Yesterday I was in a rush and posted up my Fungus Cavern without a lot of chatter around it. So today I thought I could talk about the whole thing a bit more, as well as provide a few alternate versions of the map in question.
After putting together the multi-page dungeon collection (which I realized this morning doesn’t include Dyson’s Delve, my self-titled 11-level dungeon), I got the urge to sit down and make a true “mega dungeon”. Of course that meant figuring out what I meant by a mega dungeon and what other people expect in a mega dungeon. At the heart of it, the idea of the Darkling Depths is right up there as one of my favourite dungeon designs – multiple access points, a small community in the dungeon who can act as an entry point to the deeper levels and as a rest and restock area, and a total of 8 maps over 5 levels.
But that’s not mega, that’s just really really big.
So I pulled out a post-it pad and figured out what I would like in a much larger dungeon project – one that I could add to indefinitely if needed. And I got this:
The arrows are access points to the outside world from the dungeon, and the wavy line is an underground river that starts above ground in the upper right corner. Because of the structure of the mines, I can easily expand this map using the mines as expansion points, and we can always add new locations further along the underground river. Further, each node in the mega delve is probably going to be handled with multiple maps – for instance the one area that has been mapped so far has a secret door leading to a secret sublevel that I’m in the process of drawing up for the Friday map this week.
With that established I started poking around at what would become the Mushroom Cavern (listed as the Fungus Cave on the post-it – I confuse myself by giving things multiple titles, not too clever eh?)
This feels like a classic “Dyson” map to me in that it’s straight to ink without going to pencil roughs first, although it has a lack of crosshatching in the early stages, and it has something I never draw on a map – a scale marker.
Now this is feeling a lot more like it. But it still needs fine details…
And the rocks, debris and trees show up. All that’s missing now is mushrooms! But how should I draw mushrooms? This far into the map I don’t want to “wreck” it by drawing crappy fungi that just don’t get the image across, so back to the post-it notes.
And some prototype shrooms show up on the post-it. A bit of back and forth on Google+ and it’s decided that some spots would drive the image home a bit.
And the first fungus-filled chamber takes form!
Soon to be followed by more.
Once I was done drawing in all the mushrooms (the work of a few hours), I slapped the whole thing on the scanner and scanned it into Photoshop at 600 dpi. I then stuck an overlay grid layer on it scaled to match the existing grid. Then I can go into the base layer, increase brightness and contrast to make it look truly black and white, and leave the superimposed grid unaffected. But old school Dyson maps don’t have that grid at all (and personally I don’t find it all that useful), so here’s a copy of the map without the grid overlay:
Then, purely because S. John Ross (author of a bunch of RPGs, including the incredibly flexible and fun Risus) had a dream sequence about it, I did a version with the coloured shrooms. To get the colour change, I used the paintbrush tool with the colour of violet I had chosen and set the tool on “lighten” so it would only paint over areas that were darker than the purple in question (so not the white “floor”). Then I painted over all the mushrooms on the map (well, almost all, I missed two shelf fungus somewhere and a cluster near the centre).
But it turns out not everyone is happy with the violet in the media. So I made this blue version. If you want a different version, just load it up into your graphics software and adjust the hue and saturation levels (which won’t affect the black ink, but will change the coloured parts).