Welcome to part 2 of Sue Daniels’ tutorial on creating parchments textures and scrolls in GIMP, where she explains various options of how to vary the resulting parchments. If you haven’t done it yet,
you should first follow part 1.

Part 2 – Optional extras

Varying the basic technique

CTRL + Z is your friend. This is the ‘undo’ button, and I use it all the time. This handy keyboard shortcut makes experimentation so much more rewarding.

Varying the basic technique is a good way of producing a wide range of parchment or paper textures. Varying the initial colour at step 4 is the most obvious. You might also experiment with the opacity of the plasma layer, or alter the modes of both the plasma and noise layers just to see what happens – there is a whole range of possibilities.

Making a parchment that is other than square

There is a very good reason why the basic parchment tutorial was done as a square. While everything else works fine, the Plasma filter used at step 7 distorts if your file has a long side. In the extreme case this is what happens:

This file was created four times as long as it is tall (1000 pixels x 250 pixels). The plasma layer looks like it’s been stretched sideways, and is no good at all unless you really want the result to look stretched for a particular effect you have in mind.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to remedy this problem.
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After Joe Sweeney’s and Tony Crawford’s tutorials we have now a third excellent and prolific YouTube channel. Josh Plunkett, who also administers the CC3+ Facebook community, provides an excellent set of starting tutorials for CC3+ and its add-ons. Check it out here:

Tokens on Battle mapWelcome to the March newsletter, cartographers! We have a preview of a new product line, Remy’s monthly article, Sue Daniel continues her tutorial and Jon C Munson II tells you how he imitates the art of Mike Schley.




Be sure to check out our community forum and the CC3+ Facebook user group for discussions, help, suggestions and many, many maps.

Goblin Magic-userWe are happy to give you a first little glimpse of a new product line we are considering and working on: the Token Treasury. Rich Longmore – the artist behind Character Artist 3 – is working on a set of monster tokens that can be used in virtual tabletops like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, as paper tokens on your own battle maps, or as symbols on any floorplan created with CC3+ and its add-ons.

The first TT pack will contain about 50 different monsters covering the “typical” range of enemies a group of fantasy heroes might face, from lowly kobolds and goblins via trolls and ogres to giants and dragons. Each will come in multiple varicolor varieties, allowing you to easily identify different types or individuals of the same kind of monsters. It is tentatively scheduled for release in July.

Tokens on Battle mapThe monster tokens will combine with a set of “ring” symbols, that add can another layer of information, like facing, wound status, conditions and so on.

Depending on our users’ interests and wishes, we plan to produce more Token Treasury packs with rarer and more obscure monster types, heroes and their allies, and possibly even more exotic options. We’d be happy to hear your ideas and wishes for the Token Treasury!

Here is another collection of maps that have caught our eyes since the last “Maps of the Month” post. They are taken from the CC3+ Facebook community and the ProFantasy forum, and as usual are just a quasi-random selection from the multitude of maps that have been posted. Enjoy!

A small town in a far-away land…
was created by Lorelei (Christina Trani) using City Designer 3 symbols, tools and textures as well as some of her own tree symbols.
Sue Daniel
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Campaign Cartographer 3+ is a product in constant evolution, with new features, both small and large, typically gets added for every update. For this article, I want to have a look at some of these features and give a short introduction on how you can start experimenting with them.

Some of the new features have already been covered in other places. For example the new improvements to the Symbols Along command where documented in the February 2018 Annual – Dungeon Walls and I wrote a Command of the Week article on the new Symbols in Area command. For those into macro writing, I have also covered the new Get Extents commands.

Perspective Scaling

Probably the largest addition in the latest update is the new PSCALE commands. These haven’t been added to the menu yet, so you need to type them in on the command line, but they are a series of commands that are intended to help you make pseudo-perspective maps by automatically changing the scale of a symbol depending where it is on the screen. This command was developed in response to several such maps appearing in the forums. Let us start with an example image to show what the command can do.

So, looking at this image, you can see that the symbols closer to the bottom of the image is larger than the ones near the top, which provides a pseudo-perspective look on things. While it is certainly possible to do this manually, this example was made by using the PSCALE commands.

To get started with this, type PSCALESETUP on the CC3+ command line and hit enter. Watch the command line, as CC3+ will now ask you a few important questions about the scaling. First, it will ask for the vertical low position. This is the position of the bottom part of the perspective view, where the symbols are supposed to be at their largest. Normally, this will simply be anywhere along the bottom edge of your map. Next, CC3+ will ask for the vertical low scale. This is the scale used in this point, relative to the current symbol scale. Since the perspective effect looks best when somewhat subtle, a value of 1.5 is generally good here, so just type this number in on the command line (followed by enter). CC3+ will then follow up by asking for the vertical high position, which is normally the top of the map, and the vertical high scale. For the scale, 0.5 is a reasonable value. Note that this means that the symbols at the bottom of the map will be 3 times larger than the ones at the top of the map (1.5 / 0.5 = 3). If this is too much or too little for your purposes, you may wish to tweak the values for the vertical scales. The final question from CC3+ will be for the Horizontal center of projection, which should normally be at the horizontal center of your map.

With the setup out of the way (if you are not happy with the values, simply go through PSCALESETUP again) you can now turn on the automatic scaling with the PSCALEON command. Once this is turned on, pick any symbol from the symbol catalog, and then move your mouse up and down in the map, and notice how the symbol shrinks and expands depending where in the map you currently hold it. If you place it down, it will be placed in that scale. You might also note that this only scales the symbol, it doesn’t deform it, which is why this is called pseudo-perspective. In a true perspective view, the symbol would also have been slightly deformed by shrinking more at the top than the bottom, but CC3+ doesn’t support that.

Note that perspective scaling is turned off each time you load a new symbol catalog or expand a symbol collection, so if you find that symbols are no longer scaling, just execute PSCALEON again. To manually turn it off, use PSCALEOFF.

Another nice thing you can do with the pscale command is to deform regular vector entities (but not images) to give them a perspective view. This can for example be done with the map border/background before you start mapping to give you a more proper template for a perspective view instead of the standard rectangular map. To do this, after running the PSCALESETUP command, you can run the PSCALEX command. This will transform the selected entities according to the current settings, and it is when you use this command you notice what the horizontal center of projection from the setup command does. Below are 3 images of the map template for my example map, with the horizontal center set far to the left, in the middle, and far to the right.

Note that you should always run PSCALEX before placing symbols in the map, as they won’t move to properly fit the new perspective.

Also note that the feature of CC3+ that allows drawing tools to automatically stop on the map border won’t work properly with angled edges, they can only handle straight edges, so if you get strange issues with a drawing tool stopping in the middle of the map after doing this, then that is the reason. To fix this, make sure that the MAP BORDER layer only contains four lines, defining the top, left, bottom and right outer edge of the map, and this outer edge must be completely outside the entire map, and must be straight (not angled) lines.


Another new command to CC3+ is the simplify command. This command is actually an improved version of the old Remove Nodes command, which are used to reduce the number of nodes in an entity. Compared with Remove Nodes, simplify is much smarter, and ensures a better result, trying harder to make the entity look more alike the entity before removing the nodes, being better at removing redundant nodes.

Again, this command isn’t in the menu yet, but you can access it by typing SIMPLIFY on the command line. The simplification distance the command asks for controls the quality of the resulting entities, the lower this number, the more the entity will look like the original entity, but the less nodes will be removed too. The appropriate values here depend on the map size.

Flat Toolbars

Do you like the more modern-looking flat toolbars, or do you prefer that buttons look more like proper buttons? CC3+ now allows you to choose. Type the command SETFLATTOOLBARS on the command line

Macro Commands

For those engaged in macro writing, there are also several new helpful commands found in the latest update

First of all, macro commands to save and load settings for ESC and SYMFILL where added, to compliment those already existing for FOREST, as well as adding macro versions of the commands themselves. This allows full use of these features in macros. The relevant commands here are SYMFILLM, SYMMFILLLOAD, SYMFILLSAVE, ESCM, ESCLOAD and ESCSAVE.

Macros can now create directories thanks to the new MKDIR command. This is very helpful because many operations would silently fail if they tried to output to a non-existent directory. With this command, you can ensure the directory exists beforehand (Assuming you have file system permissions to create a directory there of course). This command is also safe to use if the directory already exist, it won’t remove the existing directory or files already in it.

If you need to check if the user accepted the default option for a prompt, the old IFERR command was unfortunately not precise enough, as it reported this as an error and treated it the same as if the user aborted the input, making its use very limited. You can now use the new GETGXRETCODE to check more detailed status values. It will return one of the following values

0 – Operation completed successfully (IFERR will test false)
1 –  Operation accepted default (IFERR will test true)
2 – Operation canceled (IFERR will test true)
3 – Bad data input (IFERR will test true)

In macros, it is always good to set things back to the state they where before the user started the macro. Earlier, it was impossible to restore the users distance display format (the format used in the coordinates display, and in dialogs displaying lengths and such). It was often necessary to reset this value to a plain format, because macros couldn’t deal with the formatted output. Now, GETDISTANCEFMT can be used to get and store the users current setting, so you can return it to that value with a later call to the DISTFMT command.

More improvements and features will be found in the next CC3+ update, which will be released when development on it is done.

Jon C. Munson II


The mapping style of Mike Schley is, simply put, beautiful. It is no wonder that Wizards of the Coast sought him out for many of the maps used in their products. His use of line, shading, and slightly muted color do a fantastic job of creating the illusion of a truly hand drawn map with dimensional objects. And, well, for the most part that is exactly what they are – hand drawn, albeit done using programs like Adobe Photoshop and/or others. If you haven’t seen his maps, you really owe it to yourself to take a look at them.

I had always liked Schley’s maps, and wanted to produce a few maps for a module I had in mind for the Dungeons & Dragons group that I run. Knowing how many hours it would take to hand-draw the maps, I looked for a way to cut down some of the time required. Enter ProFantasy’s Campaign Cartographer 3+ (“CC3+”). The program uses a number of Schley’s symbol packs (for example Symbol Set 4 – Dungeons of Schley), and that was perfect for me. Well, almost – I needed further symbols to suit my module. Now I had to figure out how to both create symbols and emulate Schley’s style to produce the symbols I needed. And, I also had to figure out how to get those into CC3+. It turns out it isn’t a hard job, but, it is a bit tricky, and most of the effort is in creating the symbols themselves. Schley’s style seems to be fairly involved, and that complexity is what makes them so appealing.

Personally, I have no idea how Mike Schley goes about making his symbols or drawing his maps. I have, however, studied his symbols and maps to try and figure out how he makes his creations. Despite many hours, I’m still uncertain of his exact process, but I think I have at least a little idea. I discerned enough to be able to put together symbols that are “close enough” to Schley’s style to be good compliments (at least I think so). Frankly, my goal in trying to figure out his methods wasn’t to be a forger, but, rather, to emulate – I had no desire to be “Mike Schley,” though he is an excellent talent to learn from!

Equipment Needed

Though it is entirely possible to use a mouse to create symbols, I strongly suggest obtaining a graphics tablet. I use a Wacom myself, and highly recommend their tablets. I know of others who use Asian variants with success (depends upon which ones though), so you might be able to get a less-expensive tablet to start.

You’ll also need both raster & vector editing software. While I have Adobe CC, there are other alternatives out there such as Gimp and Inkscape. I have briefly used those in the past, however, as I use Photoshop and Illustrator, I’ll be discussing things from the point of those tools. Most of that discussion should translate to another tool, and you may have to improvise with those other tools.

One thing I cannot get into in this article are the components that make up each symbol – you’ll have to experiment and decide what elements make up your objects. A bit of mechanical drawing is quite helpful, and understanding perspective will come in very handy too. Everything is made up of either, or any number of, rectangles, circles, lines, arcs, etc. Do experiment, and use the Internet to find samples, etc.

Image Sizing

CC3+ symbols have four sizes – Very High, High, Low and Very Low. You want to create symbols at the Very High resolution, and CC3+ will take care of the other sizes when you import them. See the CC3+ documentation for details. In fact, reading through the CC3+ documentation, and consulting the forum, concerning creating symbols is definitely in your interest as well.


Let’s take a look at a simple chair:

There are several things to note about its construction. First, note that the linework of the object forms the description of the object, and the value variations within the object gives a 3D impression. Many of Schley’s symbols don’t include the value, thus producing the “ink” symbols. Second, note the border around the object, and sometimes an inner border around other objects (like a book on a table), is a little thicker than the detail linework. Third, note that the detail linework, when there is value applied, is usually surrounded by a slightly darker value of the “main” value of the object.
Fourth, note that the object itself has variations in value (mimicking “wood” in this case), as well as descriptive value to indicate 3D depth. Finally, note the color – intentionally set to mimic watercolor, the colors are a bit desaturated (wood also has a desaturated tone by virtue). This does not, however, detract from the richness of the symbols, but rather forms a complimentary feel to the heavier linework. The effect is, in essence, a watercolor wash, and is an important element in Schley’s style.

The linework here is really something to be admired – quite a lot of variation in thickness and style. This gives the hand-drawn look to the symbols and is important in order to be able to produce symbols that would compliment Schley’s style.

Now that we have an idea of how Schley creates his symbols in terms of components, we can proceed with creating our own.

Making Our Own

Creating symbols that emulate Schley is actually not a trivial task. There is quite a lot involved, depending upon the complexity of the object, and does require a little artistic flair – not that one must be an artist to create symbols of course. With a bit of effort, you can get pretty close! The real trick is rendering a 3D feel – perspective is something that really “sells” these symbols. The beauty of working on the computer is you can simply delete or undo as much as you like and try again. You may also find that sketching on a piece of paper to be useful practice too. I did just that with a few symbols I made as I found that easier.

The first thing to do is to on the object to be drawn. I will start with an object I created for my symbol set – a cabinet. This symbol doesn’t involve perspective, so is much easier to create.

After a few experiments with creating these symbols (remember, I’m not attempting to “be” Schley), I decided that I would start with vector outlines for my symbols, and that was more easily accomplished in Illustrator (or a vector program of your choice). Illustrator also has a method by which variation in line can be achieved (through a little deformation) that does a good-enough job of giving us a hand-drawn result.

Now, as with any object, we have to draw out the components. If you look at the cabinet carefully, you can see that it can be broken down into a few rectangles, some circles, and some lines. Draw out the components of the cabinet, don’t worry about making it “look like” the symbol I’ve created – just concentrate on the basic shapes. For the sake of learning, you could just create a simple rectangle for now. Be mindful of the width of the stroke – you don’t want anything too wide, nor anything too narrow. The size of your object will dictate the width of the border strokes. Use Schley’s symbol as a guide for border line thickness ratio.

Once you have the shape(s) defined, the next step is to change the line shape from obviously vector to something a little more hand-drawn in appearance. For that, we’ll use the Effect->Distort & Transform->Roughen. In the next dialog, you’ll first want to check the Preview box so you can see what effect changing the command’s parameters has on your object. The Size slider dictates the amount of “wobble” in the line – go ahead, play with it, can’t hurt anything right now. I use a value between 2 and 4 pixels. The Detail slider dictates the frequency that the Size slider occurs. Again, experimentation is key here. The last option, Points, needs to be set to Smooth. You might, on occasion, use the Corner option, but in this case we want Smooth.

As you can see from the preview, your object looks a lot more hand-drawn. If you like your changes, click OK, and move on to the next step.

Once you’ve gotten your basic outlines created and your object defined, export that out as a PSD and open the file in Photoshop. You should then have a “Layer 1” group that is your vector artwork (now rasterized). If your line work is not grouped, create a new group from those layers (you can name it anything you like of course).
In the case of the cabinet, I wanted to make it appear to be made from wood – you could choose other materials, like various kinds of stone, or clay, etc. Creating the subtle impression of wood grain could be a daunting task – there’d be lots of hand-painting to do. However, there is an easier route – using a color fill and a texture to produce the illusion. So, I first used a Color Fill, choosing a wood-like value. Be careful here, wood is not highly saturated, so stay on the desaturated side of the color picker – less saturation is more. Set the blend mode to Multiply, and set the layer as a Clipping Mask on top of the linework layer. This color will help re-value the texture and give a little more room for experimentation. Then I used a free wood texture set to Multiply (there are loads of these on the Internet). You might notice this will make your image a little darker, etc. Using both Levels and Hue/Saturation, I adjusted things to taste. You do not have to use a Color Fill as I did, you could just as easily re-color the texture using adjustments. How you follow what I’ve done is completely up to you.

After that, I added a new layer on which to create the interior linework. Using the standard round brush, keeping my brush size smaller than my border with (about 1/2 or so, adjust to your needs), I drew in the planks and interior borders of the cabinet. This is where studying Schley’s artwork comes in handy. Notice how he created his lines – where it is long, short, dots, etc. Pay attention to how he demarcates curves, grades, slopes, etc. You want to approach that same style to be in keeping with his overall look. Take your time, and feel free to clear the layer and start over. When you want straight strokes, use the Shift key. Otherwise, feel free to “freehand” the line – we are creating hand-drawn symbols after all.

Once you have your linework completed, add an Outer Glow effect set to Multiply, and choose a color that is close to the wood color you are using. Experiment with how strong you want that by changing the Opacity slider. Use Schley’s symbols as a guide, and, of course, these are your symbols, so make them as you wish.

Your interior linework layer should almost always be your top layer – you don’t want to hide those lines beneath other opaque layers, so most of your work from here will go below that layer in the stack. The reason for this will become apparent as you work, however, what will happen is the painting you do will subtly change the linework appearance in ways that are not desirable. Opaque layers and Screen layers will overwrite/lighten your linework. The linework provides a guide for the shading and highlights, that’s why the layer needs to be near topmost in the stack and the other layers lay below.
If you feel you need more shading in places, create another layer, set its Blend Mode to Multiply, and using a more desaturated color, fill in your shading. You should use the Soft Round brush for this to get a feathering effect.

After that, the next step is to add selective highlights. You want to add subtle “high spots” to various portions of the symbol. Create a new layer and set its Blend Mode to Screen. Using the Soft Round brush again, create those highlights. If you are using a tablet, you may wish to set the brush size to pressure to help create variable line widths.

Now, as the vector linework comes in as a group of vector outputs, you want to make a Copy Merged copy of the vector linework to place on top of the interior linework you completed. This way all of your linework will be topmost – ensuring any painting below does not unduly affect it. If the layer is filled with white, just set the Blend Mode to Multiply (Multiply ignores white).

The last thing I added, and you won’t do this to all symbols, is a little bit of drop shadow. Sometimes this is helpful, but can interfere with CC3+ shading algorithm, so be careful how much you apply. A little drop shadow can help “bed” the symbol in your drawings, so they appear to be a part of the map instead of just a “sticker” upon it.

Once done, you’ll save out your symbol as a PNG file (otherwise you won’t get transparency). The next step from there is to import your symbol into CC3+, and that’s beyond the scope of this article – consult the CC3+ documentation for that, and/or search the forum for assistance.

What I’m Doing With My Maps

The module I’ve created was born from a Wizards of the Coast campaign upon which I started my group. There was a nice hook within for a personal offshoot, so I ran with it and created a 4-map, 80+ page dungeon that my players are still trawling (and thoroughly enjoying). The “Munson’s Mines” symbol set was born from this module.

While I don’t have Fantasy Grounds, or a fancy in-table monitor to display my maps to the players, they do receive a copy of the level once they’ve completed it (and explored enough that I don’t mind if a few areas are “uncovered” as a result). I do rather prefer they do things the old-fashioned way and map their way by hand – provides more immersion factor I think. After they’ve explored everything, I don’t mind handing them a “player copy.” They get to see just where they got confused with directions, and how accurately they rendered the location. They have really enjoyed the module, and really like the maps. I should probably print them larger, as much of the details I’ve put in get lost on an 8.5×11 (A4) sheet.

CC3+ is a fantastic CAD program for mapping our fantasy worlds as it is feature- and, most importantly, symbol-rich, and I hope this article inspires you to create your own symbols to add to it.

The TowerWe are excited to introduce a new contributor to the Annual this month. Community member Christina Trani recently created a series of battle maps for Pelgrane Press’ encounter book “Fire & Faith”. We were delighted with the map work she did with CC3+, so we asked her to create a whole new series of maps for the Annual.

The Curse of the Lich King map pack is the result. Enjoy four gorgeously detailed maps in both DM and player versions. Let the Regional Map lead you to the Lich’s Tower, then navigate the Maze to find the undead’s Vault and, – if everything goes according to plan – destroy its unholy phylactery. Check out the issue’s details on the Annual 2018 web page.

Also see a preview of the Annual’s April issue and it’s star charts style.

You can now subscribe to the Annual 2018 here. Once you have subscribed, the March issue will immediately become available for download on your registration page.

Overland MapWelcome to the February newsletter! Apart from an update to Fractal Terrains and a new column by Remy Monsen, we have two cartography articles from our Annual contributors – a feature we will continue in future months.


  • A new version of Fractal Terrains 3 is available: 3.0.21 which improves the Finding Rivers function, ensuring they always appear. You can download an update from your registration page.
  • The February issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2018 is available. The symbol pack Dungeon Walls allows you to create detailed and varied walls for your underground complexes.
  • The January issue of the Annual 2018 offered a hex-version of Mike Schley’s overland style from CC3+.
  • The Community Mapping Project is running a mapping competition. Anyone submitting a map to the project in February participates, so there is still time.


  • In his new column Command Spotlight Remy Monsen takes a look at Line styles and properties in CC3+.
  • Articles

    I am delighted to accept an invitation from Profantasy to present the methods I use to make parchment and parchment scrolls for use as backgrounds in CC3. I hope that you will find the information useful.

    Both these methods require you to have and make basic use of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). GIMP is a free application and can be downloaded from this page: https://www.gimp.org/

    Once you have installed and opened the software, it will be easier for you to follow this tutorial if you set it up so that it looks similar to the screen shots I’ve included. To do that click the Windows menu, and then Single Window Mode.

    Your screen should now look like this:

    (You won’t have the Script-fu menu item, since this is an add-on I’ve downloaded separately to the main program.)

    PART 1 – Making the parchment
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