Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dwarven Outpost Kit

I was kinda wanting to enter something in this year's One-Page Dungeon contest, but the visual dungeon I had in mind has been requiring me to learn more to even be able to make it.  When I saw Roger's cool outdoor location he entered, though, it inspired me and I really wanted to submit something.  I made a push, but after working many hours yesterday and today I just didn't make it in time.  It wasn't a stocked dungeon anyway, and I still get to share it with you.  So onward.  Let's recap a little:
  • To justify using a stencil it needs to do something extra for us or it would be faster and easier to just draw a dungeon by hand.
  • I think a few things that stencils might help with are hard to draw shapes like perfect ovals and triangles and such, repetitive structures, and my latest discovery-- adding depth with a pseudo-isometric view.
  • Keep in mind stamps and linocuts like here.  I think they would function similarly but be easier to use, while being harder to make.
I tried to combine all these ideas into a cool tool.  It still takes some time to use; it isn't for use at the table, really.  But I'm hoping it could make for some interesting location based explorations missions.  Here is what I came up with:
And here are some pics of me eatin' my own dogfood:
I used a discarded report cover that had a pretty tough but flexible black plastic back.
After the surgery.  Yeah, the fish ponds gave me some trouble.  The good thing is these should last a while so you only have to cut them out once.
Here's me trying them out.  I didn't finish the map, but you can see I added a hallway linking the Barracks to the Smithy.  I tried randomizing, but I think the best way to use these is just arrange one of each tetramorph to taste.  You could put more space between them and intersperse other rooms if you want.  Anyway, let me know if any of you try it out.


  1. Really great stuff! Thanks for the ideas!

  2. Hmm, this has a lot of possibilities. The limitation on old-style geomorphs is that they were unwieldy for actual map construction. This is why the internet helped revive them. Your idea adds a new way to get them from morph to map, but I think the best use is for the three-d look.

    Have you considered using GIMP and layers to achieve that look in an e-document?

  3. cool. you should kickstart some plastic stencils man.

  4. Very cool, I have always love the old ISO style from way back in the day, probably Ravenloft did it, and it looks like you are on the right track to produce some very nice maps using this manor.

  5. @Jim, Matt: Thanks, I'm having fun. I've got some mini-hexes coming up next.

    @Roger: Hey, thanks. Yeah I agree. And nope, never though of shifting layers, as I slap my head. I'll try that next.

    @Todd, thanks. I think this kind of thing is a product you could actually make physically and sell. I mean, it's kind of a pain to have to cut all the stencils and people might pay to have them all pre-made. That being said, I doubt there is enough interest to warrant a Kickstarter. Maybe if I gathered a few more cool crafty things and bundled them to sell to parents.