Saturday, November 14, 2015

Finished Isolde-Delta Continent Map

24 December, 1977:

It began with the Bloated Blowfish Tavern in early December of 1977. After finishing that single point of reference I slowly expanded outward on old brown paper and by Christmas eve, I had roughly drawn out the area of Lake Elise, and started branching towards the Crestfallen Mountains.

In March of '78 I had the Southern tip completed, and began work northward ever-expanding the realm. By Christmas of that year I had started reading a series of Fantasy books that would alter my vision. Stephen R. Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" series began with Lord Foul's Bane, and the character's and the map of "The Land" fascinated me.

As the years passed, I kept adding to my own world, but couldn't come up with an area to fill the northeastern corner. My original brown paper drawing had been erased so many times in that area that it was tattered and had torn easily from all the redrawing attempts.

I redrew it and improved the details over the next five years.

Then, one evening in 1983, I had just finished a chapter of Donaldson's sixth book, "White Gold Wielder" when I casually flipped to the map in the front of the book. It suddenly dawned on me what was missing, so at 2 am I took off from my apartment in Illinois, and drove straight through to my grandfather's house in Ohio. Six coffees and one stop for breakfast later and I was comparing my dog-eared tattered paper-map to the "The Land" map.

This could work...

Over the next thirty years I slowly laid everything out, and finalized each place, creating backstories and using newer media to update and make my world come to life. Then I got serious...

12 October, 2013 to 14 November, 2015:

After laying out "The Land" section, I began re-creating my features using CC layers and sheets to provide a unifying base. Throw in my own custom textures, and in the end I settled on two distinct types of fonts - Packard for my world, and Palatino for "The Land" so that it would be easy to differentiate between worlds.

I used Sketch-up to create various city symbols like the Bloated Blowfish Tavern and Castle of the Bloated One. Even created a full ship called the Maiden's Kiss (see the post for details further down the front page) - for inclusion as a Symbol in any port of bay where I needed it. 

I used Campaign Cartographer 2, then updated to 3 about a year and a half ago. One thing is for certain, the new CC 3+ is out, and I will be purchasing the updated base kit that Pro-Fantasy offers (CC3+ and City/Dungeon Designer 3) because I now have proof that the software is worth every penny.

I created the map border, ripples for the shoreline, underwater features and legend/compass on different layers in Paint Shop Pro 7/9. Then added a burn layer on the underwater features (set at just 17%) to blend everything together.

Software used:
Campaign Cartographer 2/3
Paint Shop Pro 7.4/9.1
Google Sketch-Up

Twenty three months

38 years later, and I made the trip to Staples and had the map printed at 3'x3' in full glory on glossy paper. Included below is a finished 1/2 scale copy for those interested.

Throw in a 48"x36" display board, two different types of hangars (one to mount the poster to the board, then mount the board to the kitchen wall) and 50 bucks later we have a finished campaign world fit for a king.

The author standing near his finished map, pointing to "where it all started". Obviously 3.2 megapixels ain't very clear, so blame it on my non-photogenic qualities. 8)

For those interested in a full view, I'm also including a 1/2 scale .png available at my Mega account. (Choose "download using your browser" for the easy method).!xMFyVJiQ!jBmoY1nMoWLi5OA78-JbaR0umbniOPxCOlLwFmEak6c


Saturday, September 26, 2015


As part of the re-creation of my original Campaign World, Isolde-Delta I've been using Campaign Cartographer 3 to complete it. On the Southern Coast I had this nice little area, perfect as an ode to a friend from down under, thus Atherton was born.

EST: 419 DF - Population 498



The Maiden's Kiss

An ongoing project of mine is to create 3D items in Sketchup, and make them useable during gaming sessions, thus, the Maiden's kiss was conceived.

11 December, 1979:

The original Maiden's Kiss was drawn on 4 sheets of graph paper, then expanded to include a front Crew Quarter for longer voyages. The ship is nearly 100' in length and is a mainstay around the Southern Coast of Isolde-Delta.

Rear side:
Lower Crew Quarters:
 Captain's Quarters:
 Top View: (I may move the grid closer to increase detail)
  Looking into the lower Crew Quarters:
Front Quarters:
Captain's Quarters:

Sadly, posting images of a 3D object into a 2 dimensional space doesn't quite provide the grandeur I'd like, but hopefully these will whet the appetite.


Sunday, September 14, 2014



Continuing the focus on basic building maps.

I was going to create a set of layouts that detailed the three levels of the windmill that I created, but when researching typical designs, the lack of "useable space" inside derailed that idea rather quickly.

Instead, I created a support house with thatched "lesser" buildings attached, then finished the layout with well and fence. Presented below is the finished design:

Front view presenting the windmill and support building:
Side view:
Isometric view and details:
Overhead view with 10' grid in place (Dimensional size: 100' x 70')

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


One area of mapping that I feel is lacking for 1E (and similar) games is simple layouts that can be quickly used when the need arises. The next few posts will detail some of these concepts, starting with the Toll-House/Toll-Gate.

From "Toll-Gates in Sussex" by Leonard G. Lane,  (Sussex County Magazine Index - Volume 10 - 1936 - Turnpikes)

Historically,  the people that lived near these toll-houses survived almost entirely on the produce of their own farms. Consequently, land and bridge owners often were prepared to accept hides and bullocks as tolls for the use of their bridges. Money didn't come into general use until the thirteenth century.

I discovered a good reference image of a Toll-House at

Armed with that data, presented below is a finished Toll-House with gate and bridge over water (and shadows):

Lastly, a traditional top-down view with 10' grid in place:


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not Dead Yet...

Yes fellow bloggers/readers, the reports of my unfortunate demise at the hands of The Bloated One have been greatly exaggerated. Although I do have a contract out on Lycosis' daughter, for her unscrupulous duping of my assistant cartographer, one Hannibal Hornblower.

Shalon, the aforementioned daughter, gave Hannibal a small chest as payment for his work on her dungeon (coming soon to this very blog). Turns out the chest had multiple complex locks and traps and Mister Hornblower, in his infinite wisdom, spent the portly sum of 1800 gp to remove the traps and arcane snares. Once unlocked, the dwarf popped the chest open - only to release her most daring trap - a miniature mimic.

Needless to say when Hannibal showed up for work last week, with said mimic - imagine a crab, complete with over-sized pincers - attached to his nose and right ear, I nearly died laughing. After regaining my composure, and telling Hannibal to please refrain from speaking due to his sounding like a seal on helium, we set about finding some equally unscrupulous miscreants to return the favor ten-fold.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bloated Blowfish:Commons Tavern Detailed Maps

For those wondering, I've just finished moving and was without internet access. However, I can now continue posting info on the Bloated Blowfish Tavern complex.

Commons Tavern: First Floor

The layout is housed on the lower plateau that overlooks Lake Elise and grants easy access for town-folk, fishermen and travelers. The first floor includes main tavern hall complete with large fireplace, spacious fronting bar and kitchen. 

Kitchen access is granted through a closed door, located near the stairs which lead to the second floor. A secondary storage room, containing steps to the basement, sits next to the kitchen. Entertainers passing through the Lake Elise region typically perform near the fireplace.

Commons Tavern: Second Floor

The second floor includes two large private rooms and a balcony area where the town-folk gather. It features a set of built in tables and benches which face inwards, and overlook the lower level. Entertainers performing below will either have a) coppers tossed down at them, or B) chicken bones depending on their entertainment level.

An outdoor balcony is accessible via a door on the Southern wall.

Commons Tavern: Basement

The basement is accessed via the storage room on the first floor and includes wine casks, two large wine racks and other small storage rooms. (B10) A secret door, located along the Northern wall leads to (B13) which includes a passage that leads up to the Blowfish Regal Tavern basement and to a sealed portcullis.