Mapmaking 101 – Secret Passages and Caves, Part 2

Secret Passages and Caves

Part 2
By Kolja Silvani
Adapted to English by Jayhawk

The original article can be found here

An interesting part of making secret passages is the art of creating an entrance

The simplest way to hide the secret passage is to just let it be part of the surrounding landscape. This will make the entrance virtually invisible.

Picture 4: A hidden entrance.

A second option is to use a staircase to provide access. You’ll need to start with a straight section of secret passage, its height depending on the height of the plateau. To reach a maximum height plateau you need 11 spaces in a row. Do not try to build this along the diagonal, the staircase must connect side by side in a straight line! At one end of the passage you raise a piece of land that’s high enough to allow a wall placed here to just break the surface of the plateau. Next you lead a staircase down into the depths of your passage.

Note: It seems perfectly possible to use a more curved kind of staircase, like one making a zig-zag. However, there needs to be straight sides connecting, not corners.
— Jayhawk

Picture 5: Staircase leading down.

A variation on this idea is not to place a staircase leading downwards but a ladderman. This guy can be moved around during the game of course. Keep in mind though that not all troops can use ladders to climb up. In order to get this to work correctly, you’ll need to use a bit of enemy wall as the access point; otherwise the ladderman won’t connect and the passage will be inaccessible. The picture shows a leveled view, making the ladderman and the climbing soldier clearly visible. The wall of course looks better in normal view.

In any given secret passage or cave (these will be discussed more fully in part 3) you can use a lot of these barriers. For instance you can set an enemy wall at the lowest level to keep the soldiers within the cave system. When you have ladders on both sides of the wall segment you get to see your troops climb up one ladder and down the next, adding a lot of drama to your cave. A group of soldiers snaking its way through a series of passages this way looks absolutely great.
Of course, there’s a lot of other things you can do using this basic idea.

Picture 6: A ladderman entrance.

Another interesting option is to use a gatehouse as the entrance of a secret passage. When the gatehouse is in your own colour, it effectively locks the enemy into the caves. An important thing to remember is, that if you want to use a gatehouse this way, a small section of the terrain needs to be below the level of the gatehouse’s deck, as can be seen in the blue box on the image. The best way to check this is so is when the stones of the wall of the gatehouse are visible.

Picture 7: A gatehouse as entrance.

Using passages you can connect two seperate castles or a castle and a village. Or you can have a passage lead off to an iron deposit.

Another interesting option is to build a passage into an enemy castle, with a section of enemy wall at the end (as explained in a previous paragraph). This will make it seem as if your army has dug its own tunnel into the castle. As you can see there’s lots of ways to use these passages.

In the third and final part of this workshop we will look at making caves.

Continue to Part 3
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