Yesterday Zak posted instructions on how he does his unique style of mapping. I’ve always appreciated the visual work and individual style that goes into his maps.
I decided to make an attempt and his style of doing it for the game I am going to run on Saturday for a couple friends (some of them being first timers). On Monday I’ll post the adventure, how it went, and thoughts.
The adventure will have Bugbears (though I’m not really going with the standard trope of them.. I’ll explain more on Monday) kidnapping Plague Doctors from monastery that they do their research from. The players will track down the Bugbears and survivors to this lair.
I knew the creatures/obstacles that I wanted and as Zak suggested, I googled pics. I looked for a quick dungeon/cave outline but couldn’t find anything that really tugged at my tallywhacker, so I just hand drew it, inked it, and scanned it in.
Then I placed the pictures, made the arrows to the corresponding rooms, and placed the letters above which I have a quick note on each jotted down (if necessary).
Thoughts on the Process
Not gonna like, this did take a bit of time. Definitely more than if I had just drawn the dungeon/cave out and lettered the areas. However I see two benefits with Zak’s process. 1) With these visual cues I don’t think I (or any GM that utilizes this method) would have to consult the papers as much to see what lurks in the room. Sure you may have to consult enemy stats or trap results, but overall you know what is where without thinking, “Ok. They just got into room A, let’s see what my notes say.” 2) This method kinda got the creative juices going in a way that staring at a blank piece of paper doesn’t. At least for me. I’m not sure if that benefit would happen each and every time (and obviously I started the creative process before I did this map).
I know I wouldn’t approach all my maps with this building process, but I think it was fun and look forward to seeing how well I utilize it on Saturday.