So my second attempt at a town map for my own D&D campaign was a lot different.
Again, I used the tutorial I found on the Cartographer’s Guild as a base, but I really stepped outside of the box and put in some hand-drawn elements. this particular endeavor was all about Layers for me. I had a LOT of layers–upwards of 70! And I learned that I had to change the file type in order to not let my computer slow down so much that it was unusable, which led me to .psb files, Photoshop’s Large Document Format files. This was the first time I created an image using that particular file type.
As a result, it has become very difficult to actually share all the detail in the work, since the file has to be so big in order to actually see all the tiny little things I put in the file…
Westbridge is another town that isn’t really fleshed out very well in the pre-written campaign I’m using (Princes of the Apocalypse if you want to know). It goes through a bit of a “journey” as the story develops, but I won’t give too much away…
But before that happens, there’s the potential that my players may end up visiting it. And I wanted to be prepared. There’s less of a reason for them to go there, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
And it was an excuse for me to practice and expand my Photoshop skills even more! 🙂
There is no bridge in Westbridge. It is a town that is the “Gateway to the West”. It has more churches than Beliard has (my first “town” map), and less affluent citizens, but it’s still a key locale on that same east-west trade route that Beliard exists on. This one, however, is on the western side of the valley, where Beliard was on the eastern side.
Again, only a hand full of NPCs are described. And even less text that describes the town itself.
So I dove in, making it a community that I got to define myself!
I decided visually, this particular map would have less “pre-packaged” elements than the Beliard map. I would follow the tutorial’s instructions, but I also wanted to make it my own. I added a lot of hand-drawn layering, fleshing out textures in ways that I hadn’t before, and really investing my drawing skills on a cliff face on the western side of town.
As I alluded, I had a lot of layers going on, and that meant there was a lot of detail. I inserted hitching posts, clothes lines, water troughs, wells, shadows on the ground, high spots, textures in the roads, etc. I even put apples and lemons in the trees. And a magic “henge circle” high on the cliff, rife with opportunities for adventurer abuse… hehe…
But because I’m a file-noob, all that detail is really difficult to share if you can’t post it in all its glory. The file ended up being 2 gbs, and that is really quite large… I’m hoping that the image below is big enough to help indicate all that detail even if it can’t outright show it entirely.
I learned a lot on this map. How big is too big. Starting with an understanding of how far down the rabbit-hole you want to go so things don’t devolve outside of one’s control is a good idea, and adapting one’s illustrative style to accommodate. Better color palette. I think the map itself comes across as a bit more organic by virtue of the hand drawn elements. I made a lot of my own brushes for the first time. I also added a Key for all the locations.
Here it is:
I’ve also made a brighter version without the key (but with the numbers on it still for easy table reference) that might print out a little better. It is very large, (over 50 mb) so be prepared if you decide to download it.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I use a particular program called PosteRazor to print these out at home. It allows you to scale them up however big you want, then it creates a PDF file that can be easily printed out on individual sheets of paper on your own home printer, allowing you to tape them together into one large piece. It’s free, so you can’t beat that. 🙂
Anyway, there it is! 🙂
Whew! Onto the next project!