It’s time to delve underground, but we want to make sure our dungeon walls are properly build and nicely decorated. Explore a new feature of the Symbols Along command in version 3.80 of CC3+ (see Update 14 here), that allows you to auto-generate walls built from individual symbols.

The February issue “Dungeon Walls” contains 60 new symbols for three different mapping styles, command and symbol settings to make quick and easy use of them, as well as a 4-mapping guide explaining the process. Check out the February style details on the Cartographer’s Annual 2018 website.

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

SchleyscapesEarlier this year Mike Schley kickstarted the first episode of his Schleyscapes series. Aimed at producing an ongoing series of quality gaming maps, in combination with bitmap artwork that could be used in any graphics editor.

As you may know Mike is also the artist behind our own Symbol Set 4 – Dungeons of Schley, and the Schleyscapes art naturally matches the art in that symbol set perfectly. Of course we wanted to make that additional material available for our users of the Dungeons of Schley, and Mike was happy to oblige!

And here it is, the Forlorn Cottage extension to “Symbol Set 4 – Dungeons of Schley”. And the best part? It is completely free for the owners of SS4 – no additional purchase required. You can download it from your registration page as an extra install if you already have SS4 installed, or just use the full setup when you purchase SS4 fresh from the web store. All the new artwork is included.

The SS4 Forlorn Cottage Extension contains:

  • 420 new symbols in the SS4 Dungeons of Schley color style
  • 14 new bitmap textures for the same style
  • 1 “Forlorn Cottage” example map
  • 2 SS4 Forlorn Cottage template wizards (imperial & metric)
  • Updated SS4 templates incorporating the new bitmap styles
  • Updated SS4 symbol catalogs incorporating the new symbols

You can either start a SS4 Dungeons of Schley map and just use the additional symbols, or use the SS4 Forlorn Cottage template to limit yourself to the new symbols.

Malvin's TowerDo you have an old CC2 map lying around that you really like, but that doesn’t look so good anymore? Does any of the CC2 maps in the ProFantasy user library catch your eye? Now’s your chance to convert it to a splendid CC3+ map with all bitmap artwork we’ve grown accustomed to.

The February Annual issue “Wizard’s Tower” contains a detailed tutorial on how to convert a CC2-style map to CC3+, as well as the showcase example of Malvin’s Tower, a wizard’s abode floorplan originally drawn in 1999!

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2017 yet, you can do so here.

The Horror House on the Hill“See the brooding old villa up on the hill? A family used to live there, but a terrible fate befell them…”

Does that sound familiar? Who hasn’t read, watched or played through that old trope of the haunted hause on the hill? But still the ominous walls draw us towards the creaking stairs and warped doors. We examine the family’s fate, peek under the bed and get scared when the monster jumps out of the close behind us. Now Pär Lindström has created the perfect drawing style to map out the twisted interior of such a terror-infested house for the October issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2016.

The issue is now available for CC3+ from the registration page for all subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2016 yet, you can do so here.

Castle_Floor 1lrgThe Vintyri Project has released another great and free add-on to CC3+: Bogie’s Mapping Objects. Here are their own words:

Bogie’s Mapping Objects includes more than 100 fills (textures) and more than 1,000 symbols (objects). In addition to general collections for dungeon and city mapping, the collection also includes Bogie’s Redthorn Tavern, generally considered to the the definitive graphical collection for mapping floor plans of taverns and inns.

Bogie is one of the leading creators of third party symbols for Dundjinni. He also is a community leader at the Cartographers Guild and an admin at the Dundjinni forums. Some of our CC3+ beta testers think that Bogie’s symbols are the finest quality they’ve ever seen. If you use the CSUAC, you already have some of his older work, which is included in it.

Horn Stars 01For several years, Bogie has been creating and posting nearly 1,300 symbols in Dundjinni format at the addresses listed above and at his own DeviantArt site. Many of his fans (including the Vintyri Project) consider his masterpiece to be the Redthorn Tavern Art Pack, a collection of about 250 symbols that give a cartographer just about anything one might need to make fantastic floor plans for taverns.

We (the Vintyri Project) have been thinking for some time that it would be great if Bogie’s collections were converted for Fractal Mapper 8 and for CC3+, to fully integrate them into both products, and, in the case of CC3+, to make them available in the multiple resolutions with which CC3+ works best.

Soulburn Castle_Floor 2lrgThe download package for Bogie’s Mapping Objects is available from the Vintyri Project page. We (ProFantasy) have cooperated with the Vintyri project to make the add-on install into CC3+ and its add-ons (DD3 and CD3) as seamlessly as possible, but please do read the installation instructions closely to avoid any problems or confusion!

All example maps here were created and are the copyright of S D McDaniel. They are used with permission. If you want to check the EULA that covers the use of Bogie’s Mapping Objects, you can find that here.
Horn Stars 02

PerinusaSeveral users over on the ProFantasy community forum have recently posted tutorials on various aspects of their map-making. These are wonderful resources for any mapper, and we are sharing them here for your convenience and ease of access.

Charley Wayne Robinson has a huge project going on, mapping his fantasy world in intricate detail. He discusses creating mountain ranges in a two-part tutorial, as well as creating rivers, and – a specialty of his – misty areas. You can download the pdfs from these links:

CliffsAndStreamsEver-industrious Shessar posted two excellent tutorials on drawing streams and cliffs in DD3 Battlemaps. Both are difficult features to depict on a static, 2d map, at least if you want to make them look really good, but Shessar shows you exactly how to accomplish that.

As always kudos and many thanks to our wonderful user community, and here especially to Charles and Shessar. You can find more user tutorials on the Profantasy website.

And here is another tutorial by ArgoForg, showing the detailed river work of his country-scale maps.

Orc Lord Epic Tier MapOver at Pelgrane Press and Fire Opal Media, they’ve been working hard on a new supplement for 13th Age code-named Battle Scenes. It is a collection of icon-themed encounters for all levels of play, packed with dangerous hand-picked foes on terrifying terrain, and I’ve been one of the people to help bring this “terrifying terrain” to life, not least because I’ve been using the playtest version of the book for my own games, as seen here.

For me these battle maps required a lot of special terrain effects, for which I had to import new bitmap fills, create lots of new sheets with specialized effects, and generally had to think outside the box of a specific drawing style. Naturally we’d like to make these ideas and tools available to more CC3+ users, so we created the December Annual issue to make that happen.

In addition to a tutorial with chapters on combining assets from different styles, custom artwork, working with water effects, showing elevation and cliff faces, creating multiple layers in one map, and lighting effects, the December Annual also contains 4 highly detailed example maps (2 of them straight out of Battle Scenes). Here is anther scaled-down example out of
High Magic & Low Cunning: Battles Scenes for Five Icons.
Prince of Shadows Champion 1

Map - Poster PrintedFor 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.

Home-printed MapFor 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.

Map on TVStill, 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.

To battle!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.
Orc Rafting 1
Orc Rafting 2

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?
Orc Rafting combined

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.

CarfaxThis is another bit of synergy between the sister companies Profantasy Software and Pelgrane Press. Pelgrane’s Kickstarter project for the “Dracula Dossier” was a huge success, and for the many locations detailed in the campaign, they needed a unified map-style that different cartographers could use.

Realizing that the same would be useful to ProFantasy’s user base, we set about creating a floorplan style which could also be published as an issue of the Cartographer’s Annual. The style had to adhere to a few guidelines from the Dracula Dossier art direction: A clear and straightforward look, that fits the game’s modern setting, legibility at a variety of different scales and in various environments (books, pdfs, web), and of course matching the book’s layout and color design.

You can see the first map in the new “Dracula Dossier” style on the right (click the image to see a larger scale version). It details the underground remains of “Carfax Abbey”, Dracula’s estate during his stay in England. You can read a preview of the site’s description here.

The Dracula Dossier annual style will be available later this year, closer to the release of this exciting campaign for Night’s Black Agents.

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