I finally sat down today to make some Dungeon Geomorphs (Battle Grids, whatever you want to call them) in Dungeon Designer 3. The whole process turned out to be incredibly easy. Naturally, there was a little hair pulling at first learning the process but after that the hard part was deciding what fill patterns to use.

All the patterns have a great deal of detail to them which gives them a rich feel and impression of depth. The new sheet-plus-layer system they added adds a lot more control than just using layers. And the effects are amazing. The example here is just a simple drawing with only the default effects being used. There are endless additional effects, each of which is very customizable.

Note the beveling on the walls and the shadow effect on the floor around the walls. That was done automatically by the software as a default effect! Normally, the grid lines have a subtle glow effect beneath them as well to help them stand out but with the fill patterns I'm using (and lack of other objects cluttering things up), I decided to turn off that effect as the grid lines stand out nicely by themselves.

I'll put this example in the downloads section. I plan to make quite a number of others using the same theme and put them there as well. As time permits I'll continue adding additional sets, both indoors and outdoors.

Using the Dungeon Geomorphs

You can simply print out the geomorphs on regular paper and use them as is. Some will have more than one to a sheet and require some cutting. However, I would suggest getting the heaviest paper you can find and print on that. Some printers require changing the settings to handle heavy card stock. The heavier paper makes the geomorphs easier to handle, more durable and less transparent.

Another suggestion would be to laminate them. Not only does this add thickness, durability, and stain protection, it also gives you the ability to draw on them with erasable markers!

You can pick up a cheap laminator at any office supply store. It should pay for itself pretty quickly. Most places charge a pretty hefty markup for lamination.

Where Are the Doors?

I started making rooms with doors, some open, some closed. Then there are rooms with multiple entrances. Various combinations of which wall had an entrance, which entrance had a door, and which door was open or closed was leading to an awful lot of combinations! After a great deal of thought, I decided to leave off the doors. If you are using laminated geomorphs, it's easy enough to draw the doors open or closed.

PDF Files

Once I had my example finished I finally thought about how to present it. Campaign Cartographer actually comes with a free viewer/printer utility. I could have posted the drawings themselves along with a link to that utility. I'm sure that some people, like myself, don't like to have to download and install extra programs. I don't want people to not use my geomorphs just because of that.

Another option was to export the drawings as image files but that loses the print size ratio which is important. Each of the grids on my maps should be exactly one inch. That way they line up nicely with each other and are the standard size for a battle grid.

I had never created a PDF file before but that seemed like the best alternative. Fortunately, I ran across Cute PDF, a freeware PDF creator. You simply install it and forget it. There is no program to run. Just go to any program and click print. Select 'Cute PDF' as the printer and type in a name for the file you want it to create. I love when things are easy. And free doesn't hurt either!