Deck of Maps and Intersections

October 21, 2016

There are only a few more Intersection maps from my Intersections series remaining to be posted.  I’ve been thinking about doing something to collect the entire set and make it available in some kind of print form.  Making a book would be obvious, but also not terribly unique, so I was casting around for other ideas, and landed on the idea of a set of cards.

What I’m proposing is a deck of 26 cards, with the complete Intersection series on one side, and a set of semi-geomorphic dungeons on the other side.  The two wouldn’t really relate to each other directly.  The Intersections themselves don’t line up in any way, and the idea behind them was for them to be small snippets; places where other, larger things were coming together.  But the obverse set would be designed to be able to be put together to make a larger, interconnected dungeon.


The idea here is not that any combination will work equally.  Instead, there are different patterns for the cards, but with enough commonality that they can be combined in a lot of interesting ways.  The test image shows a number of these cards laid out together.  The notches represent the locations where connections extend off the card.  So, you can see, there are different arrangements on different cards, and not every card neatly lines up with its neighbors.  But this creates some possibilities for longer corridors and for larger rooms.

So, what I’m wondering is, if there would be much interest in something like this?  The Intersections are complete; it would be a matter of getting the semi-geomorphs drawn. There are lots of maps and map makers out there.  What would make you consider spending a few bucks on a set of these cards?

Intersection V

October 19, 2016


Two large corridors

Dwarven Chambers

October 16, 2016

Work in progress for a project.  The chambers and the hex grid (yes, it’s a DragonQuest project, so it’s on a hex grid) are done on computer, but then the hatching in the solid areas is all done by hand.  I think the combination of the two is working pretty well, here.

The whole thing will be included in the Wilderness of Ordurak adventure, which is being wrapped up now, and, for the time being, the complete version of it will only be included in there.


Intersection U

October 5, 2016


This is another one of the series that is pretty stylistically removed from most of the others.  It is meant to be a set of tunnels that connect across a small canyon opening, along with a couple of passages that connect to that canyon.  There are two levels to the map, and the lower level is indicated by dashed lines.  Several rooms are beneath the floor of the canyon.

Stream Crossing – hex map

September 30, 2016

This is a fairly simple hex map showing a path and a stream crossing with some stepping stones.  The other elements are intended to be the trunks of trees, but they may not read that way, since there are no branches or leaves.  But that’s what those other bits are meant to be.


The scenario envisioned for this map to be used with was an ambush by a couple of archers who are working in conjunction with a nixie/water sprite.  Most of the water is too deep (more than waist deep) to be able to be easily forded, other than near the rocks at the crossing, so a fight on both sides of the water will be a lot of ranged combat (and the tree trunks as cover then become a significant element).

I’m not a regular (or, at this point, even a sporadic) VTT user, so I don’t know if this is workable/usable for that sort of thing.  Let me know if you use this in something like that, and let me know how well it works.

The original was drawn in pen on a hex page, so the hexes are integral to this image, and not something that could be turned off.  But if you’re playing a game that uses a hex grid for tactical display, then give this a shot.

“Imaginary Worlds” – Podcast about Fantasy Maps

September 22, 2016

If you aren’t already a follower of the “Imaginary Worlds” podcast, let me recommend it to you.  And no better place to start than the most recent episode: Fantasy Maps.

J.R.R. Tolkien spent decades mapping out Middle-earth on graph paper because everything had to be invented from scratch (and given a name.) Many of his maps weren’t even published until after he died, but today’s fantasy cartographers owe a great debt to his work. They also have a post-modern understanding that to create a believable fantasy map, they have to sow doubt in the minds of readers whether we should trust the mapmakers.

Let me also point out, however, if you’re already a deep map-geek like I am (and I suspect the group of people who read and follow this blog skews pretty strongly in that direction), this program isn’t full of ground-breaking, new information.  But, on the other hand, if you’re in that category, you probably haven’t reached your limit on the topic, so I’m guessing you’ll find it interesting, too.  It’s less than 20 minutes long.


Intersection T

September 21, 2016


Unplanned, I swear, but the idea for this map, without thinking about where it was going to fall in the series, was to end each of the passageways and have a decision.  There are just four passages in this map, one leading off each side.  And each one terminates and becomes a T-intersection.  Some of the rooms off those T intersections connect to other rooms, and it all gets mixed together as usual.

Intersection S

September 7, 2016


Another tangled set of passages and spaces with a large central meeting space.

There will be a complete A to Z series of these (which falls superbly well into a bi-weekly posting sequence over the course of a year).  Only the last couple maps still need to be drawn; there are a few more that will be queued up shortly.

Two things to think about related to these maps, now.  First, is making some kind of compilation of all of them, and doing it in a way that would be useful and valuable.  It can easily be combined into an ebook of PDFs.  I could add a grid, or hexes, if that kind of management would make it more usable for GMs.  Or I could provide some descriptions and backstory and inhabitants for each one, but these are meant to be intersections, not destinations, nor points of interest on their own.  If you’d be interested in supporting this and having a Codex of Intersections, let me know how you’d like to see it extended.

The second question, even though it’s still summer, is to start thinking about what the next series should be.  By the time I hit intersection Z, I think I’ll be ready to be done with intersections for a while.  But maybe not.  Again, I’m open to suggestions and other ideas for the next series to start on.


Exquisite Corpse 4 Dungeon – Schedule

August 25, 2016

This is the assignment grid for the Exquisite Corpse 4 Dungeon (previously posted on G+ but easier to track and update here) [last edit 10/10]

8U – +Billy Longino
7U –  +Scott Aleric
6U – +Patrick Usher
5U – +Kosmic
4U – +Andrey Makarov  
3U – +Tony Obert
2U – +Jens Larsen
1U – +Kevin Campbell
start – – – – –
1D – +David Millar
2D – +Paul Baldowski
3D – +Andrew Durston
4D – +Ivan Katyurgin
5D – +Vandel J. Arden
6D – +Nate McD
7D – +Christian Kessler
9D *

On-deck/fill-in/utility: +Andrey Makarov  4U

Intersection R

August 24, 2016


And, sometimes things just need to be triangular.



Call for Participants: Exquisite Corpse Dungeon 4

August 19, 2016

[Edit: added link to signup list on G+ ]

I haven’t been disabused of the idea yet, so let’s do another dungeon!

If you’re unfamiliar with the previous Exquisite Corpses, I suggest looking at the previous projects for an idea of what this involves; I’m not going to explain the whole thing in detail.

Some things are going to be different this time.  The map is going to be a single column this time (rather than the double-wide version in ECD2). The starting section will be in the middle, and then it will extend both up and down from that, so there will be two chains going at the same time.

The spaces will be larger than in the past.  Each contributor’s field will be 40 x 16 squares (10 x 4 inches). That should allow for print maps that are 12″ wide, with margins.  Finished pieces should be 300 dpi (3000 x 1200 px). If grid is not included in the final art, clearly identify where openings are so next person can make reasonable connections. If the final scan is oversized, provide clear crop marks.

There are going to be a maximum of 20 slots (which would make the map about 80 inches/2 meters/6′-8″ tall, if we get that many entries).  Each participant will sign up for a particular slot in the field in advance, so you’ll have some sense of where and when you fit in to the sequence.  We’re going to have 3 day turnaround (and a day for me to get things received and handed off to the next person), so hopefully 2 sections a week in each chain.  If you can’t meet that schedule, please sit this one out.

If a schedule conflict arises, you can swap spots with another person. There will also be an ‘on-deck’ line for late arrivals and those willing to step in whenever.

Signups for spaces will be on a priority basis.  Participants in previous ECD projects have first choice in choosing spaces.

Along the left edge of the map, another 1/2″ space will be allowed for artist signature/identification/website link.

It is the intent that print copies of the final version of this will be produced and sold.  The map and each of its sections will also be released under a Creative Commons license to allow others to expand further on this megadungeon.  Given logistics and technical limitations, the distributed version may not be the full 300 dpi version.

Participants from previous Exquisite Corpse Dungeon projects can now choose their sections. Others interested in taking part in this can begin choosing from the remaining open spots beginning Monday (8/22).  Once we have at least the first 10 slots set, we’ll get the mapping underway.

Questions and discussion will largely take place on the G+ community for Exquisite Corpse Dungeon Project, but important additions will be cross posted back to the original item on the RThorm blog.



Final Trollbrucke

August 13, 2016


This is inspired by — and trying to replicate — old mining maps and geologic sections that used colors, as well as patterns, to show the different layers.  And, of course, there are all kinds of passages and wandering bits through it to make it moderately dungeon-y.

It’s still an open question in my mind as to whether or not this is of any use for actual game play, or if it’s just a cool thing (and hopefully a little inspirational, to think about some adventure ideas).  There’s something extremely compelling about section drawings, at least for me.  But, while I find them endlessly fascinating to look at, I’ve never tried to use one in a game, myself, and I wonder if others do, or if these are mostly just fires to the imagination.

Originally, this was only going to be a black and white image.  The different hatching patterns were sufficient, I thought.  But, after scanning it and cleaning it up and shrinking it to a reasonable size, I started playing around with dropping color into it, and it seemed to be turning out pretty well, so I kept at it.

I thought I’d previously posted a mostly complete draft of this, but I couldn’t find it (just this mostly finished lower half).  That just makes this a better reveal now.  There are a couple other works-in-progress that I have in the backlog that need to get finished up, as well.  Things are in a transition phase on several fronts, so hopefully it’s a good time to get some other things finished up and on to some new projects.

Intersection Q

August 10, 2016


This piece of the Intersections series has rooms in series, and getting from the one broad hallway to the other means going through 2 or 3 rooms, with a couple other side rooms available for additional interest.

There are also a lot of doors.  Lots of doors.  A frustratingly large number of doors if they were all locked and had to be picked or broken down in order to get through.

A Hedge Map

August 8, 2016


Not a whole lot to this; just a quick map using hedges rather than stone walls for a layout with several ‘rooms’ created by the shrubbery.  Just a little map in a small notebook (it’s pretty readily apparent from the curvature and the gutter showing at the top).

Other than the biweekly maps, I haven’t been posting a great deal of things of late, but this was different and interesting, and it was quick enough for a sketch.

Intersection P

July 27, 2016


This was another map with a definiteconcept driving it.  In this case, it’s a broad passageway that has suffered some sort of catastrophic collapse, and then connections between the two sides have been re-established with several new (but much smaller) tunnels which go through the debris of the collapse.

Thoughts about new DragonQuest

July 22, 2016

I’ve written up a few thoughts about the nature of DragonQuest and what makes it unique and compelling as a game system and setting.  In short, I see DQ as a Renaissance game versus D&D as a Medieval game.  If there’s going to be a new version of DQ, understanding its strengths and direction is important.

The whole article is posted at Dragonquestrules, but since there’s comparatively much more traffic here (as well as links out to other sites), I’m also putting out a notice about it here.  I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out.


The Elizabethan Hack

July 19, 2016

So, whaddya think about this?

At the moment, this is only a proposal, and a draft of the cover art.

Most of what gets posted on this blog is Rodger’s work, but Thor Hansen is also part of Antherwyck House, and he is the lead on this project.

“There was historically a lot of hand waving about the length of a turn and all the stuff that happened out of sight. I am trying to bring back the flavor without requiring the player to get it all.”


Exquisite Corpse 3 – CITY Revealed

July 15, 2016

The latest Exquisite Corpse mapping project is complete.  Exquisite Corpse 3 is a collaborative fantasy city map with works by a dozen map-making artists included.


The JPG doesn’t do it justice; you really need to get the PDF (link at the bottom) and zoom in enough to see the detail and scroll through to get a sense of what this is.

Contributors to this Exquisite Corpse include:  Christopher Weeks, Rodger Thorm, Ivan Katyurgin, Paul Baldowski, Kevin Campbell, Andrey Makarov, Nate Marcel, Ed Allen, Christian Kessler, Jim Magnusson, Scott Aleric, and Gennifer Bone.  My gratitude for their combined contributions, which made this project possible.

The process was more involved than the previous Exquisite Corpse dungeons.  Here, contributors saw the adjacent sections, but only drew part of the section they were assigned; the next contributor filled things in in order to try to keep from having such sharply delineated edges between sections.  Sometimes it worked better than others.

LINK:  ExquisiteCorpse3-CITY-final-ArchC701 (PDF)  This is sized for a C-size (18″ x 24″) architectural sheet (and is 70% of the actual size in order to fit on the page).  This will also fit onto an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet fairly well, but you may not get all the detail.

EDIT: Updated version released with corrected section of map and revised and enlarged text to make authors names easier to read.


Intersection N

July 13, 2016


Even more than the last map, this one has its three passageways that wend through this area without going through rooms of any sort, and all the rooms are side chambers, rather than facilitating connection between one path and another.

Graphically, the step-well alcove (top left) doesn’t work terribly well, but the level change in the passage exiting on the right side of the map gives a bit of level change.

New Notebook – New Map

July 4, 2016

There are a couple hours between when you have to arrive at the park in order to have a parking spot and when the community fireworks program actually starts.  So this was a pre-4th of July fireworks* dungeon.


(*these were fireworks held on the 3rd so that kids could go and stay up late)

I’d grabbed this old but unused notebook to bring along, a fat Paperchase gridded notebook with hundreds of thin pages in it. It’s probably A5 size (roughly 5.5″ x 8.5″), and it’s so fat the spine is curved, rather than straight.  There are probably 400+ pages in a notebook that’s over an inch thick.  So, this could be the first of many, many maps (and other notes).  The grid is fairly close on the pages in this notebook.  The grid that I drew into the map is actually every 2 squares.


To make the map, I just laid out an assortment of rooms across the page, and then connected them together.  I wanted a really tangled, haphazard looking layout, and that seems to be what I ended up with.  I took some pictures along the way to show the process. I only had one pen with me, so this was all done with a simple medium Flair pen (except the gridding, which was added in with a thinner Micron after we got home).