RSS

Tag Archives: Maps

More Handy Notepads

Now is a good time to visit your local Half Price Books!

As if you needed a reason.

I found another line of pocket notebooks that is just perfect for on-the-go dungeon mapping. Leuchtturm 1917 is a German manufacturer of fine notebooks, and let me add that it pleases me to no end that in an era of cost cutting and digital tablets a company can still exist based on making quality notebooks. That it’s a German company also seems appropriate.

The model I found is a nice 3.5″ x 6″ with a 17×26 grid pattern on both pages. Technically 18 across, but the last column is on the gutter and isn’t easily used. The book has a thread binding, which on the downside means it doesn’t lay flat as easily as a spiral binding, but on the plus side it is sturdy, attractive, and reduces the profile making it fit in your pocket better. There are other nice touches in the design, such as acid free “no bleed” paper, an expandable pocket in the back cover, a built in page marker, and a band to hold it closed. These would be fine journals in any case, but the grid pattern makes them wonderful for gamers.

The US distributor for Leuchtturm is Kikkerland Design and they sell this model for $12.95. When I found them at Half Price Books they cost just under $5 and when I went back for more they’d been marked down again to $2.99!

I now have several Leuchtturm notebooks sitting on the shelf next to my Blue Sky planners.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 8, 2015 in Cool Stuff, Dungeon Design, Gaming, Maps

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

It Came from the Blogosphere!

Several very cool things have popped up in my RSS feed lately.

  • The Hack & Slash blog has done an impressive analysis of the various treasure types in the 1st Edition Monster Manual that discusses what each type consists of, what types of monsters are assigned to them, and what the treasure types say about the ecology of the creatures involved. It’s an impressive bit of analysis that’s both informative and interesting to read. The follow up post about how to use treasure hoards in adventure design is also quite good.
  • Dyson’s Dodecahedron has announced that he’s hit his goal of $300 per update via Patreon. Dyson has always offered his maps for personal use, but hitting this goal means he’s making them freely available for commercial use (with proper attribution of course). That’s both cool and generous. Dyson’s maps are excellent and if more people start using them in commercial adventures? That’s a win for everyone. It’s also neat to see someone really leveraging Patreon to do what they love and give back to the OSR community.
  • The amazingly cool Ask About Middle-Earth Tumblr was involved in helping fact check the latest CGP Grey video that does an excellent job of summing up how the rings of power work. I’ve become quite a fan of the Ask About Middle-Earth blog (along with a gazillion other people) and the author’s sense of fun and passion for Tolkien’s works always shows through in her work. Check out her site and definitely watch the video.
  • Lastly, I saw the image below on the Jewel in the Skull Tumblr page and it just makes my Saturday morning cartoon soul just sing. If my Google-Fu is accurate, these links go to the inker and colorist for this geekishly wonderful cross-over.

80sSwordsSmall

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Speaking of Isometric Mapping

One of the things I love about the OSR is that it’s allowed people to create and spread unique ideas and products.

Case in point, my post on G+ asking about isometric mapping was replied to by the author of the blog Blue Boxer Rebellion. He happens to make isometric dungeon tiles and sells them on Drive Thru RPG.

Dungeon tiles are nothing new, I got my first set in the 80’s and I know there were sets available in the 70’s. I’ve seen countless 2D and 3D sets, but I’ve never seen an isometric set before now. It’s rare that I can look at a gaming product and say that I’ve never seen anything like it. You can see his products on his store front here.

I love the optical illusion effect the tiles generate and the hand drawn black-and-white fits my preferred old school art preferences. You can get a good look at a sample on his blog here.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Isometric Mapping Thoughts

I posted this on the G+ OSR community as well.

Question on mapping. I’ve been looking at some wonderful examples of isometric maps.

Aesthetically I like them, but here’s my question. Do they have any effect from the player’s point of view? Would players realize that a map was done isometrically if the DM doesn’t tell them? Maybe it helps the DM express changes in height better, but otherwise I’m not sure.

This isn’t a knock on the design choice, I love them. Wish I could draw them better. I’m just wondering because I’ve always looked at them from the DM’s point of view and never thought about how they do or don’t change things on the other side of the screen.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Free This Week – Sketchbook Pro

I have returned from Pennsic War!

It was my first Pennsic for a while and it was a ton of fun. I’m still getting my feet back on the ground at home and work from the time off, but should resume irregular updates shortly.

In the meantime, Sketchbook Pro is the iTunes free App of the Week!

I’ve talked about this app a few times in the past. It’s an inexpensive drawing program for your iPad that works well for drawing dungeon maps.

It’s worth a look, and this week you can do it for free.

Happy mapping!

IMG_0343

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Cool Stuff, Dungeon Design, Maps

 

Tags: , , , ,

Handy Notepad

*Update* See below for corrections

I’ve been wanting to do more mapping lately. Specifically dungeon maps.

To do this I wanted to find a notepad that was more portable than my trusty 8.5″ x 11″ graph pad. Something I could toss into my laptop bag or a jacket pocket. I found a few promising candidates online, but nothing I wanted to pay shipping on. Having tried several art and office supply locations I’d just about given up hope.

Then while going through Wal-Mart I came across the perfect solution.

A company called Blue Sky produces a line called ProNotes that could have been custom designed for gamers. The books are 5.5″ x 8.5″, comfortably fitting into the cargo pocket on my jeans and the spiral binding lets me clip in my pencil. The notebook is designed for mapping out projects, so when you open up the left hand page has a 12 x 22 graph while the right hand page has a ruled section for notes. You could practically market these to the OSR community as One Page Dungeon planners.

You can order them directly from Blue Sky’s website, the product page is here and the cost is $7.99 per booklet. Refills are listed as available through various retailers but I do not see them on the Blue Sky website. The notebooks I picked up at Wal-Mart were about half the price. I’m not sure if they were on sale or priced at the refill rate, but I snapped up the only two they had.

If you are looking for a portable dungeon sketchbook, keep your eyes peeled for these.

*Corrections* I stopped at another Wal-Mart and discovered a few things I had wrong. The pads I picked up are 4″ x 6″ and under the “Notes” line instead of “ProNotes”. This line doesn’t appear on Blue Sky’s web site. I found them on the shelf in the same section as the regular pads of paper and they retail for under $5.

Notepad1

It would be fantastic if we could get these branded for Labyrinth Lord or Dungeon Crawl Classics!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Cool Stuff, Dungeon Design, Gaming, Maps

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quixotic Observation

I’ve been looking at city maps recently, particularly medieval maps, and I noticed something. Or rather, I noticed a lack of something.

Windmills.

Windmills3

Taken from a 17th Century map of Paris

Several medieval maps depict windmills in and around their cities, but I can’t think of any maps of fantasy cities that include them. For that matter, I can only think of a few fantasy pictures with windmills and none involve cities. That’s an interesting omission considering the importance of mills to a city. Not every city will be situated in a place where windmills are an option, but their absence in fantasy illustration is interesting.

Windmills2From the same map. I like this one because it shows a large mill within the city walls.

Perfect for the court sorcerer.

This provides DM’s with a quick and easy way to add a bit of color to their cities. Windmills are evocative, like wizards towers, and can be tied in equally well with either magic or steampunk style technology.

Windmills1

From a map of 13th Century Rhodes.

A battery of windmills along a coastal wall could have more purpose than grinding meal.

Historically windmills have been connected to such fantastic individuals as Don Quixote and Frankenstein. Who can forget the climactic end to the 1931 classic Frankenstein?

FrankensteinWindmill

Good thing there was a Groupon for torches and pitchforks!

This has me thinking about ways to use windmills in game settings. I’ll save that for another post, more grist for the… well you get the idea.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Cool Stuff, Fantasy, Gaming, World Design

 

Tags: , , , , ,