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35

Severe financial problems. I couldn't afford the hosting and sold the domain name. All these years later I'm still working on recovery. Even so, I'm proud that I had a useful website before Microsoft was even on the net! ... I did keep the hard drives for a long time but they are gone now. Sad. And yes, 'irony' did come from the location of my packet radio ...


33

Think about what the purpose of such a map is. Medieval maps tend to fall into three categories: road maps coastal maps maps of the world If it's for pilgrims and merchants traveling by road, it'll have all the major roads marked, along with inns and convenient places to stop to water the animals -- and it won't describe the wilderness or the sea at ...


17

The book Castle by David Macauley is my go-to, along with pulling up floor plans of whatever various real castles I find. The book goes into details about the construction -- which will be important for describing the state of decay accurately, as well as informing what the players will need to find/do to repair/rebuild it -- as well as describing in great ...


16

Maps are fun. Make maps when you want to. You don't have to map anything, ever. But you'll want to, because maps are fun. Maps are just another tool that you have as DM to convey information to the players. When you want to convey something that is best done spatially, a map is useful. Personally, I find I often sketch very rough maps all the time during ...


15

Real-world medieval maps tended to be a mix of indicative and artistic and in many cases draw by people that had never been to and barely heard of a place. They would have used in many cases information that was word of mouth from many people and could be contradictory. Hence the map you bought could be anything from a nice picture for the wall and useless ...


14

The irony games generator is long gone, as far as I can tell. When it dissapeared, I started coding my own generators. I guess they'd be better if I dedicated a bit more time to them, but at least they help me with my games (they might be useful for you too). And if you don't like them, check my "about" page. I try to link to other people's generators. ...


13

I don't see it working. A 2d map is still only going to ever give you the upper most surface. Consider a troll under a bridge. How do you know what's on top of the bridge vs what's below it? IMO this is no better than a flat map. What has worked for me for minimal effort is Construx. They were a competitor to Lego during my childhood and can be ...


12

First, built the world (at least in your head). Land: Landmasses are formed by plate tectonics. Some areas are where plates push apart (like the middle of the Atlantic Ocean), whereas others are where plates push together and one ends up on top of the other (such as the Himalayan mountains). Fun fact, the Himalayan mountains are getting taller as the ...


12

Here's something I've done for fantasy games. I've never tried it in modern, but it should still carry over. Give the bad guys terrain they can use to their advantage. When I was running D&D 4e, my favourite thing about it was the monsters. They were balanced pretty well. Each one had an XP value. For a fair fight, you took set amount of XP and ...


11

I use Photoshop mainly, as do many professional cartographers. I often use Illustrator in combination with Photoshop. Things like initial outlines of coasts and things I find best in Illustrator, but then move to Photoshop for the real polishing of the look and feel. Modern style floor-plan maps I've started to make in Flash, it's just turned out to be the ...


11

I've looked more than once for replacements for their tools over the last few years. I've found a couple of decent replacements for certain items at sites such as Inkwell Ideas, which has decent random generators for inns, cities, magic shops, villages and small dungeon maps. There are other good resources here and there as well to replace the tools that ...


10

To learn more about how the surface of our Earth works and was formed, you want to undertake an informal, ongoing study of geomorphology, the "study of landforms and the processes that shape them." For an informal study, Wikipedia is an excellent resource – free, easily available, translated into multiple languages, and fun to wander around and get lost in. ...


10

We can't enumerate every possibility, but I can show you how to find such things. You want to use the search engine query creative commons dungeon tiles and variations thereon to find images you can use under a Creative Commons license, which will work for your purpose in most cases. CC licensing is the overwhelmingly most common license for art assets that ...


10

Well, most actual medieval castles were pretty small, so you're finding reasonable stuff. For very large floor plans you need to go much later in time. You can find full floor plans of Neuschwanstein and other larger, later castles (Castle Loma, Castle Peles) on Randwulf's site. Even this huge, 1800's castle is smaller than a lot of fantasy castle floor ...


10

Roll20.net is going to be your best friend First off its free. COMPLETELY FREE. Roll20 has a built in grid with the ability to use their library and import images to lay as background under their grids. Player tokens can work in much the same way. The system has integrated chat dice rolling and even programmable buttons players and the GM can create to ...


9

Dundjinni is quite intuitive and gives you good results for encounter maps Campaign Cartographer has a steep learning curve but provides many features. It lets you create anything from overland maps over city maps to dungeon maps. AutoREALM is a free alternative, but I have no experience with it. Hexographer is a tool to easily create hex maps. There is a ...


9

As @DavidAllanFinch said, our modern concept of accurate maps wasn't really common in the Middle Ages. They tended to be more figurative, lacked a lot of our modern methodologies, and further more, didn't try for a 1:1 representation, which was usually held in lower esteem than a moral representation. See a nice example here. In general, though, if you want ...


9

I would consult army manuals and websites. The military has a vested interest in making terrain maps, but even more so in making sure soldiers know how to read it it. Here is a link to an army study guide that outlines some of the major and minor terrain features that you'd see on an elevation map. ...


9

Google has a collection of images under "map of mine" that could help.


8

A free (freedom) and open source graphical software is The GIMP. I use GIMP a lot for general graphics. I haven't made any maps using it, but once you've learned to use it creating maps in any style would be possible.


8

Here is an example of what you can do with the GIMP. A lot of effects are trivial to do and many brushes were taken from deviant art. and


8

The maker of Hexographer has a new product out for dungeon mapping called Dungeonographer. I like these applications a lot. You can learn it and start making decent maps in an afternoon. You don't need any drawing skills or knowledge of how to use CAD or vector drawing. It is point and click for the most part.


8

Map anywhere where a player needs to make a decision based on geographical layout. If the characters are going to get up to a lot of mischief there then draw a map. Doing mischief will often mean deciding which roads to use, where to put a safe house, whether the guards can see the taven from the castle etc. Edit: If you're going to have a fight, you'll ...


8

I like MapTool. I've also been known to use the GIMP to tile together images, but that's only worthwhile if you've already got tiles. I've actually used the toolkit from the original Neverwinter Nights to generate a map, but this is rather slow and whatnot. I've also messed around with other things but they're mostly random in nature, so I'm assuming you ...


7

You don't exactly need plugins for this sort of thing: the most important skill for using raster software like the GIMP for map-making is learning how to use the existing functionality to get the effects you're interested in. However, depending on what you're going for, there are plugins that can help. The hardest part of making a fantasy city map is laying ...


7

I've answered under the assumption that you want to make small-scale tactical or local maps - on the scale of city streets instead of the whole city and surrounding countryside. GIMP strikes me as the wrong tool for the job. In my opinion, and based on the local-map assumption, you need a vector graphics program. Dig out a copy of OpenOffice.org Draw or ...


7

I give them an outline of the coastline and they fill in the landmass with their notes. If I was doing an exploration of the new world style game then I would just give them an updated coastline map showing only what they explored each session. Remember there is realism, and there is gamable. The blank coastline map without a grid (maybe a scale) seems to ...


7

Amit Patel has a nice blog that has a section regarding hex maps. I especially like the Isometric cube coordinate system. Regarding icosahedrons, consider each facet to be a triangular hex map where edge hexes(FJM, NLI and BCD) are shared between two facets and corner hexes (A, E and O) are actually pentagons common to all five facets at the vertex. O ...


7

You could actually use the AutoREALM icons, if you don't mind a bit of fiddly work. It is quite easy to vectorize simple graphics. Inkscape (free alternative to Adobe Illustrator) has such a function to trace bitmaps by various attributes of the original image (colour, brightness, edges and so on). You can make a map that's just the AutoREALM icons you want ...


7

Search for real castles, find a few you like, and then search for their floor plans specifically. While searching for castles, you would do well to use search terms like "fortress" and "palace" depending on the kind of thing you want. Also add location/culture descriptors like "carolina fortress" or "moorish castle" or "aztec palace." (Hint: also try ...



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