The Isle of Goboru

Round 2: Create a map

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rethgaal

The Isle of Goboru


This is a serviceable map reference at first glance.

There is a compass rose and scale present on the map.

Everything is fairly clear and easy to identify.

The hex grid takes me back :)

Everything is here needed to make the map I would imagine it in sort of a treasure map style for the final.

I do recommend this map to progress to round 3

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
This is an overland map, so kudos for taking on a more challenging subject.

This is a cleanly labelled map that I could turn into a final map without additional information.

It has a key, a compass, and a scale, but the scale is poorly used (see below).

The Bad
The hex grid is pointless and needlessly confusing, since the hexes don't easily align with the scale (seven hexes make ten miles is going to cause headaches for any GM trying to measure travel times). Because their size is arbitrary on this map, they either need to neatly coincide with your scale (one hex is one mile, or one hex is two miles, or one hex is five miles, ect) or not be present at all. One hex = 1.42857 miles isn't helpful and makes them feel tacked on.

What are the towns with skulls on them? Are they ruins? Pirate towns? Poisonous towns? Skeleton towns?

My Judgement
It's an island map. It's a good island map, but there's nothing that really sets it apart from the dozens of other island maps we've seen. Not superstar, but clearly labeled enough that it gets a pass. I weakly 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?
Does The Map Have A Compass Rose and Scale? Are They Used Well?
Yes, and no. Since there's very little in the water, there's no reason not to have the island run corner-to-corner to use up more of the page's real estate. Also, the scale is weird. We do use hex exploration rules sometimes… but in those cases a hex is 12 miles corner to corner. You COULD have a good reason to do a different size, but there's none presented here. Otherwise just skip the hexes entirely and give us a scale.
Is The Map A Place I Want To Adventure?
There's nothing here that tells me that. It's very typical.
Is the Map Clear?
Not enough. I have no idea what the screaming sea is. Are there more monsters there? Does it look different. When the cartographer goes to illustrate this, should it be a different color? A different texture? Also, the settlements don’t have names, and sea drake hunting grounds with no island or lair or roost seem odd at best.
Is the Map Detailed?
At this scale, probably.
Is the Map Imaginative?
There's just not enough here to overcome the fairly serious problems. I do not recommend this for advancement to Round 3.

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

Dang autocorrect!
Yes, it's Steaming, not screaming. Typo turned to a new word by autocorrect.
And yes I know what the Steaming Sea is. But a cartographer might well not. If these icons should indicate fog, it would make more sense to mark them as "fog."

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

I like hex maps but where this fails short for me is there isn't a whole lot I see here that makes me want to use this location. For example, "ancient temple" isn't particularly evocative. "Temple of the Dreaming One" or something makes me more excited and gives the map some flavor.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8 aka Jrcmarine

Lots of wasted space on this map. Even with the ten mile scale that was used, why not "zoom" in on the map so we can get a closer look at what is going on. Its widest point was 8 hexes that left 15 hexes unused along the sides. You could have brought it in a little closer, still had room on the sides and given us more detail.

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

21st map I have seen, your current rank is 14th.

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'll admit I'm surprised to see as many non-encounter-level maps as we are, so kudos for that. I think it's a big risk and that's definitely part of Superstar.

That said, I'm afraid I'm not a fan of this one and I don't think I'll be voting for it. It's an island with various terrain features and a couple adventuring sites. I'm just not seeing anything that makes me think this is a place I *have* to send my characters or players for an epic adventure. You got two votes to move on from the judges, though, so good luck. Keep your head down and keep practicing your monsters.

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

Challenge: Islands can be tough as you have to have a eliveable coastline this manages that well.
Technique: I'm pretty sure this is a mapping program I've played with before... Doesn't seem to demonstrate much technique to me. I appreciate the use of symbols , color, and I actually like hex maps.
Utility: I could make use of a map like this but I don't need someone else to draw it for me.
Overall: This is an F for em compared to the other maps I just don't se myself voting for it.

Marathon Voter Season 8

On the technical level, this map is just fine. It reads easily and the symbols serve a purpose. Plus I like the little sea drake addition, evokes some good memories.

Unfortunately I'm not all that thrilled by this. It doesn't really differ from every other island map I've seen in my life and geographically there are some oddities in here. For example, there are two separate mountain ranges, but they're only 15 to 20 miles apart? With the individual mountains apparently being about two miles wide, if that. I'd call those hills, honestly.

As to the details, I like the troll dens as it's immediately something I could imagine doing on this island, but the other names are not very evocative. Who or what are Goboru or Rezza? Those are just generic fantasy names that tell me nothing. Sure, in an adventure book they might gain meaning, but by looking at the map alone, I get nothing. Also, in an island this small you could have given the different settlement their own names.

All in all this is perfectly serviceable, but falls short when compared to others.

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: You tackled an entire island, which was a gutsy move

Other things I like: The coastline is varied and believable.

My least favorite thing(s): It's a bit sparse, generic, and there is so much wasted space in the water. Also the odd hex size is problematic.

Will I vote for it: I will not be voting for this map.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Doing a whole island was a bold move, unfortunately for me at least it did not work. As others have pointed out there is too much empty space around the edges, even if you didn't want to zoom in for some reason, a few smaller islands or some potential aquatic encounters would have helped.

If I already had a plan for a couple of sessions on an island, I might use this map with a different scale. But nothing about this map gives me ideas for encounters or sessions.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE

The Steaming Sea, a hazy island-dotted body of water in the Arcadian Ocean, and trolls, huge monstrous jerks still waiting for the internet to reach Golarion whirrrBOOP.

Stub found!! sea drakes, aquatic lesser dragons.

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

The map is fairly clear, and in spite of some resolution issues even the key is legible. It appears to be a large island with a number of settlements, a few sites of adventure interest...and that's it.

The compass rose should have the N the right way up (fully understand the map having East on top as the length of the island forced it into this position). There are some marks in the Steaming Sea near the island that I think are shoals but show up in the key as the Steaming Sea.

Beyond all this is that I have seen this sort of world map before. There is nothing here that is exciting. It is just the same old tropes recycled and placed as an uninteresting backdrop for the adventurers to wander through. There could be an interesting story here, but we would need a lot more information for this map to shine, and we don't have that.

I will not be voting for this entry.

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

Um, is this X1 - The Isle of Dread? Not really much that makes we want to adventure here I haven't seen a thousand times before. Ancient Temple surrounded by forest. Large lake. Mines. Here be dragons/leviathans.

Kudos for using hexes, but I don't think Paizo does. And a mark for not alleging North with the top. Beyond that not much here excites me.

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: D
A generic island map made with software. Nothing exciting here.

Interest Level of Location: D
There are adventure sites labeled throughout the map. None of them excite me.

Tactical Depth: NA
I am not rating this category for maps that are not of a tactical scale.

Adventure Potential: B
There are enough adventure sites on this map that I could easily construct adventures here. But there's no clear story to the map either.

Clarity: C
The map is mostly clear, but the odd scaling issues and a few confusing symbols hurt its rating.

Logic: B
Some of the object placements seem a bit random, but there are no egregious problems.

Overall: C

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 aka jeffh

Crystal Frasier wrote:

What are the towns with skulls on them? Are they ruins? Pirate towns? Poisonous towns? Skeleton towns?

Answered in the key - razed settlements. (Razed how and by what isn't clear from the map, granted.)

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

A map of a whole island is a cool idea, but I'm not really seeing anything interesting enough to grab me aside from a couple of thrown about landmarks. I'm not sure why you have a hex grid. Not giving a scale for each hex basically makes this map worthless for hexcrawls. I'm inclined not to vote for this.

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 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':

Ooo a whole isle. Gutsy choice.

Ooo hex...also gutsy but good for naval and large scale battles.

It's an eastern isle, bit I have no idea what sort of region it is...tropical? Sub tropical? I would have liked some sort equator line.

Sea drake hunting grounds, troll dens, ancient temple, razed villages and such. It might be common tropes but I'm digging it.

The mountain range feels strange without some sort of heat map on the ocean to indicate an underground volcano or lava flow to have formed them.

An island tower, another trope but I still like it. A shipwreck too!

I feel like the mountains were put in because you wanted cover for your "cities"....or a clear demarcation of higher player levels before going across the mountains. The mountains would naturally be in the middle with foothills on all sides.

Overall, I'm conflicted about this map. It does present a story, albeit full of tropes that end up being good, but there's some niggling problem in the back of my mind that makes this only so-so. Perhaps it's because this just feels...contrived? Maybe it is because even though I enjoy the tropes, those are making this lackluster and not innovative.

P.S. it reminds me of the original dragon warrior on the NES.

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

I think an island exploration map- sandbox style- could be really cool, and I'm a sucker for hex maps since my early days playing in Mystara. That said, I'll have to echo some of the other comments that there really doesn't seem to be much unusual or innovative going on with this particular map other than that. I think a better use of the white space would have been to do- as Owen suggested- a larger scale map, going corner to corner, or alternatively, give us some smaller islands along the coasts, perhaps some additional hazards (like the reefs you have)- whirlpools, maybe?

It seems as if trolls are the primary antagonists on the island, so maybe expand on that somehow, or provide us with some other hints at the dangers that have created those ruins. Even just some more evocative names (Unhallowed Temple of Urxehl) would go a long way towards giving us more of a story as regards to why the PCs would be adventuring here.

The biggest drawback to me, though, is the scale. Again, echoing other comments (notably Crystal and Owen), but if you're going to use a grid- either hexes or squares- I think you're better off having your scale based on your grid type (1 hex = x miles) rather than giving a linear scale.

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: D

  • Positive: It's an island, with some variation in terrain and settlements to visit.
  • Negative: The geography is illogical (lakes with nothing feeding them? Rivers that start in forests? Towns with no fresh water source?), the features and settlements are unnamed and I don't even know how big they are. Eyeballing it, it looks like 300 square miles, so somewhere between a few hundred people in thorps and hamlets and 30,000 people seems reasonable, but we don't know where it is in that scale. It lacks the details that could make this otherwise generic island stand out.
  • Verdict: D

Usability: C-

  • Positive: It has a workable hex grid, even if it's not compatible with standard Pathfinder fair, and the terrain is easily understandable.
  • Negative: I have to name everything, and that does not make me a happy GM. To say nothing of having to answer questions on the terrain.
  • Verdict: C- It's usable as a basis for a map, but is far from complete in my opinion.

Craftsmanship: D

  • Positive: It has a compass and scale, and the legend makes the terrain clear and legible.
  • Negative: Around half the map is featureless sea, far too little information is included on the island itself and the scale is not consistent with standard Pathfinder products.
  • Verdict: D. Overland maps are one of the harder and more time consuming to produce, as it is the details that make the good stand out from the mediocre, and sadly this map doesn't include enough detail to do so.

Overall: D+

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

This one wasn't too bad, but a tad boring. And with so many excellent entries this map got pushed to the bottom for me.

Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rethgaal

Since I can say this now without getting DQ'd:

The only thing I would want to clear up, is that each edge of the hex grid is 1 mile. Meaning that, when bisected, each hex is 2 miles wide. Obviously that didn't really track, leading to the "why is 7 hexes 10 miles?" confusion.

This was a tough challenge for me. I've always tinkered with making maps, but never to this level before. Had to get a lot of pep talks from one of my more artistic friends on this one.

Thanks all :)

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