Nanny Pajit's Gyre, Gogpodda

Round 2: Create a map

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka ChesterCopperpot

Nanny Pajit's Gyre, Gogpodda


This is a decent looking map reference upon first glance.

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

This is a much better way to represent an partially submerged map.

Good use of page space, plenty going on all over the map.

nice looking map

I do recommend this map to progress to round 3

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
This map is clearly labeled, and I could make a final map from it without additional information.

There is a scale, a compass, and a key.

The location seems interesting and tells some story. Obviously, someone has been eking out a living on this wreck for a long time.

The Bad
This seems like an extremely small area to cover with an entire full-page map; it feels more like a quarter- or half-page map.

Most of the map seems to be a bunch of ten-foot circles connected by five-foot-wide bridges. Not a super-exciting area to have multiple encounters, but it could be cool for one extended boss fight.

My Judgement
A good idea, well-labelled, but too small and underdeveloped for superstar. I weakly do not recommend this entry for advancement.

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?
It is, but it shouldn’t be.
Does The Map Have A Compass Rose and Scale? Are They Used Well?
Yes, but ships rarely wreck along exact east-west alignments, and this could easily have been done as a half-page map.
Is The Map A Place I Want To Adventure?
Possibly, but it doesn’t grab me.
Is the Map Clear?
Not enough. Is there a lower deck to this ship? Is the midships mast really submerged? Is that some sort of broken cargo access near the fore of the ship?
Is the Map Detailed?
At this scale, I should see furniture and similar close details, and I don't.
Is the Map Imaginative?
Not enough to make up for its serious issues.
I do not recommend this advance to round 3.

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

A good idea but not fleshed out enough for my taste. With a square being 5 feet, we really should see some more details throughout the map. Floating garbage is a cool idea and I am surprised you didn't make specific references to it. Some of the garbage might be walkable, or there could be things hiding in it, perhaps a familiar or pet of the owner of the ship. Creatures always like to lair in garbage.

There just isn't enough creativity for my tastes which makes this a bit boring for me.

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

I'm thinking this is some sort of bandit hideouts. The map has some cool bits- ziplines, garbage, a half-submerged boat, etc.. Like others have noted, the details needed to be taken a little further and fleshed out more.

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

19th map I have seen, your current rank is 7th.

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: 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: Partly underwater ship turned zzipline seems like it could be cool and difficult
Technique: I'd call this an average display of technique but you failed to consider lower decks or anything else a player might explore here.
Utility: Not going to use it and the zip line sealed it for me as it breaks te 4th wall for me.
Overall: D as in weak reject for me. I don;t see it on the bubble.

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've clicked on this one a half-dozen times, trying to decide what exactly I think about it.

My first impression isn't very good. It looks like a half-submerged ship -- which isn't a particularly exciting choice to map and one we've seen at least a couple times before in Superstar -- with stuff around it.

As I look a little more closely, though, I see things that interest me. The driftwood platforms make for an interesting element we don't see that often. They're a little small for combat, but if the floating garbage can support weight -- and I assume it's meant to -- that does give enough room for some combat. Not only that, it makes for an interesting combat, with I assume difficult terrain and a chance to actually fall through said garbage.

Similarly, the zip lines add a fun, interesting element here that I would want to use as a GM or -- if I were the designer -- would want a PC to grab onto.

I'm on the fence on this one. It's growing on me and I think it could win my vote, though at this point I'm not sure yet.

Dark Archive

I thought it was a broken in two ship but looking closer might just be submerged a bit.

I'm not sure I'd have a reason to go here, its got a druid hobo vibe of recycling the wrecked boat and using garbage to plant gardens on. I have a character that might live here... but that's a different story. Not sure what you would be really fighting here or why you need this map though.

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: Sunken boat in a bog surrounded by garbage could make a cool lair for a low level BBEG, or a whole nest of goblins

Other things I like: Shrimp farm! Why not!?

My least favorite thing(s): Not enough detail for the size of the area, and there needs to be more interesting things to do here.

Will I vote for it: I bet if you took another crack at this map with the feedback you've received from the judges and contestants that I would be voting for this map, but as it stands I will not be voting for this map.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

To me this map feels like a good draft. I can see the potential, but it needs more detail. The ship would probably be cooler if it was broken into two pieces that were no longer connected. Some more variety in size of platforms would be nice.

I do like the zip line and some of the other details.

With some work I could see this as a good low level location for fighting a variety of foes from smugglers or pirates to amphibious enemies.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE

Gogpodda, a floating island of detritus in the Arcadian Ocean and Steaming Sea settled by shrimp-loving gnomes; and ships of Golarion, from fishing doreys to starships (not pictured!!).

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 is a fairly clear map with a partially sunken ship that has been turned into a residence/garden/shrimp farm. The zip lines are an interesting addition that I don't quite follow, but would make for a dynamic encounter.

However there isn't much here that screams "fantasy." Action/adventure, yes. But there really isn't something that speaks to living in a world where magic exists. Nothing here excites.

As a consequence I will not be voting for this entry.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love this - the drop-off from 5' on part of the ship to 100' is frightening; the massive dumps of garbage hiding who knows what; the skiffs already to embark; lines for climbing or swinging on; wooden platforms - a lonely place with a great name and set in a location I want to know more about. "Nanny Pajit" is fantastic*.

The map is clear and evocative, and already sets up visual and cinematic scenes in my mind's eye.

I would agree that lack of ship decks below hampers the submission. But on second thought, this is the exterior map, and a further map could detail the interior just as easily.

"Gyre" is a fantastic word to use - makes it seem like it regularly suffers from twisters/tornadoes/hurricanes/cyclones/spindrifts etc, and that this is a place where flotsam dwells and jetsam ends.

And as Browman comments, good for low level adventuring, so a plus from me.

Unfortunately, this apparently (thanks PFW1-K1!) lies in proximity to or is inhabited by gnomes, so you lose a point there.

Great map nonetheless!!!

* Unless she is a gnome in which case: poor form!!!! ;P

Dark Archive

First glance : meh, yet another shipwreck. Then I saw the ziplines. And the hut. And it all turned into a homestead I'd love to defend or overrun.
It could've some 'material' floating around in the swamp - misc. gunk and debris would help in making the map come alive.

Dedicated Voter Season 8

Odd map insofar as there are things I really like about it and things I really dislike.

The Good-

Varied areas for combat- the two areas of the ship that are above water, the area of the ship in shallow water, deep water, platforms and especially the zip lines all make for what could be an exciting and highly mobile encounter....especially if fires start breaking out.

The Bad-

I'm probably going to get a reputation for this but what kind of ship is this? Two-masted ships in the Western style, as this is, were Brigs or Brigantines. Brigantines usually topped out at 100 feet, whereas Brigs could get to this size, but didn't have the raised decks in the bow and stern.

The lines aren't crisp where they should be- like on the boat. If there's structural damage you could indicate weak areas on the map key.

Overall I am not voting for this map, though I see exceptional potential in the concept for an high-action fight!

Marathon Voter Season 8

I see some good potential for creative combat here. Unstable platforms, ziplines, deep deep water, a hut, a sunken ship with multiple levels. Yes, definitely some potential.

That being said, there are some minor tweaks that would have made this more interesting. Like I wish the west and the center platforms were a bit closer to one another, so that you could try to jump from one to another. It's feasible now as well - if only just - but not something I'd be willing to risk without a significant Acrobatics score. Boats floating in the middle of the canals would also have sufficed. I also wish the sunken ship was a bit closer to the surface, allowing you to walk on it halfway submerged. Having the center mast intact would have allowed you to include some ropes and sails to climb on, adding another level.

And what is the purpose of these ziplines? Are they there only for fun, because now it doesn't seem too hard to simply walk instead of hazarding a zipline. Sure they will be fun during combat, but what is their everyday use?

A maybe map for me. It has potential, but I don't think that potential is fully realized.

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.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka FaxCelestis

Here is how your map appears to a colorblind end user. Your use of color is largely outside the visible spectrum for a deuteranope, which makes your map harder to read. Since roughly 10% of the populace is colorblind, this is something you need to keep in mind.

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'm critiquing this without having read others':

Ok off the bat it's green water (which makes me think full of algae) and a half broken and sunken ship. I like the feel of it so far.

Floating garbage? Ok now it really has my attention. Not a normal choice and I think it is bold.

Good depth markers.


Driftwood platforms and shrimp farms and floating gardens. Really digging this.

It's a BIG shame there is no cross section to see levels of the ship.

Another unfortunate miss is the lack of any other interesting building besides the ship.

The driftwood paths should have been more...less straight paths and should have looked like planks...that's a little bit more in the artistic area so I won't detract for that.

Overall, I like this map. I like a lot of the different choice you made and there is definitely a story here. I just don't know yet if it is enough to progress to the next round. I'll reserve final judgement until I see all the maps but I'd vote for this for now.

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: C
A little messy and chaotic. Grid squares are quite large.

Interest Level of Location: B
Wrecked ship, floating junk, ziplines. Those are fun things.

Tactical Depth: A
This whole map appears to be set up for one combat encounter. A lot of jumping from one pile of garbage to another, use of the ziplines, and climbing on the ship would make for a memorable fight.

Adventure Potential: B
I could easily drop this into an adventure, but I don't think I could build an adventure around it.

Clarity: A
Despite its messiness, I can understand the whole map easily.

Logic: B
The setup seems to have been made with tactical considerations in mind, rather than realism. But no major problems.

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: C

  • Positive: A flotilla residence attached to a wrecked ship? Nice. Could be pirates swinging on zip lines, or a sea hag's garden, or even more unusual residents.
  • Negative: The wrecked ship still floating despite being partially underwater and without something to be lodged on breaks immersion, but the perfect east-west orientation kills it =(. The zip lines are a nice touch, but most are depicted in being flat, meaning they're not actually zip lines so much as giant clothes lines, and that sucks a lot of cool out of the potential scenarios right there.
  • Verdict: C. Good starting concept, but needed more thought to pull it off in a believable fashion.

Usability: C-

  • Positive: Elevations and depths are noted, all the terrain is referenced in the key so I can describe it, and the terrain is obviously laid out with functionality in mind, which is always appreciated.
  • Negative: Still too much missing information and blank spaces. It's also hard to describe things called "gardens" which appear to be floating in garbage – a more descriptive name would have been wonderful. As an encounter map, I need more than just geometry. The ship looks like it should be significant, but we don't et the interior? The map could have fit it in with a little work.
  • Verdict: It'll work for an encounter if the GM makes it work. C-

Craftsmanship: C-

  • Positive: It's an encounter map with appropriate scale, fully labeled terrain and elevations marked. All the bits and bobs are present.
  • Negative: Not an efficient use of page space, given much is dedicated to open water and blank platforms. The orientation of the ship is rather contrived and hard to overlook.
  • Verdict: C-

Overall: C-

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

This one just didn't resonate with me. It was actually well-done, but there were just too many superior entries that pushed this one out of my top-16.

Good Luck!

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

A half-sunken ship as some kind of base is pretty cool. However, I really wish there was more to it.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka ChesterCopperpot

Folks, thanks so much for all of the feedback. This is the first map I have every created, and I think I've picked up a lot from all of your kind attention. Really appreciate everyone that took the time to leave a comment.

Congratulations on completing and submitting your map on such a tight time-scale. Very well done, you should take pride in that achievement!

Disclaimer: The review of your entry that follows is from a non-official source, I have no formal part of RPG Superstar, and the review thoughts are mine alone and so should be considered carefully bearing this in mind. You can choose to digest or not each part as it seems of best value to yourself.

Note for all: I am spending at least an hour per map in order to be as extensive and thorough as I can, so with other time demands and the like, you will only be getting one or two reviews a day. Sorry, but real life and freelancing work does take precedence when they crop up.

I have already viewed all the maps and chosen my votes, so I am just typing up my notes in more human readable form - If voting closes before I get to your feedback, don't fret that you missed my vote :)

I am starting with map reviews this year while I brush up my knowledge of the different item types used for round 1. So let me begin...

Yes, there is one, even for maps - it is the size, the compass rose, scale bars for each part of the map drawn at different scales, a key box describing the map elements, the map name on the map. The clarity of line and text also pays a part on this. Here is how you did...

Name: Ok, I admit I had to look up what "gyre" was, and I am told "a spiral or vortex". So immediately I look at your map expecting some sort of whirlpool to be present - there is an almost land spiral effect but I would have wanted the water to show similar spiral currents (more on this later).

Size: Full page use with little wasted white space. You tried to utilise to the full the available page space providing lots of potentially interesting environmental impacts on the encounters in the area.

Compass Rose: Bottom right, almost falling off the map - it's just edging on being small enough to be missed, however a professional cartographer would resolve that. The important thing is that it is present.

Scale Bar: Scale is present - easy to find at the bottom of the key box. Nicely done.

Key: I like that you have pulled out the key into its own box, with clear background. Putting the title at the heading of the key, then the elements and finally the scale gives the key a well structured and natural flow. Well done.

Golarion Tie-In
Everyone has their take on Golarion, guided by the products and supplements. This therefore is a scoring based on how I felt you had tied the Golarion world to your map, it's flavour, the feel of the map, is it generic or obviously. This is therefore a very personal view and evaluation of your entry and should be considered as such. Onwards my brave contestant...

Ok, my google, prd and wiki search fu did not help me identify at all who Nanny Pajit is, but Gogpodda is the obvious inspiration for this map.

Summarizing from the Inner Sea World Guide, Gogpodda is a floating island on the Steaming Sea and the larger Arcadian Ocean, formed naturally from flotsam, jetsam, animal carcasses, and seaweed accumulating into an artificial landmass miles wide and dozens of feet thick. This description does raise a few more questions on the map design though (see later).

A good solid tie-in to Golarion clearly inspiring the map. Well done again.

Possible Areas of Improvement
Again, this is a personal evaluation of what, if anything, I think would improve the map and suggestions on things you could have done differently or added to the map. These are totally personal suggestions, but you might find something useful to consider herein...

OK, due to the Gogpodda tie in, I understand the map and it's inspiration - but...

a) Gogpodda floats around in the Arcadian Ocean, a mobile landmass of detrius, so I do wonder if there should be some sort of current in the waters, and that the surface debris that is loose should be shown being drawn along those currents rather than being "around" all sides of the raised masses.

b) Green for the water implies this is an internal zone and not near the head, i.e. stagnant and brackish - BUT - the island is formed of detrius, so to give more feel to the shallows and depths of the water, you could have depicted raised areas just below the surface showing the floor of the water covered area as being yet more debris.

c) If the water is indeed stagnant and nasty, it's unlikely that shrimps would thrive in it, so the color choice did put me off on this map a little. I would have expected there to be some sort of debris, coral and mould on the decking to age the sunken vessel in keeping with the general idea of the island. If it is a more recent sinking, then it is likely the edge of the island is close and the water should not be so stagnant looking.

Speaking of colour choice, the varying shades of green, especially over the sunken wreck kind of merge when you have tired eyes - make the distinction much greater - a much paler green over the deck of the boat would illustrate a lesser depth while the darker green would be deeper water around it. The two shades we have are just too close in my humble opinion.

Zip wires is a cool idea for navigating the area. I liked this, although I did wonder how "modern" zip wired were. It was a gut reaction that made me feel uneasy - but for game purposes, they scream fun. In the end they won over my reservation. My only other concern is that the zip wires should have a direction arrow on them, rather than having to look for relative heights, e.g. the top one falls from the stern at +15 feet to the bow at +10, so that one works nicely. However the bow to hut zip wire has both ends at +10 which makes me question how you zip down that one. The other from stern to hut is like the top on, down from the stern to the hut. I would have expected the zip wires to form a circle for fast travel around the boat and to and from the hut. You could have had the zip wires attached to the hut at the base to allow down from the bow to the hut and increase the pole on top of the hut to +20 feet allowing zipping from the hut to the stern. Then you get the complete zip wire circle.

The above, and this next point, is what I refer to as being dimensionally aware. I now ask you to look at your boat - the deck is 5 feet below the water but the water around it is 100 feet deep. 100 feet should be enough to completely submerge the vessel! It may be it is being supported on a back of debris, but this one did make me wonder if the boat should still be afloat as much as it is. As the location is an island built from debris, my gut tells me that 100 feet is too much - 30-50 feet would have felt better and not raised the question about how the boat remains afloat.

You fell into the old trap I mention elsewhere with lines, shape of paper size and subconsciously following the grid - your boat sank on a perfect east/west line, your north is straight up, the circular spiralling landmasses are almost a square spiral rather than a natural round spiral.

I summarise my reactions to your submission here, stating if you are a definite vote winner, a potential vote winner or not. I am not "scoring" the entries this year as I always struggle to maintain consistency in scoring, so I am now trying a more "gut instinct" summary. Here goes...

Ok, there were a few gut reactions on this map, but on the whole there is an interesting potential beneath the design flaws I have covered. This has resulted on your map being added to my shortlist for votes rather than my definite vote list. Well done.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka ChesterCopperpot


Thanks so much for your excellent and detailed feedback. Spot on, as usual.

My biggest regret for my map was that I did not use some of the space to illustrate the inside of the ship (which I had sketched out). I think it would have added necessary detail and answered some of your questions. (For instance, the ship floats because the gnomes who live there have pumped the water out of it.)

One piece of feedback that I understand, but take slight issue with, deals with orientation. I totally get that it can come off as artificial, but I deliberately drew it that way for two reasons.

1) It's much easier for a GM to draw the boat if it is horizontally or vertically aligned.
2) It's on a floating island in the ocean. Direction is going to be arbitrary, and it's easier for the players and GM to describe and grok if they can easily talk about it in terms of the cardinal directions.

Again, all feedback greatly, greatly appreciated, from everyone who took the time to comment. There was a lot to learn about this round, and I would certainly approach it differently a second time around, armed with your excellent advice and a clearer knowledge of the general expectations for this type of map.

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