An Adventurer's Musing #2

Author: Andrew /

So recently I've been thinking about World Building. It's, at once, a daunting task and at the same time, really exciting. I've been doing research and getting back into my artistic mindset, busting out forests, mountain ranges and expanses of land where the peoples of this fictional world can live. As I was thinking about doing this, as well as executing it, it made me realize something. The use of reference in gaming.

In art, the use of reference is invaluable. I'm sure there is nary an artist out there who can honestly do better work without reference, than with it. Now, granted, this is somewhat of different context, but bear with me. I find that, when dungeon mastering, things are much easier, much better and much more fun if I have something to reference. I can write out a list of buildings and cities with different peoples in them, but it still isn't visual. You read it and still have to vaguely imagine "Ok, this is here, that's over there, etc". With a map, you can see "Ok, this place is near this place, that means that the crowd for this place is near the other, this impacts these other places around it, etc."

Learning this, I went to the effort of making a map, which is still in the process of being made, of a world that's been sitting in my head. Seeing it come to life on the page (ok, the digital paper) really makes things pop. You get to look at it and go "Ok, we're gonna have it cold here, hot here; there are gonna be civilized folks here and barbarians here, etc." and it really makes it much more real.

So, that said, I believe that having a map, and some point of reference is really good. I recognize that not everyone feels that art is their forte, but if you ever have the inclination to give it a try, you deffinately should try your hand at some fantasy cartography. The software I hear most use for these efforts are Gimp, Photoshop and Campaign Cartographer 3. Gimp and Photoshop are more advanced and are made to do photo editing and whatnot. CC3, on the other hand, is made specifically for building campaign maps and whatnot, for use in fantasy games. It's worth a look, if you're interested in the subject.

Alright, that's it for this little bit. Thanks again for reading!



silent stone said...

I was looking for some project to undertake so I could learn the ins and outs of the GIMP, and this post gave me an idea. Three hours worth of work (mostly in learning how to do stuff), and this is what I have.

Andrew said...

Hey, very very nice! For not having had played with that stuff before (or so it sounds) that's pretty good. I'm doing mine in Photoshop. I don't want to post it 'til it's done but I think that for being my first go at a map, it's not too bad. I'll post a link with a brief (ok, knowing me, it won't be THAT bried) write-up as a post. Keep up the good work; I love to see new artwork!

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