Role-playing design notes

Random notes on the design of Gods & Monsters, and maybe even Men & Supermen if I can remember what I was drinking when I wrote it.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

hexGIMP for old-school wilderness maps

Jerry Stratton, September 12, 2010

Whoah! Isomage just posted a sample map made on GIMP, over on the Meso American OD&D setting thread of the Original D&D Discussion board. He said, “I made it with hexgimp”, so I clicked on over, and hexGIMP is just like what it sounds like: a tool for making hex maps in GIMP. I made the example map in this post just playing around for a couple of minutes. It’s dead easy to use.

The way it works is, it adds a “New Hex Map” menu item to the File menu of GIMP. Choosing it creates a new image with six or seven layers (depending on whether you want the hexes to be numbered).

If “Snap to Grid” is checked under the View menu, then choosing a hex brush from the pencil’s brush choices makes it easy to pop a piece of wilderness terrain exactly into a hex. It’s amazingly cool.

The hexGIMP instructions describe how to install it under Windows or Linux; but the files are easy to install under Mac OS X as well. It’s basically the Linux instructions. The GIMP brushes and scripts folders are in your Library folder, then Application Support, then Gimp.

  1. Drag the brushes into the brushes folder inside /Library/Application Support/Gimp.
  2. Drag the hexGIMP-VERSION.scm script into the scripts folder in /Library/Application Support/Gimp.

Once you’ve done that, start GIMP (or restart it if it’s open) and you’ll have a “New Hex Map” option under the File menu. Make sure Snap to Grid is checked under the View menu and you’re good to go. Remember that you have multiple layers—it automatically selects the Terrain layer to start. Use the layers correctly, and you can then hide the inappropriate-for-players layers to print up a map such as the player characters might find in an ancient library.

While I strongly prefer vector maps (using a tool like Inkscape) for scalability, this is a lot of fun to play around with.

  1. <- Science priests
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