With the right map, an encounter goes from “killing a hagmother” to “hunting a hagmother through her subterranean warren, finally cornering her in her hidden back room for her final showdown.” Before each major encounter at the game table, I spend hours scouring the ‘net trying to find just the right map to enhance the evening’s events. Once I’ve found it, I’ll use graph paper or software to add features and aspects to make it uniquely mine. In all that searching, I’ve amassed a small stockpile of “go to” map sites and I’ll share the ones I use most here with you;
Wizards.com Map-a-Week Archive – This is my go-to for castles and cities. They’re clean and make good props when printed on linen paper. There’s some good single rooms in there, too. Good for random encounter rooms in a bigger dungeon you’re building.
Paratime.ca B&W Dungeon Maps – These are just good solid dungeon maps. And the best part is they’re creative commons! They translate well to graph paper when I’m looking to make changes, and most of the dungeon maps from The Trials of Everrun came from their black and white inspiration. I keep a few of these in the back of my campaign folder all the time, just in case I need to improv something!
Gozzys.com Random Dungeon Maps, Random Cave Maps, and Random Wilderness Maps – These are great, quick tools. Lots of good customization in how you want it. Especially when I’m drawing my own maps, I’ll use Gozzys.com random dungeon or cave as the starting point and build my own from that structure. They have a great Gallery, which makes for good leisurely browsing when you’re looking for something special to add to an existing map. A random map from Gozzys.com combined with some of the special rooms from Wizards Map-a-Week Archive (above) makes for some good encounters!
Myth-weavers.com Dungeon Generator for D&D – A lot like Gozzys but it generates the whole dungeon, including monsters and traps. I have not yet had the chance to use it, but the traps feature has me intrigued. I always struggle with where to put traps, so this makes it easier!
There are a lot of great resources out there for maps, but those are my “go to” sites when I’m planning a campaign or building an encounter. I should also include a shout out to the “Micro Maps” and “map-Making in Games” communities on Google Plus. There are some really talented map artists over there and I’ve learned a lot just admiring their work. They really inspired me to take maps out of my head and put them onto graph paper!
If this helped you or you’d like more like this, please consider following our blog! The more followers we get, the more we’ll post!
Have a question for the staff? Want to share your own map resources? Put it in the comments!