Geomorphic Frustration


Matt Jackson has VERY pretty geomorphs here. I love ’em! I printed them, cut them out, and arranged them on the table as I was working with my geomorph stocker, ending up with a very satisfactory 12 geomorph exploration environment, story, monsters, treasure, etc.  in a matter of half an hour. So far so good.

Then it came time to put that into a format, so I could run a game or share the scenario, as I did here with the Dungeonmorph set. And that’s where I hit a wall.

Trying to insert individual pictures into Word in a table form? Disaster. Trying to build a table-like background in Photoshop and populate it with consistently sized and amply rotated geomorphs? I lack the skill, and my graphic designing wife gave me THAT LOOK when I told her what I was trying to do.

You know. The look you give people when they grip a skunk by the tip of its tail to shave that annoying white stripe off. The look that says I should know better than to try to salve the badger’s rash so it will be a happy badger. The look you give stupid people. Or, more charitably,  smart people doing stupid things.

This is why Dave’s Mapper is so cool; it does the heavy lifting of putting geomorphs together for you. When I try to do it, I end up spending time better used for design work in slamming my head repeatedly against the limits of my designing skills and tools, ending up having drained my free time into the depthless morass of failure and non-productivity.

So rather than unveiling my cool stocked Matt Jackson Geomorph scenario on Maptacular Monday, instead I’m whining on a Setback Sunday entry.

Geomorphs have been out there longer than computers, and lots of people have participated in making them in the last couple years. Presumably, the people that lovingly craft the geomorphs actually use them. Advise me! How do YOU take geomorphs then record their configuration in a useful way so you can run an adventure based on what you dealt out on the table and arranged one rainy afternoon?

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4 Responses to Geomorphic Frustration

  1. Telecanter says:

    Do you mean you want to combine the text with the images as in your pdf?
    It can be a pain to try and mash the two together in a word processor or image editor. One trick I’ve learned in the past is: work with the text however you are most comfortable, then, once you have it organized as you like, take a screenshot.

    Now you can open that image in your photo editor and paste the images in, or, cut the text and paste it into a new blank image, rescaling and reorienting as you wish before anchoring it down.

  2. fictivite says:

    Good thought. I’ve had trouble with resolution and pixelation with screen shots in the past, but I don’t know that I’ve used it on text. The main drawback there, I think, is difficulty to edit. I appreciate hearing that idea, and I’ll sure keep it in mind!

    Maybe for my columns, I could get that all set up in a Word table, make that an image, then paste the geomorphs on the image in Photoshop…

  3. Keith Davies says:

    When I use geomorphs, I’m likely to end up with mismatched styles anyway (thanks, Dave’s Mapper! I like the variety of geomorph styles I see).

    If I’m in a hurry, I tend to just suck up misalignments and so on; knowing the relationships between the tiles is enough for me. If I’m feeling ambitious I’ll redraw the map (typically culling or adjusting bits I’d like to have different).

    RobA’s got some good tools over at the Cartographer’s Guild that make this relatively painless… though some of Matt’s techniques are a little more work.

  4. fictivite says:

    Hm. I poked around the Cartographer’s Guild a bit and while they’ve got cool maps and ways to make maps, I’m not seeing a tool that will help me take what I’ve got (geomorphs on a tabletop) and translate it to what I want (arranged geomorphs along with a table including two columns of text and the geomorph itself in the third column.)

    @Keith: I can see printing off the Dave’s Mapper construction, then numbering and keying it quickly on hard copy and going from there. And I’ve taken the .png Dave’s Mapper makes and numbered it in Photoshop before. What I have NOT tried to do is take a geomorph made there, cut it up, and stuff it in a Word table. Anyway, thanks for letting me know what you do!

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