Sunday, May 8, 2022

Tolkien-Style Maps

Warren at I Cast Light said this and got my brain going this weekend:

"Related: I would love to see the OD&D Outdoor Survival map become more a defacto map that everyone iterates on. Outdoor Survival map provides that richer environment. Also easier to provide your own spin on a recipe when the base is worked out like a chocolate chip cookie recipe."

So I sat down and I made this version of the Outdoor Survival map for a Secret Project I am working on:

Click for full sized version.

If you're unfamiliar with the Outdoor Survival map, here's a quick history from a blogpost I wrote for the (now sadly defunct) OSR Elfgame website:

"The origins of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) lie in medieval wargaming. When Gygax and Arneson were building out the earliest RPG paradigms, they used whatever they could get their hands on to represent their fantastic medieval dioramas. When it came time for their fighters and armies to move across the wild landscape, they reached for a board game that was already on their shelf: Outdoor Survival, published by Avalon Hill. The game was about orienteering hikers and featured (you guessed it) a hex map of a wild expanse. A copy of this board game was actually required to play original D&D (it’s listed as a requisite on page 5 of the “Men and Magic” book, alongside polyhedral dice and a “patient Referee”)."

I had never made a map in this style and am tentatively pleased with the initial results. Here is how I did it:

1. I started with Chris Taylor's scalable bitmap version of the Middle-earth map  (many thanks for this yeoman's work!)

2. I created Photoshop brushes and stamps using the assets

3. I used the original Outdoor Survival map as the base layer in Photoshop and set my drawing layer at a 75% opacity over it

4. I traced over the map with my brushes and stamps

I bundled the asset pack I used into this ZIP file, free to download. If you want to make your own Tolkien style map, you can use these as brushes and stamps to do so. 

If you make something using these assets, please show it to me! I'd love to see what you create!