Project Benchmark – Tarantis B&W line work concludes

I’ve now done about as much black and white line work as is needed and I feel pretty good about the project so far.  The goal was to use modern tools to give Tarantis a gentle facelift.  I am trying to honor the original authors and artists vision while using modern tools to do the things I feel like they would have done had they had access to the tools available 30+ years later.

Black and white vector line version of Tarantis – easy on the eyes

In terms of change, I’ve taken the time and made the effort to make the alignment of walls, buildings, and structures feel more humanized.  The original map is very much on a grid and I’ve done a lot to take this version off of the grid – while being close enough to the original to be easily recognizable.

The only place that I’ve take a great deal of liberties is in the dock area of the map.  I’ve replaced the massive sea-wall with towers that can raise chains to act as barriers and I’ve added a man-made island to shield the port.  The wharves themselves have been restructured to look more realistic and more functional.  I worry that I’ve overstepped a bit in this area, but the docks and the walls really enforced that clunky, blocky feeling that I was working to eliminate.

Along the way, I repaired a couple of errors that were probably caused by transport or storage.  One of the gates had fallen apart and was missing one side (which had landed in one of the nearby temples).  I repaired the gate and better aligned the palace so the entry chamber was aligned and balanced.  I also discovered a temple that was missing – I did not replace it, but I did remove the misplaced building from the map.

So What’s Next?

My intent is to move to color now, which probably means that I need to set the scale to about 200% of what will be actually be used, and then lay in the detail.  The line work is all in vector format, so scaling it almost any size is possible.

I will create a player map that will feature rooftops – in short, the bulk of the town will be concealed, with the inner-workings of buildings the realm of the GM.  It will try to render the town so the map is pleasing.  If I have time, I will also try to build ‘business signs’ for many of the places in Tarantis.

The GM’s map will be as per usual – with the revealed interiors.  I will color code it so the town can be navigated partially by color.  I realize that using color isn’t entirely wise since not everyone sees the world the same way, but it will not be the only method to navigate the maps – it will still have the text labels just like always.

Speaking of text labels, I will not post a large scale map with text.  This isn’t my intellectual property and once words get involved, it clearly enters the domain of copyright protection.  If you search around this blog, you will find that I am very respectful of the work of others and have paid for or self-created almost all of the art seen here. In so much that a labeled map might be all a given GM needs to use the material, I will not provide it because it isn’t mine to give.

Color is something that I am really picky about and it might take several starts and stops before I find the look that I am hoping to achieve.  I am more accomplished with color in real media (acrylic and pastel are my strengths), so getting happy with my new digital tools might take a bit of time.

I also will be creating a Fantasy Grounds module once I get a finished map (the player’s map is ideal for a digital key – the GM’s map will be keyed to show the signs I mentioned earlier).  I am very capable with Fantasy Grounds, and this will be a grind due to the sheer number of entries – but easy enough.

Once I am happy with Tarantis, I’ll be moving on to creating my own cities.  This has been a great learning opportunity – rebuilding Tarantis room by room, building by building, and street by street has been enlightening and has given me a lot of insight into the sheer amount of work and effort each one of Judge’s Guild’s city products were to create.


Author: Kilgore

Long-time gamer, alpha techno-geek, and former infantryman

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