Monday, 26 September 2016

Musing upon the illustrating of floor plan products for RPGs whilst really trying to sell you something

A cross-promotional post follows (does it count if it's cross promotional with yourself?  I'm adding some personal thoughts to make it more blog-post-like...)

Designed in a last minute, product-queue-jumping, bubble for Inked Adventures, and inspired by, requested for, TridentCon 2016 (Maryland, US), who have a nautical theme (check out Admiral Fish, their mascot, a sort of Deep One who stayed on the surface and travelled back outwards).  I had intended to publish this on Talk Like a Pirate Day (an odious, but profitable institution), but I failed because my arch nemesis Evil Dr Real Life keeps thwarting my plans to be respectable, reliable artist and publisher with continuity of output.  Confounded again, CURSE YOU, DOCTOR EVIL REAL LIFE!

Smuggler Cavern is  a two page only design, not like the larger cut-up section packs in the Inked Adventures range.  But it is rather nice to look at, if I don't say so myself.  I was tempted to send out a mass email stating "Looks good. Works with stuff. Buy it!" But I thought that would sound a little jaded.  I really don't like sending out mass emails through DTRPG/RPGnow/WGV Onebookshelf because I don't want to come across like some of spammer mails I receive daily (is it me or are there rather a lot of "list" RPG products? "100 Orc Meal Names Part 3"! Horses for courses, I guess.  100 horse and course names?)  But I need the pennies... I needed the dubloons, m'lord!
I might just send that email.

The Smuggler Cavern can be a dungeon/cave entrance/interior or a small landing cove (exterior, no roof).  Being ridiculously strict with old-school genres, I still have trouble mixing the Arthurian Romance style D&D with the aesthetic of the 18th Century pirates of Treasure Island, but I'm learning to relax. Even since D&D Expert Set, I've had to battle with that one. ;)  But hey, in floor plan illustration world, we're just talking barrels, chests and ship wrecks -which are almost pan-setting/genre ("pan-setting/genre", oh for pity's sake Billiam, use English...).  Again, as a floor plan illustrator, I must stress that I believe that empty rooms are infinitely more useful to a DM who already has a specific dungeon in mind, than room plan with countless beautiful details, which are more rewarding for the artist - because it shows off their skills etc.  Details can inspire a DM, but I conjecture that most prefer moveable scenery counters on blanker lay-outs (actually most seem to prefer VTT these days). Hand drawing can slow the process down when it comes to trying to provide both blanks and detail counters, it's all possible, just takes longer.  I get plenty of suggestions for products that I have already have planned, but they won't be complete for years at this rate (part time working until I rob a local diamond mine/post office/megacorp).  But then the old-school player in me wants to champion the resourceful DMs - the ones that tear up a bit of desert floor plan and throw it on top of a tree canopy layout and a sheet blue paper, "You arrive on the beach of the island, there is a jungle beyond is dark and foreboding".   I know it's not much better smeared pen on a battlemat (which are very suited to natural irregularities, coastal, cave and so on), but sometimes colour and texture will help boost the player's imagination.

Smuggler Cavern is a home-printable PDF.  My best results have been from printing straight to card and photopaper. There's a plan to make a pre-print poster available from DriveThruRPG, but I'm still working through the dimensions and details -including how to bundle it in with existing orders so that no-one loses out (naturally there has to be a baseline cost for print and shipping we're dealing with physical products, unlike the noble PDF file).

Here's some pics:

In the background are the black and white / monochrome easy-print options.

Test print photo (ignore edge marks) Figures: WotC.  The Oni is very angry.

Mock up of b/w print trimmed close as a "section" (left).  Low resolution thumbnails (right).

Anyhow, thanks for reading and clicking on the pics.
Yarrr! etc.
Afternoon nap time.
 Inked Adventures Smuggler Cavern link to DriveThruRPG
Smuggler Cavern
$2.50 DTRPG