Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Maps, Maps, and More Maps

I love me some good maps. While I've been taking a sorta-vacation from blogging, the intrawebs have been awash in new maps.

Ok, maybe not "awash", but we've got three good ones for you.

The first is from WotC. It's an excerpt from the 4.0 DMG about the sample village, Fallcrest. We get a nice, full-color map, a history of the town, three keyed areas, and the stat-block for a well-to-do tiefling merchant.

Judging by the forests, especially the woods growing dangerously close to the castle (areas 8 and 9), it appears that this is a fairly fertile valley. As such, I'd assume those fields are growing grains of some sort. In that case, Fallcrest needs a mill. I'd suggest putting a water mill at the smaller falls (area 21) or putting in a mill-pond and water mill in the area of ruins between 21 and 23.

The next to come from Sham's Grog 'n Blog:

OK, so I’ve got a new toy. Rather, I should specify, I had my computer literate and all-around wonderful Wife show me how to actually USE her scanner. I think I’ve discovered a new tool that will keep me busy rooting through my gaming closet and posting images.

The first isn't really from his closet as it's a new project: a map for his Spawning Grounds of the Crabmen for the Fight On! megadungeon project. Sham's an excellent cartographer with a good clean hand. While the tunnels of the crabmen twist and turn over and under each other, Sham's depictions make it easy for the DM to know exactly where everything is in relation to everything else. His lines are so neat and fine, I suspect he's using a mechanical pencil, 0.5 or 0.7 at a guess. There are some odd bits that I can't decipher, such as three short tunnels near the center, with horseshoe-shaped entrances at both ends and odd, wavey lines between them. Otherwise, it's easy to understand what Sham's trying to communicate.

His second map is an older thing:

Antholerin was a long running campaign, centered around multiple levels of 'undercities' which led, eventually, to the Deep Down, my version of Arduin's Great Wyrm Road, or the Underdark. The lowest reaches of the Deep Down were drawn out on a hex map, ala D1-3 inspired by Gygax's map, with keyed hexes. Devil's Throne was one of those hexes, in this case the hex directly under Antholerin.

This one comes with a short key explaining what the major features are. His work is not quite as clean on this thirteen-year-old map, but it's still easily legible.

I look forward to seeing what further treasures Sham is able to dig up from his gaming closet.


James Maliszewski said...

Wait. I thought 4e was supposed to include an iconic town from D&D's past whose name we could recognize.

trollsmyth said...

Was it? I hadn't heard that. I do know that 3.5's DMG had a map of Saltmarsh in it for use as a home base for the PCs.

- Brian

Sham aka Dave said...

Hi Brian-Yep, using a 0.5 mm Mechanical Pencil. The same basic tool I've used for decades for D&D. As far as the SGotC map, I'll have an upcoming post detailing stages of map development as this is stage one of that map. The three short tunnels, with horseshoe shapes and wavy lines, represent small submerged tunnels, with cave like openings, which are filled with water.

Thanks for the kind words! I love me some hand drawn maps.