With this month’s of free content by Mike Schley you can build a great wall around your kingdom to protect it against the barbarian hordes outside. You will find 40 new symbols in this month’s catalog to construct a continuous series of walls, tower, gates and forts in Mike Schley’s overland style of CC3+.

To download the free content go to your registration page and on the Downloads tab, click the download button for Campaign Cartographer 3 Plus. Mike’s new symbols are the last link in the list (see image on the right). All the content up to and including January 2022 is included in the one download.

You can always check the available monthly content on our dedicated page

A “heatmap” is a visual indicator of where things are located. It’s useful to see clusters, patterns, and disbursement in how things happen to fall. In cartography, this concept can quickly tell you where things are, how many of them there are, and their density.

Though there’s no dedicated “heatmap” tool in Campaign Cartographer 3+, the software nevertheless makes generating heatmaps in your overland map superbly straightforward. If you set things up right as you draw your map, making a heatmap of key points of interest, geological phenomena, settlements, or other features takes literally seconds!

All POIIn this walkthrough, we will be using my homebrew realm of Aquilae. I’ve been working on it for three years, and will be publishing several books and atlases featuring the mapping work I’ve done for it. It’s got overkill levels of complexity, so it’s a good example of the extremes that you might go to.

It’s worth stressing that the concept of heatmaps doesn’t require anything, really, in terms of complexity or map size or scale–only that you have some points of interest that you want to have color “blossoms” around.

Setting Things Up

As the saying goes, measure once, and cut twice: this applies to nearly everything you do in CC3+, but particularly with heatmaps. If you already have a map, it may take some time to tweak things before you can generate a heatmap off of it.

Simply put, you need to make sure things are on Sheets and Layers that support your heatmapping needs. Some of this discussion is very basic for those who are already deeply familiar with sheets, layers, and creating your own, but for those who might only have ever used the default settings, let’s walk through it.

Step 1: Create Sheets for Heatmaps

You need at least one separate Sheet defined for each different color you want in your heatmaps. Any points of interest that you are comfortable having the same color “blossom” on your heatmaps may all share the same single Sheet.

For my map, I have *dozens* of different types of points of interest. But they all fit into just a handful of different colors: cyan blue for religious structures, pink for military, and so on. As a result, I have the following Sheets defined. The ones circled in red are the ones we care about in this walkthrough:

You don’t have to do this level of complexity; you only need to have at least one Sheet defined for each color you want to heatmap.

As a first step, simply create these Sheets. Leave “Active Sheet Effects” *off* for now.

Step 2: Create Layers for Heatmaps

You need at least one separate Layer for each different heatmap you want to create. Typically, this means you will end up with more heatmap Layers than heatmap Sheets.

Here are some of the Layers I’ve created to support heatmapping my overland map:

As I’ve said, my overland map example has a *lot* of detail. So I actually have 61 of these Layers defined. You can have a handful, or even one, really; whatever suits your needs. Just so long as you have one for each type of heatmap you want to create, that will work.

For now, just create these Layers.

Step 3: Assign Symbols to Sheets and Layers

If you’re just starting a new map now, you can do this as you create your map. If you are working with an existing map that you want to heatmap, you’ve got some work to do, unfortunately.

For each symbol that you want to appear on a heatmap with a color blossom, you need to make sure it is on the correct Sheet and Layer. If you’re doing this as you go, simply make sure that you have the right Sheet and Layer selected as you are placing new Symbols.

For existing maps, you have to find the Symbols you want to heatmap, and tweak their settings. Use the *Change Properties* tool, and pick the Symbols you want to heatmap. Then, in the “Change properties” dialog box, assign the Symbols to the Layer and Sheet that are appropriate. Remember that the Sheet will determine the color of the heatmap, and the Layer will determine which heatmap image you can show the Symbol in.

Here’s an example of a settlement Symbol that I want to appear as a point of interest called a “Seclusium”.

This step may take some time, if you have an existing map with a lot of Symbols.

Step 4: Heatmap Sheet Formatting

Once you have your Sheets and Layers defined, and have Symbols assigned to them, you’re ready to generate your heatmap images!

Go into your *Drawing Sheets and Effects* settings. Find one of the Sheets you have created as a heatmap sheet. Under the “Activate Sheet Effects” section on the right, click “Add…” and create a new “Outer Glow” effect for the sheet.

Next, select the newly-created effect, and click “Edit…”. Pick a bold color that will really pop up on the map. Select Range and Blur settings that make sense for the scale of your map. My map is absolutely enormous in size, so the settings in the screenshot below are likely *much* too big for most maps!

Play with these settings until you get an effect that you like. The color and other settings that I’ve used might not be what you’re looking for! At a zoomed-in scale, here’s what the effects look like for our Seclusium (note that as it’s a military point of interest, it uses a pink effect, not cyan as in the above example).

Repeat this process for each of your other heatmap Sheets. You can also use Copy and Paste to save yourself some time, and simply change the color for other Sheets.

Step 5: Generate the Heatmaps!

Time to heatmap!

First, you need to hide all of the heatmap Layers that you *don’t* want to have appear in your heatmap. Usually, this will mean hiding everything except a single Layer.

In the example below, I’ve hidden every Layer except Seclusiums.

That should be it! Now, you can export your heatmap to an image file as you normally would.

Repeat Step 5 for each other heatmap you wish to generate. I have one for each major type of point of interest in my map… over 70 total!

Jason “J. Evans” Payne is an indie RPG and fiction author and cartographer with more than three decades of experience as a DM, game designer, and author. He’s been using Campaign Cartographer and its related tools since 2015, and vastly prefers that to his day job. A father of three, he’s also been an adjunct college professor, an IT geek, and a miniatures wargamer. Check out his one-man RPG company at infiniumGameStudio.com.

Annual 2021Last year’s Cartographer’s Annual – Volume 15 – has now been consolidated into one single installation, which is available on the registration page for all subscribers. If you ever need to reinstall it, just grab the download from there and you don’t need to go through the 13 individual issue installs. If didn’t you subscribe, waiting for it to become available as one single package, you can now purchase it from the Annual’s page and the store as usual.

From undersea dungeons via fantasy towns and cities to colonies in space, the 2021 Annual contains a wealth of material, with lots of contributions by our favorite artists and map-makers like Sue Daniel, Pär Lindström and David Castedo Gomez. Check out many example maps on the Annual’s gallery page.

A special highlight was Sue Daniel’s two part Marine Dungeon style that let us venture into undersea environments. Her knack for exceptional sheet effects gave us a realistic look into shallow or deeper waters, foaming waves and lots of other goodies.

Pär Lindström’s Fantasy Town style has become a staple among our mappers for clear and beautiful town plans that are easy and quick to draw. I am very much looking forward to his work in 2022.

Morwara mapWe were also happy to see a new contributor’s work in last year’s volume, with David Castedo Gomez (Medio in the forum community) creating the Erdan Worlds overland style based on the older Worlds of Wonder style.

Personally, I was very happy to take another stab at one of my favorite older map styles (Pete Fenlon Revisited) and make a hobby project of mine – paper diorama buildings for a sci-fi Colonial Outpost – into a proper Annual issue. While papercraft and Dioramas 3 is a niche among our users, the Annual provides the platform to make such special styles and collections available.

The current Annual 2022 subscription has now started and the January issue is already available. So if this retrospective on 2021 did wet your appetite, check it out here.

If you have used Campaign Cartographer for some time, you’ve probably encountered the red X showing up in your map. Perhaps just as simple symbol missing and being replaced by a red X, or maybe your map was covered by them. Today, I’ll talk a little bit about why you may encounter this issue, what the reason behind it is, and what you can do to remedy the situation, as well as tips for avoiding it in the first place.
Hopefully after reading this, you will have a better idea on how CC3+ uses your images, and can avoid this situation in the future.

The Core Reason

The underlying reason this happens is rather simple. When you make a map in CC3+, the map will contain references to the image files used for symbols and fills. These files are not embedded in the map itself. So, every time you open up a CC3+ map, it will look at the references embedded in the map, and will then go and load these image files from your drive. However, if it cannot find these files in the location specified in the map, it won’t know what that image is supposed to look like, and it will display a red X instead indicating this. So, in other words, this happens because the image that was on your drive when you made the map is no longer there, simple as that. This isn’t an issue with CC3+ itself, it is simply a missing image file. So, what we need to look at now, is why this file may be missing. This will influence the best way to go about fixing your map.

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CA181 Terraneo PeninsulaA Happy New Year to all you cartographers out there. We are excited to start into the new year with the 16th year of the Cartographer’s Annual, and a crossover issue on both Campaign Cartographer 3+ and Fractal Terrains 3+.

The style “Fractal Worlds” is an adaptation of the Jerion map that Sue Daniel developed in her One-Day Worldbuilder Annual issue. It makes use of the improved export features in FT3+ to produce an export that you can build on in CC3+. Or you can start fresh in CC3+ and create maps that mimic the look by hand, instead of relying on the automated world creation of FT3+.

The January issue is now available for all subscribers from their registration page. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2021 yet, you can do so here.

Please note that the 2022 is still available at the discounted early-subscriber rate until January 10th.

Winter VillageHello fellow map-makers! Are you looking forward to the holidays? We have one more newsletter for you before the end of the year. Here it is!




  • Are you importing old maps into CC3+ to recreate them? Remy Monsen shows you how to scale them precisely so your scale and measurements are corret.
  • Remy also continues his series on developing add-ons for Campaign Cartographer, working dynamic dungeon tools.


  • CC3+ has been updated to version 3.97 (Update 27) which is available from your registration page.
  • Fractal Terrains 3+ has been released and is available from among your FT3 downloads on your registration page.

Winter VillageWith Volume 15 of the Cartographer’s Annual now complete including its bonus issue, we are now ready to head into 2022 with Volume 16. The discounted re-subscription offer to current susbcribers has gone out (email us if you didn’t get it) and you can check out a preview of the first three issues, on the Annual 2022 page.

As a pre-release offer you can now subscribe at a 15% discount and get the January issue right when the subscription starts.

CA173 The Four KingdomsEvery year we make one of the Cartographer’s Annual issue available for free to give everyone a taste of the great mapping inside.

This year we decided on the Darklands overland style from may, created by Sue Daniel which gives you a full-blown overland style for your maps. This style is now included in the Free Sampler and can also be downloaded individually from the Annual page.

To make up to all our loyal subscribers, we add a bonus issue to the year’s roster. This year Sue Daniel expands on her Darklands City style with new textures, symbols and tools that let you enhance your city maps with fields and meadows, separating hedges and walls, and reed-overgrown riverbanks.

The Bonus issue is now available for all subscribers from their registration page. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2021 yet, you can do so here.

Note: The re-subcription offer for the Annual 2022 will become available later this week.

Here is the list of live mapping sessions we have done since the last month. We hope you enjoy them and learn about using CC3+!

As we’re closing in on the end of the year and looking back on the maps posted by the community in November, there is no sign of you map-makers letting up with the awesome maps. Check out just a few of the cartographic bonanza that the month has been:

Lizzy_Maracuja‘s post-apocalypse settlement of Hope looks wonderful in its two different lighting versions, one at day and one at night.
Hope - Lizzy_Maracuja
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