Designing Your Own Maps
Map-Driven Campaign Design: Sorted from most elaborate to most expedited
Bat in the Attic: How to make a Fantasy Sandbox
- 34 steps, 10000 words, and 24 hours of work. But it’s thorough!
The Escapist: Go, Go Gazette
describes how to build a sandbox through placement of a few dozen static encounters and then augment it with “dynamic” (i.e., random) lairs and encounters.
The Welsh Piper: Hex-based Campaign Design
suggests dealing with a much smaller area and expanding as you go; outlines this process and provides helpful tables and illustrations.
Lampblack & Brimstone: Campaign Setting: Making the World
follows the Welsh Piper’s process but zooms out a bit at first. Excellent complementary piece.
Monsters and Manuals: A Little Ancient Mesopotamian Campaign Setting With Your D&D, Sir?
- another example of the Welsh Piper’s method
Mapping Tools: Wilderness
Old School Hex Map Tutorial
: Editable random hex map generator
World/Starmap/Wilderness Map Creation Software
4-Part tutorial for hand-drawing, scanning, labeling, and coloring world maps
Beyond the Black Gate: Mapping Resource Links
Mapping Tools: Dungeons
: simple dungeon map generator using SVG for your browser (stand alone file)
deepnight.net | ANAmap: a free RPG Map Editor
: simple dungeon maps (online only, requires flash)
Dungeon maps for RPG. Create maps online, download as PDF and PNG.
: Flash application to draw dungeons.
: simple ASCII Art dungeon drawing tool
Mapping Specific Locations
Generation of Detailed Carcosa Hex Maps
Easy D&D Village Maps
: Toss the dice and start drawing
Tips and Advice
Use hexcrawls for quick-prep, open-ended wilderness exploration; use pointcrawls for more focused locations and deliberate, meaningful travel.
Have one hex = one day of travel, regardless of terrain
and other hexcrawl procedures
Use iconic rather than symbolic imagery to "awesome up" your fantasy maps.
Why 6-mile hexes are superior
: 1. Navigation, 2. Horizons, 3. Subhexes
ColorBrewer: Color advice for cartographers
: Fantastic collection of maps, many of which have adventures written for them
Paratime Design Cartography
: Maps by Tim Hardin; organized by location and style
…and the sky full of dust. | Maps
: Nice collection of map, a little tough to navigate
Forests and Chases of England and Wales: Early Maps
Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era
Maps of fortifications and towns, Netherlands, 1649
Dungeon Geomorphs and Random Generators
Generating maps that look like Middle Earth maps
: With name places based on artificial languages to boot.
using dungeon geomorphs from all over the place
donjon; RPG Tools
: World generators, name generators, quest generators, tons of stuff.
Kellri's Dungeon Geomorphs
DunGen Dungeon Generator
: Generates flow chart dungeons!
The Acorn Afloat: Geomorph generator
: Generates a weird sort of wilderness, black and white, half Zelda, half
Red and Pleasant Land
Philosophical Musings and Design Principles
Various Individuals’ General Philosophies on Dungeon Design
Goblin Punch: Dungeon Checklist
How To Build A Dungeon
Dungeon of Signs: Dungeon Design and Stocking - with examples!
: Consider the past and stock accordingly. With an elaborate (and beautiful) example dungeon.
Hack & Slash: On Meaningful Choice in the Dungeon
Goblin Punch: What Is Tested?
- designing dungeons as tests
Guide to Adventure Writing
Insect Shrine of Goblin Hill Design Notes
LotFP: RPG: Is this how D&D is supposed to be played?
On Dungeon Mapping
The Alexandrian » Jaquaying the Dungeon
: The first article in a series on how to make dungeons non-linear
Dungeon layout, map flow and old school game design
: Melan’s famous discussion of map complexity. Also posted
Dungeon of Signs: Map design thoughts.
: Things to consider when creating maps: sometimes realistic maps are boring. Push harder!
Beyond the Black Gate: Megadungeon Resources
A lot of the same advice as Benoist below (and a free megadungeon level too), but offers up some nice random tables and a lot of other features
Benoist's advice on building a megadungeon and an example he develops, including background, a side-view sketch, and complete map/key of one level
Hack & Slash: On Gameplay in the Megadungeon
- brief post highlighting the three aspects of engaging with a megadungeon: exploration, encounters, and extraction
Hill Cantons: Pointcrawling Ruins Revisited
Hill Cantons: Pointcrawling Ruins, Stocking Structures
Resources: Lists, Tables, Procedures
One Page Dungeon Contest
(1PDC) has tons of single page adventures
Playing D&D With Porn Stars: Zak's Dungeon Roller
- tables for creating the basic overarching premise of a dungeon; after this, go get your map and stock with the tools below.
The Alexandrian » The Art of the Key – Part 4: Adversary Rosters
: Keep a list of monster groups that can move between rooms next to your map.
Goblin Punch: Dungeon Checklist
Random Dungeon Stocker
using 1000 crowd-sourced entries listed
Alex Schroeder: One roll dungeon stocking
- detailing the process behind converting the stocking tables from Moldvay into a single d20 table
Detect Magic: AW-Style Dungeon Stocking
: Every room should contain a mapping issue, treasure, lore, or some danger. Mix and match.
Henchman Abuse: Nitty gritty of dungeon design
- some notes on how this dude stocks his dungeons
Tools for Specific Areas or Aspects of a Dungeon (Traps, Entrances, Etc.)
Hack & Slash Tricks, Empty Rooms & Basic Trap Design
Dungeon Dressing Tables
- a couple d100 tables for dressing up corridors and empty rooms
Hack & Slash: Dungeon Entrances
- list of 60+ possible dungeon entrances
Ars Ludi: Curing the Bad Trap Blues
- a couple tips on how to make traps more interesting
Friction Points and Wandering Monsters
- a system for increasing the chance of more dangerous responses to adventurers as they make their presence more obvious
Dungeon of Signs: Walls and Doors - Mega Dungeon Detail on the Cheap.
- not necessarily for megadungeons only
Effects of eating unknown stuff in dungeons
Telecanter: The Original Tumbling Dungeon
its ongoing use in play
- 3D dungeons that rotate
More Link Collections
games with others: The Least Information (Maps, Keys)
: A collection of links, focusing on dungeon maps
Rusty Battle Axe’s Compilations of “Megadungeon” Links and Resources:
Part I (Design & Play)
Part II (Maps, Tables, Generators)
. Despite title, very few of these resource are for megadungeons only.
Stasis Engine: The Grandest of all the Patterns in Nature
: There were once forests in the polar regions. Half a year of day. Half a year of night. Everything full of dinosaurs.
Hexcrawl Resources | ars phantasia
: a collection of links to blog posts and tools
General Systems for Wilderness Travel
How I Hexcrawl | Lost Pages
: with special focus on line of sight
Solipsistic Hexes | Necropraxis
- Pretty standard 10-step procedure at the end; main twist is that one hex = one day, no matter the terrain; random table for what happens if party tries to go faster
Detect Magic: Pathcrawl
- basically, create “paths” connecting all static locations; includes methods for stocking map with static locations; travel off-path leads to additional danger
Roles, Rules, and Rolls: One-Page Wilderness System
Trollsmyth: Hex Mapping (20 part series)
: Despite the title, most of this is philosophizing about hexcrawling. There are plenty of helpful tips and some random tables, but it’s a lot to wade through.
Specific Rules and Procedures
Overland Encounters – Tales of the Rambling Bumblers
of Pedantry: Roughing It - Wilderness Travel System
- doling out damage for travel
Tao of D&D: Noodling with Travel, further development of a Wilderness Travel System
- commentary on the damage for travel procedure
Nine and Thirty Kingdoms (with Link to Spawn of Endra post):
Le Chaudron Chromatique: PCs camp events
: using camp events to add personality to NPCs, find new dungeon entrances, etc.
Goblin Punch: Travel and River Crossings
Carapace King: River Fording
Nine And Thirty Kingdoms: How's the Weather?
Methods & Madness: The Rule of Three - Easy outdoor survival rules
: Progressive damage for outdoor dangers
Random Tables and Generators from Broadest to Most Specific
Abulafia: Fantasy Region
Abulafia: Fantasy Landmarks
Abulafia: Hex Map Key
Aeons & Augaries: Who Rules Here?
Random Encounters and Events During Travel
Wonders & Witchcraft: Random Encounters in Faceny
: While travelling through settled lands…
Daddy Grognard: If you go down to the woods today...
- random table for woodland exploration
Abulafia: Fantasy Campsite
Old School Psionics: Food-chain competition in game play
- random table for alpha predator that show up in PCs’ camp at night
Wilderness Areas by Goblin Punch: Brainstorms based on inspirational pictures
: See also separate post about local
: See also separate post about local
The Great Rot
: See also a separate post about local
(with disgusting pictures).
Commentary: No Random Tables or House Rules Here!
Troll & Flame
both philosophize about this concept.
I'll See It When I Believe It: How far can you see on a hex map?
What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse: Yes, the Wilderness is dangerous, but not everywhere is wilderness
- a reminder that there are also borderlands
Hidden in Shadows: % in Lair
- commentary on the “% in Lair” stat
The Moral of the Story, a subsystem proposal for Masters of Carcosa | Papers and Pencils
: Keeping track of law vs. chaos and making a place more lawful by deriving a moral of the story (or adventure)
Additional Links and Resources
Things to do in a shipwreck | Richard's Dystopian Pokeverse
: What usually happins in a shipwreck and in what order?
Hexcrawl Resources | ars phantasia
: A collection of annotated links, many of of which you’ll also find on this site.
Goblin Punch: Hungry Joe
: A city in hell
Stasis Engine: The court architect Phraanc L'loiid Rait
: Using Frank Lloyd Wright’s unrealized plan for reworking downtown Baghdad for an elven city
Jeffs Gameblog: Random Hamlet Names
: Best name generator for towns on the internet
Abulafia: Fantasy Town
- Best random fantasy town creator on Abulafia!
Fortresses, Castles and Citadels
Abulafia: Random Fortress
- random generator
Elfmaids & Octopi: Complete Guide to Psychonian Citadels
: A long selection of tables to generate some fantastic fortress or post-apocalyptic refuge including various locations and events. And:
Extra Citadel Stuff...
The Welsh Piper: automated tool for creating fantasy populations
S. John Ross: Medieval Demographics Made Easy
Logistical Demographics of the Ancient Wilderness, and other snooze inducers...part VI
Random Events, Situations and News
Magician's Manse: Random Village Situations
Society Torch Pole Rope: What's going on in the town
Taverns, Carousing, and Other Town Activities
Goblin Punch: Downtime Activities + Carousing Table
Detect Magic: Taverns
: How to run taverns.
- Random tavern generator
Feast! Tables for food, drink, reveling companions and events both ordinary and odd
General Guides on Running Cities
Rocket-Propelled Game: Marx & Monsters: A Radical Leftist Fantasy Sandbox
: How to run a New Crobuzon or Russian Revolutionary or bomb throwing anarchist urban campaign
Playing D&D with Porn Stars: Urban Rules for Slacker DMs
Roles, Rules, and Rolls: Street Guide Without Streets
: a simple sheet to list important locations, characters and random encounters in a settlement without a map
Detect Magic: City Procedure
: How to run a city
Goblin Punch: Dwarven Architecture
- random generator
: Tables and ideas to create your own Viriconium-inspired city.
12 Nearby Cities | The Githyanki Diaspora
: City suggestions with a Planescape feel, includes suggested exports
10 Underground Cities | The Githyanki Diaspora
Specific Locations to Add to Your City
Bizarre Urban Locations
Abulafia: Gothic Manor
Detect Magic: Naumachia
: How to run staged naval combats in an arena. It’s basically playing Rock-Paper-Scissors to generate outcomes. One of them being: “In either case, add hostile opposing teams to the city encounter table.”
Random Encounters and Other Tables
Goblin Punch: The Final d8 Assassins
Goblin Punch: d6 More Assassins
Goblin Punch: d6 Assassins
Trollsmyth: Playing with Kyma - the Bazaar District
: Excellent random encounters
Weird City Encounters
In which I risk my life by revealing the mysteries of the guilds « Blog of Holding
: Rolling up secrets that the various guilds are guarding
Gangsters & Thugs
Daddy Grognard: Hooks and the City Part 1
Jeffs Gameblog: Running Some Numbers: Sea Voyages
Playing D&D With Porn Stars: Watercrawl (adventures on ships)
Mazirian's Garden: Simple Underwater Rules
DM Muse Weather Generator
Sea of O'sr ships, islands and saltbox encounters
What Would Conan Do?: Planar Cultures
Mazirian's Garden: To Where Have I Opened the Way?
: Descriptions of three planes plus random encounters that could occur when opening a portal to them.
Daddy Grognard: Men with Sticks and Ropes
- philosophizing about the afterlife with some discussion of planar travel, especially interaction with the Spectral Plane
Goblin Punch: Azathoth the Microbiologist
- thoughts about what it would be like to play a campaign under Azathoth’s microscope
Blog of Holding: Fairyland
: Dude points out that everything is bigger in Fairyland.
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