I'm not one for the "dungeon tile" look championed by producers of the 3E/4E eras, nor am I down with "excessive Photoshop." I hear a lot of "I like hand drawn maps," and I can appreciate that. At the same time, however, there's a lot of awful hand drawn maps out there. (And lest you think I'm sitting on some sort of high horse, I too have drawn any number of awful maps.)

I got no comments on the recent Otyugh Trough post, which is too bad, because I was hoping to get some discussion of sewer maps going. There are a lot of really crappy sewer maps out there. (Bad pun intended.) HUGE RUINED PILE recently posted a sewer map from a 3rd party producer that, while curvaceous, was way too bland looking. (Not so humble opinion alert.) That map served as my (negative) inspiration to draw up the Otyugh Trough.

I tried to go for a cross between old and new with the Otyugh Trough map. It was hand drawn, but I used Photoshop to add detail. In addition, on that particular map I experimented with a texture fill to represent the nasty, swirling muck. Maybe that doesn't work so well? As an experiment, I am posting a less refined version. This is how it looked before I used any fills or textures. Now you can actually see where I used the brush along the periphery of the walls.

This version reminds me somewhat of the maps of the dungeons beneath Tegel Manor. Specifically, the fine detail of the terraced ledges. In the previous rendition they were lost amidst the textured muck. Now they are clear as rows of sharp teeth. The peripheral brush strokes remind me of Mythmere's map of the first level of Tomb of the Iron God. Although less "contemporary" looking, this map excites my eye much more than the previous. The only thing I am really left wondering about is whether I should fill in the interior earth areas or not. Should I let the grid extend outside of the tunnels and chambers or not? Opinions? Also, I tend to back my maps with black instead of "no repro blue." Does anyone really give a damn? I mean, really? Just wondering…

The Fine Print: I am sharing this map under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. If you follow that link you will be able to read about the conditions that apply to this work. In a nutshell: (a) you can't use it commercially, (b) you must attribute it to me, and (c) you must share any derivative works that you create.


  1. I think it needs some sort of fill or shading for the muck to make it clear which areas are muck-filled and which aren't.

    I also thing that extending the grid outside of the mapped area is a distraction. Rather than a solid black fill, perhaps a darker grey?

  2. @PatrickW: I like my usual black fill, but I was experimenting with a no frills Judges Guild inspired style this go around. Hmmmm, a darker gray might look good. I'll try that later today. As for the muck, what do you think of my earlier effort? Does that amount of texture strike the right balance?

  3. Hm, I like this version a little bit better. I would prefer this with a little less "massive" shading (than in your other map) for the muck. And I do not mind the grid outside, because in play it can come in handy to write notes direct on the map... so no black outline for me.