always try to picture how an attack on the area would be done. How could I defend the area in the best way? Whoever that want to get past the fort has to pass through the entrance hall (1) on the map. So I wanted the entrance hall to be well guarded, I accomplished this through the watchroom (5) next to it. From there the guards can watch who enters and also shoot at them. The inner iron door will hopefully prohibit any hostile intruders from getting any further in.
The two towers facing the outside (4a-b) are also good spotting areas from where you can see who’s approaching as well who’s standing in front of the gates. I try to continue thinking in this way while mapping, other important aspects are where will the guards sleep, eat or relax? Remember this is a place where the guards probably spend a week at a time before they are relived.
In the end I also added the secrete passage (11). This passage shouldn’t really be there because it is a huge security risk. The reason I put it there was that if some adventurers need to sneak in past the guards they need a way to do it. So the passage was added to make the map more fun to use in an adventure.
This was the first map I made in Dungeon Designer 3. The program however I feel is the most complicated one from Profantasy, mainly because there are so many different things you can add and have to take into account. It took me a long time to realize that I in this map actually by mistake used the wrong beds and tables (they are from another style then the one I intended to use). So it was very good to have the pdf from the annual style to use as a guide while exploring the program. This however doesn’t mean that this is a bad program in any way, probably the contrary. But it crave from you as a user that you take the time to learn it.