We’ve continued our weekly live mapping sessions to great fun and success. Here is a list of the videos now available on YouTube:

An introduction to CC3+ and the Mike Schley Overland style

An introduction to creating battle-maps with CC3+ and Dungeon Designer 3

An introduction to creating city locations along with linked buiding floorplans.

Converting an existing temple floorplan into an isometric view of the inside and outside of the building.

Creating a dungeon map connected to a natural cave system.

Sci-Fi Base Exterior
Download the CC3+ file here. Note that you need the Annual 2019 installed to view it properly.
Sci-Fi Base - Interior
Download the CC3+ file here. Note that you need the Annual 2019 installed to view it properly.

Mapping with the Sci-Fi Base Annual

Mapping the floorplan of a Sci-Fi Base. Now, THIS was my jam. I finished the exterior map in less than 1.5 hours and then the interior in about 45 minutes or so. I flew through it. Why? Because THIS is what I LOVE about mapping….my mind was flying in 7000 different story arc directions as I was creating this pair of maps 😊

Now….I’d like to first start by saying I just started playing in a Starfinder campaign – although I REALLY wanted to play a Star Trek campaign, I got voted out – but space themed for sure since I can’t get anyone to jump on my Cthulhu bandwagon in my gaming group, but that’s a story for another time (Oooh I sure hope ProFantasy asks me to map the Annual with the Cthulhu city in it..now THAT’S a super fun city map pack). Anyway, I was pretty excited to map this base out.

I started with once again, following the Mapping Guide, since although I’ve had Cosmographer for years, I’ve hardly had a reason to use it, so I felt I needed some guidance with starting out here. Setting up this base was super easy following Ralf’s guide…along the way, as usual, tweaking a few things like adding an RGB Matrix effect to the Whole Drawing just to give everything a little greenish grey look….it IS an alien planet. I also added a sheet SYMBOLS IN DOME – for those symbols I wanted to show under each dome and a LIGHT sheet for the light effect I created for the spotlights.

Other than those simple modifications, and using some symbols in an unorthodox way, I pretty much stuck to the Mapping Guide. I decided to include the Hyperlinks in this map, since the Guide included it, although I usually do not use this for my own maps, though it IS a pretty useful too and quite easy to do.

I’ve said this once and I’ll probably say it like 9 more times before this year of Annuals is up, but read through the provided guides….it can take a bit more time than you planned on putting into a map, but reading through how the creator of the style or program put together their maps is hitting the jackpot of mapping knowledge in my book.

Have some fun experimenting with this Annual. I really had to refrain from using any of the other Cosmographer symbols I have (and for those that KNOW me, know that was VERY difficult, lol) because I really wanted to show this Annual as a standalone, as you do not need Cosmographer to get all these great assets. Now go… create your own Sci-Fi Base and share them on the ProFantasy forums!

About the author: Lorelei was my very first D&D character I created more years back than i’d like to remember. When I decided to venture into creating maps for my and others rpgs, I thought I owed it to her to name myself Lorelei Cartography, since it was her that led me to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming in the first place. Since then I have been honored to have worked with companies such as WizKids, Pelgrane Press, and ProFantasy. You can view some of my work at www.LoreleiCartography.com

A big thank you to all the amazing map-makers out there sharing their work with the community. Again, it’s been very hard to pick out just a few, and we can’t do justice to them all, but here is just a small selection of the beautiful maps we’ve seen last month.

Will Mason, or Arcwynd as he is known on the forum, was extremely prolific. His series of classic dungeon maps is just one of the Show and Tell threads he’s started. Check out his other stuff as well!
Classic Dungeon Continue reading »

Inn at Whisper WoodThe June issue of the Cartographer’s Annual 2020 is now available. Explore five detailed battle maps by Master Mapper Christina Trani, showing the ground floor, upper floor and cellars of the Inn at Whisper Wood, alongside the crossroads it is located at, and the cave its cellar is connected to.

The accompanying 6-page mapping guide teaches how to use grids of any style and size on these or other battle maps, how to print them to scale even on a small home printer, and how to export them to use in a virtual tabletop environment.

If you have already subscribed to the Annual 2020, you can download the June issue from your registration page. If not, you can subscribe here.

Welcome back, mappers! I hope by now you’ve read the through the blog article series up to this point (part1, part2, part3a, part3b) because we have still more cover! Last time we talked about planning each city district’s road network, understanding your symbol catalog and deciding on your district’s style. We also talked about how to draw your inspiration from real cities. In Part 1 we also talked about deciding whether each district is “Functional” or “Residential.” In short, we should now have a solid foundation for most of our city’s stylistic elements and each district’s purpose. This article is the first part about how to tactically execute on these, on a large city scale. So put on your hard-hats: we are talking street construction!

The Random Street Tool is your Friend

If you’ve tried building a city in CD3 or followed any tutorials, you probably already know about the Random Street tool. This tool is going to help us establish the basics about each district we work on which will express to the map-viewer what kind of place this is. There are two parts to this: one, roof styles and colors, we’ve already discussed; the second is your “street configuration” – i.e. the settings in your Random Street tool (right click the icon to open the settings panel).

There are four Street settings that I believe will make the biggest difference in giving your district unique character:

  • Building size range
  • Building spacing
  • Roof style mix
  • Building shape mix

1 Random Street

There are other settings such as the distance from center of the road and street width which you should absolutely play around with. But those four are the ones I’ll cover in greater detail.
Continue reading »

Isometric Town
Download the CC3+ file here. Note that you need the Annual 2019 installed to view it properly.

Mapping with the Isometric Town Annual

Now THIS was a challenge as I find city/town maps a personal struggle. Here is where the Mapping Guide comes in handy. Often, with an Annual, I am guilty of just diving in and figuring things out on my own as I go, occasionally referring to the mapping guide, but not usually. This time, since I do struggle in this area of mapping, I stuck with the Mapping Guide provided, as far as the steps in creating this little town and followed them along.

Also, quite useful when mapping with a style you aren’t very comfortable with is deconstructing the multitude of maps that are often provided along with each Annual. In this instance I was able to copy a few of Sue’s Effects from her Corvallen map and Ralf’s Menzberg map, in particular Sue’s brilliant use of the RGB Matrix. This effect is worth a dive into as it can produce some great color results on your sheet effects.

Some of my own favorite effects to use are the RGB Matrix, the Hue/Sat and a big favorite of mine, Texturize. The last one I often put on the entire map. On this one I used a common texture that everyone should have concrete. The textures I use can be found in the CC3+>Filters>Images file, though you can use just about any fill with some kind of texture. I love the look I can get on a map with just the right settings and the fill to texturize. Try it!!

I also was unable to recreate Sue’s lovely parchment….well, I probably could if I really sat for a while, but I wanted to map in a way that the average mapper would, not someone with some sort of artistic skills on the manual side, rather than digital, so instead I created a legend on the bottom of my map – I think it’s a fine substitute if one is unable to recreate, copy and paste the scroll or just doesn’t want the look of scrolled parchment on their map – either way it’s just another variation. I do, of course, use my dear friend’s lovely parchment fill she provided for this Annual. Text/Labels are pretty standard here, with no special flair, and naming wasn’t anything special either….with the exception that I DID get the name of the town from Sue’s beautiful willow trees provided with this Annual. I LOVE willow trees, on a personal note, and these are just so pretty, so Willow Field it became. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful for your own mapping needs!

About the author: Lorelei was my very first D&D character I created more years back than i’d like to remember. When I decided to venture into creating maps for my and others rpgs, I thought I owed it to her to name myself Lorelei Cartography, since it was her that led me to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming in the first place. Since then I have been honored to have worked with companies such as WizKids, Pelgrane Press, and ProFantasy. You can view some of my work at www.LoreleiCartography.com

Perspectives 3 is a great add-on. It can be really rewarding to see your building appear in all it’s 3-dimensional glory.

There are some interesting challenges when mapping in the isometric view offered by Perspectives 3 however, and that is based on the fact that while the drawing might look 3-dimensional, it is actually still a flat surface. What Perspective does is to use angles in such a way as to make things appear 3-dimensional when it is not. As long as we can use the premade tools, we don’t have to worry too much about this, but these tools have their limits. For example, they are great for creating a house with, but there aren’t any easy tool to draw a ruined, crumbling wall. And it is a this point we need to start drawing some elements ourselves, and that can get a bit tricky when working in the isometric perspective.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to draw various elements to make a convincing ruin. It is based on the keep I made in this thread.

This article is also available as a video.

Continue reading »

In this series, Christina Trani will explore all the different drawing styles available in the Cartographer’s Annuals, starting with Volume 13 (2019).

SUB2019 Worlds of Wonder
Download the CC3+ file here. Note that you need the Annual 2019 installed to view it properly.

Mapping with The Worlds of Wonder Annual

As a digital cartographer, I am not overly fond of overland mapping. I prefer the confines of a floorplan, a dungeon, or I’ll expand my horizons to lovely, little villages. But, occasionally, I am encouraged to map in an overland style. My latest was done in the Worlds of Wonder Annual style. I love it.
Now, since overland mapping gives me anxiety….all the details that geologically accurate minded cartographers have apoplexy over when not done correctly can give me hives, so most often I just “wing it” and to heck with geology – it IS a fantasy world, so why not?

This time ‘round I decided to grab a continent from Fractal Terrains, since my coastlines, in my opinion, are the pits. After generating a landmass I was happy with I exported it to CC3, deleted all the fluff and left myself with a landmass that I copy and pasted into a new map started in the WoW (not Worlds of Warcraft, lol) style. I then began mapping out where my mountains would go….this I did by referring to my original FT map, which shows all the wonderful elevations that I normally have NO idea where to place. I did the same for rivers, to avoid the stress I’d normally have trying to figure out “where they looked best” or “where they should go”. If you don’t have Fractal Terrains, and ARE stressing about your map being geologically accurate, there are a multitude of references out there…but I really recommend just making this fantastical world your own and do what pleases you.

Once my mountains are placed, along with a mountain fill behind them and lakes and rivers, I begin placing my forests. Now, this map has more forests then I normally would place, but that has everything to do with the name… Larothell, The Republic of Songs. So I got the name from one the many online generators I have bookmarked. I use them often as a DM of a homebrew campaign having to constantly come up with original names to people and places, often on the fly. So, the name came up, and I immediately though of elves, glorious elves with a magical world of melody, perhaps that fuels their magic? I don’t know, but I just went with it…and with elves, come forests. I also enjoy mixing shades of greens in my forests, so for this map I mixed the two green trees that came with the annual, but I certainly recommend playing around with the colors and creating your own custom palette.

Of course, naming my cities and towns was easy once I had a theme to my fantasy realm. When labelling cities, towns, key locations, etc. I like to play with different fonts. I have an assortment of hundreds upon hundreds of fonts. Searching some of the free font sites is a great resource – just be sure to note any restrictions on commercial uses as noted by the creators. Along with fonts I am a fan of playing with color of the font and outlines – preferring to having a contrast, usually the map title and the cite labels.

Always remember, stepping out of your comfort zone can produce some amazing work that might even surprise yourself! Go experiment and have fun!

About the author: Lorelei was my very first D&D character I created more years back than i’d like to remember. When I decided to venture into creating maps for my and others rpgs, I thought I owed it to her to name myself Lorelei Cartography, since it was her that led me to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming in the first place. Since then I have been honored to have worked with companies such as WizKids, Pelgrane Press, and ProFantasy. You can view some of my work at www.LoreleiCartography.com

Welcome to part 4 of the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

The example map for this part may already be familiar to you, since it is Arumnia, which was used in Part 3 to demonstrate Rhumb lines.

This time I will use the same map to show you a fast and easy way to add beaches, and a couple of alternative ways of using a drop shadow effect.  The FCW file for this version of the map will be available at the end of the article. Continue reading »

Welcome to the third part in the Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps series.

In this part we well be focussing on adding rhumb lines to beautify a relatively smooth ocean texture.

Arumnia, the example map used in this tutorial, was drawn in the John Roberts overland style, which was recently included with the core CC3 app as part of Update 25.  If your software is up to date you do not need to own any of the annuals or add-ons to make use of the FCW file included in this blog. Continue reading »

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