Thursday, August 27, 2015

[Iso Battle Map] Fan-Submitted Battle Map

Blue Boxer Rebellion fan Gonzalo DiĆ©z Mata has been building dungeons using my Ultimate Hand-Drawn Iso Battle Maps PDF and was gracious enough to let me share some of his work. I'm impressed with the amount of craft and care that went into making these. It's wild that his dungeon has no dead space -- every square is developed. He used the "low wall" option to indicate walls between rooms. A little colored pencil or crayon on the walls would make it easier to see the shape of each room, I think. Thanks Gonzalo!

Monday, August 24, 2015

[Big Hexyland Redux] The Jade Coast

Sample page from Big Hexyland: Jade Coast physical map and matching node map.

The numbers suggest travel time in days to traverse.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sandboxigons Map Template

Don't settle for hexagons. This node crawl template uses octagons instead so that you can connect neighboring zones with all points of the compass. Get your free sandboxigon template here: (links to PDF download).

Blank template

Example of a completed map

Rock Opera '79 Playtesting

Some shots from my kitchen table of a rock battle in progress. The game mechanic is working great, which frees me up to develop the milieu, the maps, the illustrations.
Testing out the tribal cool powers.

When the stack gets high, you rock harder.

Feedback is not a good thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How I Make City Maps

1. Make a list of locations for the city and don't worry about where they are in relation to each other yet. Pretend you're writing a travel article about the top must-see places in the city and come up with a name and a one-paragraph blurb for each one.

2. Write each location on a strip of paper (or make it a text element in a program like Adobe Illustrator) and arrange the locations in relation to one another. The feel and function of each place will suggest its proximity to several others.

3. Once you've got the locations set, draw bubbles that enclose two or more locations that seem to share common themes. The thieves' guild, the pawn shop, the illegal fighting pit, and the not-quite-legitimate surgeon might make a good group. Congrats, you just made a neighborhood. Let's call it Lookout Alley, as in, look out if you go there at night.

4. The narrow spaces between the bubbles suggest borders between neighborhoods, defined by natural or human-made structures: main streets, canals, walls, chasms, rivers... Go ahead and label them as such.

5. Any big empty spaces between bubbles must be empty for a reason. Are they lakes, swamps, royal palaces, market squares, burned-out areas, cemeteries, hills, harbors?

6. Where are the shops, inns, guard houses, etc.? Who cares? Legal amenities and public services usually don't make a secret of themselves. You can just add them to the map whenever a PC needs to find one. What's cool is that if the inn or guard house is in Lookout Alley, you already have some idea of what sort of character it would have.

7. Last thing, make a map to the best of your ability that corresponds to your schematic but don't label anything. That's for the players to explore. Fancy lads like me will scan the map and superimpose the schematic on top of it.
Schematic overlaying city map.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

[Free Iso Dungeon Maps and Adventure] Welcome to the Plunderdome

High time to give a little bump to Welcome to the Plunderdome, my classic fantasy adventure and its jaw-dropping iso maps. I wrote this adventure and drew the maps for my own game group a few years back, and it's all available for free. The stats are written for my Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG rules set, but the adventure can easily be adapted to your favorite RPG system.

And the maps look like this.
You can download the entire adventure here.
You can grab just the maps here.
I also have the maps for the planned-but-never-published sequel, The Deeps of Chaos, here. This is one of the Deeps of Chaos maps. Enjoy.