Needlecreek Chasm, The Sodden Lands

Round 2: Create a map

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 8 aka Helio

Needlecreek Chasm, The Sodden Lands


This is a decent looking map reference on first glance.

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

Fairly easy to read and a good use of color.

Good use of page space.

I do recommend this map to progress to round 3

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
This is an overland map, so points for tackling a more difficult subject matter.

This is a fairly confusing map, but I could probably make a final map without additional information.

There is a scale, compass, and key.

The location is fairly interesting, and clearly something has happened here.

The Bad
The cave interiors should not be mapped out here at this scale, and their inclusion does a lot to confuse the map layout.

None of the natural constructions here (the river, the forest, the shoreline, the lakes) have natural shapes. The layout of elements is all neat and fairly regular, with no features really shouting "hey, this is awesome."

My Judgement
This map is okay, but not superstar. I weakly do not recommend it 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, but all of Crystal's comments in "The Bad" are accurate.
Is The Map A Place I Want To Adventure?
Maybe, there's certainly a lot crammed in to look at.
Is the Map Clear?
Not enough. There are lines that make no sense, at least at this scale. Why does a creek start at the top of a 50-foot-high hill? Does stormseer rise have some weird way-above-ground-level springs? It's not getting enough rain to keep a creek filled. And the brown lines along Neddle Creek and then the shallows designates what that's different fro the blue liens used for the other bodies of water?
Is the Map Detailed?
Not like it should be at this scale. For example just putting "ruins" doesn’t tell a cartographer what to draw. Is it a ruined town? A ruined castle? Ancient stones no one knows the origin of?
Is the Map Imaginative?
No, it's just crowded.
I strongly do not recommend this map for advancement to round 3.

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

This map isn't particularly clear to me. It does have some interesting locations- "Hall of the Destroyer"? Now that sounds cool! A broader map like this isn't easy to do, and I would need some more interesting locations to make it rise above the other maps in this competition.

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

This map isn't one of my favorites exactly, but I do like some of the odd details you added (like the half submerged buildings, the boggard's huts, etc.)

The scale seems off for those images though, so that detracts a little.

Of the maps though, this one certainly tells a story (maybe more than one) that many others don't really.

Honorable mention.

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

The map is confusing. Some cool names and locations but I am having a very difficult time reading the map itself.

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

27th map I have seen, you rank 20th.

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: Looks like an area map with natural areas ans settled areas, that's tough to pull off.
Technique: I'm not going to lie I find several areas of the map unclear...
Utility: Wouldn't even try to use it I'm sorry to say
Overall: F for me as clarity is the number 1 thing in a map.

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: I'm a fan of the sodden lands, and I like that you tried to map a region there which is a tough challenge

Other things I like: Colored pencils are the best!

My least favorite thing(s): The map is pretty confusing, and there are a bunch of disparate encounter areas within a brisk walk of each other.

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

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

OK, I have to admit, this is a tough one to follow exactly what you've got going on here. I know the cartographers said they could probably make a map out of it, but I'm struggling to determine exactly what and where everything is.

Beyond that, I'm not sure this is a place I want to send my players. I like the Sodden Lands and I think that's fertile ground for an adventure, but I don't know that this map is really bringing anything new.

I'm mostly interested in this chainlink trail and the waystations but I think that's largely because I don't know what they're meant to be.

Sorry, Matt, I don't think I'm going to be voting for this. It's just a little too confusing as to the contents, and what I can figure out of them doesn't bring enough to the game to make me want to spend more time with the map. Best of luck.

If I need a place to put another vote, I shall put it here! -b.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE

The Sodden Lands, swamped by the ever-turning Eye of Abendego, and boggards, toad-like humanoids led by chieftains who get high on psychotropic dragonflies.

Just a guess, but the Hall of the Destroyer could refer to Rovagug or Zagresh, two deities who also go by "the Destroyer".

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

My first impression is that this probably looked a lot better before it was scanned in. I can see the careful thought that went into the overlapping areas and a clear key was made for the whole. The computer generated text is a bonus in making it very apparent what is what.

The main problem here is that the colour got so washed out in the process of scanning that some of the colours look the same as each other on the map as a digital file. Some sort of enhancement would have probably fixed it, but it makes things kind of confusing as it is.

There are some interesting spots on the map and the imagery isn't bad. But overall this just didn't impress me. I will not be voting for this entry.

Marathon Voter Season 8

The colours are way too close to one another for me to make any sense of this map. It took me a long time to realize that the Creeping Vale was in fact light forest and not marsh. At first I thought that the whole east side of this map was covered in water. Might be a scanning issue, as Feros pointed out, but you should have realized the fact and fixed it before sending the map.

But even that out of the equation, I have a hard time reading this map. I have no idea what Needle's Eye Rock is supposed to contain, I'm not sure whether that line near the Hall of Destroyer is supposed to be a bridge or a dam, Salvation Hold seems to be humongous in scale, whereas the light forest seems kind of small.

I do like the addition of tidal plains, nice detail there, and boggards are always a favourite of mine and all in all the theme of flooding lands is something I'd be willing to explore.

Nevertheless, this map leaves me rather cold. It's hard to read and its individual elements don't seem to come together to tell a story. It has some interesting things going for it, but unfortunately not enough.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Like others I am confused by looking at this map and am not sure it worth my time to figure it out.

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 somewhat chaotic collection of line, but it looks interesting.

Interest Level of Location: B
There's a lot of features here that I'd like to explore more. None of them are incredible, but several are at least somewhat interesting.

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

Adventure Potential: B
No clear story, but plenty to do. It would be easy to build an adventure from this map.

Clarity: D
I had a very hard time understanding it, but the cartographers said they could decipher it.

Logic: C
This is what I would expect the sodden lands to look like, but the scale and shapes of the features don't quite seem right.

Overall: C

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 32 , Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

I thought this map was pretty good, but didn't inspire me as much as some others. Just missed my top-16.
Good Luck!

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 the remains of a village and castle in the Sodden Lands, with flooding, damage and occupation by boggards? I could see this being an adventure area.
  • Negative: Chasm not included (as far as I can tell), only a cliff on one side. Chain link trails? What are chainlink trails? Are they actually made of chains? How do you stop them rusting in the wet, climate surrounded by saltwater? Good lord, there's almost a mile of them! If we're talking standard chain, that's at least 15,000gp of rusting metal work there. Who built all this, when and why? Is this an adventure area or a settlement?
  • Verdict: D. If there is a coherent theme here, I can't see it, I'm afraid.

Usability: D

  • Positive: Elevations are present, everything is labeled and terrain is fairly clear.
  • Negative: Some of the labels are by no means intuitive, and a lot of the map is occupied by empty patches of terrain with seemingly little purpose. Ultimately too much of the map gives me no reason to use it. WOW that is a big castle! The keep alone is 200ft x 300ft! Where is the city that would be needed to build, maintain and pay for that monster?
  • Verdict: D

Craftsmanship: E+

  • Positive: Legend is comprehensive, compass rose and scale are evident, terrain is labeled. The entire page is made use of.
  • Negative: This map is extremely hard to read. It also has the issue of having a lot of blank spaces or swathes of terrain with seemingly no purpose, which makes it difficult to understand why they are present. There are some features that aren't actually explained and don't make sense to me at least: What is a "waystation"? What is a "chainlink trail"? Also underground sections really should not be shown on an above-ground map, as it is very confusing.
  • Verdict: Overall an E+ in my book. The effort involved in deciphering the author's intent, plus the significant portions of map with dubious purpose are hard to see past.

Overall: D-

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:

At first look it is confusing, it takes a little concentration to distinguish the separate sections.

There's a lot of stuff going on in this region map. I think this is the first region map I've seen (aside from the glacier although that's not really a region) that is interesting to me.

This is in a marsh type area with good names for locations, and lots of lcoations, and some good theme.

I like that the buildings aren't uniformly in the same direction, and it is really just a settlement marker, with some of the houses in the lake!

Little tributaries, forestation, chainlink trail...this is cool.

Overall, I really like this map. I think you managed to do the region map without having a lot of blank space, making it interesting, and thematically linking it. Well done.

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

This is really confusing to look at and I can't really find anything to get me excited to adventure here.

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2015 / Round 2: Create a map / Needlecreek Chasm, The Sodden Lands All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 2: Create a map