Spotlight on Design 5 – Elements of Stone

Pebbles, stones, rocks, and boulders… from these basic blocks in the map editor designers have created wonderfully varied terrains. Variety and fine detail seem to be the name of the game in scenario design when it comes to using these elements in landscapes.

We’ll start out this week by looking at Jp Setlak’s Lords of Light. In this first view we have a small castle on a hill, some foliage and rocks scattered around, and a hint of river to the left. Maps with a lot of detail such as this one deserve a closer look.

This zoomed-in screenshot shows the area to the left of the castle where Jp Setlak incorporated a variety of rock types, in small doses, to create a rich, untamed environment. It also has the effect of making you want to turn the map to see it from other perspectives, in order to see the water between the cliffs.

This second detail from Lords of Light shows the meticulous arrangement of stones, creating a picturesque scene with what may be old pathways.

The Crusader editor provides its own challenges (i.e. there are fewer choices of rock types, and it’s very easy to make bad-looking rock formations). Below are some examples of good ones.

ReggieREAL uses a variety of stones and boulders to make this rugged terrain outside the castle in SkullBone Ridge.

One of the hardest things to do is to create an area of boulders large enough to accomodate several quarries, and still have it fit in with the rest of the landscape. Rhiannon does a very good job of it in Kashmir Land of Wonder.

This example from Caesarea by Sulis shows how vegetation can by tied in with precisely positioned boulders and stones to create a natural desert terrain.

We’ll return to regular Stronghold for these final two maps which show the more whimsical side of rock use and placement.

Lord Senesac used rocks to make a “megalithic calendar complete with pointing stone and sacrificial altar” in Curse of the Lost Dwarven Mine of Theos.

And finally, this first screenshot from Bismuth’s A Giant Once Walked Here shows a lowered area with stones spilling out of the ground. Nice, you’re thinking, but…?

… when you pull back to see the area in context you get the whole story!

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