Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Guild of Cartographers - an Introduction

Love them or hate them, maps are an essential part of the role playing experience.  Be they player scrawls of horrendous scale or the tongue-poking-out-of-corner-of-mouth efforts by the DM during session time, they are invaluable ... especially underground.

Copyright © 2011 Mark Kelly.

Now, for anyone reading this who has been unfortunate enough to have sat at my table for a Sunday session will be familiar with my attempts at mapping.  Quite often they left much to be desired, and at times they were, in my defence, drawn hastily upon an A3 white dry marker board, which would hang on the wall behind me.

The limit of my own maps were, other than the white board, restricted to A4, and much to my shame, lined notepad paper ... I know, I'm a heathen.  Prime example shown below:

A4 lined paper nasty - felt tipped pens, no less!
Copyright © Mark Kelly.

But then I discovered a 'Davinci' styled sketch/note book, each page coloured and made to look like parchment with a grid overlay.  Excellent.  With this I began floor plan and exterior mapping:

'The Glory Hole' - an typical adventurers'
inn & source of many a rumour.
Copyright © Mark Kelly.
Colour coded plan of a ruined castle
indicating the various levels/heights.
Copyright © Mark Kelly.

* The above maps are free to use, please give credit if used ~ thank you :) *

Although great for floor plan, dungeon and general layout mapping, the use of this book was not at all helpful for mapping the lay of the land.  Shame though it was, clearly the way to go was A4 & A3 white sheet paper.

So, imagine my delight when I recently stumbled upon a site for cartographers of all abilities, covering a wide platform of genres.  This is one of the many benefits of blogging and following blogs related to your chosen topic - you discover some amazing sites!

Now, besides being immensely awed and jealous of these very talented folk, it also makes me realise how limited my mapping was (and is), and that should I have my time over again I surely would have approached things differently.

For those of you already familiar with this site, forgive this post as it will be somewhat redundant to you, but I'm sure you will fully understand my posting about it - but for those reading this who have yet to discover this site, be prepared to weep with a role player's joy at some of the amazingly mind-blowing mapping therein.  I hasten to add, there is even more joys to be had on this site, not only do they include links to free map creating software aimed at gamers, but they also have tutorials on mapping.

Without further ado, welcome to the 

I encourage you to browse fully the vast array of maps and floor plans - not only are they beautiful to look at, but inspiring to say the least.  A brilliant source of imagination fodder for those stuck for map ideas, AND a forum with which to discuss your thoughts, feelings and questions on mapping in general.

A nicely designed site and thoughtfully laid out - but then again, what else would you expect from a cartographer?  Enjoy.

1 comment:

Jefu said...

Thanks for the link; an inspiring site indeed. Loving the ruined castle too - may have to look into a sketch pad like that myself.