Mapping Resources

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Talanall
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Mapping Resources

Recently @Board Rider commented that he is using GIMP, an open-source image editing software application, to prepare his maps for the Heroes of Eberron Campaign. He mentioned that there's a bit of learning curve, and that he was finding it a little difficult to make the program do everything that he wanted.

I've been using GIMP for mapping for nearly the entirety of the Ancestral Burdens campaign. I find that the real key to getting the most out of the program is to standardize your mapping practices so that you don't have to do things over and over again. So I thought I'd make a toolkit for people who want to map using GIMP.

This is a downloadable ZIP file with a set of very basic but useful chunks of map-making assets. The ZIP contains:

  • A grid, 800 pixels by 800 pixels. Each grid square is 20 x 20 pixels, for a total of 40 by 40 squares. At 5 feet per square, that's a 200 foot by 200 foot area, which is ample for most battles that a DM is likely to run. Those of you who have played in one of my campaigns are likely familiar with this grid; I use it for everything.
  • Basic disc icons sized to represent a Small or Medium creature. They come in blue, green, red, purple and gray. Each color set has a blank disc, plus a series of discs numbered 1 through 10. They are scaled to fit the 800 x 800 grid.
  • A concentric rangefinder in increments of 10 ft., with a maximum range of 60 ft. Good for checking whether two creatures are in range of each other's darkvision, or for determining who's in reach for a charge by most PCs and NPCs. Also handy for calculating range increments for thrown weapons.
  • Area markers for circular radii of 10 ft., 20 ft., 30 ft., and so on up to 80 ft. Ideal for figuring out who's inside the radius of a fireball or sleet storm spell.
  • Area markers for cones at 15 ft., 30 ft., and 60 ft. Each size comes in a diagonal and a straight version, because cones are a pain in the ass to map.

All of these images (except for the grid) are provided as transparent PNG images, which allows them to be dropped into a map without disrupting the layout. Sample images below:

sample disc icon
Blue disk, numbered.

sample disc icon
Rangefinder

sample disc icon
30 ft. radius area.

sample disc icon
15 ft. cone (straight)

sample disc icon
15 ft. cone (diagonal)

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

I think my issue is going to try to layer your grid over a cut and pasted image. Usually, the picture being used already has grid squares so, those instances, I need to master the knack of layering over that base image.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If you have a cut and pasted image to start from, presumably there will be a grid already on it. In that case, what you can do instead is skip the grid from my collection. Instead, use the image as your background layer, and throw a disc icon on top of it. Then select your background layer, and go to the Layer menu in the main window. Choose "Scale Layer."

That should let you shrink or enlarge the map so that it all matches nicely.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold