Category Archives: Maps

‘You sank my BattleDungeon’ … | Procedural Grid-Crawl Dungeon using the Battleships game as a template

An idea for making a quick dungeon using Battleships as a template for a Grid-Crawl.

image_preview  A more readable pdf version can be found here: Link

Battleships Dungeon
Using the Battleships game as a template to procedurally generate a
20 room, 2 level (Grid Crawl) dungeon

Method
This is a method and explanation of how to use the Battleships game as a template to make a procedural dungeon map in about 5 minutes. Of course, this could be any kind of point crawl, not just a ‘dungeon’. A simple one page method (without the explanations) is given at the end of this document for easy use.

:: Step 1
Start with two blank ‘Battleships Maps’ (probably best to renumber the top line ‘1 to 10’ rather than ‘A to J’), e.g.:

1

Left Grid                                                                        Right Grid

This can be done with the physical game i.e. with the plastic pieces etc., or by simply using paper grids. The Left Grid is the entry level and the Right Grid is the second level of the dungeon.

:: Step 2
Place the ‘ships’ on the grids (as if you were playing the Battleships game). If doing this on paper grids, just shade the squares, e.g.:

2

Left Grid                                                                       Right Grid

:: Step 3
In each of the Grids put a Red Peg in the diagonal positions, except for the top leftmost cell (i.e. put these in positions 2;2, 3;3, and 4;4 etc.), e.g.:

3

Left Grid                                                                      Right Grid

These Red Pegs are simply a visual reminder that these rooms do not connect to themselves.

The START location is on the Left Grid in cell 1;1 (marked with an S). The BOSS encounter (or adventure goal, quest item etc.) is located on the Right Grid in cell 1;1 (marked on with a B).

The battleships are being used in this method to introduce an element of chaos, and to force the DM out of any unconscious bias in later peg placement.

:: Step 4
Put a White Peg in each Column somewhere, i.e. where there is a gap (shown as light shaded Blue Pegs below), e.g.:

4

Left Grid                                                                      Right Grid

:: Step 5
Look across each Row, if a Row does not have a White Peg in it somewhere, then add one (shown below as light Green Pegs), e.g.:

5

Left Grid                                                                   Right Grid

In the example above, this would be in Rows 6, 8 and 10 on the Left Grid; and on the Right Grid that would be Rows 4, 7, 9 and 10. If doing this on paper the Green Dots could represent secret doors. However, doing this might make the dungeon appear more linear looking to the players. To increase interconnectivity, hence ‘jaquaying-the-dungeon’, simply add a few more pegs (e.g. 3) at random.

:: Step 6
Finally, remove one Red Peg from each Grid. Optionally, consider replacing this with a White Peg (to be visually distinct). Below this is shown as a red X, e.g.:

6

Left Grid                                                           Right Grid

Please note: the map looks busy in this example because I’m using colours to aid explanation. In reality, you’d just have Red and White Pegs. The red X represents the point where the two levels interconnect. So in the above example, this could be stairs going from Room 4, Left Grid to Room 7, Right Grid. Of course, there is nothing stopping you adding more level interconnections. Again, this will help in ‘jaquaying-the-dungeon’. For simple bookkeeping, remove the pegs from matching positions e.g. 4;4 Left Grid leads to 4;4 Right Grid, and 7;7 Grid Left leads to 7;7 Right Grid. The connections do not need to be stairs, they could be tunnels etc. If doing this on paper, a mega dungeon can be made easily by simply using multiple paper grids and interconnecting them in this way.

What is this gibberish?
Here’s a link to my initial post about Grid-Crawls, hopefully that helps, else see the below example: Link

Below is a brief example of how to navigate a Grid-Crawl map:
The example does not consider any encounters in the rooms etc.

• The PCS start in Room 1 on the Left Grid, i.e. corresponding to Colum 1; Row 1. This position is marked with an S on the map.

• The DM Looks across Row 1 and down Column 1. There is a Non Red Peg in the 5 and 9 positions (see arrows), i.e.:

7

Left Grid

This means Room 1 connects to Rooms 5 and 9.

• The PCs decide to go to Room 5. In Room 5 the DM Looks across Row 5 and down Column 5. It can be seen that there are Non Red Pegs in the 1, 3, and 4 positions, i.e.:

8

Left Grid

From this it can be seen that Room 5 connects to Rooms 1, 3, and 4.

• The PCs then go to Room 4. The DM Looks across Row 4 and down Column 4. There is a Non Red Peg in the 5 and 7 positions, and a red X at the 4 position, i.e.:

9

Left Grid                                                    Right Grid

From this it can be seen that Room 4 connects to Rooms 5 and 7. Also, Room 4 Left Grid connects to Room 7 Right Grid, e.g. as marked by the red X on each grid.

• The PCs therefore can now move from the Left Grid (upper level) to the Right Grid (lower level) if they choose to …

• And so on.

Map
For the sake of completeness, I’ve gone to the effort of drawing out the Grid-Crawl above as a Point Crawl (please see maps below). I’ve done this just to show what kind of map this method generates. To be fair, part of the point of this system is for the DM not to have to draw a map (unless of course that brings you joy). The players are free to map as they will, and the DM might enjoy seeing their work :O|


The second map uses the option for secret passages as mentioned in Step 5 (i.e. for the Green Dots)

These point-crawl maps were made using: https://csacademy.com/app/graph_editor

Quick Method – Battleships Dungeon
Step 1
Start with two blank ‘Battleships Maps’ (probably best to renumber the top line ‘1 to 10’ rather than ‘A to J’).

Step 2
Place the ‘ships’ on each grid (as if you were playing the Battleships game). If doing this on paper grids, just shade in the squares.

Step 3
In each of the grids put a Red Peg in the diagonal positions, except for the top leftmost cells; i.e. at positions 2;2, 3;3, and 4;4 etc. In the paper method use a solid ‘dot’ in place of the peg.

Step 4
Put a White Peg in each Column somewhere, i.e. where there is a gap. In the paper method use an open (unshaded) ‘dot’ in place of the peg.

Step 5
Look across each Row, if a Row does not have a White Peg in it somewhere, then add one (these might represent secret passages).

Optionally, add a few extra White Pegs at random to increase same level interconnectivity.

Step 6
Finally, remove one Red Peg from each Grid. Optionally, consider replacing this with a White Peg (to be visually distinct). In the paper method you might put this down as an X.

Optionally, add an extra interconnectivity pathway between the grids (i.e. dungeon levels) in the same fashion.

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Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Tuesday Toot!! | H’Excel a random ‘Hex Crawl’ generator (and editor) using Excel

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background:
H'Excel 101On a four hour train journey I decided to try something new. Rather amazingly, the idea worked first time. Since then H’Excel has had a bunch of iterative tweaks, like staggering the cells in Excel.

H’Excel can do a bunch of things (see features below), but at its core it is a random Hex Crawl terrain generator and editor.

Here’s a demo video:
The key features are explained in the below demo video:

xls  Download: Link

Features:

  • Randomly generates a ‘Hex’ map (i.e. squares in a hexagonal array)
  • Global settings – raise or lower the terrain of the whole map
  • Regional settings – raise or lower the terrain in a portion of the map
  • Screen capture mode (‘Snap Map’)
  • Edit mode – generate a map and tweak it, or build the map from scratch
  • Customisable random encounter tables
  • Refresh encounter (but keep the map the same)
  • In Hex locations, for encounter locations etc.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Puzzle complex | … escape before it floods

Not my usual thing, but I made a puzzle complex (in three colour ways):

If you are interested you can download a higher resolution .pdf from here

Excel Mapper
xls  This free Excel mapper was used to make the map part

Demo video of the mapper


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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; please check out my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

 

I sense mapping opportunities | Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad

Background  

Came across this. One of the first things that occurred to me was … mapping!

1. Insert gridded (hex or even isometric) paper.
2. Place blank paper over the top.
3. Start mapping.

Demo video of the device:

That’s it.

Variants
If the My Little Pony colour scheme doesn’t appeal, then there is even a Star Wars version:

maxresdefault.jpg

There of course needs to be a D&D version …

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Simple Excel Mapper update | Icons added

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.Simple dungeon mapper

This is a throwback and an update. This is a simple mapper I made using Excel and its ‘conditional formatting’ option. It’s basic but free.

I’ve updated this mapper to include a few icons. It’s a thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

Original Video Demo

This video keeps chugging on YouTube, it consistently gets 10 to 20 hits a day.

Update: Icons added

Basically, any image can be placed on the map, so I incorporated some CC ones, made them small to use as icons:

icons 2      icons 1

These icons allow a greater deal of customisation. Feel free to use your own.

Download:

xls XLS Mapper

Screen Capture:

Mapper 101

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Isometric map template in Excel

Using Excel to make an isometric map template.

Demo Video:
This pretty much says all you need to know:

Screen Capture:

CS Isometric paper in Exel.png

Template:
You can download the xls Excel Template here.

Another kind of 3D looking map in Excel:
In a previous blog post I showed how to makes 3D looking maps like this, and which is powered by a handy macro:

Google Sheets:
I think this should work in Google Sheets, and when I get a moment, I’ll make a template.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.

Tuesday Toot!! | Cave System Map Generator in Excel

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

Background:

One level

Random cave system

I toyed with this idea but never really finished/refined it. This Excel cave system generator basically uses the bones of my random hex wilderness generator engine to make a randomly generated cave system. Like its parent file, there are some global and regional controls to vary the outcome of the cave system. But, overall, as a proof of concept, I simply tweaked a few settings to see if it could be done. I did consider stacking layers of these and interconnecting them to make a wider cave system, but …

I suppose if there is any kind of demand for a finished/refined version of this, I guess I could figure out where I was up to and finish/upgrade it. Let me know?! That said, if all you want is to generate a simple random cave system on a broadly hexagonal-like layout, it does work.

Three depths

Colours indicate depth

I also made a multi-coloured version of the cave generator. The colours are intended to represent different depths, eventually leading down to water.

These cave generators could be used to make an individual cave system, or to make a ‘global’ map for a wider ‘Underdark’ domain, i.e. ‘Veins of the Earth’ style.

If you want to mess around with the ‘work not currently in progress‘ Excel file, it can be downloaded here:  Link

 

Veins of the Earth Cave Generator 101Some ‘Veins of the Earth’ based Excel widgets (actually finished) can also be found here: Blog link

 

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.