Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tile This!

I have made some tiles. Just one or two. Not sure where this is going, but I suspect it will end in marble and stone. Decided to try and cover a lot of the basic shapes used in standard tile/brick/stone flooring in one mass grid. added a few oddballs for fun.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Wilds - Yow!

A quick fight with a giant cat!

Start Date: July 2, Year of the Badger, noonish
Start Status: Yowl!
Start Location: Some cave somewhere

The Turn

[Round One] - Enemy initiative

Grit seems a bit disoriented by the creature's sudden appearance at his back. He turns and tries to dodge, but the narrow passage and awkward footing make it difficult. The cat, Grit can see it's definitely some sort of giant cat, lashes out again with claws and fangs. [hit with claw and fangs for 2 + 1 HP]

The dwarf finally gets settled and swings at the creature with his sword, slashing the creature across the shoulder. [hit for 6 HP]. The thing yowls and snarls, saliva dripping from its fangs.

Meanwhile Raúguey has gotten behind the thing, and takes a swing with his shiny new sword. The creature hears or senses the swing and dodges, but not completely. [hit for 4 HP]

Locky is feeling lucky, he steps into the room, drops his lantern on a boulder, and ducks in beside Raúguey, driving the tip of his thin-bladed sword into the creature's side. [hit for 3 HP] It yowls again, and whirls to face its new foes!

Outside, there's a jam at the cave entrance as Maro, Urúvion and Rawon try and shuffle past each other. Finally Maro ends up in front, with Rawon all the way at the back. Unfortunately it's just too crowded for anyone else to close with the beast. Everyone else edges closer, but settle for watching the exterior for additional foes.

[Round Two] - Enemy initiative.

The creature yowls again and leaps forward, slamming into Grit! Both Raúguey and Locky take swings at the retreating creature's back, but both miss. The dwarf tries to hold his ground but the creature scrambles past, then spins with uncanny speed in the narrow passage, and lashes out once again. [hit with claw for 2 HP]. Grit stabs at the thing with his sword, but misses completely.

Raúguey and Locky move up to support Grit, but it's simply too narrow for more than one combatant. "This thing is S-M-R-T smart!" declares Raúguey.

Maro shifts a bit and sees a gap in the line. He fires a bolt from his crossbow and it buries itself the creature's chest! [hit for 4 HP] With a final yowl the creature collapses and lies twitching on the ground.

Panting, Grit takes a few steps back to allow the others room. He's bleeding from several deep claw marks and a couple nasty punctures. Locky grabs his lantern and moves into the next room with Raúguey and Maro. Urúvion moves in and joins the others in the next cave-space. Rawon pulls out a flask and takes a nip as he mutters "Stupid cat."

The thing is definitely dead, and Urúvion says it's a giant lynx. Faint sounds from the next chamber draw Maro forward, and he slips through the rough opening. "There's more back here!" he calls. The others, well the others that fit, join him in the inner chamber. It's small, no more than ten or fifteen feet across. Maro gestures at the back corner, where a pair of lynx-kits crouch, green eyes locked on Maro, lips curled back from tiny but sharp fangs.

Rawon pulls himself together and ducks inside with Durego. He checks the upper area, just a narrow ledge, and then keeps watch while Durego tends Grit's wounds.

OOC: Big cat is about six feet long. The kits are about two feet long, still in the fuzzy kitten phase, but they have some nasty looking fangs and claws. They seem content to stay where they are, for now.

End Date: July 2, Year of the Badger, noonish
End Status: Yowch!
End Location: Some cave somewhere

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Doors

Here's another round of scribbles from my latest project, a large crypt complex. This is a door treatment I've been working on. Not sure I'm happy with it yet.
The hardware layout on this set makes sense for the door swings, and they're properly aligned to doorframes. They probably need some sort of stop/frame marker opposite the pull-ring. Or maybe they need to be a little wider and inset into the jamb...

Anyhow, I think these work better than the previous round (below).

The Wilds - Just in Cave

A short turn this round. With the PCs deciding to take a break from the downpour they find themselves in, they head into the cave for a short break. As they soon find out, there's a bit more to it than that...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tiled Floor Tutorial using Inkscape and Gimp

Over on G+ I was asked how I created the tile floor I showed in my tile grunge tutorial. Here's the basic method I used, in what I hope is a useful format. First, here's what we're shooting for:
Let's begin, shall we?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tile Grunge in Gimp Tutorial

I've been doing a bunch of work with floor tiles this weekend, and stumbled across a pretty quick and easy way to add some nice grout grunge to floor tiles using the standard filters available in Gimp. Here you go!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Tombs - V2

Here's another look at my current mapping project, The Tombs (previous round here). After exporting the first version to Gimp and doing some work on the floors, walls and doors, I found myself unhappy with some of the corridor layouts relative to the grid. This version is reworked to align some corridors and clean up some doorways. Once again, this is a poor quality, low-resolution Inkscape export with a texture slapped into the background. It's nowhere near done.
You might note a few additional details here, like a whole bunch of caskets and coffins. I decided a project based in a tomb needed to show these, so I'll be messing about with how to make them interesting without them turning to mush. I've also added a few markers for statues and altars, but I'm not sure how I'll handle those. The red areas will be raised platforms, the pink will be stairs.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Wilds - Another Day, Another Tree

In which, the party finds their way blocked by a huge stand of thorny shrubs, and takes a detour...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Koslac's Crossing - Now Available

Koslac's Crossing is now available on DriveThruRPG! I'm pretty pleased (and nervous) about putting this up. It's the first map project I've published, and the first PDF I've produced myself. Fingers are crossed.

I'm still trying to figure out DriveThruRPG's preview publishing. The last two products I've published, Deadly Blows, and Tome of Names Volume One, have both been PDF, so the built in PDF previews have worked. This product is a zip, so I want to show a sample section from the map. Apparently the sample image got lost in translation. If you want to check out some of the early-stage art you can see it here and (even better) here.

So what's in the package you ask? Here's the summary:

A 13-page PDF containing a brief site history, architectural notes, and compact, printable maps for use in preparing encounters and content.

Three different versions of each of the dungeon's two level maps. Levels are approximately 300 feet by 300 feet, and maps are marked with a five-foot grid (60 by 60 grid squares, 70px per square). The following maps are included:
  • GM Maps - numbered, all secret doors/passages shown.
  • Keyed Player Maps - numbered, no secret doors/passages shown.
  • Unkeyed Player Maps - no numbers, no secret doors/passages shown.
Note that these maps are probably not good candidates for battlemap printing. They really were intended for virtual tabletops.

And since DriveThru is still being finicky about the sample image, here's a preview.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

The Tombs - New Mapping Project

Here's a first look at a new mapping project. The Tombs is a collection of underground crypts and tunnels, complete with its own worship area, body preparation chamber, waiting rooms and reception areas, and priest / attendant quarters. This is a quick export from Inkscape showing the main rooms and corridors. I did a quick fill using Gimp to provide a little texture and contrast. The lines are a bit fuzzed because Inkscape's png export is sub-par.
I'm going to try a more old-school doors-as-squares and black-lines-for-walls look with this project and see how it goes. I'm also going to work in a larger scale in Gimp. I targeted Koslac's Crossing at Roll20's native 70px grid resolution. I'm going to do my Gimp work at 300 dpi with this map. This is a smaller map too, as it's built on a 40x40 grid of five-foot squares compared to Koslac's 60x60 grid.

One of the mental hurdles I always face with virtual maps is the ten-foot versus the five-foot corridor. When I started gaming, it was all graph-paper all the time, and my brain's native resolution was 10' squares. With the advent of battlemaps and virtual tabletops based on five-foot grids, it's sometimes tough for me to plan out corridors I'm happy with. I'm relatively pleased with this (so far).

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Wilds - Back on the Road

It seems I missed posting the last couple turns (mostly because the party was in town and dealing with logistics for their next trip). Summary: went back to town, collected a modest reward, got their map copied by the local scholar, found out what a few magic items were, and bought supplies and mules for a longer trip beyond Stonefinger. Durego also gained a level, the only party member to do so (he had very lucky rolls on starting bonus XP). We'll pick up at their departure from Auslaug...

Koslac's Crossing

Finally, the end is in sight. I finished off the text editing and final layout this morning. I need to do one more review of content to double-check all the links and bookmarks, but this should be up on DriveThruRPG this week.

And now it's done!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tome of Names V1 now on DriveThruRPG

As a GM, I hate making up names, so I did something about it. Each Tome of Names volume contains contains over 370 unique names arranged as three language collections, each with its own flavor and sound. Each language collection is subdivided into given names and surnames arranged in a dice-friendly tables to allow easy random name selection. There's a PDF sample available on DriveThruRPG that includes a bunch of example names, so you can see if they're useful to your campaign.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Crossing - Floors and Doors

About 60% done with colors now. This is a mashed together image showing the upper layer with the lower portion partially opaque below. Still things to do, like shadows and line cleanup, but it's getting there.
And even though I did this just to have something to post, it points out nicely that I have a bunch of void spaces on the upper level that need some fill...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Crossing - Colorizing Detail

I've gotten some work done on this, but not as much as I'd like. I'm really not happy with the current state of the doors, and I need to figure out a solution to that. Here's a clipped out piece to show the current level of detail.
I'm not sure wooden doors (at least those wooden doors) are the right choice, and I don't really like the thick black borders. I may end up doing some door panels by hand to get them right. Time to go looking for some new textures...

The Crossing - Now with More Fort!

Well, what started as a simple underground crossroads has become an exercise in Dwarf paranoia. I'm about three-quarters done with the layout now, here's the revised map with some very quick and dirty floors and backgrounds layered in.
As you can tell, I've added a few arrow slits. "But wait!" you say. "I thought you said there was a central tower overlooking the crossroads." Oh yeah, that:
Now with more murder holes! The gray on the above map corresponds to the visible lower level areas (there are still a few missing bits in that layer).

As I said, this is a quick and dirty fill job on the map. Both these layers are currently built out in Inkscape, and the above images were pulled into Gimp for pattern fills and some color work.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Entry - V2

This is a revised version of the map I posted earlier. I've reworked the area around the balconies, rebuilding the shadows, adding a railing, and cleaning up some issues with the floor fill. I also tweaked up the nearby stairs. I think that area looks better now, but I'm not 100% satisfied with it.

As you can see, I've also added a bunch of damage to various floors. This is my first attempt at this sort of thing, and I think they came out OK.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this map, and I think I'll call it done. It's not perfect, but for something that started as a quick test project, I'm fairly happy with the end result.

The Crossing

This is a work-in-progress look at my current mapping project. This is the intersection of four major routes in an underground complex. I'm envisioning it as a high-security area, with temporary warehouses, guard quarters, side-tunnels with arrow slots covering the main passages, and a central fort that covers the actual intersection.

This is a look at how I lay things out in InkScape. As you can see, the colors are nothing like the final map. Instead they're chosen to be easily seen and distinguished from each other. I just dropped a background texture behind the whole thing in Gimp so it's a bit easier to make out. I'm also testing out creating both a 70px / five-foot square, full-color map for roll20, and a pdf-friendly gray-scale map for print. We'll see how that goes. I've been doing most of my test maps in 30x30 five-foot grids, which is a bit confining, at least for me. This is a 60x60 five-foot square map, or 150x150 feet vs. 300x300 feet. A bit more elbow room!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Wilds - Dangerous Wall of Text!

Lots of details in this turn, including some info-dump on the various things found by the party on their last trip to the Cold Caves.

tldr: Left the Caves. Went back to Auslaug. Told their story. Got paid. Learned some stuff about their treasure. Split up loot.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Entry

Another mapping project, this one is the entrance to an underground complex. The main hall includes guard rooms, waiting areas, a ballroom-type space, and a bunch of additional rooms for staff and waiting supplicants. I'm pretty happy with this one except for the short stairs leading up to the balcony area that overlooks the main reception area and the stairs down on the east side. I'm not sure they hold up, nor do I think the balconies are quite right.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Wilds - Bring Out Your Dead

Had a bit of a low-response turn this weekend, so the corresponding turn is short. The good thing about play-by-email games is that everyone can participate on their own schedule. That bad thing about play-by-email games is that it's easy to push things off. My players and I seem to run through a cycle of ups and downs in this regard. Anyhow, here's what's going on...

Sunday, March 3, 2013


In a fit of madness last night, I pulled out an ancient D&D map and copied it into InkScape room by room. This was the first level of a small dungeon I created back in 1978 or 1979. There are about 30 levels total in this monstrosity. This particular level was originally drawn on two sheets of four-lines per inch graph paper. There are some details missing, like a bunch of scribbled markers for puddles, moss and mold, but it's mostly intact. The original was also rotated counter-clockwise 90 degrees, but this fits the page a bit better.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Villa Map

I've been working on my InkScape and Gimp skills this weekend, trying to get some consistent quality, and improve my speed. Today's project was inspired by my Daruna game. The players recently spent a big chunk of their cash on some property outside Shalish, a villa and small orchard that had fallen into a state of disrepair. This doesn't exactly match up to their villa, but it's designed along the same lines. Squarish outer structure wrapped around an open central courtyard. This was about an hour and a half's work. Unfortunately I was dumb and saved this after a plug-in I was trying out flattened all my layers, so changes are going to be painful. Anyhow, here's a map!

Note that this *should* just plug and play in Roll20 as a map, but I'm not sure what blogger is going to do with it. Guess I'll found out in a minute...

Edit: Bleh. Blogger randomly resizes the image. That's no good. Hmm. Or not. If you click on the image above, you should get the correctly sized 1039x1039 image.