You may not know this, but I have a cartography jones from time to time and have to scrawl out a map. Here’s a secret. I work in very unusual patterns from most folks I know. Typically on adventures and projects, I come up with a title that intrigues me…it may not be the final title, but the working title. Case in point, Iron Dynasty: Sins of the Samurai began as Katana: Samurai Steampunk. I’m still in the infancy of the project and haven’t gotten to immerse myself too deeply into it, so often in my head, I use the Samurai Steampunk monniker to sum it up. If you meet me, I’ll probably do the same thing.
On a side note, to those interested individuals, RunePunk has always been RunePunk and Agents of Oblivion has always been Agents of Oblivion, though the latter began as a subtitle for another sort of line I envisioned. The craziness of its evolution into True20 and the popularity of the title made me decide to bump it up to a full on product line title. So it goes.
Getting back to the mapping. I snagged some nifty mapping programs. One is an old favorite most recently updated for the 21st Century. The program in question is Campaign Cartographer 3. I’ve been an owner of CC forever and used it from time to time for campaigns I’ve run over the years, but found the exchange of time invested for return to not be what I needed, so I’d bounce away for awhile. I noticed on the mailing list they recently updated, so I snagged it at as an early adopter and love it. I can do things easily now that had me smacking my head on and getting all kinds of angry about. So, I’m gonna bite the bullet, plunk down some green on a nice graphi tablet, and set to work on doing the maps for Iron Dynasty. Remember, I mentioned Iron Dynasty at the beginning of this and how I work in odd tangents? Well, with ScatterPoint, I began with a map and set out the places I wanted and racked my head quite a bit for the proper names to lend atmosphere to this extradimensional city and then I got to writing.
Iron Dynasty I’ve already gotten down in broad strokes. The playtesters have a primitive map I quickly whipped up in a graphics program to give them a sense of location, but for Iron Dynasty, it’s necessary to see the proper relation of places, allegiances, and various other elements of coolness. Same goes with the fantasy adventure I’m working up. People appreciate a good map.
The other software I got is better aimed at battlemaps, though I think I can whip up some interesting stuff for campaign level maps. That fantasy adventure I’m working on should benefit from this software, Dundjinni as well as Modern Maps I’ll be crafting for the Agents of Oblivion demo in a couple of weeks. While I’m working on the maps for the Iron Dynasty, I’ve already got a clear picture of things and people, it’s just a matter of putting them down and I’m confident that, like always, certain features I work into the map will suggest themselves to adventure.
See, I told you I work in an unusual fashion from most folks I know. Now, if I can only master all the nuances of illustration, I’ll be pretty good shape. ;)
P.S. I started to sidebar some discussion of Agents of Oblivion. Instead, I decided since it’s more of a ramble than anything to put it in this week’s Razorwise Report.