Seriously, about your maps...


RPG Superstar™ 2010 General Discussion

1 to 50 of 56 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Make your maps legible. If your map is just a few wavy lines on the page, if your handwriting is so illegible that only you can tell the difference between a 5 and a 9, if you can't draw a straight line with a ruler, do whatever it takes to improve. You have to bring your A-game. Just as your text has to stand on its own without a mini-you nearby to explain it, your maps have to, too, and if a professional cartographer can't decipher your map, their version of your map probably isn't going to match up with your text.

I'll try to draw some examples of good and bad maps tonight and put them on my blog.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Indeed, what Sean said. I mentioned in another thread that hand-drawn maps are okay, and they are... but keep it CLEAN. Know your limitations and get another pair of eyes to look at what you have to post before you post it. In fact, have them look at a scan of your original rather than the original, in case things look a little fuzzy.

Remember: You only get one shot to impress, so make sure you've got it straight!

Liberty's Edge

So basically Sean and Jason are telling everyone not to have their children help them with their maps or to at least be sober while they are doing them... Also if your wife can't tell you where anything is on it then you need to make it better.(This is coming from a wife of a not so good map drawer)


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

oooh... map goodness... sweeeeeet!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Nani Wahine wrote:
So basically Sean and Jason are telling everyone not to have their children help them with their maps or to at least be sober while they are doing them... Also if your wife can't tell you where anything is on it then you need to make it better.(This is coming from a wife of a not so good map drawer)

That's pretty much it, Keani. I've certainly had my "me no make good map" moments and had to start over on a fresh sheet of paper sometimes. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

My primary advice on the mapmaking from a contest perspective would be to keep it simple. Don't overboard spending so much time on your map that you lose time you could have spent making your encounter text awesome!

Now, that said, after you've got your awesome text squared away, you can come back and spiff-ify your map as much as you want. But, last year, I know I struggled in the mapmaking round. Not because I can't do a clean map, but because I'm such a detailed person that I had to restrain myself from spending too much time on the darn thing.

Best of luck everyone,
--Neil

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Okay, finally drew and scanned some example maps!

=====

Map, Grade F
This map is awful. It's drawn in pencil and the scan barely shows the lines. I can't easily see where everything is supposed to be. Even where I can see it, I don't know what it is! Are those lines rivers? Are they forests? Lakes? What are those circles? Are those letters or numbers next to them?

=====

Map, Grade D
This map is marginally better than the previous one. All I did was go over the pencil with a dark pen so the lines would show up more clearly on the scan. I still don't know what these lines represent, or the circles, and the numbering isn't even clear.

=====

Map, Grade C
This is a marked improvement, but could still be clearer. It looks like the upper left border uses the old "use a humped line to indicate the edge of a forest." The big loop on the right may be a lake, a giant mud pit, a swampy area, not entirely clear, but a quick email to the designer would clear it up. Rather than generic circles, the four locations use little icons--two forts or castles, some kind of ruin, and something that's hopefully a cave but maybe is a giant eyeball. The numbers are clear and legible.
If you can't draw forts, cities, or what have you, find a symbol on the internet, print it out, and tape or glue it to your map before you scan it.
Here is a handy link of common gaming map symbols, and here is another.

=====

Map, Grade B
This is the exact same map as the Grade C map, except I colored in the forest and the blob on the right--green means forest, blue means water (rather than mud or swamp or magical barrier). It doesn't matter if you color it with colored pencils before you scan it or if you're using a coloring tool on your scanned map--color helps clarify what you're depicting.
This map is still missing a compass (indicating north) and a scale marker, so I'd still need to talk to the designer about it.

=====

Map, Grade A-
Some map as before, except I actually named the locations on the map as well as giving them numbers. I also added a simple compass rose and a scale marker.
Note that the scale marker is based on the grid size of the paper, which doesn't show up on the scan--if squares are important (like in a dungeon), make sure the grid shows up so the mapper knows what the scale is!
Also, because the resolution of the scan may mean your map appears at a different size on your screen than the mapper's screen, thus relative statements like "1 inch = 1 mile" may change; always include an on-map scale marker so the mapper can determine the scale without having to figure out at what DPI you scanned your map.
I give this map an A- rather than an A because in some places the handwriting is a little sloppy; if you have text on a map, it's best to include a text file turnover of all the text on the map, spelled correctly. This allows the mapper to (1) just copy & paste the text onto the map, rather than puzzling out your handwriting, (2) cross off each piece of text as he works on adding it to the map, so he doesn't miss anything that's supposed to be there.
Thus, for this map, I should include a text file that says:
1 Fort Zur
2 Fort Brun
3 The Ruin of Castle Happydeath
4 Ogre Lair
Bloodmurder Forest
Drownwicked Lake
[[compass rose]]
1 square = 1 mile

(The last two entries are mainly reminders rather than actual copy-paste goals... the cartographer isn't going to put the text "[[compass rose]]" on the map. We're not expecting Round 4 entries to include a map tags list, just make your map readable, please!)

If your handwriting is bad, either use a text tool in your graphics program to add text to the map, or print out the text, cut it out, and glue it onto the map before scanning it.

Note that the A- map doesn't get an A- grade for being awesome or interesting, it gets an A- for readability and how easily the cartographer could turn this into a professional map. I am 99% sure that if I handed this to a cartographer, he'd create a map that is exactly what I'm looking for.

Note also that this map could be much more interesting, with more details and such--but remember that the cartographer hasn't read your text for the book, he doesn't know if all the extra little details are necessary for your map, or if they're just flavor to make it look cool (for example, if you draw a scrap of paper on the floor of a room, he doesn't know if you're trying to make the room look more interesting, or if that paper is a vital clue the PCs can find in the room). As you work with a company and a cartographer more, you'll gain an understanding of the acceptable level of detail. For the purpose of RPG Superstar, the priority is readable, functional maps, not creating maps that are so awesome and detailed that you should be working as a professional cartographer rather than a writer.

If you'd like to see these maps all at once, I made a placeholder blog here.

Any questions?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Bloodmurder Forest

[offtopic]Sean, if you wrote a module that took place in Bloodmurder Forest, I would so buy that.[/offtopic]


Just marking this for future reference

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Heh heh, Castle Happydeath.

Gonna use that.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7 aka Draconas

deinol wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Bloodmurder Forest
[offtopic]Sean, if you wrote a module that took place in Bloodmurder Forest, I would so buy that.[/offtopic]

Bloodmurder Forest

Drownwicked Lake

I see a Dethklok song in the making there.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Okay, finally drew and scanned some example maps!

=====

Map, Grade F

O.o Wow, do you really get maps like that?

Contributor

Yes.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka DankeSean

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Yes.

That makes me feel a LOT better about my own lack of drawing ability. I might have a hard time drawing a circle that doesn't have corners, but at least my instincts would lean towards the B+ side of the spectrum. (Would definitely label, might not think of coloring things in.)

And I want to adventure in the ruins of Castle Happydeath now too.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Curaigh wrote:
Heh heh, Castle Happydeath.

Castle Happydeath got pulled into the hellish plane of Darkbad. (Which is still better than Scarytown.)

Contributor

Exactly what I was thinking. ;)


Let's flesh out these locales, and make a module!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

---
The ZonZon doll, as seen in Wayfinder #2.

Castle Happydeath play set sold separately.
---


Shinmizu wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
Heh heh, Castle Happydeath.
Castle Happydeath got pulled into the hellish plane of Darkbad. (Which is still better than Scarytown.)

Is Scarytown scarier than Lazy Town - that Sporticus guy freaks me out with the jumping and the exercising and physical moving about stuff.

The Exchange

The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Shinmizu wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
Heh heh, Castle Happydeath.
Castle Happydeath got pulled into the hellish plane of Darkbad. (Which is still better than Scarytown.)
Is Scarytown scarier than Lazy Town - that Sporticus guy freaks me out with the jumping and the exercising and physical moving about stuff.

This will help you get over those issues....

*Goes off, quietly and evilly laughing under his breath....*

Liberty's Edge

That name, Castle Happydeath, was clearly inspired by adolescent Castle Anthrax fantasies.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka KissMeDarkly

Fake Healer wrote:


This will help you get over those issues....

*Goes off, quietly and evilly laughing under his breath....*

Now I want to play a rogue duelist with one of those Sportacus mustaches.

[shakes fist in Fake Healer's direction]

The Exchange

The 8th Dwarf wrote:

Is Scarytown scarier than Lazy Town - that Sporticus guy freaks me out with the jumping and the exercising and physical moving about stuff.

What's scary are the credits - the guy does everything backstage too, with the exception of carpenter.

Scarab Sages

Go, go to Castle Happydeath,
It's the start of a brand new day.
Do-on't hold your breath
At Castle Happydeath,
You might just get blo-own awaaaay.

Dark Archive

Snorter wrote:

Go, go to Castle Happydeath,

It's the start of a brand new day.
Do-on't hold your breath
At Castle Happydeath,
You might just get blo-own awaaaay.

Lmao perfect fit to the tune. Now you just need some pompoms and a dance routine.


Hehe. That grade F map sketch is pretty funny. And YES, I have received a number sketches like this. Not from Paizo, but someplace else. Nothing to scale, no squares to reference for placement of things, amorphous shapes that are meant to define a structure...or even an entire city. So, like Sean said, look what has been done and learn.

Dark Archive

Just for fun.This is what happens when an amateur cartographer reads

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
how easily the cartographer could turn this into a professional map. I am 99% sure that if I handed this to a cartographer, he'd create a map that is exactly what I'm looking for.

(Please note, this is my first ever overland map, and only my third or forth map ever done in GIMP...I'm still learning lots, and although I could think of ways to pretty this up, they'd take me a few more hours and it's bed time ;) )

So how close is that to what you'd be looking for Sean ;)

Star Voter Season 6

Nevynxxx wrote:

Just for fun.This is what happens when an amateur cartographer reads

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
how easily the cartographer could turn this into a professional map. I am 99% sure that if I handed this to a cartographer, he'd create a map that is exactly what I'm looking for.

(Please note, this is my first ever overland map, and only my third or forth map ever done in GIMP...I'm still learning lots, and although I could think of ways to pretty this up, they'd take me a few more hours and it's bed time ;) )

So how close is that to what you'd be looking for Sean ;)

It looks fantastic - really really nice!

But if spelling counts, you're doomed!


Fake Healer wrote:


This will help you get over those issues....

*Goes off, quietly and evilly laughing under his breath....*

Your healing is fake and some what evil - I will be sending you my psychiatrists bill. ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Make your maps legible. If your map is just a few wavy lines on the page, if your handwriting is so illegible that only you can tell the difference between a 5 and a 9, if you can't draw a straight line with a ruler, do whatever it takes to improve. You have to bring your A-game. Just as your text has to stand on its own without a mini-you nearby to explain it, your maps have to, too, and if a professional cartographer can't decipher your map, their version of your map probably isn't going to match up with your text.

I'll try to draw some examples of good and bad maps tonight and put them on my blog.

[serious]

Ya know, the sad thing is that this was addressed in the Paizo Blog back on 2/4.

[/serious]

Contributor

tdewitt274 wrote:
Ya know, the sad thing is that this was addressed in the Paizo Blog back on 2/4.

Sure! But some people learn better if they can look at good examples *and* bad examples. :)

Dark Archive

The Paizo guys are always rejecting my maps. I never figured out why. :P

Also, I've been joking about making a dungeon called the DeathDoomKillMurder Mine since at least 2006. PCs get sent by a guy named Doakes (link NSFW- profanity; also, Dexter spoilers) to get a sandwich. Then they die.

My Doakes impression is flawless, BTW. :P

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

N'wah wrote:

The Paizo guys are always rejecting my maps. I never figured out why. :P

Also, I've been joking about making a dungeon called the DeathDoomKillMurder Mine since at least 2006. PCs get sent by a guy named Doakes (link NSFW- profanity; also, Dexter spoilers) to get a sandwich. Then they die.

My Doakes impression is flawless, BTW. :P

My map is what I'm most nervous about.

Dark Archive

PS- Did folks send you guys ass-maps this Round? I'd hope not. Don't name names or nothing if they did, but I'd like to know if they did. I got money riding on this thing.

Not really. :P


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N'wah wrote:
The Paizo guys are always rejecting my maps. I never figured out why. :P

I disaprove such racist cliche map... It is totally wrong!

You missed lots of corrupt politicians areas and the main large lazy-bum-soap opera-soccer-fanatic centre.

Get your facts straight! ;P

Dark Archive

Hugo Solis wrote:
N'wah wrote:
The Paizo guys are always rejecting my maps. I never figured out why. :P

I disaprove such racist cliche map... It is totally wrong!

You missed lots of corrupt politicians areas and the main large lazy-bum-soap opera-soccer-fanatic centre.

Get your facts straight! ;P

I also forgot Sombrero-ville. Sorry, Hugo. :P

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

N'wah wrote:

The Paizo guys are always rejecting my maps. I never figured out why. :P

Also, I've been joking about making a dungeon called the DeathDoomKillMurder Mine since at least 2006. PCs get sent by a guy named Doakes (link NSFW- profanity; also, Dexter spoilers) to get a sandwich. Then they die.

My Doakes impression is flawless, BTW. :P

Lololol.

That brought a smile to my face. I'm a big Dexter fan. I miss Doakes.

Dark Archive

Seabyrn wrote:

It looks fantastic - really really nice!

But if spelling counts, you're doomed!

that has been said before. I daren't look, what did I spell wrong *this* time?

Thanks for the nice comments.

The Exchange

Ogre Layer. Nice map though, I wish I could do what you did....I can draw up to A- but yours looks much better, Nevynxx.

Cheers

Dark Archive

French Wolf wrote:

Ogre Layer. Nice map though, I wish I could do what you did....I can draw up to A- but yours looks much better, Nevynxx.

Cheers

Ah. Yes. This is what you get for using graphics programs that use lots of layers to achieve effects....It seeps into your skull.

As for skill. I'm a rank amateur, the other pics in that photobucket prove that :) http://www.cartographersguild.com/ is a damn good place to learn how to do this though if you are interested.

Enough derailment now, back to the thread...


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
French Wolf wrote:
Ogre Layer.

No, really, that was intentional. That is far more terrifying that a normal ogre lair would be. Just don't think about it, or even let yourself realize it exists. It's better that way.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

Shinmizu wrote:
French Wolf wrote:
Ogre Layer.
No, really, that was intentional. That is far more terrifying that a normal ogre lair would be. Just don't think about it, or even let yourself realize it exists. It's better that way.

Ogres are like onions--they have layers.


Jim Groves wrote:


Lololol.

That brought a smile to my face. I'm a big Dexter fan. I miss Doakes.

It was really sad seeing him play such a clown on a recent episode of Burn Notice. Such a long way from 'Oz'.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Craig Clark wrote:
It was really sad seeing him play such a clown on a recent episode of Burn Notice. Such a long way from 'Oz'.

I agree. I'm a Burn Notice fan too, and I didn't even recognize him. My wife had to make me take another look and listen before it clicked. Part of me wanted to say 'what a great range as an actor', but I couldn't quite sell myself on that line. It was a crummy part for such a good character actor.


All this talk about maps brings up a good point. I myself am terrible at doing maps; freehand maps have odd boundaries, and graph papaer maps end up looking like box mazes. I once bought Campaign Cartographer, but I couldn't get it to work properly on the computer I had at the time, and now can't find a decent map-making program. Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent one? Preferably something that doesn't rely so much on freehand drawing as much as it does cut-and-paste for common symbols, and standard color and print tools. Also, cost is a big issue here: I don't make a lot of money, so I don';t want to be paying out monthly subs, or drop $100+ on something I won't even use that often.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Curaigh wrote:
Ogres are like onions--they have layers.

Oh. Oh, ok. That's much less frightening than what I was thinking.

The Exchange

Shinmizu wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
Ogres are like Hell--it has layers.
Oh. Oh, ok. That's much less frightening than what I was thinking.

How about that?

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

French Wolf wrote:
Shinmizu wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
Ogres are like Hell--it has layers.
Oh. Oh, ok. That's much less frightening than what I was thinking.
How about that?

lol


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
French Wolf wrote:
Shinmizu wrote:
Curaigh wrote:
Ogres are like Hell--it has layers.
Oh. Oh, ok. That's much less frightening than what I was thinking.
How about that?

Still less frightening. I refuse to think that way about Mammy Graul anymore.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Jim Groves wrote:
Craig Clark wrote:
It was really sad seeing him play such a clown on a recent episode of Burn Notice. Such a long way from 'Oz'.
I agree. I'm a Burn Notice fan too, and I didn't even recognize him. My wife had to make me take another look and listen before it clicked. Part of me wanted to say 'what a great range as an actor', but I couldn't quite sell myself on that line. It was a crummy part for such a good character actor.

That sounds like when I realized how much I enjoyed Kate Vernon on BSG. I hated Ellen Tigh, then the scene where she dies made me cry. Then when she came back, the character was so different, that I realized I needed to find more of Kate Vernon's work.

1 to 50 of 56 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2010 / General Discussion / Seriously, about your maps... All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.