If you’re a DM/GM who likes to use terrain maps, you might already be familiar with the 2D maps available from companies such as Wizards of the Coast or Paizo. Pre-printed foldout maps are fast and easy, allowing a DM/GM to focus on the story and the combat and spend less time drawing out the obstacles, walls, doors, and other objects. Players tend to like them because it gives them a chance to pull out their hero miniatures and add a little strategy to combat scenarios (or places to hide while sneaking around for rogues). I’m a big fan of terrain maps, and have put together a good mix of locales to dig through before game night.
Sometimes, however, I just can’t find a good fit for the upcoming adventure. When these situations arise, I tend to reach for the blank gridded sheets I photocopy (2’x3′) in small quantities for custom made maps. I pull out the colored pencils and pens and get to work. I readily admit that my artistic skills are not a match for the professionally done maps, but it gets the job done.
There are times, though, when the blank grid sheets and the pre-printed maps aren’t a good solution. Typically, this is when I need to put together a quick one-off adventure in real-time as the players toss me a curve ball and head down a path I didn’t predict or prepare for. It happens, and while my players are okay with me drawing the map out (again, in real time) as they explore deeper into a cave or push through a secret door in a dungeon, it really slows me down. “Hang on a second… let me draw a few tables here… and that’s a skeleton on the floor… and… okay, that brown rectangle is a chest.”
I’m always on the lookout for gaming aids, and recently Bill Buchalter and Michael Pearman contacted me to share some news about their new Kickstarter — the Mystix Mapping System. In a nutshell, they are providing a number of sets of pre-printed scenery, objects, walls, and other items on reusable peel-and-stick vinyl sheets. These vinyl items can be used over and over again — stick them down on any surface that vinyl would normally adhere to and peel it up when you’re done. This means that most of the laminated and gridded terrain maps that many DMs/GMs already own can be used with the Mystix Mapping System sheets. The vinyl stickers are tear-resistant and waterproof, so that one player who always manages to tip his giant drink over onto the map… not a problem!
This is a true Kickstarter — Bill and Michael are wanting to use the funds raised here to help get their business up and going so they can produce many more sticker sheet themes such as sewers, caverns, forests, or taverns.
I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the Core Set and seeing what I can do with it. The idea of sticking down some walls and doors quickly appeals to me — I want to provide terrain but I don’t want to spend a lot of time drawing things. I want to keep the story moving, and not force my players to wait and wait as I sketch out a door here and a table there. With the Mystix Mapping System, it’s gonna be stick and go. I’m also very curious to see where Bill and Michael go with future sets. They’ve designed their sheets with three punched holes so I can keep all the stickers organized in a binder. I can imagine a day when I have dungeon, forest, sewer, and cave stickers tucked between dividers, and I can easily create a custom map in minutes that not only looks good but will stay in place as my players move their minis around.
If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at the video and read over the details on the Mystix Mapping System Kickstarter page. The fundraising ends on July 13, 2016, so please help spread the word and consider backing if you think this could be useful to you (or your GM if you’re a player).