Monday, August 29, 2022

Xen Maps

 I recently picked up Campaign Cartographer 3 and have been teaching myself how to use it, so that I have an easier way to make maps for the adventure modules I like to put out into the world that I don't have to worry endlessly about the license for.

As an experiment I decided to do two maps for my Xen campaign.

The first is the Imrani Waste; the area where the Silver Gull campaign has unfolded over 27 sessions through massive dungeons and strange intrigue up to this point. At roughly 24 miles per hex.

I was still figuring out how to best use the space with this map, but feel okay about the results.  I may use Photoshop to crop and re-frame it eventually.

The tokens are reminders to the PCs about where they encountered trouble.

The second is my much larger map of the Empire of Xen, with as many of the features that I have imagined so far in there. As the campaign(s) I am running in Xen evolve, the map will doubtless fill in as well.

I have really compressed it for the blog here. My original is 36" x 24", and made to print at 300dpi so that after my current crop of PCs have gotten themselves killed, retired, or ascended, I can happily print this as a standard-sized poster and put it up on my wall.

If you want to know more about my Xen campaign, my setting document is here.

So, How is Campaign Cartographer 3?

Campaign Cartographer 3 is a moderately-priced program designed specifically for generating table top campaign maps. I am hoping it will help me deal with some of many many art and cartography woes.

So far, I have managed to make a couple of maps that I am mostly happy with, and look pretty good for a program I have been using for 48 hours. I have certainly not tried everything that it is capable of doing yet.

My gripes thus far have been that it was slow AF to download and install. But that is in part because I bought 18 different components in a Humble Bundle. And does it ever have a steep learning curve. What you see above required two hours of tutorial videos to learn to produce. It feels like teaching myself Photoshop 3 back when I was in University.

I will say the jury's out on whether I have got my money's worth yet, but I will keep at it and let you all know.

It's certainly not as fancy as some of the stuff I have been seeing coming out of Dungeon Alchemist, (which I wish I had the funds to buy and review right now.) I suspect CC3 is more versatile, and right now the sheer volume of material available for it is staggering.

I wish that I could say that I am as happy with their dungeon mapping software,  but I am not finding it nearly as attractive.  I may use it for prototyping maps then painting over them using GIMP or Sketchbook. 


  1. Wow. Somebody went to a LOT of trouble to dig multiple canals across the Pendle peninsula. There must be some ridiculously terrible threat off the coast to prompt that sort of effort.

    1. Pendle is barely above sea level and floods heavily every few years. It also rains constantly. It used to be mostly marshes and rich mud flats, but through a mix of saltwater dykes, slow redirecting of the natural River system, and engineering the terrain it has become an agricultural superpower.

      Inspired by a mix of Nova Scotia's Annapolis County and the Forlí region of Italy. Unfortunately, at 60 miles per hex the deltas and smaller rivers were tricky to represent.