So I have completed my first map. It went through some permutations… I had originally hoped to make some notations on the map itself from some thief who originally stole the map from it’s source, and escaped as the last member of his party… I had his notes on the map with little symbols he had drawn to indicate what was in each room.
But the idea didn’t match my capacity to execute it in reality.
It ended up looking somewhat muddy. Too many small details and too many poorly drawn “notes” made the map look hokey. And I tried to make it look like he hadn’t taken very good care of the map, so I stained it and added water smudges and such. But in the end, it was starting to get even darker and less clear, so I trashed that idea.
Before I did, I tried to go even further…
But nothing I could do could fix it. I tried different fonts, different locations of each notation… nothing worked to my eyes. Finally, I gave up, and decided the map had enough history as it was–the staining added age, and I figured it would still read as an “old” map.
I settled on emphasizing the story of the one who found it in the archives, a simple archivist I name Grinin Fiver. I felt that he probably found the map, labeled it appropriately and cataloged it, then forgot it.
And back into the vaults it went. I added a stamp, changed fonts yet again, and settled on a few notes he might have added, instead of the thief’s. I took out all the detail in the map itself, and pondered the idea that a set of players using this would have information about the cave’s outline, but nothing about what was actually in each area… And I thought that might be fun!
So I settled on this:
And I think, ultimately, this is a better choice. It’s simpler, and gets things out of the way so the real action can happen within the map’s delineated areas.
I imagine that this map might be a deeper level of a dungeon, between a more excavated area and the ultimate big boss in some hidden grotto somewhere–perhaps beyond the water? There aren’t any entrances or exits on this map, which might be telling to an astute adventurer. There are not stairs, no internal detail. I think that might amp up the paranoia for players, eh? Who knows where this map came from. Who knows how old it actually is? Who knows what culture uses the (almost sic-fi) symbology present on the map before Grinin “rediscovered” it and then processed it away into oblivion?
There are all kinds of RPG hooks possible for this map. I hope someone finds it useful! 🙂