Saturday 10 September 2016

Isometric Tutorial Videos

I've started a series of isometric tutorial videos, showing how I draw various pieces of dungeon architecture. So far I've done some stairs and a set of arched double doors.

I'm using graph paper from Incompetech, specifically the "isodots", with the dots set to light blue. Using cyan dots lets me pull them out easily with Photoshop (using a black and white adjustment layer with the cyan slider set all the way to white).

The basic points I cover are:

  • block out the 3D space the object is going to occupy
  • ensure you're rigorously following the isometric lines - all drawings are flat, so this is important to reinforce the impression of three-dimensionality
  • finding points in 3D space often happens by finding the intersection between a vertical and a horizontal line (as with the stair creases)
  • texture adds character, but must also follow the isometric axes or you'll quickly spoil the 3D impression
  • circles are tricky - as with other shapes, first draw the square tht the square that the circle occupies, then draw it as four separate arcs
  • draw your objects from the front of your dungeon to the back so you don't accidentally
  • draw in pencil first (ideally blue, so you can use the same PS trick to remove it without having to erase)
  • use a waterproof pen, so you don't smudge your ink
  • use thicker lines to indicate depth changes between objects
Hope it's useful!

Thursday 1 September 2016

The Roots of Ambition

A money-mad alchemist wages ecological war on a desert plateau. An order of animists, a long way from home, tends to their nascent god.

On the Big Map, the plateau is located in the dry north, on the border between the Far Blightlands and Firevault, but you can place it in any arid spot in your campaign world.  It runs standalone, or as a possible follow-up adventure to The Oracle's Decree.

A force in this adventure is a soil mother, one of my favorite monsters, first concocted for my "Burning Grunweld" campaign some years ago.

One of the inherent difficulties in sketching out a whole region and its factions in just two pages is that, because of the huge amount of terrain involved, it's not stocked at hex-crawl densities, and is probably best run more like a point crawl with Lord of the Rings-style encounter densities. This is particularly true if you're running it in a confined time slot like a con.

Speaking of two pages, you'll notice this is the first of my adventures where I'm trying a new layout, deliberately built as a two-page spread. I've chosen to have the map span the gutter, which is a bit of an experiment.

I couldn't resist the wide sweeping effect, but cutting the map in half is a definite trade-off. If you want the map in its unblemished whole, download the image, below.

Once again, many thanks to the patrons that throw money at me when I make these. Because of their generosity, all of the text and imagery in this month's adventure is free for use non-commercially under CC-BY-NC.