Here is another map commission I did recently: The southern continent of the world of Irth. It’s the setting for a private tabletop role-playing game and had only a few specifications. It was to be a continent on the southern hemisphere of a world, roughly similar in size to Australia, with a land-bridge to a polar continent.
I fired up Fractal Terrains 3, fiddled the settings and cycled through random worlds until I found something that roughly matched the requirements. I then went in and edited the world to add the land bridge and smooth out some wrinkles.
My customer was very happy with the initial layout and wanted to keep the whole world for future development. No problem with that and so I went ahead and took the desired continent out of FT3 into Campaign Cartographer 3+. I used the Mike Schley overland style to flesh it out somewhat, but the general brief was to only show the nation of Ryld and leave the rest relatively blank to be fleshed out by the owner. The ocean labels are basically just placeholders for future “real” names.
As a little extra I included the FT3 world in the map in the final version of the map to show the location of the continent in relation to the rest of the world.
Creating maps for computer games usually pose their own challenges, especially if they must serve tactical or strategic gameplay purposes. In this commission for the game Zodiac Legion by Studio Draconis, the brief was to create about a hundred distinct regions that fan out in four major areas from a central hub.
Regions needed be clearly associated with a terrain as well, and the terrain types were to be fairly evenly spread across the map.
While those conditions make it hard to create a “realistic” looking map in actual geographical terms, the checkerboard effect of terrains still makes for a pleasing variety on the map.
For this map I used the Herwin Wielink overland style in Campaign Cartographer 3+. The shown result is completely done within CC3+, no Photoshop post production involved.
Cave map for the first epic-tier battle against the Orc Lord’s minions [Copyright 2016: Pelgrane Press].
One of my largest commission in recent years was a series of maps for Pelgrane Press’ 13th Age role-playing game. Their Battle Scenes line provides ready-to-play encounters tied to the iconic powers of the Dragon Empire setting, and for the first issue “High Magic & Low Cunning” I created maps for the Orc Lord, Prince of Thieves and High Druid encounters.
You can grab sneak previews of “Rafting Razoredge Gorge”, the three adventurer-tier Orc Lord encounters and maps from these places on the web:
The maps are included in black and white in the book and as hi-res pdfs with the download, but they are also available separately in gorgeous color print in the “Map Folio” for High Magic & Low Cunning.
Where does this stone door in the hillside lead? One thing is certain: It is connected to the Prince of Shadows [Copyright 2016: Pelgrane Press].
And now Pelgrane is working on the second installment in the series: The Crown Commands. I am providing maps for the Lich King series of encounters.
Recently I’ve revisited a very old commission of mine, one of my very first in fact. Back then I produced several maps for a series of PbEM games by Rich McDowell, author of Alamaze. Rick needed a map for a newer game/scenario done, and I was happy to break out Mike Schley’s overland style for CC3+ to give the game board a new treatment.
Click the map image for a larger version of the PbeM game map for Road to Alamaze – Centauria. You can find more information on the game here.
The square grid of the game board necessitates a block-ish design and it’s fun to still try to give it a natural feeling. For example the original draft did not include any rivers (as they have no game effect), but the landscape feels much more real with some included. I’m very happy with how the map turned out, and hope the players will have many hours of PbeM fun with it.
Here is another battle map from our 13th Age game: The Temple of the Sea.
Our heroes traced a series of out of control temple guardians back to the new temple of Poseidon at the docks in Drakkenhall. With the sea rolling in and out of the temple, up to their bellies in the surf (or higher in the case of the gnome), they faced the temple’s high priestess, a sahuagin necromancer and his 4 zombie servants, plus the animated statue of Poseidon in an epic showdown.
Click on the map to load the full-size version of the image, ready for A1 printing at 150dpi.
Here is a battle map I created for our current 13th Age fantasy campaign: A large cistern or sewer hall, with wooden walkways leading across the water. It’s about A1 size and should print fine with about 80cm by 60cm poster printing.
Click on the map to load the full-size version of the image.
After an unfortunate series of events around the Acheron Translight Snarl our crew’s trusty Runner-class ship, the “Jolly Jumper” is no more. While narrowly escaping from the D’Jellar anomaly a pilot error resulted in a fatally flawed exit vector from the snarled translight corridor. The lasers barely managed to escape in the ship’s shuttle and had to watch their beloved home break up into a billion pieces.
But as the saying goes, “true lasers are never long without a ship” and an opportunity presented itself, involving a Bleed-wide warrant, a high-level Combine operative, an anti-piracy operation, a staged prison escape and a conveniently-parked Hauler-class starship.
So the laser crew finds itself in the possession of the “Brocken”. A bit worn, the paint scratched in many places, it is still a translight-worthy laser vessel which holds the promise of a better future.
Haulers are the less-than-glamorous, slow and sturdy workhorses of the Bleed nowadays. Designed to carry a maximum of cargo, they provide the surviving worlds of the Bleed with much-needed resources that are not locally available. The image shows the main deck with its six massive cargo bays, the cut-down engine room and the richly furnished “boardroom” which is used to conduct business meetings. The full deck plans for this ship-class are found in the “Accretion Disc” companion for Ashen Stars and were drawn by yours truly with the Cosmographer 3 add-on to CC3.
For an upcoming Deadlands: Reloaded game I mapped a fictional railway station, loosely modeled on a historical one built in 1881 (and later replaced by Chicago’s famous Union Station). The map can be used for other quasi-historical games (e.g. any Cthulhu or Pulp-genre game) where a medium-sized railway station is needed.
Ashen Stars is a wonderful space opera rpg by Pelgrane Press, based on the GUMSHOE system. I had the pleasure to create the game’s published setting map (a part of the Galaxy called “The Bleed”) based on a sketch by Robin D. Laws.
Lately I got to revisit the setting when, after play-testing the upcoming Terra Nova adventure, Simon asked me to create a simple black and white diagram of the adventure’s featured luxury liner. You can see the result below (the color background was added for web display). While the exact layout of the ship isn’t important for the story, the relative position of the important locations is, and the map shows those.