Maps are an essential part of many RPG and DnD campaigns, and if you’re running an adventure on the sea, ship maps will come in handy! So let’s take a look at five different tools you can use to create or generate maps for your campaign.
Using DungeonFog to create ship maps
It’s no secret that we love DungeonFog, so naturally, they’ll be our top pick for making ship maps! Unlike other software, they offer an extraordinary range of assets: cyberpunk, space-age, victorian, and fantasy. So whether you’re looking to create spaceship maps or fantasy ship maps, DungeonFog has your back! And it has many quality-of-life features that you won’t find on regular art software, such as grid-snapping, room duplication or rotation, and much more! The software is free with basic features and offers both subscription and single-purchase options. So give it a try and see what it has in store!
By the way, here’s an excellent video by the award-winning GM Guy Sclanders, from How to be a Great GM, going into detail about how to create ships using DungeonFog! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv-mbI1mKUc
What’s better than a map? An INTERACTIVE Map! Let your players, readers, and fans explore your ship elements with World Anvil’s interactive maps! Just upload the map, then drop pins to label each element of your ship. Link them to other parts of your world or zoom out to the ship’s current location in your world!
Inkarnate: perfect for fantasy maps!
Inkarnate is another amazing mapmaking tool, this time focused on regional and world maps —but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for smaller-scale maps like ships! It focuses mostly on the fantasy genre, so it’s a great tool if you’re building a fantasy ship or an airship! And if you don’t find the assets you need, you can always upload custom assets! What’s more, some users allow others to clone and edit their maps, so you don’t have to start from scratch! Inkarnate is browser-based and has a basic plan with everything you need to get mapping! Check it out here.
Making ship maps with Dungeondraft
Dungeondraft is a mapmaking software focused on battlemaps, which means it’s great for ships too! The default assets are all for a basic fantasy setting, but you’re free to look for and install assets for other genres. So, while it might only work for fantasy ship maps out-of-box, with the help of additional assets you can also draw any other can of ships, such as spaceship or airship maps. It also has functionality for dynamic lighting, grid snapping, and everything you’d expect from a battlemap editor. Dungeondraft is a downloadable program that has no free plan but has a single payment. Check it out here!
Looking for a general-purpose mapmaking software? Take a look at our 5 favorite mapmaking software!
Generating random ships with Dave’s Mapper
Dave’s Mapper is an amazing online map generation tool that has a specific option for a spaceship map generator! The best thing about a generator is that, while it gives you some freedom, you don’t actually have to draw anything. This one’s based on a grid of tiles that are randomized —and if there’s a tile you don’t like, you can just switch it for another! So if you’re just looking for a quick sci-fi ship map, that tool’s for you. It’s definitely a “form follows function” kind of tool, but it still gives you four different art styles to choose from! This is another online tool but it’s completely free to use (although it has a donation button if you enjoy the tool!). Go generate some maps!
Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.NET, or other art software
Using general-purpose art software to make a ship map might seem overwhelming at first if you’re not used to them —but it’s actually way easier than it seems! Just make sure to download an asset pack you like (assuming you can’t or don’t want to draw one yourself) and just put the pieces together. And that’s it! Of course, if you want to add fancy effects like lighting, fog, or realistic fire, you’ll have to dive deeper into your software’s capabilities. But you don’t need fancy effects to have a fancy map! This guide by 2-Minute tabletop has everything you need to know to get started —including a selection of their free assets!
Did we miss a map making tool you love? Throw it in the comments! And for interactive maps your players can explore, create a free account on World Anvil and let the interactive map making begin!
Great article, Roc. I personally would add ‘Procreate’ as “other” software–for those who like to draw.
I own most of these–and I STILL get stuck, LOL.
Thank you for the marvelous information!! Always look forward to what you share through the blog.
It would be nice to include links to the custom assets you reference.