Gates is a long time 3D artist/designer who now runs his own (non-design) business. You can find him on twitter (@TGatesC), or on discord (TeeGeeCee#4509). He lives in New England with his hubby, 2 dogs, and 8 chickens. He spends too much time fussing over the placement of every building and making up D&D character backstories, and today he is here to share with us the map he made and how he goes about making city-level maps using Wonderdraft and our assets.
If you’d like to download the Wonderdraft Assets that Gates used, you can find those in the downloads section below.
How it Started
When I got back into D&D a few years ago (after a podcast recommendation, though not the one you might expect), I quickly found myself hooked again and looking for a way to play. I had no real world friends who played, but stumbled into online games, finding several options (Roll20 & Discord primarily) to choose from. I settled into one or two discord servers, playing for well over a year, but eventually grew frustrated. Some were based out of a single tavern, and these always felt too small and limiting. I played in one that did its best to create an entire continent with multiple cities. That one was too big, and things couldn’t be given the detail needed. So I set out to build a server of my own, a goldilocks server… one that was just right.
I had the idea of building a small town with a few taverns and inns, guilds, a local government, things that were easy to grasp, but with solid lore behind them. The sort of place where after being a resident for a time, the locals would start to recognize you, where you would know exactly where a guild hall was in relation to your inn – that kind of thing. It was important to me to have a really solid sense for what the town looked like – nothing is more frustrating to me as a player than not knowing where things are located. Luckily I had 2 Minute Tabletop’s amazing array of assets to build a town with, and to use to impart a ton of life. Here’s a rundown on how I created the town of Hayvyn.
The Process of Creating a Fantasy Town
I started where towns and cities always start – with the geography of the world. Knowing how most cultures start, I located my town, Hayvyn, at the mouth of a river, using the software Wonderdraft to make the land. I placed some general areas, just using text to block out regions I thought I might want. Docks, a trade district, a crafter’s area, a few residential zones, etc. It was at this point I started to think about the lore of the town, knowing this might have an affect on some aspects of the town itself.
Next was to block out the actual town, and to start adding detail to the landscape itself. This is where all of 2 Minute Tabletop’s tools started to come into play. The roads and landscape were all easy to place. Once I had the town walls placed, the tileable cobblestone from the City Street Tiles pack was easy to blend into itself in spots I needed to. All of that done, I had a much more solid idea where certain parts of the town, districts, as I came to think of them, would be placed. You can see I was also refining the district names as well, starting to give more of a feel for the town and its lore.
Then it was time to start the heavy lifting – placing the buildings themselves. I blocked each district out, tinting the ground a bit for each so I could keep them clear in my head. This also gave the added benefit of some natural street layouts. 2 Minute Tabletop ’s Town & City Assets have such a great assortment of buildings, it was easy to make each district unique in small ways.
A word about how I laid the city out. I tried to make a natural flow to how things were placed. For example, with the docks, it made sense that next to them would be a trade district, so that goods would be moved as little as possible. Or that the heart of the town (numbered 10, 13, and 14 in this image), would become the entertainment and social center for things. Residential districts (2, 7, and *another* 13 (whoops!)) are more on the edges, allowing for easy growth as the population increases.
Here is the finished town, Hayvyn. The districts are all well defined, and 2 Minute Tabletop ’s wide assortment of building shapes and colors makes each area look unique, but everything still ties together stylistically. The more commercial areas have buildings that are larger and have interesting details like stacks of lumber, outdoor forges, or food court tents. The residential zones are made up of smaller buildings all nestled together in a way that feels natural. Docks jut out into the bay and farmlands dot the southern landscape. Everything looks peaceful and cozy, just waiting for adventurers to come and make a home!
Another thing I love about 2 Minute Tabletop’s assets is that their resolution is big enough that I could make the town map large enough that I could make detailed maps of each district. This meant I could designate specific buildings (with room for growth!). These really show how flexible and well designed the assets are. The amount of variety let me give each district several unique buildings that really helped to define the district’s style. I can’t imagine a better way of creating a town from scratch, and 2 Minute Tabletop ’s buildings, landscapes, and details made creating my dream town possible.
Gates has generously provided the high-res versions for you to use in your own games! You can find them on our Google Drive by clicking the button below:
Map Asset Downloads
Interested in the map assets that Gates used to create these maps? You can find them listed here:
City Street Tiles Pack$5.00
Wonderdraft Town & City Map Assets Pt.3PWYW: $1 or FREE $1.00
Wonderdraft Town & City Assets Pt.2PWYW: $1 or FREE $1.00
River & Water AssetsPWYW: $1 or FREE $1.00
Wonderdraft Town & City Tokens Pt.1PWYW: $1 or FREE $1.00
Mansion Furniture TokensPWYW: $1 or FREE $1.00
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