Temple of Kabriri, The Pit, Sandpoint Hinterlands

Round 2: Create a map

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Temple of Kabriri, The Pit, Sandpoint Hinterlands

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
This map is labeled clearly enough that I could probably make a finished map from it without further information.

There is a scale, key, and compass.

I like that the halls aren't simple straight lines and that there's some variety to the shape and placement of rooms.

The Bad
The crypts LOOK like a maze or complex structure, but there's literally only on way through; your rooms may as well be arranged in a straight line. What if clerics are in a hurry and want to the ghoul birthing without a half-mile hike and a wade through the lake?

Labyrinths are difficult to pull-off in play; they're a pain for GMs to draw and easy for PCs to solve unless they're handled with skill challenges or a similar mechanism

A lot of tunnels disappear off the right side of the map, while the left side feels sparse. Overall, it feels like this map wasn't planned very well.

My Judgement
It's a decent dungeon idea, but poorly done, with more space given over to twisting passageways that will slow down the game rather than developing to location. I weakly do not recommend this entry for advancement to the next round.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Drawing from my blog on maps, and the rules for the round, I’ll judge the maps on a number of questions.

Is It a Full Page Map?
Yes, but there are some big empty spaces. This could likely be redesigned to be a 1/2 page map without much difficulty.

Does The Map Have A Compass Rose and Scale? Are They Used Well?
Yes, and yes.

Is The Map A Place I Want To Adventure?
Not really.
There are two problems with adventuring here. first, as Crystal mentioned, labyrinths are hard to pull off. This runs smack into the classic problems, without any innovative way to deal with them. If someone did manage to make a labyrinth map that wasn't going to be an issue in play, THAT would be Superstar material.
Second, the massive number of 3-foot corridors are just not fun. They penalties they impose aren't particularly interesting, but they are hard for GMs and players to remember who can and can't go where, and how fast. A single such corridor is an interesting change of pace. A whole section gets monotonous.
With nothing to offset those drawbacks, this map is likely to make an adventure run on it less fun than a series of simple 10x10 rooms.

Is the Map Clear?
Not particularly. There is a symbol in the feeding floor with no definition. Is that a mark on tile? A weird bloodstain? A magic trap? I know what the wrapped bodies are, but not the empty rectangles, or the rectangles with stick figures on them. They aren't sarcophaguses. For that matter, are the stick figures? Ghouls? Corpses? Giant gingerbread cookies? I don't know.

Is the Map Detailed?
Because there are several undefined symbols that aren't clear, I'm not sure. Probably it'd be fine with more definition.

Is the Map Imaginative?
Not particularly, and what is new is part of the problem.

None of the problems with this map couldn't be fixed, but there's no sign it's worth the effort. I don't recommend this map for advancement to round 3.


At first glance this looks to be a serviceable map.

There is a compass rose and a scale present.

The complex nature of the maze and the narrow tunnels make things difficult. And passages that run off the page as well. Everything feels a bit off base. Some of the symbols are a bit hard to read as well.

I like the idea of this map but the execution should be better.

I do not recommend this map to progress to round 3

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka John Benbo

An interesting and cool concept (ghouls hit a soft spot) but the map just seems too busy for me. I'm not sure if the claw-like corridors are supposed to represent something, but this would be hard for me to draw on a battlemap. Also, I haven't ever had any fun as a GM or player running encounters in narrow corridors. Characters with darkvision or an adequate light source aren't going to be fooled by many of the shorter tunnels (which I'm assuming or intended to lead players astray).

It's a temple without a convenient entrance, and the only sensible room wanders off the bottom of the page without comment...

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Thank you for the comments and review. I appreciate the feedback and honesty.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

The Pit, an underground area southeast of Sandpoint; and Kabriri, Demon Lord of Graves and Ghouls.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

11th map I have seen, your current rank is 8th.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor

I gave Taylor some feedback on this map earlier, so I'm going to keep my comments to a minimum.

I like all the non-rectangular shapes in this map. I think that makes for a more exciting adventure locale. I also appreciate the large chamber that could make for a nice climactic fight.

Best of luck going forward.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral

My criteria:
My Map-fu is weak compared to some of these contestants but I shall endeavor to give feedback. I'll be looking at the following:
Challenge: Is this map difficult to execute? Does it in my opinion demonstrate the characteristics of a Superstar designer?
Technique: Did the designer show some skill and consideration in the choices made on the map. Are the words used in the key wise choices that add to the overall utility of the map?
Utility: Can a GM/cartographer make sense of the map and make immediate use of it?
Overall:[b] I'll rate the Map as an A for strong recommends B for weak recommends C on the bubble D for weak rejects F for Do not recommends

**Disclaimer- Taylor is my hommie.
Dungeons are the bread an butter of a GM, it's the thing we draw the most so the challenge is to make something that turns aside our expectations.
Technique: The blackspace hurts a little, the norrow chambers and details that were so hard to execute hurt the overall design.
PFW1-K1's 3rd link is somewhat enlightening to where your head was at but even that doesn't save what looks to be a lot fo wasted space for a temple/graveyard complex.
Utility: I would have a hard time replicating this and wouldn't see the need to with a lot of the side chambers.
Overall: C rating from me as I feel this is on the bubble. I see good elements but I feel this ranks somewhere around 13-19 in the competition. Sorry man :/

Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This map just emphasizes that living in Sandpoint is just not a good idea. How many lost temples, hidden bases, and magical death pits can one village hold? Here we have a temple to the patron demon of ghouls. Pretty much everything in here is designed around ghouls and graveyards, so thematically it is tight. The map is somewhat clear, but some of the key symbols are a bit faint and have some resemblance to each other—specifically the sarcophagus and wrapped bodies when they appear on the map. Colour could have helped differentiate individual marks on the map.

The catacombs come across as just a chaotic maze that heads off the edge of the map without any indication as to where those crawl ways go or how far out they spread. I can see a lot of questions as to elevation and map symbols. I can't get a good visual image in my head about what this would be like.

Some interesting ideas and the theme is solid, but that's it. I will not be voting for this entry.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't think I've seen anyone else mention it, (although PFW1's links make it clear as well) so thought I'd bring up the fact that the dungeon layout would seem to be a rough approximation of Kabriri's symbol. (Which is also the symbol on the floor of the the main chamber.)

Dark Archive

A little trouble seeing some of the details on my end but not to a detrimental degree.

I am not a huge fan of the excess corridors. When someone plays through this it mostly becomes unused area, especially because of the size.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

I feel like this map would be fine for rolld20 or another web application where you can only see what your character can. But for a face to face group the constant narrow tunnels and small rooms will likely be more of a pain than an asset. But there is a solid idea behind the map which is a plus.

D for me.

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

I kinda like it. The theme is obviously a little heavy, but the hack-corridors, the Kabririan symbology in the corridors, the attempts to throw off invaders - it kinda evokes old school S1 Tomb of Horrors. Sometimes a wrong turn is a WRONG turn, and the cultists will know which way to take, and though it may be a little long it will remind them of where they are and why they are there.

I especially like the corridor that goes under another corridor - echoes of Q1 The Demonweb Pits.

So you managed to bring to mind two classic adventure map layouts. Nice job.

Still, I have to agree with Owen, Crystal and Rob's comments. Having designed an (admittedly much more complex) labyrinth for Kobold Press' Journeys to the West adventure Awash in the Wash I heartily endorse this quote appended by Christina Stiles from said adventure:

Awash in the Wash wrote:
You could, literally, have the PCs map out the maze the old-school style—which is going to take a tremendous amount of time and likely bore the players to death, or…

Mazes suck unfortunately, but yours isn't really a maze or labyrinth for me.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Mark D Griffin

My favorite thing: A temple to Kabiri at the bottom of a pit sounds awesome. If we're talking concept only, I think you have one of the better ones (although that link to the Pit shows me you didn't come up with the concept, you only chose it)

Other things I like: The temple being subtly shaped like Kabiri's symbol was cool idea, although I feel like nobody noticed because it's not a super recognizable symbol.

My least favorite thing(s): All the cramped passages wouldn't be fun to adventure in, there are just too many of them to be interesting after awhile. It's not like the ghouls or cultists would have an advantage in the cramped space either, everyone will take the penalties. Also most dead ends are visible before turning down them, so they lack purpose.

Will I vote for it: I give you points for style, but I don't think you thought some of your choices through. I will not be voting for this map.

Marathon Voter Season 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The main problem here isn't the idea, which does show some ability to go for the unexpected, or the theme, which is a bit common, but perfectly serviceable. It's the fact that this would be so annoying to run or be part of. Tunnels after tunnels, most of which you had to squeeze through, no room for maneuvering, no real choice for in which order you tackle the challenges, not much elevation, no sense of grandeur. Just tunnels after tunnels. Sure it looks interesting for the GM, who can see it as a whole, but I bet players would be full of this after the first two rooms.

Now the end chamber, that's more like it. Sure, it's the most clichéd of these, but it also works. I like that the players will start with a elevated position and can jump straight into the fray, probably even literally. I like that the stand extends over the ghoul pit.

Alas, as it is, it's just too little. I appreciate the unique look and the willingness to take risks, but this time those risks didn't pay off.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Official Round 2 Note: On Map Resolution

We’ve had some comments on legibility of smaller type on the maps, and the contestants are (by the rules of the contest), not allowed to clarify anything, so I want to make a general statement about maps and resolution.

When we required all contestants to present maps at a specific dpi and size, we did so because in past years we’ve had some issues with maps (for the encounter round) being sent to us in different sizes, resolutions, and dpi, making it difficult to give them all a high-quality presentation for the contest. We found that asking for a higher dpi than we’ll use in the end allowed us to create a standard of presentation that kept all images crisp and clean. For encounter-round maps, this has worked well.

Unfortunately, since this round requires all text be provided on the maps themselves, many contestants used the dpi and size standards we required as the basis for making sure their text is clear, and otherwise tried to keep words as small as possible so as to not clutter their maps. This was done in the (reasonable) belief that the maps should look good at the size we asked for, rather than in any different size we might present on our website. When resized for smaller, high-quality images, this can result in words that aren’t clearly legible.

We’ve made a change to rescale everything to the higher end of maximum image size for uploaded images for all maps that were entered this round. This should allow for better legibility for voters when selecting their favorite maps to advance in the contest. It is our fault that this process was not properly communicated to our contestants, so consider this when adjusting or finalizing your selections.

Obviously, we’ll explain what is going to happen to the images of maps, and how to allow for it, more clearly in future rounds (and future contests). My apologies to any contestant with a map that has suffered as a result of how we handled scaling in this round.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Morphemic

Here are my ratings for this map:

First Look: A
This is really cool looking. I like the shapes.

Interest Level of Location: B
Ghoul catacombs, and evil temple, and some other typical dungeon features. Well designed, wonderfully creepy, but not entirely original.

Tactical Depth: C
You could have a very good battle in the main temple, but the rest of the map has so little space to move around that trying to run combat on it would be an exercise in frustration.

Adventure Potential: B
This mini-dungeon could be a fun adventure on its own.

Clarity: C
Most of the map is clear, but a lot of the fine details leave me with questions. There are a few places where I have to guess the intent.

Logic: B
This is fairly logical, but too linear. It needs some secret passages and escape routes.

Overall: B

Star Voter Season 8

First off: Congratulations on making Round 2, and the best of luck in the votes!

How I rate these:

Coolness: Do I look at this, and want to use it in a game? Does it provoke wonder or amazement? Does it hold potential for interesting encounters, adventures or roleplay? How much mileage does this map have in it?

Usability: How usable is this for me as a GM (being that GMs are actually the primary audience of most maps)? Is the legend clear and in logical order for play? Does it give me enough information to easily visualize the parts and wax poetic about the varied locations? Does it have the necessary details for me to run with it on the fly, or will it involve a lot of improvisation? Does it have any glaring oddities that stop me mid-breath to go "what the hell is that?!"?

Craftsmanship: Is it clear, legible and containing all the necessary bits and bobs? Does it make good use of the space? Is the scale appropriate for the detail (and visa versa)?

(I suppose you could also call them "Creativity, Functionality and Skill", but I like my terms better :P).

Coolness: E

  • Positive: Ghoul warrens and catacombs are an old and beloved classic.
  • Negative: My first impression is one of incomprehension: Who or what built this, and why? Was it built as a temple to Kabriri, and if so why would a ghoul want catacombs (they eat bodies, not inter them)? Was it built as catacombs and converted? If so, what madman built it? Are ALL the squiggles supposed to be 3' (even if drawn at one and a half, on average) or are some of them actually narrow? Why would I want to subject myself to an entire dungeon of squeezing for everyone?
  • Verdict: E. It gives me a headache, not inspiration.

Usability: E

  • Positive: There is a grid. There are labels
  • Negative: The grid isn't used or reliable. The labels make no sense to me; how is a tomb forgotten if it's part of the only way in or out?
  • Verdict: I don't want to use this, and I suspect my players would revolt if I tried. E

Craftsmanship: D-

  • Positive: It has the compass and scale, and part of a key.
  • Negative: It has a lot missing from the key, the grid and scale aren't actually used in the map design and thus are redundant, there are random passages leading off the page, and large hunks of empty black space.
  • Verdict: D. I recommend starting with a rough sketch, playing around with page usage etc there, and then making a clean final copy with the bugs ironed out.

Overall: E+

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I liked this more than the judges, looks like a fun location. The skinny hallways could prove annoying after a while.
This map was #16 for me, good luck!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka theheadkase

I am critiquing this without having read others' first:

I critiqued this privately for you, Taylor, but I will repost it here.

Black and white..I actually quite like this.

The vertical layout is kind of weird, I want to rotate this but I can't because of the legend(s). Speaking of those legends, they take up a decent amount of space.

I like the crosshatching effect on the black areas.

Interesting design shapes for the rooms...I like the odd angles and tapering sizes. I find it a little weird that there are "standard" rectangle and circular/ovular rooms without the same effects. Makes it feel...inconsistent. There could be an interesting story to tell if all the rooms were odd angles and tapering sizes and such...but with "standard" rooms I feel like that story isn't there.

Love the curving hallways...claustrophobic since you can't see all the way back once you get to a certain point.

Your bottom right legend needs another go-over with a pen to be more readable.

Nothing about the big oval chamber suggests "birthing" pit for ghouls to me...other than the egg shape. Ghouls aren't born in PF...rather they are made from corpses and even then...not really made. So while I think I know what you are doing with "Ghoul Birthing Pit" I don't think it works, and it could be just be the name. Maybe something like Ghoul Forge or some such.

Forgotten Tomb especially sounds weird with the fact that it is a standard rectangle. No piles of rubble or anything.

Overall, this is serviceable and has some great potential behind it. I'm not confident it is Top 8 but it could be Top 16. A little more consistency with the odd angles and tapering shapes across the whole and some work on the names of the rooms and going over the bottom right legend's words with a darker pen will help tremendously. Well done so far.

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

Now I want to make a Kuru Warpriest of Kabrir!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Cyrad

I really like the big room, but the linear progression just really hurts this for me.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

Thank you to everyone that took the time to comment and honestly review this map. I, myself, am not satisfied with it but I will hold off on detailing why until I know it is safe to do so.

I spent most of my time during the voting period working on monster entries, but I also had some time to work on a revised map. I will also post that when I know it is safe to do so.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

I am not exagerating when I say that I feel this is the worst map I have ever drawn. I have some ideas as to why this is the map I turned in and not something more showing of my ability, but I don't blame what I see as a failure on anything but myself. I don't know yet if I made top 16 or not, this being the day before the results of this round are posted, but if I do make it I will have done so by a slim margin. 

I believe I had three things going against me. I have only ever drawn maps for myself, and never polished them up beyond my own needs. I allowed the pressure of the competition and time limit to hold me back from thinking through the process in a clearer and more organized manner. And lastly, I tried to use tools I have little to no skill with. 

Basically, all of my maps looked much like this one I did of the First World Witchmarket. Pencil drawn, little to no notes on the map itself, detailed enough that I can show it to my group and have them gain an idea of what to imagine but not so detailed that I gave away any secrets. Everything that wasn't on the map was in my personal notes. 

As for the pressure and time limit, I shot myself in the foot before I found out that I was in the top 32. Let this be a lesson for everyone interested in this contest: Always read the advice about the next round and be prepared for it even if you don't think you will move on. I didn't believe I was going to make top 32, and thus didn't do any study or preperation for this round, and I think that shows. When I did have to do something I scrambled, cut corners, and didn't allow myself to think clearly. 

I also tried to use a photoshop program, which took up a day I could have used to revise, replan, and redraw. Beyond some minor touch up and experimentation, I had no experience with it before this contest. I think trying to use it was my biggest mistake. If you don't have experience with it, don't try to learn a new skill if you only have a couple days. Instead, use what you know and are familiar with.

Drawing a good map requires that you think through each step of the journey the players take through it. You have an end goal location on that map and you need to think through how the players will get there. In the case of nations, cities, and settlements this means thinking through travel routes, landmarks, terrain, and buildings and how each part works together. In dungeons that means you consider how you lead your group to the end fight and what that fight will look like. 

I did do a little bit of that in this map. Having some experience and knowledge of how temples work I actually thought through the ritual that someone would go through as they went from room to room. You start in the highest elevation, move down, and pass through various rooms that have symbolism and significance related to the grave, ghouls, and eventually undeath. For example, the pit of the grave has you decending to the bottom of a symbolic grave, and you even have to exit through the floor. The tomb is forgotten because they are vacated by those who become ghouls, and there is also some symbolism in how eventually everyone forgets those laid to rest in it. This all leads to the large oval room. 

The oval room has three parts, the unholy stand, the feeding floor, and the birthing pit. The unholy stand is where all followers go to proclaim their loyalty and dedication to Kabriri, standing where everyone can see them. Offerings of fresh dead are tossed into the pit below, and sometimes still living offerings are made as well. Those still living offerings may be ignored by the ghouls in the pit, and eventually become ghouls themselves. Those in the pit are young ghouls, and in order to get out they must fight their way to the top, clawing up and out of it while being dragged down by the others in the pit. Only the fittest survive. The feeding floor is where great feasts are held, and on special unholidays of Kabriri each of the the stone tables (that is what those rectangles are,) have several worshipers each, all feasting on the body of an intelligent humaniod. 

I did try to make the complex fit the rune of Kabriri, as some have pointed out. I thought the shape of it would cool to put into architecture form and that idea reminded me of how some religious building are also based on religious symbols. 

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For those interested in seeing what I can do, check out the First World Witchmarket map I did a while ago.

Also here is a revision of the Temple of Kabriri. It isn't finished because I have been working on monsters more than trying to do a fully revised map.

Pencil Sketch

A photoshop WIP

I know that I said I don't know how to use photoshop, and that was one reason my map wasn't as good as I could have made it, but now that I don't have a time restraint or an obligation to submit this, I can use it to learn photoshop.

On the revised map I plan on keeping some of the important elements but making important changes to whole layout.

Catacombs: They are still there but they are now five feet wide and under the majority of the complex. These are not meant to be explored, nor would they be places where combat would take place. These are routes to many parts of the temple, and just about every room will have a secret entrance to them. Yes the PCs could go down and explore them, and some parties will more than likely try, but that can be discouraged in how they are described. I would imagine they would be much like the Vietnaum tunnels that were suicide to go into, and such elements like supernatural fog or deadly traps could be placed in them to discourage outsiders. Catacombs in a cult of Kabriri could be used to place bones of faithful followers, right after they were picked clean by the congregation.

Elevation: It isn't apparent in the map (yet) but you start at the highest point in elevation in the south and as you move north the elevation drops. The room shaped like the Sunken Shrine from the first map is going to be resting at a steep incline, like a shrine that has sunken into the earth. That allows you to move from the high elevation to the mid elevation. The large circle will be the Pit of the Grave, where you decend to the bottom of the pit and them access the lowest elevation by going through a hole in the floor (once again, this is because of religious ritual.) The lowest elevation has the catacomb access and access to a natural water source.

The Large Oval Room: I am going to change a couple things. I am going reverse the layout, so the unholy stand is now opposite the entrance instead of being at the entrance. This is so the party doesn't start with a height advantage when they come in, and for the religous ritual. In the ritual you decended into the grave and now you climb up to the unholy stand out of the grave. There will still be the birthing pit in the middle, only this time there will be access to the catacombs at the bottom of the pit. The pit will also be larger. I plan on keeping the tables.

I haven't figured out what all of the rooms are for, but when I end up writing this out for a future Rise of the Runelords game I will be sure to post everything here in the messageboards.

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