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Watchfire Keep by torstan Watchfire Keep by torstan
The Watchfire Keep - initially created for my adventure "Who Watches the Watchfires" for Kobold Quarterly 18 [link]

I wanted to create a gsetting for a classic capture the flag scenario, that could be useful in lots of different adventures - or double as a starter castle for adventurers setting up their own base. I know I'll be using it in my Kingmaker campaign.

Lots more details on this (and a fantastic spin off) on my blog today: [link]

This map also comes as a map pack, available on Paizo [link] and RPGNow [link]
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:iconspacemanspiff002:
SpacemanSpiff002 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Student General Artist
Amazing
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:iconmathis-rose:
Mathis-Rose Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I remember using this map for one of my one-shot campaigns. It was a lot of fun, and an excellent map that really had the players thinking which step to make next.

Truly excellent work you've done here. :)
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Thanks! I'm glad it came in handy. Were you using it at the table - or via a virtual tabletop?
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:iconmathis-rose:
Mathis-Rose Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I was using it on a virtual tabletop. Well, I assume that's what it is. At the time, my group and I were using Open RPG, but this is one I'd definitely love to use at a table.
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:iconalyssafaden:
AlyssaFaden Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Professional Artist
I love your ground work on your maps.
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:iconyospeck:
YoSpeck Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
As others have said I completely appreciate why the scale is as it is, but would you consider maybe just posting a section of it as a larger image, maybe a 4x4 tile so we can see the detail? Would be really great to see some of this up close in person (I never use other peoples maps in my sessions so while $2.99 isn't a lot, it's still more than makes sense for me to pay just out of curiosity of what your close ups look like :D ).

Other than that, beautiful work as ever.
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012
I'll pull the file off RPGNow (I lost the original due to laptop theft - grrr) and get a snippet uploaded for you :)
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:iconyospeck:
YoSpeck Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012
Woot :) Sucks your laptop got stolen, but those lucky bastards getting all those free maps! :D
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:iconjacob-cross:
Jacob-Cross Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Awesome
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
Thanks!
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:iconjacob-cross:
Jacob-Cross Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
Keep up the good work.
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:iconefq:
EFQ Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2011
Amazing, congrats man!!
We all love RPG =)
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
We certainly do :)
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:iconramah-palmer:
Ramah-Palmer Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011
Wonderful map, Jon. :)

Your maps always make me want to have a crack at doing one myself.
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
Thanks - that's really high praise :)
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:icon3dart-apo:
3dArt-APO Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011
Jon, do you have an Iso version?

As usual, love your map work. Stirs the imagination with a great spoon of wonder and adventure.
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011
No iso version of this one sadly, but I do have a 3D version created by Brian Bartlow :) [link]

I got a comment on the map pack that this would do well to have a side view added to help visualise the levels, which is true - but I'll have to clear a few things before I'll have time to add that in.

Glad you like it :)
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:icon3dart-apo:
3dArt-APO Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
I have been on an isometric kick lately - scouring the internet for examples.

This Watchtower keep has been giving me mental exercises of defense and attempts at taking. A good support for the side view request would be: do you have strategic arrow loops on the side walls looking into the inner bailey? 3 good men with bows would decimate the unprotected flank of attackers in that yard.

The 3d cutout is fun but I don't think it does your illustration justice. I think I see 3 different tiers of wall height based on ramping, steps and ground slope/elevation. I could be wrong - but that is what I imagined. The way I see the tier system it creates redundancy for defense and creates fall back positions for a possible last stand atop the NW tower - in cases where a segment of the battlement is lost to attackers.

Now, where are the hidden passages? a keep wouldn’t be complete if there weren’t secret doors and passages to help protect the occupants. I am also curious to hear how this keep was provisioned. It appears the approach is stepped - which creates an issue for supplies.

Woah, sorry I just geeked out for a second. Where am I?

heh

later
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
It's on a number of levels, but the it was more practical to leave the 3D model on one flat base rather than model the hill - which would provide the levels.

As for arrow slits, this one is a straight up simple stone fort. The walls are solid stone and the defenders are on the ramparts. One can easily hold the staircases and the archers would destroy anyone in the yard. However realistically once attackers are inside the keep the game is up. The purpose of this keep is to defend the watchfire - once attackers have access to that the game is up.

The front stair defences are really where the damage will be done. Any attacker will take a punishing hail of arrows attacking the front gate, and then they are in the first courtyard where they must overcome a portcullis whilst surrounded by defenders on towers.

The Southern wall is a little unstable, meaning attackers will stand a chance of slipping and tumbling to their deaths. All the other walls are overlooked by towers (that you could add ballistas to if you wanted) and the guards have boiling oil. So climbing the walls is a tough proposition. Once inside, there's a final surprise as the low building beside the watchfire has dogs. The adventure with game stats for all that is in KQ18 - I had a lot of fun writing it :)

As for provisions, the building has a standing garrison of only 10-12 so the provisions aren't too much of an issue and can be hauled up from the nearby road by mule.

Hope that answers the questions!
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:icon3dart-apo:
3dArt-APO Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
Thanks, I am glad we could have this conversation. :)
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
It's the result of a misspent youth giving guided tours around castles :)
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:icon3dart-apo:
3dArt-APO Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
I grew up in the wrong dang country!
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
Yep, I didn't realise how lucky I was whilst growing up until I moved over here. You just take the layers of history for granted in the UK.
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(1 Reply)
:iconarsheesh:
arsheesh Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fabulous job on this Torstan, I'm with Ascension here but I understand the reasons for the low res.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2011
Yep, I know. But if people are going to stump up $2.99 I need to give them a reason to want to see it larger :)

Thanks!
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:iconthe-ascension:
The-Ascension Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
You know the first thing I'm going to say (bigger) and I know your response (license) :) But the second thing is - very nice, man.
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
Yep, as I'm selling them I can only post low res versions. Kills me too :)

Thanks for the compliment - I loved making this one.
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:icongasparnolasco:
GasparNolasco Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011   Digital Artist
I wish I could draw tiles as detailed as those. I did a fort once for a personal campaign, but it's unpublishable. :D
Wonderful work as aways, mate.
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
Cheers :) You should post the WIP of your fort over on the cartographers guild and get some feedback. You should have seen some of my earlier work - it just takes practice.
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:iconkanashigd:
KanashiGD Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011  Student General Artist
I am interested in learning how to make a map like this, grid aside what techniques are used to create something like this? Tablet? Objects so on etc. Any tips, direction, links?
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
It's all hand drawn using a tablet and photoshop. The work process is:
• Draw in the line art
• Add a textured background - often a scanned paper/parchment texture
• Build up layers of colour using messy edged brushes with Wet Edges turned on
• Add light and shade using an Overlay layer.

If you're not comfortable hand drawing they you can get some great results using the amazing resources over on the Dunjinni site [link]

It's a treasure trove, and with a little careful construction you can get amazing results.
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:iconkanashigd:
KanashiGD Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011  Student General Artist
Alright, I hand draw most of work with a tablet but I rarely do maps and have recently started making them. Thanks!
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
In which case you should jump in on the Cartographer's Guild: [link] Lots of excellent advice over there on map mapmaking, especially with a tablet.
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:iconbutterfrog:
butterfrog Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Luv it! The grass and rock textures are fantastic!
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:icontorstan:
torstan Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
Thanks :) I really enjoyed this one.
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