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Reuniting the Band - Mapping the Dungeon

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In my previous post I wrote about the difficulties I had with scanning my old campaign area maps from paper into a digital form so I could use them in FG. As youíll recall, it didnít go very well. But of course, campaign maps arenít the only maps we have to deal with as a GM. We have to make dungeon maps as well. And while I was scanning maps, I scanned some dungeon maps along with the campaign maps to see how that would go.

Iím sorry to report it went even more poorly than had the campaign maps. While the dungeon maps were a lot more readable than the campaign maps, and the file size was more reasonable, there was a fundamental problem with the graph paper: the ďsquaresĒ werenít actually square once they were scanned. Iím not sure if that was due to issues with the paper or the scanner, but the result was that I could only get the grid that FG applies to align with the squares on the paper for a small area, perhaps the size of a single room. The grid wouldnít align across the entire map. Worse yet, no matter how hard I tried the graph paper was never exactly square in the scanner, so I always had to open the scan in a graphics program and rotate the picture a tiny bit to get it square. The angles would be small, less than one degree, but if it wasnít square it looked terrible. Each scan was at a slightly different angle, so I had to tweak it by trial and error each time until I got it perfect.

I soon realized that by the time I did all of that I might as well draw the dungeons in the paint program to begin with. So I thatís what I did! The results were still quite Spartan, but at least the picture was square, and the grid would align properly.

Attachment 13954

Thatís a very basic map. In fact, this is the DM map for the first adventure I ran with FG. Yeah, thatís right, I had a different map to show the players! Several maps, in fact. There was one for each area of the dungeon, so there was one for the corridor at the north end, one for the square room, one for the next corridor, one for the first of the three contiguous rooms, and so forth. As you may have surmised, I didnít yet grasp the purpose of having a mask.

I soon learned how to use a mask effectively, and subsequent maps showed an entire dungeon level at once. Eventually I learned about other mapping tools, and the results became a bit more artistic as well. But thatís a post for another time.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Minty23185Fresh's Avatar
    As I read your post, I wondered, did you try to eliminate the scanned grid, the graph paper with say either the scanning software, kind of like tune it out as noise? Or use the little area fill tool, I think it looks like a slightly tipped paint can, with paint running out of it. it seems like it might fill to the walls of the dungeon, possibly drowning out the graph? Mostly curious as to whether you'd tried either of these and how it went. Personally I've never been to impressed with the area fill tool, too quirky!
  2. Phystus's Avatar
    No, I didn't, I just went directly to drawing my dungeons with the vector drawing tools. But you raise a good point, eliminating the graph paper grid would probably have worked too. I'd probably go with the color replacer tool rather than the flood fill, though, as it's less fiddly. I have found that the slightest break in a line will allow the flood fill to "leak" into places it isn't wanted. But if you were to sample the color of the grid and replace it with the color of the paper you might eliminate the grid pretty quickly. Good idea!

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