Battle maps are important assets for a lot of video games like D&D, as they’re a instrument in your gamers to visualise a scene and be on the identical web page about the place every little thing is. And guess what? You don’t must be an artist to make a handsome map! By utilizing on-line instruments (like DungeonFog) and following some primary ideas, you’ll develop into your personal map artist very quickly!

How you can create battle maps

1. Plan your map

When you’re studying this, you most likely need an evocative map that matches your world—in any other case you possibly can simply lookup generic battle maps on the web! So, earlier than even opening the mapmaking software program, it’s an awesome thought to jot down down what you need it to appear to be! And to do this, go to your world’s meta doc. Positive, you may suppose you bear in mind every little thing about your world, however forgetting even essential particulars could be very straightforward!

Right here’s an inventory of issues you’ll be able to plan earlier than beginning your map:

  • Theme and style: darkish fantasy maps can have a darker tone with fewer mild sources, whereas a noble-bright setting will likely be cheerful, with open areas and brilliant colours.
  • Who lives there? If the map is for a metropolis, city, or home, spend a couple of minutes fascinated about its residents. Are they wealthy or poor? What’s their career? What do they do of their free time? Including little particulars within the map that relate to this may make it really feel extra actual and lived-in!
  • Terrain: Take into consideration the kinds of terrain that will likely be current on the map (forest, city sq., underwater fortress, outer house). Make certain they’re per the story to this point.
  • Factors of curiosity: Determine on any notable places or landmarks that will likely be current on the map, and ensure they’re related to the story. For giant-scale maps, this might be ruins, castles, or monuments. For small-scale maps, think about trapdoors, chests, and magical (or technological) objects.
  • Situation: is the place in pristine situation, burned-down, or one thing within the center? Take into consideration its latest historical past to determine it out.

Lastly, I extremely suggest sketching out the map on a bodily piece of paper. It doesn’t must be fairly—this will likely be only a format reference for if you begin drawing the precise map. It’s straightforward to get blocked when confronted by a clean canvas, so this place to begin will assist you a ton!

So, now that you just’ve deliberate every little thing out, it’s time to go to the following step!

2. Construct your map

That’s the second you’ve been ready for! Seize your mapmaking software program (we suggest DungeonFog for battle maps) and observe these tricks to create a phenomenal battle map:

  • Define: trying on the map you sketched within the earlier step, define the fundamental areas. Don’t get misplaced in particulars, merely mark the place streets or roads will likely be, in addition to different factors of curiosity like lakes, monuments, or trapdoors.
  • Construct on the define: when you’re proud of the final format, begin including essential parts like partitions, doorways, bushes, bushes, and so forth.
  • Take into consideration technique! This can be a battle map, so make certain there are parts that your gamers can use strategically. Embrace excessive floor, objects that may be thrown, used as cowl or improvised weapons… you identify it!
  • Add particulars: for cities or rooms, you’ll be able to add props like meals crates, barrels, books, and different parts that make it really feel lived-in. For pure locations, add flowers, fowl nests, and branches on the bottom to offer an analogous impact.
  • The flamboyant stuff: also called lighting and shadows! Play with brightness and shade settings to vary the temper of the map. For instance, glowing blue or purple hues will give it a magical ambiance, whereas glowing inexperienced or crimson may flip it into an evil-looking place.

Earlier than exporting the ultimate model, I like to recommend letting the map relaxation for some time and coming again to it a few days later. it with a recent thoughts, you’re certain to search out areas you wish to enhance!

D&D battle maps made on DungeonFog

Particulars just like the offset chairs and the meals on the desk make this place really feel extra lived-in! | Credit score: Fatrabbit Inn by Arcane on DungeonFog

3. Play your map!

Earlier than the session, assessment the battle map and ensure it’s prepared in your gamers to fiddle in. When you added chests, give you loot tables. When you added trapdoors or secret corridors, be sure to know the place they result in. Then, it’s only a matter of printing it or importing it to your VTT of alternative relying in your type of play! Whereas taking part in, pay attention to what the gamers loved or didn’t take pleasure in—and preserve it in thoughts in your future maps! Artwork is an iterative course of, so that you’ll solely get higher with apply.

What’s the most effective battle map maker?

Whilst you can create battle maps with any artwork software program (even with MS Paint!), specialised software program will provide you with mapmaking-specific instruments that make the method a lot simpler. Our favourite battle map maker is DungeonFog, a improbable instrument for recreation masters that permits you to create immersive and evocative maps in your video games! It has a really easy-to-use interface and consists of tons of belongings and instruments to customise each single facet of your map!

Do you create your personal maps in your video games? Share your ideas beneath! And ensure to try DungeonFog!

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