Day 20: An Adorable Disaster

August 16, 2009

So, my plan to draw maps for the game has hit something a snag.  Oh my god she’s coming for the camera!


That’s right.  My cute, adorable baby girl.

You see, there’s really only two places in the house to lay out the map paper I’m using.  Those places are also places where we taught my baby it’s OK to draw on paper.

You can imagine her confusion.

So anyway, I didn’t get that far; I’m quite slow at drawing these, and so only two pencilled maps partially destroyed.  All this has done is help me admit that there is no way I’m going to get maps drawn for even the majority of sites that will feature in this game.  Even if I’d saved those two I just don’t have the time.  So I’m going to base my plans on a Chessex mat and having good selections of other materials.  I’m kind of bummed out by that.


6 Responses to “Day 20: An Adorable Disaster”

  1. Johnny Oneiric Says:

    I hear you. I remember when DM’s prep was almost entirely made up of drawing maps – of dungeons, castles,… well, that was pretty much it, dungeons and castles. Stocking them with treasures and inadequate guardians was almost an afterthought. Their reasons for existing in the first place were never a consideration. How times have changed! Now map-making is a peripheral activity, necessary to support planned encounters or the story.

    It’s ok to use canned maps. Spend a minute browsing WotC’s Map-A-Week archive, hundreds of maps generic and specific for the taking. There’s also the maps section of the artwork gallery.

    We’ll never know. 🙂


  2. filbolg Says:

    Also, as I have somewhat recently learned, its not that hard to make passibly good looking maps with gimp, either at dungeon level or at landmass level (I find city level leaves quite a bit to be desired.) You may want to check out the cartographer’s guild…

  3. Monty Martin Says:

    Ryan, you could also check out Monte Cook’s Dragon’s Delve at It’s a huge, 3.5 edition mega-dungeon campaign – in the same spirit of exploration as West Marches, really, in that players control the pacing and destinations within an overall locale. It’s really rules-lite, so beyond the maps being good, it’s pretty adaptable too.

    You have to subscribe to download all the maps and rooms like DDI – but you could probably subscribe for a month and have more material than you could ever hope to use. I do have a subscription, so if you just wanted to peruse it sometime I could show you what’s there.

    You’re within every right to use canned maps, even adventures and encounters on this – given the amount of work involved in this one, none of us are going to begrudge you for cutting a few corners – we’ll probably all will just think everything’s too awesome to notice the difference!

  4. Mike R. Says:

    I’m still suggesting my deck/chart of terrain features, and using that for everything that’s not incredibly important.

    I’ve also got myself a dry-erase flipmat that works really well, and is cheaper and more portable than a Chessex mat. Methinks you’ve seen it. It’s very easy to draw out a quick map whenever you need one, and there’s not much point in drawing out super-detailed maps that might only ever get used once or twice.

    And, if you really like a certain map you draw out, or feel it may need to be used again, you can quickly transfer it to graph paper, or even just take a photo of it before you erase it.

  5. stoughton Says:

    Mike, I’ve come to agree. Deck of terrain features is the way to go (I wish someone had a nice spreadsheet to share).

  6. stoughton Says:

    About the canned maps: It’s not that I don’t want to use canned maps, I just really want to be able to lay down the full-size encounter map on the table right away.

    I hate that lag time between the anticipation of the encounter and the battlemap being ready for play.

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