Dungeon Crafter’s Sketch Book

Philip Reed is known for his works with Steve Jackson Games, however he has been doing a rapid fire of Kickstarters (28 in total so far) campaigns of useful RPG tools such as; The Book of Unusual Potions, for use with Fantasy RPGs , Delayed Blast Gamemaster, Dungeon Challenge Cards – For use with many tabletop RPGs. and most recently Dungeon Crafter’s Sketch Book – Square and Hex Editions. I naturally backed this for the Hex edition. Although shipping is not available outside of North America he has made physical copies available through Amazon Print on Demand.

My PoD copy from Amazon

The PoD for the UK is perfect bound with good quality paper. I was pleasantly impressed! I’ve been in a mood to hand draw my maps lately and as primarily a GURPS player I’m happy to do all of it on hex paper. Each hex is 7mm with a thicker outline of a hex flower. I love the sketchy hand drawn style of the hex grid which really adds to the aesthetic of a hand drawn map.

First material test Calligraphy pens and ink

I tried several media types on the paper. The first was calligraphy pen and ink. The ink was barely visible on the back side of the page.

Second media type, drawing pens.

I then tried using my artist drawing pens ranging from 005 to 08. This bled through just slightly on the backside but nothing too distressing. I did put a couple of dots from Sharpe pens but they bled heavily through the paper so they are not ideal at all.

The 08 to 02 bled through not so much the 01 or 005 pen size.
Using a larger scale
Pen and Coloured pencil

Coloured pencils work very well and I will now probable use my Calligraphy pens and the coloured pencils when using the book.

You can purchase the pdf’s from DriveThruRPG

Or order a physical copy from Amazon.

Mini Magnetic Battle Tiles

I found some A4 magnetic glossy sheets for inkjet printers. I wanted to see if i could print out the Battle Tiles at 2 inches vertical hexes. This way it can be a ‘mini map’ during play and I can pull out the appropriate 7 inch Battle Tiles during combat or special situations like trying to find traps and secret doors.

Testing them out on my metal filing cabinet.  I have a white board that we have used in the past for gaming and will be using that set on the table during play.

I am really pleased at the print quality that my Epson EcoTank ET-7750 was able to produce on these glossy magnetic sheets.  The stairs, doors, pits, and traps are a pain to cut out but they do stick to the top of the tiles allowing me to add features to the dungeon as well!

They cut better with a scissors then they did with the hobby knife. Now when we play I can place down the tiles as they explore the dungeons and they are just fun to play with on their own.

Dungeons on Automatic

Dungeons on Automatic is a new blog written by Kyle Norton.  He has recoded a random dungeon generator for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. Find that post HERE.  It uses the same generator as Donjon but he has changed the code for GURPS instead of D&D.  You can download it and use it offline and it is really a lot of fun to play with!

Here are some screen shots of a random result. Go check it out and have some fun!

7 inch Cave Battle Tiles

I’m currently working on the caves and I’m not satisfied with how they currently look.

The problem is where the floor meets the walls.  Bevel won’t work because it is lighted.  So one Bevel will be darker than the other and then they cave walls won’t match when you rotate them.  Because it is six sides I can’t really do multiple walls and change the lighting dynamics.  Not only does that require an extreme amount of work (like crazy amount) it still will be a problem with some of the cavern options.

This is kind of what it is gong to look like.  Mind you I’ve added no detailing to the cave floor.  My focus is on the wall effects.  I want to offer the same background texture as the dungeon Battle Tiles that way they will match seamlessly.  I will make transition tiles as well.

As for professionally getting these printed I think I’m going to make them into A1 or A0 posters and hand cut and mount them myself.

Battle Tile Tokens

To reduce the extremely large number of tiles I’m creating I’m adding tokens around the tiles.  It may use a bit more ink but it also allows you to get more out of your photo paper as well.  The tokens will allow you to place stairs, traps, treasure, etc. anywhere you want on your tiles.

Door Tokens

 These three style door tokens will allow you place your doors within any area on the tiles for the wider Vertical Corridors.  Carefully cut them out with a hobby knife using proper safety procedures and you can then either glue one side and fold in half on the grey dotted line or cut them in half and glue them on to thicker card. The backs of the tokens will have information on the type of door.  To make this easier and more customizable for those of you using the tiles all token pdf’s will be form fillable. Which means you can enter your own data. The center token in the picture above is how they will all look with blank data fields where as the other two is a representation of how they will look with the information inserted by the user.

Test it out on this pdf for yourself!  You will have to download the pdf, Google Docs won’t let you use the form features in the preview.

Because the Horizontal Corridors have to be slightly reduced in width I have created two types of door tokens for each door type. These also will have a form option on the reverse side.

Here are some of the options you can place from getting from one level to another.  I manipulated the pit images in photoshop.  The top one is a pit down to another corridor directly below it and the bottom one is just a deep pit.  I probably should have placed a skeleton on the bottom for scale. If you fold the pit symbols on the grey lines and glue the trap door parts together then glue the bottom (pitt symbol) to a piece of thick card you can have a pit tile with a working door!

Now to make sure that the pdf’s can be used by both A4 and 8.5″x11″ I’ve placed a red rectangle on my sheet representing the size of 8.5″ by 11″. This will make sure none of the pieces will be cut off due to size. Everyone will have to print them with no margins though.

I’d be interested to know what kind of tokens people would like to see.

How to Label Battle Tiles

I’ve gotten a few suggestions on labeling the tiles but I’ve not yet decided exactly how I am going to do it.

Number of corridor connections depending on the width of the corridors and the direction they are facing (horizontal or vertical)

I am kind of curious how someone who could turn these into a random generator would label these.  I’m almost tempted to break it down per wall connection as the room walls follow the different wall connection points as such…

This gives a possible of 11 points that a wall can connect to. Although the chances of needing most of them are slim.

For the most part if you’re making a dunging with the majority of it with the double width corridors you will be using the Double and possible the Irregular Double wall connections.

I’d like to come up with some kind of labeling system that would allow me to label them in a clockwise direction starting at the top of the hex.  That way if I realise I forgot an option it won’t end up at the end of the list with other odd sorts but would at least be grouped with tiles that are similar in some aspects.  Also a system like that might come in handy if ever I find someone willing to make a random dungeon generator with these tiles.

So the photo above would be categorized from the top of the hex with a Double Wide Left side Vertical wall, next side is Left Side Double Corridor , then nothing, then a Double Wide Corridor, 5th side also a double wide corridor then nothing.

The middle tile would have nothing, nothing, Right Side Double Corridor Wall, Open space, Left Side Horizontal Double Corridor, nothing.

The last tile would have nothing, Double Wide Corridor, Double Wide Horizontal Corridor, Double Wide Vertical Corridor, Double Wide Horizontal Corridor, Nothing.

Now to somehow figure out how to use that in some kind of labeling.  I’m up for any suggestions!  If you think you have an easier solution please let me know.

7″ Battle Tiles

I’ve gotten some positive feedback from my 7″ tiles so I thought maybe I could round them out a bit more before continuing on with the 4″ battle tiles.  To organise things I started to plan out some of the shapes in Adobe illustrator.  Here are just some of the tiles I’ve come up with for double wide corridors (6′)

So just a few!  I’ve color coded them based on how many corridor connections are available.  Here is just a quick example of what could be created with these tiles.

I’ve also been cleaning up the tiles a bit by adding another layer to hide unused grids. I think it looks much cleaner with the new build.

I’ve also been working on adding a bit of dirt and grime, not to all tiles as you really need generic tiles, but just a few of them. By creating a ‘Dirt’ layer with different transparencies and edge faders it can make some tiles look really disused.

Also with Campaign Cartographer I can easily change the backgrounds to allow for different style maps.

Want to plan your dungeon?  Check out my hex graph paper that I made in Illustrator.

Now this is where I’m going to get a bit cheeky.  I’d like to offer these in black & White OSR style which Profantasy Software has in The Cartographer’s Annual 2015 so if you can spare the dosh and donate a couple of quid (dollars) then I’ll be able to get a few new styles and offer those up for free like I do with all my hobby designs.

paypal.me/JCMorrison

 

7 inch hex Battle Tiles

I’d like to share the 7 inch hex Battle Tiles that I made back in 2009. You can read about it HERE on the Profantasy forums.

You can get them HERE

For more information on the battle tiles click on the tags to other posts concerning Geomorphs.

If you end up using them please share pictures and if you tend to use them often and you need a new tile then please let me know and I’ll whip one up for you.

Hand Drawn Map

I got bored at work so I drew this dungeon using tiles from the 4″ Hex Geomorphs.  The nice thing about hand drawing them is it allowed me to see that I could come up with a few new tiles that will increase the modular construction of the dungeons.  This is only like my second time trying the cross hatch fill that is really popular these days. I still need more practice at it.

I made a portrait and landscape versions of the hex grid in Adobe Illustrator and you can download the pdf HERE

My Thoughts on 4″ Hex Tiles

Last time I discussed, in my own disorganised way, my thoughts on 7″ hex tiles.  Now I’m going to delve into the 4″ hex tile.  As I’ve stated a few times before the thought first came to me when I saw the Tabletop Hex Terrain Toolkit on Kickstarter. This is going to be a great tool for making some wonderful terrain for both RPG’s and Wargames.  However the scale is just slightly off for my tastes (as discussed here).  I may eventually redesign the tool for use with proper one inch horizontal hexes, until then I am making four inch tiles to use for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy games.

The 4″ Tiles can only support single and double width corridors (1 hex = 3′) compared to the three widths in the 7″ tiles.  Also the number of connections is reduced dramatically to the four examples in the following image, compared to the 9 images for 7″ tiles.

Corridor options

Although there are fewer options I don’t think the four inch tiles are inferior to the seven inch.  The four inch tiles will certainly allow for more dense dungeons, and with a bit of thought and planning will be able to offer some very complex designs. Also you can make any Hex Dungeon look just like any Square dungeon.  All it takes is manipulating the width of the horizontal corridors. If the corridors are the same width they will not match up when a horizontal corridor attaches to a vertical corridor.  The horizontal corridor will be too wide.

Both horizontal and vertical corridors are the same width, the horizontal is too wide

The horizontal corridor is now slightly smaller than the vertical. H: 3.43, V: 3.9

I can live with this slight alteration as it now gives me more options when designing.  I can now have corridors that turn at 90° just like you would with a square tiled dungeon.

90° left hand turn

Single width corridors and room tiles, just a fraction of the possibilities

An example of what can be made 1 hex = 3′ (1 meter)

What I like from the example above is how at any given time the orientation of the dungeon can turn 60° giving the dungeon a more natural feel.  If you’re digging a dungeon why would you limit yourself to a grid? Also once you add the double width corridors your increasing your options and complexity.  I’ll be adding more as I have time.

I’ve got plans to make full 3D dungeons using the 4 inch tiles and plaster molds such as those you can get from Hirst Arts, Linka World, and 4bot Industries. The issue is I will have to make a lot of custom pieces and custom molds so I’m going to be shelving this project for the mean time.

I think switching from the 7″ to the 4″ tiles was the right choice for me. When I get time I will go ahead and place the 30+ 7″ colour tiles I’ve already made if anyone is interested in trying them out.  I’ll do the same for the 4″ but not until I get a large amount ready.

Pro

  • You can make dense dungeons without so many extra tiles
  • Easier to store
  • Can produce more random results
  • Easier to use “Fog of War” effect

Con

  • Only single and double wide corridors, no triple
  • No irregular/offset corridors
  • Floor textures may not align properly
  • Custom 3D parts

Profantasy Software

Mapping with Master Hexes

Hexomorfo System

Hirst Arts

4bot Industries