In FT3 you can simply change your colour scheme by loading a new one. With some minor limitation this is now also possible for your topographical maps in CC3+. Here are some supporting files:

Exporting coloured topographical maps from FT3 to CC3+

Fractal Terrains 3 (FT3) is a great tool to create new worlds or to visualize our own – earth. Here I will focus on how you can export a topographical map to Campaign Cartographer 3+ (CC3+) and change its style easily.

When you export contour maps from FT3 and CC3+ you usually get the expected results – as long as you use the predefined colours from the built in palette or standard colouring schemes that follow with FT3.
FT3 to CC3+
Color PaletteAs soon as you start to use non predefined colours in your map the export from FT3 to CC3+ will give unexpected results.

The built-in colour palette in FT3 matches the default palette used in CC3+. As long as you only use the predefined colours when you design your own style for topographical maps, the colours in both FT3 and CC3+ will match. As soon as you start to use your own or blended colours, the result in CC3+ will look different and usually not match your style anymore.

How to use other colour styles

With the November 2019 issue of the Cartographer’s Annual come several very useful and inspiring colour schemes by the artist Sue Daniel. These where actually made for use with Wilbur (another very handy application by Joe Slayton, the creator of Fractal Terrains). She also gives an example of a colour palette for CC3+ that can be used to colourize your imported height contours from FT3. But you have to do it the manual way – one by one.

While you can change the look of your maps completely in FT3 only by loading another colour scheme, you have to colorize each contour again from scratch in CC3+. You also have to adjust the 256-colour palette when you not find your favourite colours that match your style.

Color Palette 2This had me thinking about a workaround. There must be a way to skip the manual work of colouring contours and there should be also a possibility to make it much easier to change the
style of your map – just only by changing the colour palette in CC3+ which has become much easier since Profantasy introduced the new command PALLOAD.

Sue used 10 colours for different sea depths and 25 for altitudes. She replaced “unusual” colours in the 256 colour palette of CC3+. Why not expanding those colours ranges was one of my first thoughts. Why shouldn’t I force FT3 to use a certain colour instead of leaving it up to the program itself (trying to find a matching colour)? And how could several colour styles be used without having to export a map several times from FT3?

I decided to use 32 colours for altitudes and 16 for the sea. If you always use colour no. 223 for the lowest land level and no. 192 for the highest one then you make use of exactly 32 colours for altitudes. The same applies when you always use colour number 224 for the sallowest sea and no. 239 for the deepest. This way you use 16 colours for the sea. (Note that I changed the order of colours for altitudes over land compared with Sue’s approach).

If your world is between -32.000 ft and 32.000 ft – what are the needed depths and altitudes to be exported from FT3? If you want to have equidistant high levels then we have 32.000 ft / 32 colours = 1.000 ft / colour (and for the sea 2.000 ft, because we have only 16 colours here).

Export ColorsSo in this case you have to set up a Campaign Cartographer Export in FT3 that exports 32 altitude levels from 0 ft to 31.000 ft (32 levels, the last one reaches up to 32.000 ft).

You force FT3 to use colour no. 223 for the first level – 0 ft. For the second level 1.000 ft use no. 222, for the third one no. 221 and so on. Concentrate on the numbers and do not get disturbed by the pink/purple or nearly black colours that you select when setting up the template. Then you generate 16 levels of depth from -32.000 ft to -2.000 ft and force the level -2.000 ft to choose colour no. 224, the next lower level uses no. 225 and so on. This is the most time consuming part of this procedure.

If your world expands from let’s say -4.800 m to 4.800 m you have to define another Export template with 150 m steps for altitudes and 300 m steps for the sea. Unfortunately you cannot change the height levels afterwards. You have to delete existing ones and have to add new ones when you have copied an existing template. Basically you can set up your heights and depths as you wish – as long as you follow the procedure above with exactly 32 levels for the altitude and 16 for the sea.

You may object that setting up an individual export is as time consuming as having to colourize each contour separately. You are right as long as you only want to create a single map and do not want to change the style of it afterwards. Until now there are only quite a few colour palettes available for CC3+ and almost all existing colour schemes in FT3 do not match the above approach with 48 colours.

Purple ColorsSo my personnel challenge was to create colour palettes that fulfill my requirements and the matching colour palettes for CC3+. With a little programming my PC did this job. And now you can take a look at your exported map. When you still have the default palette loaded it will look like the one on the right! This is not quite the look we wanted – but it is the style we defined in our FT3 to CC3+ export template!

And now to the fun part: Start loading the new specialized colour palettes and see what happens. Download some example color schemes for FT and CC3+ here.

ComparisonWe start by typing PALLOAD into the command line and press enter. We press enter once again – no entry given for the palette name. A file selection dialog opens and you can pick the colour palette of your choice – here I use the one with the same name that I used for my FT3 visualisation. It’s the Wilbur Old Map style – based on an idea by Sue. (Eventually you have to press enter two times again before the effect takes place).

Compared to the original map (generated in FT3) this one exactly matches our style in CC3+. Finally, you can change the style easily only by loading another colour palette – and there are quite a lot to choose from. Your map gets a totally different look in no time…

Here are a couple examples in the Dark Parchment and Arctic styles.

Dark Parchment Example
Arctic Example

About André alias WeathermanSweden

André has been working as a forecaster southwest of Sweden’s Capital Stockholm for many years. While weather maps were his daily duty he always had a big favour for astronomical and topographical maps as well. He is fascinated by fantasy worlds and loves all the incredible maps presented by the community. Since he has been back to his roots in northern Germany he runs a little campsite together with his parents south of Lübeck. Despite the weather and the stars he is also interested in 3D rendering, photography and nature, where he spends a lot of time with his dog.

Some places just deserve to be exported in a nice high-quality export so you can properly examine all the details of the map.

The City of Sanctuary from the community atlas is certainly one of these places. This lovely city by master mapper Christina Trani and resident artist Sue Daniel is a visual masterwork of a city map. So, I decided to try to make a proper high resolution export of this map. The result is a map 200,000 by 200,000 pixels, or 40 gigapixels in size. The .png file for this map is over 12GB in size, and even though I have a powerful computer, actually opening this source image in an image editor is almost impossible without it crashing.

Of course, providing such an image for download is useless, since nobody can actually use it, but a far better approach is to provide it as a zoomable image on the atlas website. The image viewer used for such a zoomable image loads different images depending on your zoom level, ensure that you only load what you need at any one time, making it reasonably easy to explore this gigantic export with reasonable loading times as you zoom or scroll. You can explore this zoomable image yourself by going to the City of Sanctuary map page, and then click the Zoomable Image button located over the map image. It should load reasonably quickly, but your physical distance from my server would affect loading times. I recommend you click the fullscreen button in the toolbar at the bottom of the zoomable image viewer for a much more impressive experience.

So, how did I accomplish this feat? Well, let me start by underlining that this was not a simple one-click task, it did require quite some work and a lot of computer time. Continue reading »

The November 2019 Annual issue is a very special one this year – it contains a huge tutorial and tool pack created full by Sue Daniel, which teaches you the techniques to create amazing world maps with a combination of Fractal Terrains 3 and Campaign Cartographer 3+. Like this one…

With more than 40 pages of detailed instructions, three full-fledged example maps each in a variety of styles, support files for FT3 and CC3+ and a whole bunch of pre-generated FT3 worlds for you to play with, the content of this issue is huge. And even if you don’t Fractal Terrains 3 yourself, the included CC3+ maps are a treasure trove in themselves.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe to the Annual 2019 here. If you are already subscribed, the November issue is available for download on your registration page now.

CC3Plus 3.92Unfortunately a little problem crept into the previous update to CC3+ and affected the display of sheet effects for some users. Thanks to prompt reports, we were able to fix this problem quickly and just released a new update (23) and full setup for CC3+ version 3.92. As usual you can download them from your registration page.

Version notes

CC3+ Version 3.92
– Fixes bugs in effects system
– adds command EFFECTSDLLS (listing active sheet effects and their source) for future de-bugging

Update 22 for CC3+ was just released, and in addition to fixing a couple of issues, it also includes some improved commands, as well as a few brand new ones. Let us have a look at these and how you can use them.


A new command for tracing the outline of images (and other CC3+ entities) and turning them into CC3+ entities have been added. This new command, simply called Trace is an easier to use variant of the Contours command from Update 16, and it also support colors.

There are two new commands here, TRACED and TRACE. The former allows you to select entities for tracing, and then it will pop up a dialog where you can set various parameters, while the latter is the silent version which just executes the trace using the current parameters (either set by using the dialog version, otherwise it uses default ones). The options in the dialog are as follows: Continue reading »

Update 22A new version of CC3+ is available now, adding full GUI access for more button sizes, as well as better custom palette handling, bitmap tracing, fractalizing and house symbol mirroring. Also a few smaller bugs where fixed.

Version Notes

CC3+ Version 3.91
– Added PALLOAD and PALSAVE commands to load and save different custom palettes.
– Added GUI option (Screentools button) to allow user to pick any of the 4 available icon resolutions instead of just large/small.
– Added a TRACE and TRACED command to trace around a bitmap in a more general way than the CONTOURSM family of commands.
– Modified Fractalize (FRX) command to affect outlines even if they are separate entities.
– Modified roof shading code to flip angles by 180 degrees when specifying mirrored on bitmaps
– Fixed blur radius computation in effects when using Map Units.
– Fixed lighting direction on mirrored symbols (initial implementation in June was incorrect).
– When the system issues a “no matching drawing tool” message, will now show the tool name that it was looking for.
– Cosmographer 3 deckplan bitmap templates can now add new grids?
– Fixed bug in FastCAD core that was preventing higher-resolution icon sets from loading.
– Fixed crash on exit when writing XML file that was intermittently appearing as project changed.

Download this latest update from your registration page.


The method below is to accurately display your FT3 map at any projection as a CC3+ map, with all the climate zones, altitudes and major rivers in their correct places no matter what the projection, and also to allow fine tuning the map in a way designed to add extra detail without changing the original FT3 map to any great degree.

The method requires as much detail in creating the FT3 map as possible – see articles on designing FT3 maps. Especially, this requires attention to altitude, climate zones, islands and rivers.

Prior to export

The most popular projections are:
• Equirectangular – increasingly inaccurate as you travel away from the equator
• Hammer – distorted increasingly as you travel to the east and west borders
• Sinusoidal – accurate and not so distorted, but discontinuous. Can be used to make an actual globe, especially the 18-way Stereographic Gores.
• Orthographic – allows you to centre on the landmass in question and see it most accurately of all in a continuous fashion. Used also to make maps centred on the North or South poles.
• AE Hemispheres – presents the map as 2 hemispheres (E and W). For best results, make your original draft map in FT3 as an AE Hemisphere projection, and then refine it at the equirectangular projection. This enables you to make sure there is not too much land overlapping each hemisphere – see below for preferred (left) and not preferred arrangements (right).
Continue reading »

What is a symbol really?

One common way to look at symbols is to separate them into raster and vector symbols, where a raster symbol is a png image file on disk, while a vector symbol is built from regular CC3+ shapes. While there is truth in this, it is also an oversimplification.

If we look at things from the perspective of CC3+, there is no difference between these, it is just a symbol either way, and is treated exactly the same. And all of this becomes evident when we look at what a symbol really is.

If we go back in time, Campaign Cartographer didn’t have symbols at all (at least not as we know them today), it had parts. Put simply, a part is a CC drawing, which you can insert into another drawing. Being an actual drawing, it could contain everything a regular drawing could. It is from this concept of insertable parts that symbols arose. Just as with parts, a symbol is just an ordinary CC drawing that can contain (almost) all the features of a normal drawing. One of the main differences between symbols and parts is that one file can contain many symbols, allowing for the symbol catalogs we use today, while parts must be one file per part. (Also note that a symbol catalog file is just a standard map file with a different file extension, there is no difference in the file format at all.) You know the symbols that show up in the symbol catalog window if you click the Symbols in Map button? Those are the same symbols which would be available to other drawings if you loaded the current map up in the symbol catalog window while working on another map). Another big difference between symbols and parts is that when you use symbols, the symbol definition is stored exactly once in the drawing, and each placement of the symbol in the map just reference that definition, while when you insert a part, the entities in the part are simply being inserted into the drawing each time.

So, where am I going with this? Well, as you probably already know, in CC3+ you can use Draw –> Insert File to insert different things into your drawing, one of the possibilities being an image file in png format. Doing this simply inserts a picture entity into the drawing. A picture entity is one of the standard entities in CC3+, just like a line, a polygon or so on, the difference is obviously that it references an external image on disk. And this is exactly what a raster symbol is, it is a standard symbol that happen to include a picture entity. One interesting fact about how this is done is that you could insert images into your maps all the way back in CC2, so technically you could have raster symbols in CC2, even if it wasn’t officially added until CC3 (CC3 improved the functionality a lot though, such as support for transparency, the png format, variable resolution, varicolor and much more) Continue reading »

A new version of CC3+ is available now, fixing a few nagging bugs and enabling some text specs for macro access.

Version Notes

CC3+ Version 3.90
– Fixed problem with CC3+ crashing when running out of cache. Should increase stability significantly.
– Fixed Symbol Set 1 forest tools breaking selection method
– Enabled Outline and Fixed Angle flags for TSPECS command
– Text no longer renders as ClearType, instead renders as aliased glyphs, removing halos with effects.

Download this latest update from your registration page.

Part III: The Warlock’s Castle and the Crater of Ghorm

Before I come to the next two symbols I need to explain a bit about the background story of RdW, especially about why its name is ‘Call of the Warlock’:

In the beginning of the world of Tanaris the eight gods didn’t interfere into the things of the humans, elves etc., but one day the god Thongmor started playing around in the world and the other gods had to react. As they didn’t want to counter Thongmor’s action personally, they created the Warlock. This is a person with godlike abilities, immortal and invulnerable, his task was to fight against Thongmor. Over the years, with changing Warlocks and with the beginning of the war of the gods, the initial task of the Warlock was forgotten and now he is an independent entity.

But as the gods didn’t want to create another god, they gave him one ‘weakness’. They created the Swordmasters, a group of people with outstanding abilities in swordfighting, who always know where the Warlock is, they always hear the ‘call of the Warlock’. If one of them fights the Warlock and defeats him in a duel (this is the only situation where a warlock can die), the winning Swordmaster will become the next Warlock.

The Swordmaster is a Player Class, which means a player can become Warlock. Unfortunately the requirements for playing a Swordmaster are so hard (while creating a character you have to role dice epic…), no one in my group ever played one.

The home of the Warlock is the castle ‘Sign of the times’, which is settled on a mountain range overarching the ‘black lake of buried hopes’ (in the night you can hear the screams of the dead souls of all the Swordmasters who lost their fight against the Warlock). The feature with this castle, mountains and lakes is, that the warlock can teleport this ensemble anywhere he likes. When the map is done, I will see where exactly I will place it:
Continue reading »

Previous Entries Next Entries