Posts Tagged ‘dungeon mapping’

Exquisite Corpse Dungeon 4

December 28, 2016

Are you in need of a last minute holiday mega dungeon? Then let us help you out with the biggest Exquisite Corpse Dungeon yet.  There are acres of passages, chambers, caverns, and more for you to explore.

A link to a PDF of the full-size (56″ x 12″) version of the map is at the bottom of this post.This is a reduced (but hopefully still somewhat readable) image of the whole map.

The Exquisite Corpse project has multiple participants who each have to construct a section of dungeon without seeing any of what has already been done.  For these maps, there is a tiny sliver of the previous section that shows where the connections should be, and then they have to map a section. Then they send a tiny sliver of their section to the next person who follows the same steps.  So there is no internal coordination, but something wonderful arises from the blind collaboration.

Sections of this one were drawn by Billy Longino, Kosmic Dungeon, Tony Obert, Jens larsen, Kevin Campbell, Rodger Thorm, David Millar, Paul Baldowski, Andrew Durston, Ivan Katyurgin, Nate McD, Christian Kessler, and Scott Aleric.

Since this is number 4, there must be some previous ones, right?  If you’re looking for more massive, collaborative dungeon art, here are links to the previous Exquisite Corpse projects:

And lastly, here is the link to the full-size 56″ x 12″ PDF: exquisitecorpse4final

Intersection Z

December 14, 2016


This is the last of this Cycle of the Intersection series.

Intersection Y

November 30, 2016


This intersection incorporates a series of standing stones aligned in a line of rooms.  This progression could be extended in both directions to other parts of the dungeon.  These could be part of a larger magical system, perhaps working as a conduit to direct mysterious energies for some larger purpose.

Intersection X

November 16, 2016

Or, ‘A Stream Runs Through It…


Sometimes, the connection is something other than a door and a hallway; sometimes, ya gotta take the plunge.

Two wide corridors running roughly in parallel to each other, and the only connection between the two is through a watery channel cutting across both passages.

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.

Scannable Papers & Notebooks

April 8, 2016

So there’s a new thing out from Moleskine, a scanning pen and special notebook paper that will let you digitally capture your hand drawn notes as you draw them.  But they’re very expensive.  In addition to a prohibitive price-point, this doesn’t especially appeal to me because it requires the proprietary pen and proprietary paper in order to work.  But there are other alternatives, including the one I used for this Friday map which is (almost) completely free.

20160408-115631In addition to posting this old-school map, I am also reviewing the tools I used to make it, and examining the idea of scannable and digitizable notebooks.

After seeing the announcements (and then the price) of the Moleskine set, I went looking for something I had first seen around the end of last year.  I learned about white line grid paper from Dave Millar (of Dave’s Mapper fame), and I discovered a company that makes notebooks with this kind of paper (with a light gray background and white lines for guidance, rather than dark lines on a white sheet).

When I first found Whitelines, I also found their Whitelines Link notebooks, which can be scanned with an app, so that you can have digital copies of your notebook pages.  I was intrigued, but didn’t want to buy a notebook that had to be shipped from Sweden, so I held off at the time.  But, what I’ve found now is that they have free PDFs of their Whitelines pages that you can print out and draw on and then scan with their app.  So you can try it out for free.*  (The conditional “free” assumes that you already have a device (phone or tablet) with a camera and an internet connection, and that you have a printer.  B&W laser is probably preferable, but you might be able to do it with others, as well.)

So this was drawn on a sheet of Whitelines paper and then scanned with the camera on my phone.  Note that, since Whitelines is a European company, their paper sizes are A5 and A4.  Those don’t exactly fit onto American paper sizes, but it doesn’t really matter, unless the precision of knowing the scan’s size exactly matters to you.  I printed some A4 sheets scaled to fit on a letter page, and I expect they’ll scan just fine.  The app can’t tell whether the paper is full size or not, it is looking for corners and then working with those as its guidepoints.

You’ll notice that the scan is incredibly flat and even, for a hand-held scan.  That’s because it was done using the Whitelines Link app (available in Android and iOS flavors; but I didn’t find a link on their site, so you may need to search for “Whitelines Link” at your app source of choice). This automatically locates the page and takes the picture when the four corners are in frame and the image is in focus. It then processes the image and adjusts it so that you have a completely squared off image, without any keystoning or warping that you’d have just doing it by hand.

IMG_20160408_115755102Camera resolution (for me, currently) is around 2400 x 4200 pixels.  (I’ve downsized the copy of the camera image here just to avoid choking the bandwidth.)  The scanned document is at 1106 x 1550 pixels, so it probably loses some resolution in the process.  But it’s still completely readable and functional.  You can see the QR-esque marks in the corners that the software uses to identify the field of the image and adjust the scan to its final version.

I’ve been using some whiteline grid paper I made using the Incompetech inverted graph paper generator which has been fantastic to work with.  (The old-school map from a couple months back was one of the first experiments working on that paper, and I’ve really liked using that.)

If you’re the kind who can work with a looseleaf notebook, printing a dozen sheets of Whitelines Link paper and downloading the app for your device of choice can be a quick and super-inexpensive (compared to the Moleskine kit) way to start merging your hand drawn maps (or notes, or whatever you want) with your digital life.  Anyone wants to give me a Moleskine set, I would be happy to try it out.  But I expect I’m going to be set just with using the Whitelines system as I have it now.

I’d still really like to try out an actual Whitelines notebook, and that’s probably where I’d make a frivolous purchase (some other reviewers have really liked the quality of their paper, as well). 

We have a new Google+ group for people who are really into their map-making tools: Pens & Grids for RPGs  Come check it out.

If you’re an Amazon customer and you’d like to support me by buying it from them, you can use these links for:

Whitelines Link A4+ Squared Notes (WL241 LinkWA4S)

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Moleskine Edition for iOS & Android Phones &Tablets (APX-00019)

Leuchtturm Whitelines Academy Pad A4 Dots Blk (another notebook manufacturer with Whitelines Link compatible pages – this one has white dots instead of a white grid!)