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Five-minute maps, 15-minute dungeon

October 28, 2012

I’m slow at getting things done. Like a lot of people, perhaps, I tend to start a new project in a burst of excited creativity and then get bogged down in the details. Gamer ADD plays a part, too. Regular readers may have noticed that I haven’t finished this or this or even this. I’m constantly amazed at the ability of people like John Stater to produce top-notch stuff like NOD, Blood & Treasure, Pars Fortuna, Tales of the Space Princess, etc., seemingly on an hourly basis. By comparison, my pace is positively glacial. (Not that I’m in any hurry, mind you. My players have barely scratched the surface of Stonehell, and we have plenty of other things to play.)

Anyway, I’m intrigued by Dyson’s recent posts on the subject of five-minute mapping. With its quick and dirty, get-your-finger-out philosophy, it reminds me of the 24-hour comic thing* started by Scott McCloud over – gasp! – twenty years ago. Actually, the main thing that intrigues me is the implication that there are people out there who have five minutes to spare drawing maps during their working day, to which I say: Harrumph. You jammy sods. So I’m already flouting the rules of the game by not doing it on a Friday, and definitely not doing it at work. Hey, I don’t care. I’m a scofflaw.

Making dungeon maps is fun. Sometimes I make them freehand, but I’m also fond of the free mapping software, Dungeon Crafter. (I was going to link to it, but the Shard Games site seems to have vanished. That’s a great pity.) Despite its limitations, not to mention my own, I decided to try my hand at making a five-minute map using Dungeon Crafter. Well, blimey, those five minutes went fast! But I think the result is serviceable, if somewhat plain. “Minimalist” would probably be a charitable description. Changing tiles takes valuable time, so there are fewer diagonal corridors and interesting-shaped rooms than I would normally include. No time for room numbers either.

Having done it once, I tried it again. And once again. So here’s a little three-level dungeon. Each map was made in five minutes flat.

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2

LEVEL 3

The “chamfered” corner motif appeared on a couple of rooms on Level 1 without conscious thought on my part, so I decided to continue the theme on the lower levels (burning precious seconds as I did so). Note also that the pit on Level 2 drops anyone unfortunate enough to trigger it into the portcullis-barred room in the centre of Level 3.

This was a fun exercise. I might try a freehand map next time, and see how far I get in the same time span.

* Only 288 times faster, obviously.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Dyson Logos permalink
    October 28, 2012 11:45 pm

    Nice, I like the chamfered motif. I find I use it myself fairly frequently when trying to avoid square rooms, or even more likely, when I realize a room I drew is getting a bit lopsided (since I don’t use grid lines).

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