This weekend is Dragonmeet, London’s friendliest gaming convention, and as usual Profantasy will be there with me (Ralf) manning the booth. Look for Pelgrane Press and us close to the entrance to the dealer’s hall (booth 29). Check out the map of the hall.
Dragonmeet is in a new venue this year, the ILEC Convention Centre & Ibis Hotel on 47 Lillie Road, London. It’s easy to reach via the West Brompton tube station.
I’m looking forward to my annual visit to London, ProFantasy HQ and Dragonmeet. Hope to see you there!
And there is the last month of 2014′s Annual already: The December issue is available from your registration page.
Build a wonderful village diorama, designed by community member Old Krom and embellished and documented by Joachim de Ravenbel. Hundreds of symbols and dozens of bitmap fills are there for you to use in your own Dioramas projects as well. Take a look at a photo gallery of the finished village below. If you haven’t subscribed to the Annual 2014, you can do so here.
Coming soon: The Annual 2015 re-subscription offer and December bonus content!
It’s been a while since our last newsletter – we’ve been focused on getting CC3+ ready for release. This month features an exclusive offer on a great piece of map-making kit – The Noteboard, an update on CC3+ and video resources.
Pelgrane Press, ProFantasy Software‘s sister company makes tabletop RPGs, and as such has a burning need for cartographic resources, so of course we take advantage of the connection. We’ve collaborated on a number of projects in a number of styles – styles we’ve then bought to our users. The latest such colloboration will be The Dracula Dossier – a Kickstarted project featuring spies versus the greatest vampire of the them all, for which Ralf will be creating maps. Back it here.
So, here are some of the other projects we’ve worked on together.
Created by Pär Lindström and designed for the the Pelgrane Trail of Cthulhu adventure collection Mythos Expedition the style lets you depict the itinerary and visited locations for journeys or expeditions as would be found in horror or pulp adventures.
The September issue of the Annual 2012 contains a new overland style based on the gorgeous world map of the upcoming role-playing game 13th Age by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet. The style was developed by Lee Moyer.
The December Annual 2011 brings you a companion style to April’s 1930s floorplans: city maps in the same Baedeker travel guide style for your modern horror and pulp-style games. Pelgrane Press used this in Arkham Detective Tales Extended Edition.“>
Ralf Schemmann recreated the 13th Age map in the Mike Schley overland style included with the forthcoming cc3+.
Pär Lindström created a city map and floorplans for the 13th Age city adventure Shadows of Eldolan using CC3, City Designer 3 and the Symbol Set 4: Dungeons of Schley style. He did some post work on the city map in Photoshop
Special Offer: Until next Monday you can get 17% off two or more Noteboards from thenoteboard.com or amazon.com. That’s 2 for $20. Use this voucher code at payment: ACR7CVRC
We love maps here at ProFantasy Software, but not just the computer generated kind (which we really, really love). We also love hand drawn scribbles, dungeon tiles, battlemats and Google Maps. So, when two of my game group brought this wonderful accessory to our gaming session, I was impressed. All tucked away, it looks like this.
It’s The Noteboard, a durable, portable dry-erase whiteboard, which folds into a pouch which you can use as an eraser.
In use, it looks like this:
I rushed onto the internet to buy one and, long story short, Ralf, Mark and I bought the company from the founder.
Here is a video review of the Noteboard over on Play Unplugged.
Here are some examples of the Noteboard in use – the first from Kevin Kulp
The second from Korvar the Fox
[Cross-posted from the author's blog. Benjamin contacted us about writing an article on using CC3 and creating a map for his book "Dragon Choir". We are more than happy to share it here for your enjoyment.]
A Special Kind of Art
Maps are a special kind of art. Their beauty is often passed over for their function, but every map possesses a rare kind of potential, something magical.
Whoa there! Magical?
You must think I’m just a typical fantasy writer, banging on about magic again. Well that might be part of it, but let me explain the rest.
Ever since I was a kid, looking at a map would send jingling bells up my spine. From mud maps on a scrap of paper to detailed foldouts in National Geographic, I couldn’t resist them. My desk drawer was stuffed with piles of hand-sketched maps, documenting secret hideouts, traps and treasure. I even had a map of my hometown sticky-taped to my wall with annotations showing the locations of my friends’ houses.
My favourite fantasy books all began with a map and followed with a story that delivered the promise hidden in the landscape. Dungeons and Dragons lured me in to play the magic upon the map, and with the digital age came an evolving boon of sci-fi and fantasy computer games. Even today, at the bleeding edge of gaming, the most immersive and well-loved games revolve around a map. The map is our foundation; it is the lynchpin that connects us to the magic of possibility.
No matter how large or detailed the map, I examine the edges and wonder what exists outside its jurisdiction. Maps trigger a mental stretching that teases out the possible from the known. There is always more to a map than what you see; change the scale, change the perspective, and change your world.
Sticks and Sand
I contend that maps are a link to our deepest psychological urges of curiosity and territory. They are an embodiment of demarcation, inherently political in how they are depicted and interpreted. Once our primal drive involved patrolling the clan patch and scent marking trees as we went (I know some people who still do), wondering what lay on the other side of a river or ravine. We evolved from sticks drawing lines in the sand, to quill and ink, charting ever further across oceans to exotic lands, always pushing the boundaries of existing maps (often to the detriment of those in discovered territories). Today the great unknowns of nautical and geographic exploration expand further still with astronomical pioneers.
Maps are Magic
The humble map is the device that mentally transports us and inserts us in a physical terrain tinted with cultural heritage, lined with political borders and soaked in context. Maps weave a world and compress it into an image.
That, for me, is something magical.
Political Correctness and Cartography
For my debut novel, Dragon Choir, I wanted to create a map that spoke with the politics of the fictional mapmaker. My map establishes the bigoted perspective of a colonising power. Maps throughout history have been tools of propaganda, yet I have noticed that the majority of maps for fantasy fiction are devoid of political or cultural imprints. Fantasy maps can add extra punch to a narrative if they have a contextual point of view. Why be politically neutral if the plot of your book is politically contentious? Political borders are as fluid as the opinion of the powers that commission the maps.
Below is the map I created using ProFantasy software, Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3). Why did I use this software? The simple answer is that it is the best mapmaking software on the market. The ProFantasy website and community is jam full of support and ideas. The CAD software is powerful and upgradable, allowing an amateur cartographer like me to produce a professional looking map like this.
When the days stretch and the land bakes, the dragons will again scour the sky. A city of bones and a city of gold plot against each other while the rebellion gathers strength. A young man is caught in a tempest of intrigue that will forge a new era of freedom, or forever scar the land. He must discover the secret of the Dragon Choir to save his father and end the stranglehold of an unforgiven nation.
The next version of Campaign Cartographer, CC3+, is in late beta. We were hoping for a release this year, but that’s looking less likely. You can read about the new version here.
We’ve got two show-stopping bugs to deal with before we release the CC3+ beta to a wider audience.
Who is this audience?
We released Character Artist 3 this time last year, and until 1st January 2014 offered free CC3+ upgrade protection to purchasers. Character Artist 3 users will be able to download the beta version and give us feedback as soon as our two big bugs are dealt with. It’s impossible for us to tell when that will be, but I hope it’s in the next couple of weeks. If you are in this category, we’ll send you an email, and update your registration page with the new version. When the new version is finished, you’ll get a new update.
When this wider beta test is completed, we’ll release the upgrade, but we absolutely don’t want to release it until we are sure it’s solid on all operating systems.
It’s been a while since we posted a round up of user maps, mostly because we are very busy with CC3+ and had the summer’s convention schedule to take care of. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been great maps posted to the forum – quite to the contrary as you can see below.
You can always rely on Grimur to take everyone’s breath away with his gorgeous maps, like this one using the Herwin Wielink overland style.
Continue reading »
We’ve started a new series of short video tutorials for Campaign Cartographer 3 and its add-ons. These are meant to be small tidbits of useful information we (or anyone else for that matter) can point to when asked about the tool or method in question. Check out the first two:
Drawing a semi-circular room in Dungeon Designer 3:
DD3 Semi-circular Room from ProFantasy Software on Vimeo.
Editing a landmass drawn with the default CC3 tool:
CC3 Editing Landmasses from ProFantasy Software on Vimeo.
As this is a new series for us, we’d like your feedback and your suggestions on what topics to cover. Post them here in the comments or over on the community forum.
You can subscribe to us on Vimeo or use our YouTube channel to follow these videos.
We’ve recently stumbled across this wonderful little video tutorial by Jason Hibdon (Eugee on the community forum). Jason creates a quick battle map for a virtual tabletop game, using the free “Jon Roberts Dungeon” style from the Cartographer’s Annual.
You can download the free Annual issue here.