Round 2 Rules

Round 2: Create an Adventure Location Rules

Create an original adventure location and encounter map.

Your entry must be submitted to with the subject line “DesignFinder Round 2 Submission.” Both parts of your entry must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 22, 2018, or you will be disqualified.

Submissions will be revealed and voting begins on June 26, and voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 2. We’ll announce the Top 8 entries on July 3.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry must be a 400-word write-up of an original fantasy-themed location suitable for an adventure AND a map appropriate for an encounter.
  • Your write-up can describe a village, wilderness area, dungeon or other appropriate area where you expect to set an adventure should you win the contest. It can describe background about the location presented, and what might be going on there now. If the area is a settlement it does NOT need to include a settlement stat block, though it can (but remember, your goal is to provide a place for an adventure, not a gazetteer).
  • Your location can NOT be set in Golarion or in any other existing campaign setting. It must be able to stand on its own (it’s fine if it could be inserted into another campaign setting by a GM, but should not be placed in there by you). If you use someone else’s intellectual property, your entry will be disqualified.
  • The map should be appropriate for an encounter in that location; it may be the entire location or a small section of it (such as a single building in a city). You may present a map designed for a specific encounter, or one useful for a variety of encounters.
  • Each entry should have a name for the location. This can be generic (such as “Rotting Docks”) or specific (such as “Khavren’s Kennels”).
  • The entry should include any notes about what various symbols, lines, shaded areas, each area on the map represents. The map need not be ready-to-publish, but a cartographer given nothing but the map should be able to create an accurate, useful, interesting publishable final map without any other information.
  • Entry must be on a 24 x 30 grid, with a 1 square = 5 feet scale. We’ve provided a sample grid here: PDF or JPEG.
  • Your map must be submitted as a 72 ppi .jpg (if you’re scaling down a scan of your image, a 24 x 30 inch area translates to 1728 px x 2160 px). A preview of your maps will be shown at a maximum 500 px width, with a link to the full size image you’ve provided.
  • Your map may be color, grayscale, or black and white.
  • Your map may be in either vertical or horizontal orientation.
  • Your map may be hand-drawn or computer-generated (maps generated in Photoshop, MS Paint, or similar are acceptable).
  • Your map must have a compass rose indicating north, and a scale (“one square = 5 feet”).
  • Artistic merit of the map is not a factor, but your maps should be a place you would want to adventure. Make sure your map is clear, detailed, and imaginative.
  • Submitted maps should be legible, neat, and contain all of the necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map illustration for a published adventure. If your handwriting is hard to read, consider using the text tool on an image-manipulating program to create the text on your map; alternatively, print out the text on a separate page, cut out the text into small sections, tape it to the map, and create a scan of the tagged map.
  • If your map has features that aren’t immediately recognizable, consider adding a map key (• = pillar, o = barrel, and so on). All this information must fit within the 24 x 30 area of the map. If you add too much information, you map will be cluttered and part of the space not used well. Be judicious.

I am not the best at maps. Can I have a friend or someone else draw the map for me?

No. The entire entry, including the map, must be your own work. We realize that this rule is essentially unenforceable except by the honor system but we all believe in the honor system so we feel it is sufficient. There are many free computer programs that you can use to draw simple maps. Your map doesn’t have to be beautiful, it just has to be clear enough that it could be handed to a professional cartographer without having to revise or redraw it.

How much text can I put on the map?

There isn’t a limit on the amount of text that can be included in the map image, but all the information on the map should be relevant to the map itself. If you try to include information the judges decide is not relevant to the map, you’ll be disqualified. If you decide to draw a city street corner, it’s reasonable to name the city, notable buildings, and terrain features, but don’t talk about its political system or alignment on the map itself (though that can be part of your 400-word adventure location). You can mark where specific monsters may be found on an encounter map, but can’t talk about their tactics or personalities in information on the map itself.