MY KINGDOM FOR A MAP! Podge Murphy guides us through designing maps …
aving a map for your fantasy game is practically essentially, even if only for the GM’s book keeping. Eventually, players are going to call shenanigans if the journey to the capital takes four days one session and three months the next! However, a well prepared regional map can help in other ways as well; from inspiring adventure ideas and helping to immerse your players into your world, to helping the world creator conceptualise what may or may not exist in various regions. That said, where to start? A simple hand drawn map is fine for most purposes, but depending on your needs a more professional looking map can vary from a perk to a must-have. If you’re like me, and not terribly artistically talented in the traditional sense, a computer with a cheap or free graphics package can help immensely. Even if you are skilled enough to produce a great looking hand drawn map, a few minutes with a graphics program can help make a good map look even better. In this article I’m going to take a look at using a computer to touch up and colour a hand drawn map. At a bare minimum, you’re going to need a computer capable of running some kind of graphics software. While Photoshop is
something of a gold standard in computer graphics, you can grab GimpShop for free online, which uses the open source GIMP as a base with an interface much closer to Photoshop, which should make understanding what I’m going on about much easier! A scanner is also a plus, but taking a well lit photograph will work in a pinch.
...a well prepared regional map can help in other ways as well; from inspiring adventure ideas and helping to immerse your players into your world, to helping the world creator conceptualise what may or may not exist in various regions.”
Podge Murphy Podge has an avid interest in far too many things, but gaming remains a pillar of his free time. He enjoys writing, running and playing RPG’s equally, though most often finds himself behind the GM’s screen or regional equivalent. He works as a graphic designer in order to eat, but would probably do it for free anyway. He is most proud of having once grown his own tomatoes. You can find him online here: @Malboury.
To begin, let’s stop and take a look at some actual maps. How big is a city with a population of 20,000 anyway? If a mountain is a 3,000 feet tall, how wide is it likely to be? If you want it to take a week to travel across a desert by horse,
The Gazebo is a free, quarterly e-zine dedicated to gaming in the UK and Ireland.