The Alphastream Game Design Blog
(Originally posted in 2011 on my WotC blog)
The excellent Sly Flourish came upon the kind of organizational idea we often have but seldom execute. He took pictures of each of the poster tile maps in a 3E or 4E product he owns and uploaded them so he had a handy reference. He can look at the gallery and see all the maps he has when planning for a gaming session. Need a desert map? How about that poster map that came with the Blue Dragon? Need a river running through underground caves? Several RPGA/organized play posters can fill that need.
I loved the idea, but I wanted to make two changes. First, I downloaded them and renamed them so each file has the name of the map. That way I easily know the product on my shelf that has the map. I can also work with the thumbnail viewer mode in Windows to easily see the pictures very quickly without having to connect on the Internet.
Secondly, I have several adventures that weren’t included. I took pictures of them in similar fashion and added them to the collection. Now I can easily have my collection represented (Mike owns a few things I didn’t, such as the Fantastic Locations series, so I put those in a “Don’t Own” subfolder to encourage future shopping).
You can find some poster maps on DnDClassics/DMs Guild.
Edit: I originally offered these 2 files for download along with Dungeon Tiles and Lair Assault, but I think just as good a reference is now provided by DM David on his excellent blog:
If you still want my versions, here they are:
I’m offering the files as two downloads, since one really came from Mike and I don’t wan’t to misrepresent that. It was his genius that started it! You can thank him by visiting his site (and if you don’t have an FLGS you can support then consider using his click-throughs to buy stuff so you support his site). I’ve also added a gallery of Dungeon Tiles based on an EN World thread and a gallery of Lair Assault based on images captured by Ameron of Dungeon’s Master.
Download the files and create a folder on your computer. Set the folder to display thumbnails, and make them as large as possible. Now you will see the maps without having to open each image file.
You may want to create a sub-folder for products/maps you don’t own and move those images into there (or delete them if you won’t have a use for them).
When preparing for a gaming session, head to the folder and take a quick look to see if any poster tile maps fit the session you are planning. Maps like this can often provide good inspiration and often can fit your needs.
Consider adding tiles from tile sets onto the map so it fits your needs better, or just for a change of pace (especially if you have used the map before). Keep an open mind, such as adding a tile for a staircase and adding a separate second level. If you own any 3-D set pieces, such as the Mage Knight terrain shown here (Amazon link), or Hirst or Dwarven Forge bits, or even things from a craft store, those can really make a map excellent. Consider doing things like raising up some of the terrain. Craft stores sell 1″ wooden blocks that can fit the bill easily (just use enough so it is still stable). In fact, mirroring the poster map but showing elevation is a pretty fun trick:
Here is another example from the Dark Sun season of Encounters, where I added Mage Knight Artifacts terrain (Amazon Link, out of print but you can find them on some sites):
Do you have a product Mike and I don’t? Snap a picture and add it to your folder. Please send me a message to let me know so I can add it to my collection (and if you share the picture then I can update the download files)!