The Gravepit Basin of Fallen Sercai

Round 2: Create a map

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Black Powder Chocobo

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The Gravepit Basin of Fallen Sercai


This is a good looking map reference.

There is a compass rose and key on the map.

The map is easy to read and nicely hand drawn, with a good use of color.

All of the details on the map are very easy to recognize.

I do like the overall looks of this map and would enjoy working on it.

very nice work!

I do recommend this map to progress to round 3

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
Very clear map reference, with good details, a strong key, and colors to differentiate the terrain. I could easily turn this into a final map. A great example of not needing to be the greatest artist in the world or have expensive software to make a clear map turnover.

The map clearly communicates some story elements. Obviously some crap has gone down, just by looking at the terrain, and I as a GM and I as a player want to know what.

The Bad
That is a freakin' huge temple to Gozreh, and usually stone buildings that big can't be rectangular, but knowledge like that you can teach over time.

My Judgement
Good sense of storytelling on the page, and a well-communicated map. I 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 mostly yes. The Temple of Gozreh is mighty massive, but that could be cleared up without too much effort.
Is The Map A Place I Want To Adventure?
Heck yeah! From the idea of a Gravepit Basin (with "impossible wall") to the general sense that this region has already had events impact it, this map looks interesting and I want to explore it.
Is the Map Clear?
Is the Map Detailed?
It could use more information on things like what is representational and what is literal 9are there really just three buildings in the commons), but it does a fine job with what information it gives, which includes notes on terrain elevations and types.
Is the Map Imaginative?
It has a few ideas I haven’t seen before and think are neat, so I'll say yes.
I do recommend this map for advancement to round 3.

What a great little hard luck setting! The Rejected Lighthouse and the horrifically not-up-to-code Giant Crab's Nest put this one in the top half for me.

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

At first glance of the name I am intrigued, having submitted an (ultimately unsuccessful) adventure pitch to Kobold Press that involved a fallen town (half was way up high, the rest was down low at ground level) that was split by an earth tremor.

Ultimately though this seems to be a grab bag of locations that each seem to have a grimdrak name and some devolution - rejected lighthouse, sunken town, vacant inn, lonely commons, impossible wall. Way over the top and completely unnecessary. Indicates to me that this is a little too…everything.

Why is the wall impossible. How is the Gravepit Basin a pit AND a basin?

I like the import of the location, but there seems to be a) a bunch of seemingly unrelated locations each one obviously a haven for delvers and adventure filled with dark and mysterious goings on with b) hokey names.

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

I disagree with OSW on this one. I like this map and think it is well done. Crystal is very correct in that this map demonstrates you don't have to possess artistic talent to create a good map. This is a good map. It isn't a great map for me.

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE:

Lake Prophyria, an algae-covered magical Ustalavic lake; Gozreh, the dualistic nature deity; and harpies, who sing their victims to their doom.

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

9th map I have seen, your current rank is 4th.

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

James Casey wrote:
I disagree with OSW on this one. I like this map and think it is well done. Crystal is very correct in that this map demonstrates you don't have to possess artistic talent to create a good map. This is a good map. It isn't a great map for me.

Not saying this had anything to do with your points of disagreement with my summation James, but artistic talent (or the lack of it) had nothing to do with my commentary. The map is clear and colorful.

The attempt to make absolutely every location some kind of baleful and mysterious hook feels implausible and points to the designer trying too hard.

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

Nice regional map that seems to be of a sinkhole that destroyed a town or road. It is clear and easy to read; you get a fairly good idea of the immediate vicinity of the massive sinkhole. Some colourful names on the numerical key shows a region full of things that might tempt adventurers.

Unfortunately, this feels like a world map from the late seventies/early eighties in which a whole lot of unrelated fantasy adventure locations within a short journey of each other. There doesn't seem to be anything tying together all of these disparate and unique locations. Picking one of them and mapping that would have been more satisfying.

This isn't a bad map at all, but I think that tying them together with a tighter theme would have been a great improvement. As it stands I will not be voting for this entry.

Dark Archive

Themed and stuck with it. I am 99% certain it is supposed to be a mostly abandoned town. That said, I'm just personally not in love with that, it's a bit of a trope.

Everything is clear, what words are used are descriptive to help the artists know what you wanted.

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: Settlements are easy mode to me but the natural elements raise the DL
Technique: You're showing off the ability to map well withouit an art degree. Scale si good and I like the map key and I get a sense of the place which is a good sign
Utility: I can pull it off and I can use it.
Overall: -B as I weakly recommend this... there a lot better but this is on the good side of the equation.

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: The idea of a sunken/buried/ruined town.

Other things I like: It's pretty clear what's going on from your map, color was used to good effect.

My least favorite thing(s): There are too many disparate encounter locations in such a small area, and there could be more details at this resolution. Also when I think of a temple to a nature god, I do not think of a giant stone rectangle. Yes stone is natural, but this stone has been worked into an unnatural state.

Will I vote for it: I won't be voting for this map, and it's on the cusp of my top 16, maybe falling around 18th place.

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 come back to this map a few times, trying to decide what I think about it.

I was expecting most of the maps to be for encounters, so I like that you challenged yourself to do something more than that.

That said, I think a lot of the criticisms, like Feros', hit home. It feels like it's just a collection of locations and I'm not sure they belong together. Why are the burial mounds that close to the forgotten temple? I thought it possible they were behind the temple as a graveyard, but they're between the town and temple so I'd guess they're right in front of the temple's front door.

I think there's potential here. My eye keeps getting drawn to the gravepit basin -- which is a neat name -- but ... it's mostly empty space. That's the name of the map and I feel like if that's what you had mapped, I'd be intrigued. As is, I feel like this is as much the area around that gravepit and I'm less interested in that.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be voting for this one. That said, I think you've got some neat ideas, so I hope you'll really buckle down and focus on the strong core of your design work if you advance. Good luck.

This is nice. B for me.

Marathon Voter Season 8

At first I was unsure why the lake didn't just flow into the basin, but then you named it Impossible Sinkhole Wall, neatly explaining the oddness and arousing my interest. I want to know what has happened here and why nothing has been done to this before.

Unfortunately the rest of the elements are disappointingly bland. There's a forgotten temple, because of course it is, some buildings, a rectory - nice word choice, by the way - but nothing really connects or gives me clear idea about what this place has been before. It's pretty hard for a temple to be forgotten if it is right next to a road. Especially if the road is probably still in use, because you could easily circle around that basin. If this had text accompanying it, you could explain those oddities away, but the map alone leaves quite a few questions unanswered, which wasn't the point of this round.

I like the general idea I can sense behind this one, some sort of religious community ravaged by a natural disaster, but it feels like the individual pieces are still searching their places, blurring the image as a whole.

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. Thankfully, your use of color is largely in the visible spectrum for a deuteranope, but that may have been luck rather than intention. Since roughly 10% of the populace is colorblind, this is something you need to keep in mind.

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: B
The map is interesting but lacks any wow factor.

Interest Level of Location: B
The gravepit basin itself is an interesting concept. The rest of the map consists of abandoned buildings and similar generic adventure sites.

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

Adventure Potential: A
There is a clear story here from which an adventure could be built.

Clarity: A
Well done.

Logic: C
Structure placements don't really make that much sense. Reconstructing the town layout, it seems unrealistic.

Overall: B

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

While this map feels a bit cramped and could have had more symbols identified on the key, ultimately I could largely use this map as is and it seems like a place I would actually want to visit.

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: A hamlet destroyed by a sinkhole does offer some interesting opportunities for exploration.
  • Negative: A tiny hamlet with a lighthouse, dock and enormous temple breaks immersion for me, as the size of the community depicted is a fraction of what is necessary for it to be believable. To quote the wiki: " Temples of Gozreh are always open to the sky and often contain some sort of pool or open water at the heart. They often appear in out-of-the-way places and are typically built using only slightly worked local materials, such as driftwood and unquarried stone.", and this one appears to be a massive, four-storey work of architectural genius. How is the temple "Forgotten" when it can be clearly seen for miles by boats on the lake? How does one dock with the southernmost pier without beaching the boat? If there is quicksand right next to a massive temple, how is it still standing? I'm sorry, but the almost random placement of features and terrain just can't rouse my interest in this map.
  • Verdict: D. The sinkhole collapsing a community is a cool idea, but it needed to be backed up with a bit of research into terrain, settlements and Golarion gods. I personally find over-the-top names a turn-off as well.

Usability: C-

  • Positive: The primary locations are labeled, and elevations on the sinkhole are marked. It's mostly clear enough to use as-is, with a fair bit of work.
  • Negative: The enormous & atypical temple is an obvious draw for adventurers, but the map gives no hints as to its purpose for being there. It is also inconsistent about providing suggestions about current inhabitants; I know there are harpies, but what else? There are also no indications of topography; how high above the water line is the temple?
  • Verdict: A definite C- for me. I can use it, but it would take work to tie the various pieces together into a coherent theme.

Craftsmanship: C-

  • Positive: The key is clear, the map is easily read, and labels are appropriate for the features they represent. The terrain features are depicted in a reasonably intuitive fashion.
  • Negative: Maps like this really need some hints at topography, and although the terrain isn't hard to guess, there is easily space for a key indicating what the various colors mean. Attention to detail on matters of geography and settlements is also needed; Only one road, oversized temple, unusable docks etc. Furthermore, a significant amount of the map is dedicated to seemingly unnecessary features; pond, marsh, spring and empty grassland, rather than focusing on the point of interest: Gravepit Basin.
  • Verdict: C-. It's functional, but would involve the cartographer being rather creative (and redraw the temple completely) to really bring home.

Overall: D+

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

I thought this was middle of the pack. Fairly interesting location, but failed to wow me like some other entries did. This was just outside my top-16.

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:

Handdrawn and colored. Honestly, I like the simplicity.

That's a big temple according to scale...and I have no insight to the inside.

Some of your other buildings leave no width dimension.

I'm not getting much of anything from this map other than "collection of places to see, not necessarily related to each other".

Good, some depth markers.

Lots of wasted space, I think this is the big trap with larger scale maps in this round. How to make an interesting region map.

Overall, this is very middling for me. It is definitely serviceable but not superstar. I think you would have been better served to zoom in on an area of this map and label some off-map directions to the other places.

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

It's a good map. I admit that. However, I'm not really seeing anything that really grabs me, shakes me violently, and screams "ADVENTURE HERE."

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka Black Powder Chocobo

Howdy all. I'll provide a more detailed reply later, either after I submit my monster or find out that won't be necesssry.

I just want to say thank you for all who reviewed my map and those who voted for it.

Star Voter Season 6

Neat map. Looks like an interesting adventuring location!

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