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View Full Version : Maps...What to do, where to go?



Baron_Samedi
06-02-2009, 11:07 PM
For those of us who roleplay, maps determine the scene of battle or the layout of our favorite dive...the question is...what kind of map system do you use, and why does that suit your needs best?

Is it a computer program? Grid Paper? Dungeon Tiles? Battle Mat? maybe even Tabletop Terrain? something else?

Let us know...

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-03-2009, 03:04 AM
I'm old school so i draw it out. Then when the game has begun, i transfer the map, part by part, onto a battle mat for my gamers.

I'd like to use the fancier options you listed (you forgot DwarvenForge, btw), but the fundage isn't there for Thoth at this time.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-03-2009, 06:21 AM
For the big global picture I use the Toril map. Then I use graph paper for the details. I enjoy drawing out the setting and detail.

I have dunjinni but admittedly have not spent a lot of time working with the program. I would call it more dabbling than anything else although I do incorporate other's maps which are posted on that site.

Moritz
06-03-2009, 08:01 AM
Remember when 'mappers' were the thing to have in dungeons? So the party wouldnt' get lost.

There was this one campaign where the mapper had drawn something that looked nothing like where the party had been. He was fired.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-03-2009, 09:02 AM
Remember when 'mappers' were the thing to have in dungeons? So the party wouldnt' get lost.

There was this one campaign where the mapper had drawn something that looked nothing like where the party had been. He was fired.

As a player I still draw out sketches of maps. As a DM, I've been known to twist and turn the unsuspecting adventurers around, so party mapping does factor into my game on occassion.

tesral
06-03-2009, 09:53 AM
A sheaf of 18 over sized pieces of paper that is older than 30 years of age.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-03-2009, 10:00 AM
I use to use plain white legal paper a lot. It provided a few extra inches to map on. I haven't used that in a long time.

Moritz
06-03-2009, 10:02 AM
If I ever mapped, I'd just use a flowchart system.

Oldgamer
06-03-2009, 01:08 PM
Currently, in F2F games anyway, I use a battle mat for battles (cuz I use minis) with dry erase markers and the players choose a mapper for their overall map who uses graph paper for scale.

In PbP games, I use Campaign Cartographer 3 with the Dungeon Designer 3 expansion. If I had the right setup with a gaming table, a laptop, and a projector I would use CC3 on the laptop connected (if possible with Bluetooth)to the projector (mounted on the ceiling facing down on the table) to project my map at scale to the gaming table. I've seen this done on WotC boards and fell instantly in love with it.

Harwel
06-03-2009, 01:25 PM
Remember when 'mappers' were the thing to have in dungeons? So the party wouldnt' get lost.

There was this one campaign where the mapper had drawn something that looked nothing like where the party had been. He was fired.

People stopped doing this at some point? :confused:

MortonStromgal
06-03-2009, 01:41 PM
Whiteboard, but i try never to use it if possible. Only if I get tired of explaining something over and over and the PCs still are not getting it will I pull out the whiteboard and draw it.

Skunkape
06-04-2009, 08:42 AM
I generally use either Dundjinni or Campaign Cartographer.

Grimwell
06-04-2009, 09:40 AM
For large land masses, I hand draw everything. If I'm feeling extra artsy, I'll use colored pencils on it to add to the visual pull. for smaller regions I do the same.

Dungeons are hand drawn on graph paper for my version. The players are left to draw their own if they want one. I describe it all, and if a fight ensues I will either draw it out, or use tiles, etc. to put it out on the table, but I don't tell anyone to draw what they see.. it's their choice.

Hand outs are also hand drawn. I have low artistic skills, but enjoy mapping!

Baldwin Stonewood
06-04-2009, 08:38 PM
I generally use either Dundjinni or Campaign Cartographer.

Although I do not personally use CC, i have seen Skunkape's maps and they are good.

RoryN
06-04-2009, 09:00 PM
Our group got together and built a gaming table for one guy's game room. It was a 3/4" sheet of plywood on 3 sets of legs, painted gray. Then we marked off 1" segments about 6" in on all sides, pencilled in the lines across to each side mark, did those lines again in black permenent marker, then covered over the whole top with a thin sheet of plastic to protect it. What we ended up with was a sturdy table with a huge "graph paper" type top fpr playing out our battles. We still did have a mapper for the dungeaons though, usually whatever rogue-type player we had present. (It needed to be taken apart to move out of his house when he moved!)

Oldgamer
06-05-2009, 01:01 PM
Although I do not personally use CC, i have seen Skunkape's maps and they are good.


I personally love CC (I use 3) for almost all maps, especially overland. It creates a very good world map, or continent map however you like. It will create contours, put things on a "DM" sheet or layer so that only the DM can see, all kinds of stuff. I asked Santa last year for Dungeon Designer 3 which is the newest expansion for CC3 to build dungeons and it's awesome, very detail oriented. And you can go to Dundjinni's forums and use their objects for your maps too, and they have thousands ... all you have to do is type what you want in the Search bar and viola ... usually a handful of threads with exactly what you ask for.

William Murderface
06-06-2009, 10:21 AM
actually i used to go to my ex girlfriends dad who was a cartographer at one point and give him vague specifications for what i needed and he always ended up making a 30X30 map so large in pencil so small even i would get confused sometimes but that wasen't for D&D but he did make some kickarse D&D maps last i heard he actually got one published by wizards of the coast for some minor d20 game that crapped out after a few years but he at least got published right?

Oldgamer
06-07-2009, 11:04 AM
I'm a sort of cartographer by trade, I'm a Land Surveyor. I can also plot giant sheets for my games up to around 54"x54" with the big plotters the companies I've worked for have. But I only can do it when no one is there, they tend to frown on usage like that :) I plotted all of World's Largest Dungeon maps one time at work, I stayed behind about another 2 hours after everyone left and printed them all to scale. If you put them all together, they're roughly 25'x25', quite a large map.

Malruhn
06-07-2009, 04:46 PM
I'm old school as well. I mapped an entire planet - using real geology and plate tectonics to support all my land and sea-masses. It's worked very well over the years.

The PLAYER's world is a very tiny part of it - and it's all hand drawn. It works for me.

mrken
06-07-2009, 07:32 PM
I use everything I can to do the best I can. For our tactical needs I like to use 3D terrain http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c365/mrkenis/Afterthegame.jpg (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/%3Ca%20href=)">

http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c365/mrkenis/Readytodefend.jpg (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/%3Ca%20href=)">

But I still rely on drawing maps by hand. I have started to use my old CC2 but am not yet very good at using it. I also have some dungeon pieces but don't have photos in Photobucket. Will work on rectifing that when I can.

tesral
06-07-2009, 07:47 PM
Maps, well this is a work in progress. Done the hard way, shoving ones and zeros in line by hand with the GIMP.

http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/maps/Abba_Level1.jpg

Razmus
06-08-2009, 02:48 PM
People stopped doing this at some point? :confused:
Some people stopped.
We have a name for those people.
We call them 'handy troglodyte snacks'.

emblasochist
06-08-2009, 04:15 PM
Currently, in F2F games anyway, I use a battle mat for battles (cuz I use minis) with dry erase markers and the players choose a mapper for their overall map who uses graph paper for scale.

In PbP games, I use Campaign Cartographer 3 with the Dungeon Designer 3 expansion. If I had the right setup with a gaming table, a laptop, and a projector I would use CC3 on the laptop connected (if possible with Bluetooth)to the projector (mounted on the ceiling facing down on the table) to project my map at scale to the gaming table. I've seen this done on WotC boards and fell instantly in love with it.


You have CC3? How'd you like it? I've been searching for a roleplayer's opinion ever since I found it online. I've seen it monkeyed with but the person that had it ONLY had CC3 and DD3, so it was rather hard to use. Is that all you've got, or do you have the whole shebang, and what's your opinion of the price? Worth it?

Oldgamer
06-08-2009, 04:24 PM
You have CC3? How'd you like it? I've been searching for a roleplayer's opinion ever since I found it online. I've seen it monkeyed with but the person that had it ONLY had CC3 and DD3, so it was rather hard to use. Is that all you've got, or do you have the whole shebang, and what's your opinion of the price? Worth it?


I have just CC3 and the Dungeon Designer 3 expansion, and to me it's worth the price. $45 for CC3 and $40 for DD3 plus S&H isn't too bad if you're looking for quality and diversity. You can make publishable maps in no time with it. But that's just me, and I use it mainly for online games that I can save the map as a jpg or png file and post the image quickly. I also have available a large size plotter that I can plot giant color maps if I want to make them for table top use.

To a lot of people, making a map doesn't need to be as pretty and don't think it's worth the price when there are free mappers out there that make adequate maps. There is also a pretty big learning curve if you're not CAD savvy, as it uses a lot of the same ideology like layers and sheets. But the good thing is about that, is that they offer free tutorials online that are a few minutes each, but really help you get the ball rolling.

But coming from someone who is CAD savvy, a perfectionist, and I just enjoy the overall look and feel of the software, I think it's well worth the money ... especially since a lot of CAD programs are $3000+.

emblasochist
06-08-2009, 04:44 PM
I have just CC3 and the Dungeon Designer 3 expansion, and to me it's worth the price. $45 for CC3 and $40 for DD3 plus S&H isn't too bad if you're looking for quality and diversity. You can make publishable maps in no time with it. But that's just me, and I use it mainly for online games that I can save the map as a jpg or png file and post the image quickly. I also have available a large size plotter that I can plot giant color maps if I want to make them for table top use.

To a lot of people, making a map doesn't need to be as pretty and don't think it's worth the price when there are free mappers out there that make adequate maps. There is also a pretty big learning curve if you're not CAD savvy, as it uses a lot of the same ideology like layers and sheets. But the good thing is about that, is that they offer free tutorials online that are a few minutes each, but really help you get the ball rolling.

But coming from someone who is CAD savvy, a perfectionist, and I just enjoy the overall look and feel of the software, I think it's well worth the money ... especially since a lot of CAD programs are $3000+.

Oh, well, I definately agree that price-point wise, its very cheap, but I can't really justify to myself getting some of the add-ons. I've got a friend that is considering torrenting the damn thing, and I downloaded the tutorials and found them pretty helpful since I know nothing about CAD systems and my first tinkering with it was completely uneducated. But I do have another question. Where've you gotten all the features and symbols for terrain and stuff like that that don't come with just the CC3 and DD3?

mrken
06-08-2009, 05:03 PM
A lot of the stuff you are talking about with CC3 comes off their Yahoo group. Course if you Torrent the program I don't think you will find the group too friendly, or forgiving.

emblasochist
06-08-2009, 06:42 PM
Oh, I'm going to buy it if I use it. I just don't need their COMPLETE package as nobody in my current group does the sci-fi stuff yet, and I don't see much point for the perspectives add-on.

Oldgamer
06-09-2009, 11:21 AM
Oh, well, I definately agree that price-point wise, its very cheap, but I can't really justify to myself getting some of the add-ons. I've got a friend that is considering torrenting the damn thing, and I downloaded the tutorials and found them pretty helpful since I know nothing about CAD systems and my first tinkering with it was completely uneducated. But I do have another question. Where've you gotten all the features and symbols for terrain and stuff like that that don't come with just the CC3 and DD3?


I get a lot of stuff from Dundjinni (http://www.dundjinni.com/forums/default.asp) mapping software forums. If you are looking for a skeleton, go to their forums and type in "Skeleton" in the search forum and it will bring up all the threads that have skeletons in them. They aften come in handy zipped packs you can download. And to use them, you just download them into your CC3 folder and then you can pop them right into your map and scale, rotate, etc to whatever you want. The forum is art based, so almost all threads that pop up are from people who create them when someone asks for them. There hasn't been anything yet I couldn't find. If you don't get the add-ons like DD3, you'll be doing this a lot because CC3 by itself is a Cartography program meant for creating terrain, worlds, continents, islands, etc ... not much on any individual thing like dungeons, cities, etc; that's what the add-ons are for. It gives you enough to build those things basically, but you don't get a lot of detail or objects to add.

Skunkape
06-10-2009, 07:01 AM
My current Profantasy programs list is, Campaign Cartographer 3, City Designer 3 and Dungeon Designer 3. Purchase them in that order as each one got me interested in the next one.

I really like that you can connect each map to the others. For instance, do your overland map or the whole world, then add a link to a continent and map that. Then add a link to a city and map the city, finally, link a building and map that. I've got the city to build link going for a couple of the buildings in my main city.

Only problem is I don't have a computer currently in the gaming room to use my completed maps, but I'm planning on setting something up hopefully within the next year.

Oldgamer
06-10-2009, 12:00 PM
My current Profantasy programs list is, Campaign Cartographer 3, City Designer 3 and Dungeon Designer 3. Purchase them in that order as each one got me interested in the next one.

I really like that you can connect each map to the others. For instance, do your overland map or the whole world, then add a link to a continent and map that. Then add a link to a city and map the city, finally, link a building and map that. I've got the city to build link going for a couple of the buildings in my main city.

Only problem is I don't have a computer currently in the gaming room to use my completed maps, but I'm planning on setting something up hopefully within the next year.


That is just awesome, I didn't know it had such capabilities! :)

tesral
06-10-2009, 05:26 PM
That is just awesome, I didn't know it had such capabilities! :)

Campaign Cartographer is a CAD program. It explains it's ass-backwards drawing style and the steep learning curve. I have the bleeding program but had yet to make any use of it.

However because it is a CAD under the skin it scales. You can start with a world, zoom into a country, down to a town, into a house and if you are that crazy, the cat sleeping on the hearth. As demonstrated one can draw pretty good looking maps in a paint program (GIMP) but they are what they are, they do not scale.

Harwel
06-10-2009, 05:36 PM
My current Profantasy programs list is, Campaign Cartographer 3, City Designer 3 and Dungeon Designer 3. Purchase them in that order as each one got me interested in the next one.

I really like that you can connect each map to the others. For instance, do your overland map or the whole world, then add a link to a continent and map that. Then add a link to a city and map the city, finally, link a building and map that. I've got the city to build link going for a couple of the buildings in my main city.

Only problem is I don't have a computer currently in the gaming room to use my completed maps, but I'm planning on setting something up hopefully within the next year.

The latest version of Fractal Mapper (8.0) has this capability as well. It scales, and can do world, continent, city, and building / dungeon maps. The end product doesn't look at good as what I've seen come out of CC3, but maybe I just suck at making textures and stuff. :redface: I think the learning curve probably isn't as bad a CC3, and it's a lot cheaper ($35 takes it all).

Maybe I'll upload a pic of my horrible work-in-progress later, but you can probably see better work at the developer's website (http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm).

Skunkape
06-11-2009, 10:24 AM
The latest version of Fractal Mapper (8.0) has this capability as well. It scales, and can do world, continent, city, and building / dungeon maps. The end product doesn't look at good as what I've seen come out of CC3, but maybe I just suck at making textures and stuff. :redface: I think the learning curve probably isn't as bad a CC3, and it's a lot cheaper ($35 takes it all).

Maybe I'll upload a pic of my horrible work-in-progress later, but you can probably see better work at the developer's website (http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm).

Hey, I'll be the first to admit that CC3 isn't for everyone, either due to how hard the program is to use or the cost. Use the program you feel most comfortable with.

Heck, I've seen maps made by guys who use Photoshop that make me green with envy. I say use what you can that makes you happy!:)

nijineko
06-13-2009, 11:40 PM
i typically draw my maps, if by hand, then afterwards i scan it into the computer for touch up and special effects. some i generate completely by computer. but since i'm using a pentool, it's more or less hand-drawn in any case. ^^

i do sometimes use existing maps, if the campaign is in that particular world settings, but i still tend to come up with my own micro-scale maps if they are not already provided. even when they are, i'm likely to open it up and edit some features of the map in some way.

Tamburlain
06-14-2009, 08:11 AM
I like to hand draw maps. I mean really like. I think this may be true of any person who is a fan of fantasy rpgs and stories--and doubly so for those of us with a twinge of "Obsessive-Compulsive" to our personality. Even during the many years after I stopped playing D&D and other rpgs, I would often amuse myself by penciling the outline of continents... getting lost in the minute details of where a river should run with respect to elevation, what kind of forests should go where...

As for my game, I have a magnetic grid-map (http://www.dark-platypus.com/magna-map.htm)onto which I either lay down tiles or pre-printed maps of my own devising. I use the larger continental-scaled maps that I love to draw, sparingly. This is because we are using the default D&D setting for our games, and I don't want conflicting details... And in any case, I like the idea of playing in a "points-of-light" world that is only sketchily known to its inhabitants. FR, for instance, would be far too populated for our current tastes.

SilenzZzz
06-14-2009, 11:36 AM
we still draw all our stuff out on a battle map ... i have printed a few peices out ...

i can design one real nicely in photoshop ... but my printer is limited to 8.5 by 14 ... so not much of a point in printing out a to scale drawing for a dungeon ...

we have about 4 sets of the dwarven forge stuff that i bought a while back ... but none of the people i game with likes using them so prob gonna toss em on ebay one day soon ...

nijineko
06-15-2009, 12:20 AM
make the maps square and cut off the edges? or break them up into tiles?

SilenzZzz
06-15-2009, 02:19 PM
make the maps square and cut off the edges? or break them up into tiles?

i have thought about that ... would still take a LOT of ink to do that ... may check at kinko's tho and see what they would charge to print out a poster size....