Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Dungeon of Lost Coppers

Dungeon of Lost Coppers

The Dungeon of Lost Coppers

Dyson Logos over at Dyson’s Dodecahedron is running/ran a contest to finish one of his maps. Since I like the maps he makes, how could I refuse to participate? So here is my entry for your enjoyment. I only have a few notes about it.

As you can see from the picture, there is a sharp difference in the darkness between the portion of the map Dyson presented, and the work that I did to complete it. Nothing I could do with GIMP would fix it, but it doesn’t look too bad when printed out. On the other hand, the line work I did for the shaft looks like crap, but I’m not sure how I can do it to make it look better. Oh well.

I’m not sure how Dyson will be presenting all of the entries, but this one on my site is just a tad bit different. After printing it out, I didn’t like how the title fit on the map, so I made it a little bigger. Other than that, it is no different.

To try and come up with something a little different than everyone else, I figured that I would take the ‘Lost Coppers’ literally and make the pool on the right side fit at the bottom of a deep shaft from the surface. Though the statue presented a problem if I expected people to throw coppers down the well. Well, I solved that by making him crouch while holding a shield over his head. Maybe the statue is of a heroic dragon-slayer, and the quote, ‘coins falling, breath of fire’ is supposed to hint at that. I was actually thinking of both the scene in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty where the prince is fighting Maleficent as a dragon and the point in the NES game Shadowgate where the player must raise his shield to protect from the dragon’s flames.

I also like that I incorporated a side view on this map like Dyson has done on other maps of his. I especially like how I was envisioning someone standing on the small hill to the right and arcing coins in. I almost drew someone doing just that–I may do it afterall.

Since I like combining things I have created, the circular room in the upper left houses the ‘magic item’ I created for Tenkar’s OSR Competition. Once I post that item I will link to it in this post.

I wanted to make a final comment about the quote, ‘coins falling, breath of fire”. While I claim to be a writer, I never claim to be a poet. Thank god I didn’t have more room on the map, or I may have subjected you to the following lines, ‘shield of granite protects those kneeling.’

Well anyway, hope you like this map. Please feel free to use it for your personal game and visit my Downloads section for other maps and gaming goodness.

Random Dungeon Map 007

Random Dungeon 007

Random Dungeon 007

Here in Central Virginia, the winter storm shut me in for the most part, so I decided to put my time to reasonably good use and redraw the original 2nd-level for my Expanded Mentzer Dungeon. For what purpose you ask, well let me make a short story long.

First off, the original is in fairly bad condition what with pencil marks and smudges from my erasers and hands. Scanning and using my GIMP-fu was useless; so what the hell, I figured I’d redraw it and experiment with some different techniques I hadn’t tried before on one map. I’m glad I did, because this one actually looks ok.

But why this map you ask. Well, several reasons. Now this level was the first one I drew for my foray into building a dungeon with my random generation charts that I designed after those found in Gygax’s Dungeon Master’s Guide. And quite frankly, I like how it is laid out. It follows my general design principles fairly closely in both layout and stocking. The stocking I will get to in a minute. Or fifteen.

I like the layout, because when I design a dungeon, I try to image how its occupants will use it. Where will they sleep? Where will they hunt? Where are they going to put the PC deathtrap? The layout here allows travel from four different areas of the dungeon, and it allows several areas where I can imagine vermin and other beasts can lair and more intelligent monsters setup positions to control access and defend their area.

Coming from Mentzer’s Solo Dungeon, the only intelligent creatures a character would face are goblins. Now room 6 controls access to two separate areas of the first level and so far the only access to the third level. This sets them up as a fairly strong power center for the top levels. I like this a lot and I suppose that there is another group (or two) in the unexplored areas that are challenging them for that position.

All this said, you will notice that this map is incomplete. That’s because I let the dice fall where they may and ended up with those three additional stairwells. And I got bored with this level. I also like a lot of vertical movement in my dungeons that approach megadungeon status, so I eventually moved on to different levels. If I were a player, that’s how I might approach this dungeon anyway.

Random Map 007 Key

Random Map 007 Key

The other main reason I chose this map is that a commenter in another post asked if I was going to stock these maps I have been posting. I didn’t really have any intention to, but as an experiment, this is what it would look like if I did. (click on the picture of the key to download a pdf of both the map and its accompanying key).

The thing of it is this, I randomly generated the room contents using Moldvay’s stocking chart. Somehow most of the results made sense in the overall structure of this level, and those that didn’t, well a little mental gymnastics helped turn those explored areas into a coherent whole. (I go into more detail in the pdf). Really the only thing I don’t like is that less than a third of the rooms are empty. My dungeons end up with between a third and a half empty. The treasure is also a little on the high side, but I doubt I’d hear many complaints from any players running through this area.

As always, feel free to use this for your personal game. I’d be interested to hear any impressions on the overall stocking density. Don’t forget to check out my Downloads section for my other dungeon maps and creations.

Random Dungeon Map 006

Random Map 006

Random Map 006

This map has a little history. First off, I started it back in December of 2012 and it was originally the 4th level of my Expanded Mentzer Solo Dungeon. I had explored up to room 28 but for some reason stopped before completing room 29. Today, I finally finished building this floor.

Unfortunately, because I finished it from a copy I had made of the original, there seems to be a noticeable difference in the final product. I didn’t think I would be able to recreate the same style of crosshatching so really only started it on the copy as a test. Several hours later, I had finished it and said, ‘close enough’. I think it looks cool enough to post for your enjoyment.

I think the reason why I chose this map to work on was because visually it is one of my favorites in my map binder. To make a short story long, I find this one appealing because it almost resembles the layout of a city with passageways that act as thoroughfares and room clusters that act as city blocks. I also like that there are several choke points that intelligence denizens would be able to use against those nasty invading player characters. And I especially like the northern passage that instantly connects level 3 with level 5.

On a slight tangent, this map was the final one before I created a set of charts to randomly generate maps in the style of Mentzer’s Solo Dungeon. The funny thing is that Random Map 002 came after this one and was the first I had built with the new charts. It is also why the crosshatching style resembles Map 002 and none of the others. I originally envisioned replacing all of the maps with new ones from the fresh charts. Fast forward to today, and I have not done much with the Mentzer Style charts and most of my recent maps have been created with the charts responsible for today’s map.

Random Dungeon Map 005

Random Dungeon 005

Random Dungeon 005

And another one.

A couple of quick notes about this one:

(1) This was one of the fastest maps I had drawn in recent memory. From start to finish it only took about three days for a total of about three to four working hours.

(2) For as large as this one looks, it has the fewest numbered locations (32) for any of my one-page dungeon maps. I am not counting Random Dungeon 002 because that one was designed with a different set of charts. I like that this one doesn’t look as dense as my previous postings.

(3) I am having a difficult time finding a way to draw in doors, and since I was working so fast (compared to my other maps), I just left them hanging. I think I will just leave them the way they are and experiment on my next map.

(4) I’ve noticed that both Dyson and Matt have been listing what pens they have used for their maps, so I experimented a little. I only have regular gel pens so I used a 1mm TUL for the walls and a Uniball Signo micro 207 (.38mm I think) for the cross hatching, numbering, and additional drawings. After using Inkscape to convert it to SVG format, and exporting it back to PNG, it seems more like a map in their styles.

Feel free to use this map for your personal game.

Random Dungeon Map 004

Random Dungeon 004

Random Dungeon 004

So I have been playing around with my charts again. It seems that I cannot stop making these maps. But the interesting thing–at least to me–I’ve noticed is that all of the maps I have posted so far vary in style greatly. I guess I am still trying to find my voice.

Regarding the first map, when I stock dungeons I tend to break them down into travel and accessibility zones. I often highlight the rooms and other areas that are secured by doors or other barriers. Since I have been working on maps that I expect to print in black & white, I tried a newer technique to highlight those areas by changing the wall thickness. While I’m not a big fan of the the overall look, I like that these rooms are noticeable.

Random Dungeon 004b

Random Dungeon 004b

The second map on the other hand is nearly identical to the first with one architectural exception. Instead of a door in the eastern corridor from the first room, there is a stairwell leading deeper into the darkness that is accessible from the corridor leading from room #8.

You will also notice some cosmetic differences. I experimented with darkening the wall lines to contrast more with the crosshatching and less with the room wall. I like it a little better although it prints out a little too dark.

The other cosmetic difference is that I followed the steps that Matt Jackson outlined in How to Clean Up a Map using GIMP and Inkscape.

I highly recommend both that link and Step by Step Mapping for anyone interested in creating good-looking and functional maps in similar graphical styles to Matt, Dyson, and myself.

As always, feel free to use these maps in your personal game.