When you game, assuming you use a battlemat or tile system, how do you typically handle trees when the group is adventuring in a forest?  In my case, on a blank battlemat, I either draw a rough line to indicate the edge of the forest and define one side as clear, and the other as difficult, or simply declare the entire map forest.  I used to try to draw out the trees themselves, either with rough circles for the branch limits, or with large dots for the space of the trunks.  In general though, neither method really worked – it was either far too generic, or much too time consuming to be practical.

Last night however, I had a bit of a brainstorm.  I honestly don’t know if anyone else has come up with a similar idea in the past or not, I could not find any such products, but I certainly don’t expect this to be an original concept.  I was thinking, if I use artwork for the top of a tree, and add a “trunk”, along with a 1″ square grid, it would be fairly easy to print and use as a template to add directly to the battlemat – no drawing needed.

As I worked on that idea, I realized that the grid actually limits the use.  Although it helps to line up with the maps grid, and perhaps helps with movement, it also requires the tree to be located in a specific spacing.  Removing the grid allows the tree to be placed anywhere, making it a bit more useful.

I also realized that if the tree was printed on a transparency, with the non-tree sections as a transparent layer, then the various plants could overlap without issue and the various patterns could be sized (before printing) for a variety of different tree sizes.  Then by printing a variety, it would be fairly easy to create a full forest.

With a bit of searching on google, I found a good, high resolution representation, and easily resized it for a 4″ square to start with.  Since I am travelling today, I can’t really print and test the design yet, but that will be one of my tasks for this weekend once the kitchen remodel is completed (or I get a break).

Once I get a working prototype I am happy with, I will most likely post a finalized PDF format, in case anyone else can find them useful.

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