A couple map questions


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Star Voter Season 9

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pH unbalanced wrote:
JPSTOD wrote:


no official DPI yet...

What does that mean? Dots per inch? That's like a printing thing, right? What relevence does that have?

I'm *extremely* graphically challenged -- this particular round terrifies me.

I'm tempted to take a blank flipmat, draw on it, and take a picture of it.

Symbols and lines are your friend. When mapping caves in real life, if I don't know the established symbol for something offhand, I make up something descriptive and throw it onto the legend. I've done the same thing for the maps I'm sketching (should I advance to round two).

The goal is more to show you can think spatially rather than draw a pretty picture.

Good luck!

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 9

Well I do believe that They Talked about using Campaign Cartographer, Dundjinni, Photoshop, and what ever Graphics program we wanted to use, so it sounds more than just a simple Sketch to me..

So I had planned on using Campaign Cartographer 3+ to do my Map...
Simply set the Map size to the appropriate grid and then export to the DPI setting and export as a PGN file..DPI effects how well a picture exports and Enlarges...such as in PDF Files, Virtual Table Top programs such as Roll20

From what I read they are not looking for someone who can draw a pretty picture or sketch a Map...They are looking at someone who can design within the limits given...In this case the main thing is a Single Map that fits on a Flip Mat sized Map (24X30). They are not looking for a Complex Map. Multi Level..Isometric, Cut-a-way etc.

How to be different is the Question..How to present a Tavern that is not Canned, Or a Magic Shop that is not run of the meal. Present something new and fresh...Which for some of us playing RPGs 30+ years is kinda hard to show a take on something not Common

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

pH unbalanced wrote:
JPSTOD wrote:


no official DPI yet...

What does that mean? Dots per inch? That's like a printing thing, right? What relevence does that have?

DPI is an attribute of digital graphics files. It is important to have all the maps in the same DPI so they can be displayed on the website consistently.

Star Voter Season 9

If I may be ignorant for a moment, what exactly makes a map a flip-mat? As far as I know, maps are either terrain (usually 1 inch is several miles) or tactical (1 inch = 5 feet). Clearly I am missing something here.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Rusty Ironpants

SanKeshun wrote:
If I may be ignorant for a moment, what exactly makes a map a flip-mat? As far as I know, maps are either terrain (usually 1 inch is several miles) or tactical (1 inch = 5 feet). Clearly I am missing something here.

For the purposes of the contest, I believe the most important aspects of the "flip mat" are going to be a 24x30 grid and a 1" = 5' scale.

Keep in mind they didn't actually say "design a flip mat" they said "we will provide a flip mat sized grid for you to fill in".

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 9

A Flip Map is a "Tacticle" otherwise called a "Battlemap" comprised of 1 inch Squares.. which has a Map on Bothsides...Some are generic such as a Tavern and Some come designed for a Modual.

Basically the Idea is to provide a Map that can be used in any Game..

Say you need a Tavern..flop out the Map and your done..No Drawing
You need a outdoor Market, same thing..flop it down and your game ready.

keeping the Maps fresh is important to some people..I never use the Same Map over and over..but then again I have been using Dundjinni and Campaign Cartographer for years..

I even Mapped out one of My Character's Homestead as it evolved..Two Story House with Basement Forge, a fellow Adventurer's Library, added a Church to the Grounds, Festival Pavillion..

I even Do Maps for the Moduals ..such a The Dragon's Demand..

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 9

Here is the Link to My Version of the Godsmouth Heresey Ossuary Map. Based on the Original Cartography as close as Possible..

http://jpstodwftexas.deviantart.com/art/The-Godsmouth-Heresey-Grid-54330603 8

For some reason it is adding a space between the 3 and the 8..If you delete that space it does take you to my Map.

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Flipmats

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On the miraculous chance that I make the top 32, I am trying to hone my presently non-existent cartography skill set.

While I am proficient with Photoshop, I am horrifically graphically challenged when it comes to creating original-content images. For instance, if you gave me a picture of an armchair and demanded it be changed from yellow with black trim to blue with green trim, then I could do that just fine. However, the moment I'm asked to draw and color an armchair from scratch, I look like an amateur.

My question is this: Are there any acceptable, free, open-source graphics repositories that could be used in the designing of our entries for Round 2? Heck, just having access to a passable wood-grain texture or a top-down image of a chair could go a long ways it seems.

Any advice regarding graphical approaches for cartography would be immensely appreciated.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 9

Join us at http://www.cartographersguild.com
Search the Dundjinni Forums...
Search The Profantasy Forums

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 9

shoot for a Small fee I will do your Map if you make it into the top 32

:)
hahahaha

Dark Archive Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

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Thanks JPSTOD, I will need to look into that site. I am concerned by your offer though...

JPSTOD wrote:

shoot for a Small fee I will do your Map if you make it into the top 32

:)
hahahaha

Feels his eye twitch, as he stands up and looks behind himself before returning your gaze.

"Do my map... for me?"

Grimaces and shakes his head.

"I've got it. THIS- IS- INTEGRITY!"

Kicks you like a boss off a cliff and into the seas of Sparta.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 9

no worries....I was just Joking about the fee...It wouldn't be SMALL :)
I gotta lot of Bills to pay....

If you lurk around the forums you can find some of the Maps I have done and shared with the Forums on My Converted Paizo Maps

Look for my Dragon's Demands Maps. I Mapped out most of the Locales in 50 DPI per 5 ft Battlemaps to use in Virtual Table Tops and Digital Display.

Plenty of the Members on Cartographer Guild share their Art also.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

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I utterly bombed the map round last year. Luckily I was an alternate and so my map was never seen by the public.

I made a number of mistakes, but the biggest was not planning ahead for actually entering the round. I believed in my open call submission, and I thought all along I had a legit shot at Top 32, but I was unprepared to move on in the contest.

If you're serious about the contest, practice your maps now. I'd never made a map that had to be above a standard of "Here's some vague shapes I'll tell you about so we can play." I can't draw, so I attempted to learn some map software as well as design my map in the few days of the submission period. That plan didn't work out.

In retrospect, I'd have been better off spending the time drawing by hand. Won't be the same for everyone, but at least I wouldn't have been trying to figure out software at the same time. At least by hand, I can make some shapes that look like what I'm thinking of.

The real lesson, though, was that I should have been prepared. I've spent some time since drawing maps and thinking about what makes a map interesting. Honestly, I still don't think I'd advance past that round, but at least today I wouldn't be embarrassed by what I sent in.

Practice.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

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Rather than speculate further, I'd just advise re-reading what Owen has said about the round so far, not read too much into it beyond what he has said, look at prior map rounds and encounter rounds, and practice practice practice.

Regarding quality of artwork: what is important is clarity, what the person can see there. Good artwork AND clarity might wow some voters, but the point is to make something a professional cartographer can turn into a final art product (read: you are not expected to provide a final art product).

READ OVER THE PRIOR MAP ROUND. You'll see black and white drawings with high praise--because the location was INTERESTING and the design was CLEAR--and pro-looking artwork dismissed because it was not exciting and it wasn't clear what everything was.

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Sigh.. was kinda hoping for an isometric (Ravenloft'ish) type map this year Darn it!

Bring it on:-)

Star Voter Season 9

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


It will be a 1 square = 5' scale "encounter" style map. We'll be putting up a grid folks can download before Round 2 officially starts. You'll get 50 words of prose to go with your map, if you want to give some context. I'll talk about it a bit in tomorrow's blog post, with enough details for people to get started.

It's not 'official' (yet), but I found this on the Paizo site from a previous Superstar event.

Round 4 Flip-Mat Grid

Have no idea if the DPI will be the same.

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And don't forget, Jason Engle!

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Is feeling pretty pleased with himself that not only has he worked out how to connect to his wife's wireless scanner, but also how to set the dpi of the scan.

Now, just one hurdle remains... surviving to Top 32 status >.<

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I wasn't very proud of my item and have had so much going on I haven't even looked or thought about maps. Which means I'll get in and have to scramble...

Marathon Voter Season 9

what all needs to be with the map or will they tell us when they give the top 32?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

It is a 24x30 squares map. It will be a 1 square = 5' scale "encounter" style map. They will be putting up a grid folks can download before Round 2 officially starts. You'll get 50 words of prose to go with your map, if you want to give some context. There needs to be a compass rose and legend that will be drawn on the map itself. This is all we know for certain.

The full rules will be given prior to the round starting.

Marathon Voter Season 9

First time making one, is there a certain specs to follow for an encounter map?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

What do you mean by "Spec"? If you mean size its 24 squares by 30 squares. Whatever you can fit into that area to make it fun and thematic is free game.

Note: Keep in mind you aren't doing an encounter so it won't have creatures on it.

Marathon Voter Season 9

thanks that what I meant.

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About the 50 words... Do we know if their purpose is just background and description, or are they to offer explanations as to how the map works?

For example, if I chose to make that Tian Panda temple from up thread, and I decided that for every round of combat there was a 10% chance that the panda statues would come to life and attack everybody, do I indicate that in the 50 words, or are those words just for discussing the Ancient Order of the Bamboo?

The words can't be for read-aloud text, since even a flip mat (usually) contains multiple rooms.


Nazard wrote:

About the 50 words... Do we know if their purpose is just background and description, or are they to offer explanations as to how the map works?

For example, if I chose to make that Tian Panda temple from up thread, and I decided that for every round of combat there was a 10% chance that the panda statues would come to life and attack everybody, do I indicate that in the 50 words, or are those words just for discussing the Ancient Order of the Bamboo?

The words can't be for read-aloud text, since even a flip mat (usually) contains multiple rooms.

Going by the maps from last season, you're looking at 50 words that will be used to label portions of the map, and provide a map key. What you're describing goes beyond what's required, which is a map that a professional cartographer could use to make a flip mat of the encounter area provided.

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Last season, they didn't even have 50 words of prose, just a legend and key.

We also get a legend and key in addition to the 50 words.

Star Voter Season 9

I'm hoping that I make to Round 2, but concerned about being able to submit a legal map entry if I do make it.

So, 24 x 36 grid, or 24 x 30? People have said both in this thread. So, my entire image should be 24 squares x 30(36?) squares, with nothing going outside that area.

I don't have a scanner, or a printer. So, I'm also concerned about being able to use the grid that will be supplied to us.

I'm pretty much looking at drawing by hand onto a sheet of graph paper. That leads to another issue, making this the right DPI. I'll probably have to take a photo of my map and then load it into my computer. Not sure about how I'm going to meet the requirements from there.

This is all moot if I don't make Round 2, but I'm hoping to figure this stuff out in advance, just in case.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

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It is 30. (If you want to check for yourself you can go to the paizo store pull up a flip mat and count) As far as scanning and printing you may have to go to a local print this copy that or Office depot or something to get the file printed/scanned. If you do it on graph paper it will end up way to small and would look really sad when blown up. I don't have a scanner either so this is my plan.

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Twisted Path wrote:


I'm hoping that I make to Round 2, but concerned about being able to submit a legal map entry if I do make it.

So, 24 x 36 grid, or 24 x 30? People have said both in this thread. So, my entire image should be 24 squares x 30(36?) squares, with nothing going outside that area.

I don't have a scanner, or a printer. So, I'm also concerned about being able to use the grid that will be supplied to us.

I'm pretty much looking at drawing by hand onto a sheet of graph paper. That leads to another issue, making this the right DPI. I'll probably have to take a photo of my map and then load it into my computer. Not sure about how I'm going to meet the requirements from there.

This is all moot if I don't make Round 2, but I'm hoping to figure this stuff out in advance, just in case.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

If you have a means to edit images digitally (there are free programs that can help you with that), you could also create the image on the grid you download without needing to either print or scan anything.

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Are there any good suggestions for programs to do that with?

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Jason Daugherty wrote:
Are there any good suggestions for programs to do that with?

My personal answer is the GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/) which is a Gnu-license raster image program akin to Photoshop. When I have mentioned this before, there are some people who've responded "NOOOOOOO" because they find GIMP non-user-friendly. And, well, while there are aspects of it that take some getting used to, I've not had much issue working with it (I'm a secretary and freelance copy editor with a degree in English, so no pro graphics training here). I did the digital aspects of my round 2 entry last year in this program.

If you happen to have Photoshop or a similar program, of course, use that.

Marathon Voter Season 9

R Pickard wrote:
Jason Daugherty wrote:
Are there any good suggestions for programs to do that with?

My personal answer is the GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/) which is a Gnu-license raster image program akin to Photoshop. When I have mentioned this before, there are some people who've responded "NOOOOOOO" because they find GIMP non-user-friendly. And, well, while there are aspects of it that take some getting used to, I've not had much issue working with it (I'm a secretary and freelance copy editor with a degree in English, so no pro graphics training here). I did the digital aspects of my round 2 entry last year in this program.

If you happen to have Photoshop or a similar program, of course, use that.

Can you show what yours looked like?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Town of Griffon Falls

(Obviously, we did a map on any scale. We had to stick to an 8x10 sized image. We did flip-mat sized encounter maps for round 4, but I did my round 4 map in Campaign Cartographer, albeit with some digital cleanup afterward.)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Ixxix

Its in last years forums. here

You can actually see all 32 of last years maps, just remember that they didn't have the battlemap limitation.

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I'm guessing that in that Campaign Cartographer thingy, that you would be using artwork that is built into the tool, such as grass, trees, rocks, whatever?

Does this mean we can use something like RPTools to make our map?

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Twisted Path wrote:


I'm guessing that in that Campaign Cartographer thingy, that you would be using artwork that is built into the tool, such as grass, trees, rocks, whatever?

Does this mean we can use something like RPTools to make our map?

The rules in previous years said you can use map-making programs (as well as digitally draw, or hand-draw and scan), as long as the work is your own.

The one thing I would be careful about is making sure any artwork you use that comes with the program is licensed to be used freely (e.g., don't use icons that have a restricted license/IP).

Note they could always change the rules for this year.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka CalebTGordan

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I have a couple things to caution against when it comes to maps.

First, if you are going to try and learn a new program do it now and not after you learn that you made top 32. You have one week to experiment and play around with GIMP, Photoshop, or something else. However, if you are really good with hand drawn maps all you really need to learn to do is clean up and insterting text. Don't try to learn anything too fancy either. Now isn't the time to hunt down every map making tutorial for your chosen program and try to become a master map maker in a week.

I made this mistake and my map horrifically suffered for it. I not only failed to prepare and think of concepts before I found out that I was in the top 32 but I decided to try and learn Photoshop after I made it in an attempt to make my map look cooler. I certainly failed.

Rely on the skills you know you have and focus on using those.

And secondly, programs that help you create maps for RPGs, such as Campaign Cartographer, may help you create a pretty map but they won't help you create a compelling and superstar map. Don't get me wrong, people certainly are influenced by pretty, but if you want to really impress everyone, you need to make sure it looks like a place we want to adventure to, explore, and fight inside of. You can make a square room with a bed and a table look really professional and detailed, but in the end it isn't really much more than a boring room.

Use a program if you want. Just make sure that you use your best skills first before learning something new, and don't rely on flashy being a substitute for super star quality.

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Indeed! The issue of digital programs came up because some folks don't have scanners to scan in a hand-drawing.

But IMO some of the best maps we saw last year were handdrawn. (We also had excellent computer generated ones and half-and-half... it's all down to the quality of the design, as Taylor says.)

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Owen K.C. Stevens wrote:
I'll talk about it a bit in tomorrow's blog post, with enough details for people to get started.

Where can I find this blog on maps?

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I believe the reference is to this one (paragraphs 5-7 talk about the map):

Let The Voting Commence!

It might also be we will see yet more in today's blog, especially if it has the link to the grid for folks to use. (Even me potentially, since my item did eventuality get found post Cull 2! Go me!)

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One tip from last year when doing your maps... think about clarity and tone and be aware of others who's monitors may not be set like yours.

i.e., two shades of a colour next to each other might look clear on paper but after scanning they merge to a single color on different laptop screens and monitors - be color distinct - you cannot rely on everyone's color depth and tonal settings to be the same as yours!

You are not rendering the final map, it needs to be totally clear so that a professional artist can use it to render the real thing!

Also small text / handwriting scans horribly, so don't write too small, allow for the text to be easily read when scanned.

Be color blind aware, don't put red text on green grass for example.

Thin lines may not get scanned or may get filtered out when reducing to the contest required DPI, so be "3B, 4B, 5B or 6B bold" on your grids/walls/etc.

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Since there seems to be some people who claim to have little to no mapping skills:

Warning:
I have no clue if my advice is warranted or even asked for. But I find this practice helps me when building maps. I'm not a professional on any level, just an amateur. Take this advice with a grain of salt. I have not won RPG superstar, so I cannot say that this is exactly super-star path to success.

My Method of Making Maps Fast Easy and Readable:

I have an exorcise for you. This exorcise will be difficult, and maybe time consuming, and you MAY LOOK at me crazy. But bear with me.

Get together 4 players. Have them build characters of "I don't care level", what ever your groups preferred power level.

You have to plan your session, your whole session, in just the time it takes your players to make characters. No extra time. You can have a rough idea going into it, like "temple excavation", but no more than 3 words going into this session.

During this time, you have to pick your Bestiary entries, your monsters, NPCs, and ALL THE MAPS that you get to use during the session.

I do all the monster planning and all the NPC building while I'm drawing my maps. As drawing the map may tend to be the longest part. While I'm drawing the map, I'm thinking what can go in this particular room, what will make this particular room exciting? How can I angle these walls to make it more engaging? More tactically engaging?

Where can I put in natural Choke points for traps? Where does it make sense for this encounter to occur?

I perform this exorcise about once a month. I got to the point where I can have an entire session planned in about 10 to 20 minutes, and have all my NPC's drafted, beasts planned, random encounters mapped, and 4 flip mats drawn. Now my gaming group has a night called "Random  ■■■" night. Where we roll a D20 for a the PC level for the night, and they make characters and I just run a session with no warning. They just sort of show up and say "Random ■■■ time!"

Note: the first few times you do this, it may not be your best sessions, but if you keep going, and keep trying this practice, eventually they may become your best sessions to date.

How this helps you: First of all, you don't have time to get into details, you have to get the majority of your intention across quickly. You have to be concise in your drawing; which means, you have to be able to give the intention of a room or obstacle in a few lines. Which means you develop a key mentally. This key allows you to compartmentalize assets, and lets you re-use that asset over and over again in a consistent manner. That makes building a Legend SUPER EASY.

Secondly, as you keep developing maps you become internally aware of what works and what doesn't. It's a GUT check looking at a room and going, "Huh, that's not dynamic or exciting." Your maps may not look entirely realistic on your first go, but you get an idea for when a bend in a wall can be a good thing or a bad thing. You begin to develop a sense of where cover, and concealment are best applied, and how to turn a mundane scene into something dramatic.

Lastly, drawing a map eventually becomes second nature. As your mind is racing to fill in all the narrative niches, your hands will become wonders of there own, creating elaborate mazes of halls and rooms, filled with corners, statuary, garden paths, locked doors and chests. Map making will not quite be a Zen state, but it will be something that you can draft incredibly fast, say "That looks almost right" then be able to analyze with the critical parts of your brain and be able to adjust.

The mother of invention is necessity, the father of creativity is panic. Use your nervous energy. Channel it into a creative calm of change.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka mamaursula

Arnil wrote:
I've got a question regarding maps and the whole contest in general really. Does it help to have your map follow the same theme as your round one submission? And then later including your map in your adventure? See cause i have a cool clock idea for a map but i wasn't one of the many clock based magic items so should i change my map idea? Ill come up with back ups anyway to be safe since the official rules aren't out yet.

I would not try to do that too deeply, however given that the last couple of years have had a theme as part of the twist, it will be inevitable. Try to show your creativity to the best of your ability and let the rest go, this contest is about finding the most creative designer who can follow direction, incorporate feedback, and show growth each round.

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Yup, here's my map from last year. I went with a large scale building and straight up pen and paper. The maps last year were diverse in scope, media, and content. These were not flip maps, those occurred in Round 4, The Encounter Round. I would expect this year's map to be an "encounter" map, don't think big, think a couple rooms or a single area, there's not much space on a flip map. You're looking at an active playing area with minis and on top of your gaming table.

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For the flip map, if one is going to hand draw it, is it best to print the grid they provide at the full scale of 24" X 30", and then scan it back in?

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Kurzak wrote:
For the flip map, if one is going to hand draw it, is it best to print the grid they provide at the full scale of 24" X 30", and then scan it back in?

I'm not 100% on this, but my plan is to use the provided download (which will come up on regular print paper 8 1/2" x 11") and just have it a smaller scale that 1"=5'. I'd still keep the 1 square = 5 feet though. Makes it easier for scanning/printing.

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Is the grid available yet?

Scarab Sages Developer

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Taylor Hubler wrote:
Will there be something that narrows the focus of the map's theme, such as "urban" or "related to giants"?

I think "Encounter that fits on a flip-map, in the flip-map style," is plenty of focus this year.

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