The Savage CoastThe July issue of the Cartographer’s Annual is now available for all subscribers. Create wonderful sprawling and detailed overland maps with Sue Daniel’s new style “Spectrum Overland”.

More than 150 highly detailed symbols of mountains, hills, trees and towns make each map a little masterpiece to explore. We will expanding the style with another set of gorgeous symbols in a second issue later this year to give you even more options.

If you want to see a Spectrum Overland being created, check out this Live Mapping session from last Thursday, where Ralf goes through the whole map creation process, just as if following the pdf mapping guide.

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

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 »

We’ve live-streamed two more mapping sessions with CC3+ over the last couple weeks, as announced on our Facebook page. The videos are archived on YouTube, so you can watch them at your leisure.

Mapping with the Jon ROberts Overland style from Update 25

Introduction to CC3+ and the Mike Schley Overland style

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

The example map for this tutorial is Arokan and Demorak, and was created using the Herwin Wielink overland style.

Creating ocean contours will take you a little longer than applying the edge striping sheet effects described in the first part of this series, but I hope you will agree with me by the time you have completed your first contoured ocean that the process is still very much worth the time spent creating them. Continue reading »

The Shore and Ocean Effects for Overland Maps article series covers a range of techniques that can be used to modify the appearance of the open water in an overland map to make it work in greater harmony with the rest of the map.

The example map, the Allaluna-Meloa Isles, was created using the Mike Schley overland style that comes with CC3.  Links to the different versions of this map have been included in this article for you to examine at your leisure.

Continue reading »

CA156 Shem and BaruviaThe December Annual issue is now available. It expands on January’s Worlds of Wonder 2 to give you many more symbols, drawing tools and alternative bitmap fills to make the style’s maps much more widely useful and customizable.

Instead of repeating another overland mapping guide, this month includes a detailed (7-page) Sheets & Effects guide, listing all the included sheets, their use and the attached effects, teaching you a lot about these features in CC3+ in the process.

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

Re-subscription to next year’s Annual will happen in mid-December and we’ll make sure to let anyone know when it goes live.

This is part 3 of the “Creating a New Map Style” series of articles.

It’s been far too long since the last part of this article, so let’s hurry up and take on the next step in creating a custom style for CC3+. After setting up the template and adding new bitmap fills, we now need to look at the new symbols.

011 Symbol Catalogs1. Setting up new catalogs

The first step is to set up one or more new catalogs to hold the symbols. For this example, I’ll take the Worlds of Wonder style’s catalogs and create a copy under a new folder /Symbols/Maps/Worlds of Wonder BW/. I rename them to remove the CA145 (the Annual issue number).

I won’t go through the details of drawing or importing new symbols here, and for the example, I’ll just edit the existing Worlds Wonder symbols to be grayscale instead of coloured versions of themselves.

When that’s done let’s make sure the map loads one of these catalogs when it opens. Go to File > Drawing properties and open the map note “OnNewMap”. Basically this is a macro that gets executed when someone creates a new map from the wizard template. Change the line
“CATALOG @Symbols/Maps/Annual Worlds of Wonder/CA145 All.FSC”
“CATALOG @Symbols/Maps/Annual Worlds of Wonder BW/Mountains.FSC”
and do the same in the OnOpenMacro map note. This macro defines what happens if someone just opens a map based on the style.

012 Catalog Settings2. Creating Catalog Settings

One of the more obscure things to do when creating a new drawing style is to set up the catalog settings so the catalog buttons open the correct symbol catalogs for the style. To do so, click the All Drawing Tools button on the catalog toolbar and then the “Advanced” button on the dialog. The dialog should then look the one on the left here. It lists all the available catalog settings that match both the master filter and the setting filter. We will need to create a new master filter and the settings to match.

Deciding on a master filter, I will make it “WBW” (for Worlds of Wonder Black/White). I select each of the setting entries I want to duplicate in turn and create a new one based on the current one, where I replace the “CA145” with “WBW”. These will not appear in the list for now, as they don’t match the master filter.

I then type in the new master filter “WBW, and the settings appear as shown on the right. All your new settings will show up. Go throguh them in turn and make sure they load the correct symbol catalog. You can also set the properties that get set when the respective button is pressed. That by default the overland catalog toolbar loads the following six settings: Border, Coast, Mountains, Natural, Structures and Vegetation. Everything else, like Cartouches have to be loaded through the All Catalog Settings button.

Now we need to set up the master filter itself, as so far we’ve only decided on its name. Right click the Symbol Style Toggle button on the left toolbar and choose “Master Filter Settings”. Rename Filter 1 to “WBW” and save the setting under the same name.

014 Master FilterNow we just need to tell the template to load the master filter on startup. As above, go to the OnOpenMacro and OnNewMacro map notes and change the line

And that’s all for setting up the symbol catalogs for a style. Depending on how many new symbols and catalogs you create it can be quite a bit of work of course, but the basic procedure is always the same.

In the next article – which hopefully will not take quite as long to follow – we’ll look at setting up the drawing tools of the new style.
015 Symbol Catalogs

The Purple BoxA Purple Box

The second-hand store around the corner of my 1995 midtown apartment always had interesting merchandise. Most evenings on my way home, I would jump off my bike at the store and look at the various new items they had in stock for the day. Since they were second-hand I often asked myself questions around previous owners and I found that the items with all their diversity often told small stories.

One night a small purple box still wrapped in plastic had appeared in the store window. Campaign Cartographer for PC, 3.5”. A few days later the floppy disk fired up my MS-DOS. A: DIR, CC.EXE and a land called Jaw Peninsular appeared in 16 beautiful colors on the screen of my Compaq 486.

I have always loved maps and the imagination they spark at the first glimpse. I longer to wander and explore these foreign lands, and a great fantasy map is for me a medium to get closer to that experience.

Now I was able to create the maps myself, learning that the experience of creating fantasy maps is one of asking questions as well. Who lives there? Why do they live there? What do they trade in? Who threatens them? Why?

Answering these questions makes the world come alive, and fantasy maps reveal their stories while you draw them.

World Building

Earlsdale started like that 25 years ago. A small feudal region in the center of the world. Three Duchies fighting for power and a cursed kingship that none of them dares to claim. While fighting each others, the surrounding empires to the east, west and south would expand. Soon their agents infiltrated Earlsdale only to be followed by their armies. War had come to Earlsdale.

Earlsdale was in 16 colors! It’s a shame, I lost the floppy disk and internet was not really a thing with lots of images back then. I would have liked to see it today. Nevermind.
The map changed not only because of updates and new symbols set for Campaign Cartographer, but because the players of my gaming group (same group of friends since 25 years) helped to shape the world in our regular sessions ever since. They answered many of the questions. Adventure sites were added. It happened that a city was burned down. Once the players invested their fortune to build a small keep (Liederburg, east of Schlandern). I added the keep in the CC2/Symbol Set 1 version of Earlsdale back in the days.

So Earlsdale is not the final map, it is only the current state. It is a still image of a 25 years world-building project, that keeps asking questions. We answer them as we explore. The Duchies of Earlsdale evolves and still keeps on revealing its story, since the players entered “The Royal Oak Inn” in Siegesbruck (south-eastern part of the map) in 1995.

There were even rumors at the last gaming session, that the “Tower in the Lake” near Ahnendorf, had sunken into the sea. It has been several years since the players were in Ahnendorf. I don’t know the answer yet, but time and adventure (or a new update/style for CC) will tell.

What you will be looking at below is the CC3+ version of the map. I have collected some of the basic steps and techniques I have used in the following tutorial.

Mini Tutorial


I use the default settings of CC3+ with the Mike Schley overland symbols. For the background I prefer a slightly darker style with more variety in texture. An easy way to accomplish this is to add two new sheets with textures. The first texture is used to get a darker and richer green color, as well as to add more texture into the background. The second texture (Texture 2 below) is used for even more texture and by that variety of the overall background. The sheets effects are key for these overlays, and I use the transparency setting with low opacity (15-25%) to get the result I need.


Mountains & Hills

Next up are the mountains. In a regional map like this, I like to add some variety in size of the mountains. I use a scale from 0.5-2.5 on the mountain symbols. When the mountains are placed, I use the default mountain- and hills fills drawing tools, as well as the mountain- and hills background drawing tools to fill areas around and between the mountains. The “hills background” drawing tool works well also to create plains to add even more variety to the background. I then add some hill symbols manually around and on top of hills fills and backgrounds and place them on a new sheet. The key for this technique is moving all these sheets beneath the background texture sheets I created above. That way they blend in perfectly with the color and texture of the background. Add another sheet for hill symbols that will need to be in front of mountains or other symbols and place them above the symbols sheet.


Ocean, Rivers and Wetlands

Oceans and rivers are now placed with 3-5 different thickness levels (0.75 to 3.5), ranging from narrow at the mountains and broad at the sea. I add a dark green color to the “Outer Glow” sheet effect. Remember to add some broader areas in form of lakes and wider river areas. I add the ocean in the south with the same settings as the river, but with a darker texture for sea contours in deeper areas. I add another sheet for marshland and swamps, but this time keep the following sheets above the background layers I created earlier. The texture is another one from Herwin Wielink overland style (from the Annuals and one of my favorites), with transparency effect and inner edge fade to nicely blend in.

Rivers and Wetlands


For the forest I use another texture than the default as forest background. I create the drawing tool and a new sheet using this texture and add transparency and inner edge fade like for all background elements. I place tree, jungle and swamp symbols on the entire map. Quite a click feast, but its worth it. Remember individual and small clusters of trees everywhere on the map where vegetation is present, like on the foothills of mountains, along rivers and later on in front of settlements.



Now my favorite part starts – the structures. I like to vary the structures as well, mixing them a bit up by using combinations of them (castle, hamlet, village – makes a good town). This might not be realistic in scale, but it looks good and creates variety and adds individual character to a settlement. I play around with scale here within the range of 0.75-1.25 and use the mirror function for even more variety.

Around settlements I place farmlands on a new sheet, again adding transparency and inner edge fade effects to blend into background layer, and to avoid sharp edges of the smoothed polygons. Roads are placed between settlements, with a brown outer glow effect. I now place the last structures such as bridges, castles and other sites of interest.

Structures and Roads

Labels and Finishing Touches

Labels and finishing touches are an important part. I create the labels as symbols in various sizes, with a paper background texture. Square corners for cities, towns and villages, round corners for castles and sites and areas. I do various sizes to reflect the size of cities and to match length of the site names. Important cities have shields. I then add sheet effects, such as shadows and outer/inner glow. In the finishing touches I play around with texture and sheet effects to get a result that matches with the overall mood and colors of the map. I add the title (font: “Ode”, Adobe Fonts). Compass and scale bar is added. I export the map in a large format (7300×5903 pixels in this case). I then add the image to a zoom application, customize it and then upload the files to my webspace.


Final Map

You can see the full map in the zoom application here: Duchies of Earlsdale.

Full Earsldale Map

I should probably dedicate the map to the person that sold the purple box at the second hand store back in 1995. Oh, boy! You missed out so many stories.

If you are interested in some of my other maps, check out

Happy Mapping,
Grimur Fjeldsted

About Grimur

Grimur is half-icelandic, half-german and lives with his wife and three kids in Germany’s northern most city Flensburg. In his daily job he heads up communications and marketing in a global technology company. He began to create maps in 1995 when he was studying, and he has been part of the Campaign Cartographer community ever since. He enjoys experimenting with styles and creates all his maps for the same home-brew setting. Besides being with his family or making an occasional fantasy map, he enjoys good coffee, history, design, boardgames and all things digital.

This is part 2 of the “Creating a New Map Style” series of articles.

After we have decided on a style to create last month, let’s take a look at creating the first new pieces of artwork. One of the defining aspects of a style are fill styles it uses.

WoW Bitmap Fills1. Creating new Bitmap Fills

Let’s take a look at the bitmap fills used in the World of Wonder style, which serves as the basis for our new style. Open the CC3+ program data folder in Windows Explorer: C:\ProgramData\ProFantasy\CC3Plus and find the subfolder /Bitmaps/Tiles/Overland/Annual Worlds of Wonder/. You’ll see that it includes 9 different fills, with at four different resolutions each.

New Bitmap FillsCreate a new folder under /Bitmaps/Tiles/Overland/ called “Annual Worlds of Wonder BW”, then copy the VH resolution file of each fill over to the new folder. Remove the _VH part of all the file names. Now you can open up the individual files in a Bitmap editor (like Photoshop or Gimp to edit the textures. I’m doing some very simply operations here, converting the files to greyscale to match our idea of a black and white stlye, and I rotate some of them and/or apply a photo filter. Of course you can be as elaborate as you want, even creating complete new graphics, but for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll keep it simple.

Importing Fills2. Importing the New Fills

Let’s get the new fills into our map template. TO do so, we need to start CC3+ and load our template /Templates/Overland Maps/Wizard/Annual Worlds of Wonder BW.FCT. The select Tools > Import bitmap fill styles from the menu.

The import bitmap fills dialog comes. “Browse” to our newly created source folder and select one of the files. Check the “Create other resolutions option and set “Scaled” to 1000.00 for both width and height. To differentiate the new bitmap fills from the old ones, change the “Suffix” to _BW (for our black and white style). Then click OK and let CC3+ do its work.

Imported Fills3. Changing the Existing Fills

There are only a few entities in the template that use the old (coloured) fill styles, but even if there were more, it is easy to change them:

  • Right-click the Change Properties button and choose Change Fill Style.
  • Right-click on the map to select, then choose More > Fill Style.
  • Right-click to bring up the fill style dialog and choose “CA145_Parchment” from the Bitmap Files tab. Click Ok.
  • Right-click and choose Do It.
  • Right-click to bring up the fill style dialog again and choose “CA145_Parchment_BW”. Click Ok.

You’ll see that the parchment border of the map has turned grey. You can now do the same for each of the existing fill styles, but for this map you really only need to do it for the CA145_Ocean fill, as that is the fill of the background rectangle.

The template now shows a greyscale version of the old one and that’s how we wanted it to be. Next time we’ll start of converting the symbols of the style into the new look.
BW Template

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