Salvation's End

Round 2: Create a map

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

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Salvation's End


This is a good looking map reference.

It has a compass rose and a scale. and a nice looking compass style, I would definitely use it as inspiration for the finished map if I were drawing this map.

Wall thickness is good and overall furnishing details and scale looks good too.

I like having some notes in red text to help with added details for exterior elements.

Good use of page space. not too much wasted space.

I like this map reference, I can imagine working on it and adding all sorts of cool details

I do recommend this map to progress to round 3

Liberty's Edge Contributor

The Good
Well-drawn and clear. Wherever the author worried their artistic skills weren't clear enough, he cleanly labelled what he was going for. I could easily turn this into a final map with no further questions.

Interesting location, interesting layout, and unique encounter areas, with branching paths adventurers could take.

There is a compass, a scale, and a key, all well-labelled.

The Bad
My biggest question was "The sinkhole is just a black void. What's at the bottom?" But that question was immediately answered by looking below.

I'd like a little more reference on where the stairs lead. It's not hard to figure out, but a little label "to A" "to B" ect would make it readable at a glance and avoid the chance of confusion.

My Judgement
A good idea, well-communicated. I strongly recommend this entry for advancement to the next round

Scarab Sages Modules Overlord

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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?
Multiple levels of a single location is fair game. This has more empty space than I'd like to see, but not so much it can’t be fixed. With a smaller name and smaller key, the actual maps ca be made bigger and still fit on one page.
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?
Is the Map Clear?
"Wood at end of path is splintered." "Chain connected to column topped with brazier." These are EXACTLY the kinds of notes a designer needs to include on a map to ensure the cartographer knows what is going on, and this map is full of them. EVERY contestant should look at those and think about what kinds of notes to add to maps in future rounds (if there are future maps rounds… )
Is the Map Detailed?
From which water is shallow to where the empty graves are. Yes.
Is the Map Imaginative?
Short damaged towers are a fantasy staple, but this one still has me looking at it to catch all the details. It's not a new core idea, but it has been handled with interesting twists.
I do recommend this map to advance to round 3.

On a technical challenge level, this is one of my favorites. I'm a sucker for multistory maps, and the sinkhole at the bottom of the tower is an element I like. A nice mix of nice, clean lines and reasonable natural geometry. It is not merely drawn, but designed.

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

I really like this, but find it just a little confusing without color.

There are lots of little details, but sometimes the details are actually more confusing - the "wood splintered at the end of paths" note really threw me, because the second level of a tower doesn't have "paths" - it has walkways - as such I was momentarily trying to work out if the second level was above or below the first - sure that is counter-intuitive, but I'm plagued with not immediately only thinking people are always meaning what they think they mean in case they aren't. :)

Basically, to reiterate, I do really like this. I just suffer from some kind of mental/visual aberration that this map sets off.

The resident cartographers seem to think it's ok. So well done.

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

I like the ruined towers and the map for this was nicely done. It's definitely something I could pull and populate quickly.

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

This Map, Charlie Bells' "Smokemount Hold", and Monica Marlowe's "Firebrand's Redoubt" I all pushed into my 6th/7th/8th spots in my mind.

Your maps each have their aspects done better than the others, while others include things that might have helped the other out...

But I see them as all being really, really good turnover maps for decent versions of fairly standard locations. Now, that isn't that the idea of the location isn't "different", it's that "ruined tower" isn't exactly a new idea. The inclusion of the sinkhole makes it "more" interesting but it's still not "Oh my gods, how totally different from everything else before it!?!"

That all said, this map, even as is, would make me want to find out what the place is, why it's called "Salvation's End" and likely at least read the intro. material of your module. You should win points for that, because if your adventure is as good or better than this map, then I'd buy it forthwith.

This one gets me for being ambitious and going for a multilevel map and the organic feel of how the place was created in-universe.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8

Gotta say, I'll definitely be voting for this one.

Very polished, nicely detailed, and demonstrates very clearly what your intent is. Well done!

BEEP BOOP for more information PLEASE SEE the Sodden Lands, a large region swamped and ruined by an ever-spinning hurricane: the Eye of Abendego.

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

6th map I have seen, excellent work!

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

A lot of interesting elements here. One of the ruins of the Sodden Lands with some cool imagery. It is very clearly marked and exceptionally easy to read. You get a fairly good impression of what is going on.

I do have a few suggestions. With multiple elevations a cross-section diagram would have made the whole tower come together more easily. Marking each area either with numbers or letters for building multiple encounters or at least set it up for the adventure write up could have made the transitions between the levels easier to visualize.

A pretty good map overall and one that I am voting for as one for my eight selections.

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 map is exceptionally easy to read, and the artistic details are pretty good too.

Other things I like: The multilevel design is well thought out and very well executed. You probably have the neatest compass rose.

My least favorite thing(s): It seems a little empty, and feels more like a half page map to me. Also I'm not really that excited about adventuring in this tower.

Will I vote for it: I was really on the fence because the execution is top tier, but the creativity of the location leaves me cold. Ultimately I'm going to side with the strength of the judges recommendation on this one and let it grab my 7th vote.

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: A tower is on it's own not hard... Just knowing how to use a compass is half that particular battle. What you did with the interior helps a great deal.
Technique: Color would vastly improve this map and the red font for me is very off putting. I like the legend a lot and there's some solidly difficult sections in this map so you pulled that off.
Utility: I could somewhat pull this off... I'm not seeing it stand out from the dozens of ruined towers I've seen though this is practically a trope.
Overall: C rating from me as I feel this is on the bubble. It's not a no brainer to vote for or reject...

Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

This is really nicely done. I love the feel of the crumbling tower in a flooded graveyard (or swamp?), and everything's very clearly laid out. The sinkhole gives it memorable aspect that adds atmosphere too. I would have liked a few more details about room functions, but otherwise I think this is a great submission.

I feel like this looks really nice, but what would actually happen there? The sink hole could conceal something unpleasant, but other than that it seems like a place more for looting than for a decent fight.

Dark Archive

Hmm I feel like its location should have been mentioned in the name, there is a post here saying it's in the sodden lands and I had to look real close to find the one place in the map it's mentioned.

I like the look, I always like towers though haha. There is potential here, I think its supposed to be a ruin that has more recently become inhabited again.

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

That's a beautiful map; artistically one of the best of the round, IMO.

I like that it plays with elevation a bit; because of the broken floor, you can have an encounter that spans both first and second levels and that makes for memorable combats.

As someone else noted, it does feel a little small. There's only so much you can do with a tower, but I think at the same time, you make the most of it. I don't see this map being the centerpiece of an adventure, but I can see it being an interesting encounter on the way there. Do the PCs, traveling through the Sodden Lands, want to risk camping here? If so, what are they going to encounter.

I haven't made my final decisions, but I think I like this and am likely to vote for it.

Marathon Voter Season 8

The purpose of this tower is a bit vague, but I get the sense that it might have been a guard tower of some kind, based on the what I assume are prison cells and the anvil. What happened here is an interesting mystery and one I'd like to find out.

Very clear map and good detail for both adventuring possibilities and all around utilitarian use when not being used to house encounters. I could definitely imagine something interesting in here. Although, I do wish it was a bit bigger, because now I get a really cramped feeling when looking at it. Putting a full party of five in the sleeping area takes almost half of the total floor area, making for some uncomfortable battles. Though sometimes that's half of the fun, so I don't think that's a dealbreaker. I also wish the big open space in the south side of the tower would have been used for something or that at least part of combat could have happened near its borders in the upper floor. I so wish I could push someone into the sinkhole from the upper floor, but now there's limited chance of that happening.

Plus, what's the purpose of the chains? Everything else I can grasp, but that's confusing. Oh well, one minor detail while everything else is crystal clear. Although, the map doesn't indicate where the water ends before the trees at the top of the map.

All in all I like this, but I wish it had added more than the sinkhole to make the encounter differ from every other ruined tower encounter. Love the details though so I'm gonna go with strong maybe.

C for me. Very middle of the road.

Scarab Sages Star Voter Season 8

I really like this map. It's a great "Fit it in almost anywhere" type of map with a clear nod towards the Sodden Lands but that would make a lot of sense anywhere with a body of water.

The sink hole, while not terribly fleshed out here, is a perfect place for any number of subterranean-type encounters, and offers an easy branch / entrance to an underground lair, cave system, or even dungeon. Add in the fact that it may be directly below a body of water... you've got some really cool set-piece possibilities already.

This one's definitely got my vote this round!

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'm critiquing this without having read others':

Multiple levels and a sinkhole. Nice. Only wishing for a cross-section.

Interesting caved in section, looks like a serviceable tower that's falling prey to time.

Shallow water outside, trees, and other tertiary locations make this believable. Love the empty graves.

Everything is pretty readable.

I think you missed an opportunity to have a cool feature like wire or chain connecting the southern side over the sinkhole...would have provided thought about someone actually still living there getting across the gap and given a nice different way for the adventurers to travel.

I love the stairs going into the sinkhole...some cool options if an encounter happened on those stairs.

Overall, I really like this and my biggest complaint is that it is a dilapidated tower of I-don' could be a legendary blacksmith with the anvile or a spellcaster making magical implements...but nothing really cohesive comes from that. There are interesting locations but I'm not feeling a story tying it together.

Star Voter Season 8

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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: A-

  • Positive: A ruined tower, dripping with floodwater and mold, undisturbed for… okay, yeah, this place practically oozes flavor.
  • Negative: It doesn't have the best mileage… I can think of a few uses for it, but each one runs the problem of not being very long, which is a bit rough for a full page map.
  • Verdict: A-

Usability: A

  • Positive: It's loaded with detail and hands the GM a veritable arsenal of toys; from mold-covered holes, to narrow walkways, to slippery and cracked timbers… and lest we forget the empty graves. Everything is labeled and the key is comprehensive.
  • Negative: What IS the bottom room? I can make guesses but I'd really prefer to know what it is – and if the cartographer isn't told, I doubt they'll fill in the blank as intended.
  • Verdict: A. Other than the "guess the purpose" room, it's rock solid.

Craftsmanship: A-

  • Positive: Crystal clear, with an almost indulgent key to objects and plentiful notes to the cartographer over the visuals desired (nice touch).
  • Negative: I'll be honest: I can't help but feel there could be a little more on the page. Not a lot more, but some of the exterior in front of the tower, and maybe a cut-away to the escape cave.
  • Verdict: A-. The work is top notch, I'd just like to see a little more of the white space filled with adventure fuel, personally.

Overall: A-

Star Voter Season 8

My only problem is the trees right next to the tower. Tree root systems and stable towers don't mix. For the trees to be of significant height they have to be of an age that means more of the tower should be decrepit or they should not be so close to the tower. A quibble perhaps. But that threw me when I first looked at the map. Who would allow trees to take root next to their tower?

Star Voter Season 8

This map has drama and danger. Maybe the best I have seen so far.

Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9

Overall this map is pretty good, but the lack of elevations or a side view push this into my maybe category.

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
It definitely looks interesting, but it took me more than just that first look to even figure out what I was looking at.

Interest Level of Location: A
This is about as cool as you could make a small ruined tower.

Tactical Depth: B
The elevations and angles are cool, but this map constrains maneuverability a bit.

Adventure Potential: A
The adventure hooks here include the graves, the cave, the history of the place, etc.

Clarity: B
It takes some work to figure this map out because of its complexity, but it is very well drawn.

Logic: A
Very well thought-out.

Overall: A-

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

Very well done and an interesting locale too.
I was a little confused on the chains purpose, and how close to an actual body of water this location is.

I ranked this entry #10, although it won't get my vote, I expect to see you in the next round, good luck!

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

This is one of the most well executed maps I've seen in this round. Well detailed. Well documented. A place interesting enough that I wouldn't mind exploring here. I do wish there was more to explore. There's only a few rooms here. But this definitely shows off what you're capable of.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8

Greetings everyone,

First let me thank you for all of your feedback over the last week in regards to my map. It’s amazing to have so many dedicated gamers taking part of this contest and who are willing to take the time to offer their opinions. I am honored. Thank you.

I started this round knowing I was going to go to one of two places and ultimately decided on the Sodden Lands. A few sites in the region caught my interest but I abandoned them because they seemed too unique. I wanted to create something that could find a home in almost any campaign, but with features that would be recognizable for those who knew what they were looking at. An abandoned waystation built by the Knights of Salvation as part of the Abendego Piercing and used to aid in the evacuation of the Sodden Lands fit the bill (and it would have to because we had only a few short days and I couldn’t devote anymore time to brainstorming other locations.)

Thursday afternoon I devoted my lunch to creating a rough draft of the waystation in MS Paint. Behold its majesty!

As embarrassing as that rough draft is, it served its purpose and I honed in on some design choices that I felt would make this location more realistic and more fun. The structure had to be built as round as possible to more easily resist the intense winds of the ceaseless hurricane nearby. I was going for shell keep more than tower. As you can read in the entry on the Abendego Piercing, the chains were used to link waystations together so that knights and refugees could find their way through blinding storms to safety. This would lead to a relatively small building with communal living quarters meant to house small groups of refugees and the knights meant to hold the keep. The room on the bottom of the keep is a stable, but I also envisioned it being used as a shelter when the winds threatened the stability of the upper structure. I intentionally avoided adding additional rooms in this area because the architects would have wanted the solid earth there for support. I also avoided adding windows to the living area and parts of the towers that didn’t serve as watch posts. I considered enclosing the structure altogether, essentially making it turtle-like so that it would be as resistant to the environment as possible, but then gave consideration to the fact that these towers would have been built by the Knights in a hurry, and not all of their architects might have been familiar with what would best serve in the newly hazardous conditions so near to the Eye. I sympathized with their plight there, and decided to leave some of the design reminiscent of a classic small keep. This also would increase the usability by a degree. I wanted to create a side-view, but I simply ran out of time to do one that I felt would be competent enough to include.

When it came to environment, I wanted the players to have multiple routes to consider when exploring the keep. They could climb the overgrowth over the wall, burst through the front door, risk clearing ruble away from the crumbling tower and squeezing through the wall while water pushed at their heels toward a dark pit they might not yet be aware of. The tower might make for an easier climb, but begin to fall toward the sinkhole (or just fall apart altogether) when the weight of a PC reached the top. I left the sinkhole’s exact depth unstated so that GMs could adjust the fall distance to the level of the party at the time they encountered Salvation’s End. There are loose rocks, sagging walkways, moldy furniture and more to play around with.

I wanted to create opportunities for adventure without overtly stating what the adventure was. I wanted GMs to look at this map and decide for themselves what was happening, or what did happen here. Did the dead rise from their graves? Who is buried here anyway and are they still here? Did something burrow upward from under the keep? Did the monster living in the tower claim this place for itself before or after the prior occupants departed and when and why exactly did it earn the name Salvation’s End? I don’t necessarily have the answers to these questions but I hoped that you would. I believe that’s what a good map does.

Once again, I offer my thanks for your time and hope that Salvation’s End will serve a great adventure somewhere out there, ideally on a day when an unforgiving storm assails your windows.

Star Voter Season 6

Nice map! Very professional!

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