Tiddlywikis

I’ve waxed lyrical about the virtues of Tiddlywikis before, small programs that you can use to host and reference the information for your campaign, well I’ve recently started them to for two campaigns that I’m running and they’re now hosted on my website:

Cheats guide to making simple outline maps in Photoshop

Please note: There are some excellent and very professional cartographers out there producing great maps for games, this article is not designed to create a map to compete with them, it is for someone who wants to quickly put together a simple map that they can use during a RP campaign with minimal struggle.

Producing professional looking campaign maps can be very tricky, takes a lot of practice and time, however, if you’re just looking for a quick map that will enable you to get playing your game quickly then this guide should help you.

This article assumes you have access to Photoshop and basic ability to use it (although the principles should be transferable to other graphic programs like GIMP).

  1. Open a new screen
    Start up your graphics program and open a new image.1
  2. Colour in the water on your map
    Choose a colour to represent the water on you map and then fill the whole screen in that colour (you can switch to the fill option by pressing G on your keyboard in Photoshop). It’s generally best if you go for a mid-range blue colour.2
  3. Download some landmass brushes
    This is where you’ll really save a lot of time, instead of drawing your landmasses by hand or laboriously creating them using the Photoshop freehand tool, look online for a set of brushes that are ready made landmasses.I recommend land brushes by Bonvanello: http://bonvanello.deviantart.com/art/Land-Brushes-307837333

    Download the brush file to your computer, then select the brush tool (or press B in Photoshop).

    Click on the option to change your brush size and then on the small arrow at the side (as shown on the screenshot below).

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    Select load brushes and then navigate to where you saved the landmass brush file.
    If you scroll down the brushes available to you, you should now see the various island shapes available.

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  4. Create a new layer for the land
    You can do this by clicking on the add new layer button in Photoshop.6
  5. On the new layer put down landmasses in a different colour (I’m going to use white), re-sizing and rotating brushes until you’re happy with them7
  6. Making sure you still have your land layer selected, double click to the right of the layer name (as shown in the image below)8
  7. You will see the following menu appear9
  8. Select Outer Glow, this will create an area of colour around your landmasses, you can change the colour to a lighter blue than your sea and mess around with the different settingsThe settings I’ve used are shown below.

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    This creates the area of shallow water around the coasts of your landmasses.

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  9. So there you are a simple map ready for you to sketch on and fill in as your campaign progresses. If you want to give your landmasses a little more definition then you can use the Stroke effect to add an outline and the Inner Glow effect to give them a bit more of a 3D look.12
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    So there you are, using this method it’s possible to create a basic outline map for an RPG in about ten minutes or so (quicker once you’ve had a bit of practice).

     

Useful link: Photoshop brushes for Maps

I’ve recently been working a lot on various maps for my 3Brothers D&D 5E Campaign (you can find a link to a collection of the maps here), one of the things that I have found has made the work go a lot quicker is using pre-made photoshop brushes for things like mountains, forests, etc.

After scouting around the internet for awhile I found the following excellent collection:

http://www.photoshopwebsite.com/photoshop-brushes/200-map-photoshop-brushes-free-download/

If you’re using Photoshop and are looking for a way to make your maps a little more quickly then I highly recommend giving these a look, if you want some tutorials on mapping then I’d advise you to check out Fantastic Maps.


Map image is the 1794 Samuel Dunn Wall Map of the World in Hemispheres labelled for re-use on Google Image Search.

3Brothers Obsidian Portal

After watching the second session of TheRogueDM’s excellent Clockwork Opera steampunk D&D 5E game I noticed that Jenny had set up an Obsidian Portal page for the game (you can see that by clicking here), I remember using this campaign management website years ago but had never really got into it, I took a look and was please to see that it looked like a possible solution for my note/plot management concerns for my 3Brothers Campaign so I rolled up my sleeves and dived in.

You can find my the 3Brothers Obsidian Portal page here: https://threebrothersdd5ecampaign.obsidianportal.com/

Three Brothers Gazeteer

For those of you who read my blog regularly you’ll know that I’ve just started work on preparing a campaign world called the Three Brothers to run a regular D&D 5E game in, the world is essentially one that was taken over by the Gith and all the people enslaved, one hundred years before the campaign began, three individuals (an elf, dwarf and human who came to be known as the three brothers) lead the people in a rebellion that saw the Gith being cast down and the races freed. Continue reading

A couple more intro crawl generators

Shortly after posting my previous post about Star Wars intro crawls I came across two more of them: Continue reading

Star Wars Crawl Creators

One of the things I’ve really been enjoying about running a load of Star Wars RPG games recently is that I’ve been making intro crawls for each of the episodes and putting them on my Youtube channel, if you don’t know what an intro crawl is then it’s the bit at the start of a Star Wars film where the text scrolls up the screen and gives you some background on the film, normally being followed by a space battle or scene of a planet or similar.

Still not sure what I mean? Well have no fear you can the intro crawls from the first six Star Wars movies by clicking here. Continue reading

DBJ’s Ultra Rules Lite System

Davae Breon Jaxon posted his ultra rules lite RPG system to the RPG Tabletop 1-shot Group the other day, it reminded me of a mix of Dungeon World, Numenera and Aspect Only Fate (which is no bad thing), I liked it so much that I wanted to share it with other people.

Please note: I had no input into creating this, full credit goes to DBJ, I’m simply boosting the signal 🙂

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pOltnTXaiiDdzGKvSiF2nqKFbeKFYH97hoqdgo_d7l0/edit?usp=sharing

 

Free Online Image Editor

I recently found myself having to create an overlay for a Tides of Change game that someone was running, however, I was away from home without access to my trusty copy of Photoshop CS 5, I already had the Powerpoint template to make the overlay, but I needed to change the JPG character picture that I had been sent into an interlaced-PNG with a transparent background.

After some searching on the internet I discovered the Free Online Image Editor, this site not only allowed me to do what I wanted but also had some great tools for things such as creating animated GIFs, there’s even options for adding speech bubbles and a rain effect over images.

I’ve added it to my useful links page but you can find it at this web address: http://www.online-image-editor.com/

What if the prequels were good?

One of my blog readers posted me a link on my What if the lava didn’t do it?post asking whether I’d seen a series of videos about how the prequel trilogy could have been re-done to make them good? At the time I hadn’t seen them, but given my recent interest in matters of canon and how it could be tweaked to better fit an individual games needs (spurred on initially by Runeslingers post in his blog) I sat down with my wife and watched through all three of the videos.

I absolutely loved them and am strongly considering using them as “the truth” of the past in my Adventures on the Outer Rim series of games, to my mind the suggestions given would have made for far better prequel movies than the ones we actually got; I’m going to post links to them below so that anyone else who wants to watch them can do so.

Disclaimer: Please note that I have no direct involvement with the videos linked below, they were created by Belated Media, their inclusion is not meant as any challenge to copyrights, they are linked solely so that more people can see these excellent videos.

Continue reading