Suitcases are being packed, airline tickets checked, frantic emails are being sent back and forth … what does this burst of activity mean? Gen Con is almost upon us, of course! The “Best 4 Days in Gaming” start on Thursday, August 30th and of course ProFantasy will be there.
As usual we are sharing a booth (#609) with Pelgrane Press. You’ll find us snug in between the big and sprawling booths of Paizo and Fantasy Flight Games. Check this map for the location.
Stop by our booth for the latest products, a chat with Ralf or Simon, a quick demo and some great offers. We are looking forward to meeting you!
Please be patient with our support during these busy times, only a skeleton crew (hi Mark!) remains for handling the usual day to day issues.
We are still hard at work updating all the CC3 material to CC3+. This month we have Symbol Set 1 – Fantasy Overland ready for you!
- CC3+ Update: The compatibility update for Symbol Set 1 – Fantasy Overland is here!
- Two new Annual issues have become available since the last newsletter: June and July.
- CC3+ Update 2 is now available, fixing some bugs and preparing CC3+ for future add-ons. Log into your registration page to download it.
For my current 13th Age rpg campaign (a short break from our Ashen Stars game) I recently created several battle maps, because while the game does not use a grid movement, it profits from a good visualization of the combatant’s positions relative to each other. Looking back I realize that I used a variety of different ways to actually bring the maps to the table, as time and resources dictated. I thought it might be useful to look at the different methods.
For the first session, I had a generous time frame and needed to have some professional posters done anyway, so I went for the most luxurious way: I had the two battle maps for the game printed at a poster printing service (Posterjack.com). Click on the image on the right, to see a close up view. The paper quality is great, the colors brilliant and of course everything is in one piece. The scale can be a bit off, if you go for the cheapest poster size/format option, but this map was not meant to be printed at exact miniature scale anyway. The downside: it’s a bit more expensive of course (€10 per 80cm by 60cm poster) and takes time get printed and sent back.
For the second session I was much more pressed for time, and I also didn’t want to spend that kind of money again. So I went to my trusty home inkjet printer (a Canon Pixma iP4800) and printed the next battle map on nine pages of A4, trimmed and glued them together. You can see the result on the left.
The colors are more muted, and you can see where the pages have been glued together, but it still looks very nice. Of course it uses up a good bit of ink and still requires some time to assemble (I can do these in 10 minutes now though). Generally, this is my go to method, which I have used over the whole Deadlands Reloaded campaign that I finished last year.
Still, I had a couple more encounters planned for the evening and didn’t want to print even more stuff. So I came up with a new way to use the map at the table. I would display it on the TV screen for all the players to see and have a Noteboard on the table with a quick sketch of the same map. The TV display would provide the flavor and atmosphere for the map, while the Noteboard would allow for the tactical positioning. Click on the image on the right to see the set up.
I used Chromecast and my Android phone to quickly cast images to the screen. This turned out quite well, better than expected on my rather modestly-sized TV set, and I used it for the final two encounters of the adventure. I’m sure I’ll revisit this method in upcoming sessions. While it’s not quite as nice as having the minis on the color map, it definitely saves on money and time.
Note that the Noteboard area is a bit smaller than your A1 poster map, but with 13th Age you don’t mind really. There is no counting of squares or hexes nor any measuring of distance that would need an accurate and consistent scale.
Our Source Maps products are packed with predesigned flooplans, cities and temples. The maps are available in cc3 format with their own viewer, or as PDF or PNG files. I’ve printed them out and used most of them over the years for my old-school D&D game and for 13th Age. However, they are are bit long in the tooth, so we’ll be updating them, starting with Source Maps: Temples! this year, in a new style and adding new maps and floorplans. Here’s a look at a recent draft of the new style, and the old style for comparison.
The current Source Maps: Temples, Tombs and Catacombs map
A close-up of the proposed new style:
We intend to released Source Map: Temples mid-June next year.
We are happy to announce the next compatibility update: Symbol Set 1 – Fantasy Overland is now available for CC3+. SS1 provides four new drawing styles for overland map, made up from over 2,500 new symbols, bitmap fills and drawing tools.
Click on the example map on the right created by Stephen Manuele. It shows off one of the new overland styles included in SS1 . The style, created by fantasy cartographer Sean Mcdonald, it is a wonderful handdrawn-like option for your fantasy maps. Download a large-scale pdf version here.
Check out the two more examples of maps drawn with the included styles as pdf versions:
Kingsport and Surroundings (the second bitmap style included in SS1, created by Peter Gifford)
Range of the Gods (a hand-drawn vector style, created by Sarah Wroot)
If you already own SS1, you can simply download the setup for CC3+ from your registration page. If you do not own SS1 yet, you can get a copy here.
I’ve recently started a new fantasy campaign, using the 13th Age rules and setting. Due to some (unsurprising) insider connections, I was able to acquire a playtest copy of the upcoming “Battle Scenes” collection for the game. It contains a host of fighting encounters for different levels and surroundings. It’s a great resource, especially if you are stuck for inspiration or just need to pull a battle out of your hat.
What it doesn’t have yet, due to its stage of production, are detailed battle maps. The encounters are only sketched out in draft form. But I do have the right tool at hand for this job, don’t I? So I sat down and created a couple of battle maps for a set of connected encounters (a rafting expedition through orc-infested wilderness, isn’t that great?). I used Dungeon Designer 3 and Symbol Set 2, and it looks like the maps may end up as part of the published Battles Scenes in the end.
A neat idea crossed my mind as I was starting the second map: Why not make it combine with the first for one huge battle map? While it wouldn’t be used like that in Battle Scenes, it might come in handy for other occasions. You surely wouldn’t want to use a gorgeous prop like this once and then throw it away?
I printed the maps at an online poster printing service, and while doing it at a “correct” 1″ to 5′ scale would have been a little too expensive, the scaled down, very affordable version at 80cm by 60cm per map was big enough to easily accommodate 13th’s Age loose movement and positioning system. The map certainly gave the game session some great visual “oomph” as the PCs were floating down the whitewater river, fending off orcs on all sides.
You can download print-ready versions of the maps by clicking the images above.
I’ve got two months of beautiful user maps to cover, since due to holidays I wasn’t able to collect them for May. So without further ado, let’s get going:
My personal highlight of this month’s collection (and the other maps are very good too I should add) is probably Mappy’s The Manticore’s Tale tavern, drawn in Mike Schley’s dungeon style. it’s just wonderfully executed.
Continue reading »
It’s summer (well, at least here in the northern hemisphere), it’s July and here’s the seventh issue of this year’s Cartographer’s Annual. Draw panoramic views of your cities in the style of 16th-century publishers Braun & Hogenberg, with TJ Vandel’s new style “City Panoramas“. Almost 400 new symbols allow you to construct landscapes and and settlements in a bird’s eye view with speed and ease.
The July issue issue available both for CC3 and CC3+. You can download both setups from your registration page on the Subscriptions tab.
If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2015 yet, you can do so here.
Dive into the depths of space with the June Annual and the Mandible-class starship. Inspired by the Ashen Stars RPG by Pelgrane press, this set of four deckplans shows a complete starship in high detail. An extensive sheets & effects guide discusses the different sheets and effects used in the drawing, so you can apply the principles to your own designs.
If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2015 yet, you can do so here.
The process of converting all our products to work with CC3+ continues. This month we have Symbol Set 4 – The Dungeons of Schley available in the updated version.
- CC3+ Update: The compatibility update for Symbol Set 4 – The Dungeons of Schley is here!
- The next Annual issue is available: May.