If you’re a DM/GM, you might be happy to know about five recent terrain-related products that could be useful to your game. If you’re aware of any other new products, please do let me know in the comments section. I’ll also have some links at the end of this post to previous posts that focus on 2D and 3D game terrain and structures.
Black Scrolls Games Map Tiles
The developers at Black Scrolls Games are already off to a great start with a new line of fantasy terrain. Available in digital files that you can print as needed (or as a collection of pre-printed tiles delivered to your door for some products). I’ve already used one of their products, The Keeper of Realms, in a side-adventure for my D&D 5e Curse of Strahd gaming group (see photo below) — I printed out the pages on card stock and spray-glued them onto black foam core… the colors were vivid and my players absolutely loved the mat.
Two new products have recently become available — Sewer Map Tiles: The Druid’s Trees and Desert Map Tiles: Canyon. If you purchase the PDF files for these products, you get dozens and dozens of full-color tiles that can be rearranged as needed to create unique maps of your own… but the crew at Black Scrolls Games also provides sample layouts to get you started. For The Keeper of the Realms and The Druid’s Trees, you also get an adventure background that points out key locations and offers up creatures, traps, and other suggestions that are perfect matches for certain tiles. And the Canyon tiles come in daylight and nighttime versions.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Black Scrolls Games comes up with for future tile themes; the artwork is unbelievably detailed and there are subtle details you can’t appreciate until you have a map in front of you. Click here to find out more about Black Scrolls Games and their upcoming products. And if you sign up for their newsletter (on the website), you can download The Keeper of Realms for free!
Paizo Publishing just released a brand new flip-mat with a different sprawling dungeon on both sides. As with the company’s other flip-mat products, this one is coated and is perfect for dry erase markers or applying removable vinyl stickers. Both sides have the standard 1″ grid pattern and come with a number of unique and easy-t0-identify elements (such as a crystal skull) that you can weave into a one-off adventure of your own design.
This is 45% larger than the Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Dungeon mat (24″ x 30″) unfolding to a 27″ x 39″ mat while still folding down to the 8″ x 10″ flat pack. I’m already working on a custom adventure for one particular side, and I’ll be happy to share it in a follow-up post when it’s done.
If you’re looking to create custom dungeon crawls, you might be interested in this relaunched Kickstarter. It has an interesting mechanic — you can create custom mini-maps using small 2″ x 2″ Mini tiles, trying out different variations to create the dungeon you want, and then re-create your design using Mega 8″ x 8″ tiles. The Mega tiles come in different versions such as straight (clean) walls or collapsing walls, for example, and have various dungeon-y graphics applied:
Choose Straight-Lined Dungeon Walls (Straight-Edge) for precision mapping with 90 degree angles or Jagged Appearance (Rugged-Edge) Dungeon Walls to resemble Natural Caverns – or Both! … Floor Textures are loaded with attention to detail such as moss, cracks/chips, cobwebs, worn flagstones, puddles/seepage, dropped items, skeletal bones, lost jewellery/vials, blood, scarred with weapon damage and more.
Backer options include digital (print it yourself) files as well as printed tiles or mats. Tiles and mats are coated for dry erase markers. There are a lot of backer level options, so take a look and see if any of them might be useful to you. The Soloman Temple Squares Kickstarter ends on September 7, 2016.
Ross McConnell has a great little website where he sells a number of tabletop terrain aids for $1 each. These are hand-drawn maps with amazing color and details, and almost all of them are perfect for small on-the-road encounters or one-off adventures. McConnell seems to be developing a good following, and he continues to update the site with new maps as well as videos and blog posts that share details about how he works. If you like to draw your own maps, you’ll definitely want to check out McConnell’s videos on drawing rubble, for example.
McConnell does make a 10-pack map set free for download if you’d like to take a look at the quality of his drawings. I’m particularly fond of his Mountain Ravine (seen above) that is 250% better than anything I could have ever drawn myself. And I wished I’d had the Abandoned Quarry when I was running the Elemental Evil D&D adventure… I ran an encounter in a quarry and my hand-drawn map was pitiful compared to McConnell’s version.
If you like what you see, consider picking up a map or two (or ten) for just $1 each and help keep McConnell drawing more maps!
I’ve been anxiously awaiting this software tool to be approved by Steam. In a nutshell, you can drag and drop elements onto the workspace to create 3D structures complete with flooring, stairs, lighting, and more. Your creation can be exported as a file to be printed for tabletop gaming or as an image file to be used in online RPG tools like Roll20.
What I really like about the tool is I’ll be able to grab isometric views to print (the upper-half of the image above) and show my players before pulling out the top-down map (the lower-half of the above image) for miniatures and exploration/combat. The developers have mentioned that the application will have additional DLC provided over time, so it’s easy to see that this tool could be very useful to DM/GMs who are looking for terrain other than the standard dungeon crawl fare.
There’s already a 15-minute tutorial that covers the basic interface and controls — you can check it out below. I’m quite impressed with Virtual Battlemap, and I cannot wait to see what kinds of maps start appearing online from users.
UPDATE: Fat Dragon Games is offering 70% off its Ravenfell: Sewers papercraft kit for 48 hours. The set includes:
- Secret doors
- 1″ tall ledges
- Floor tiles, 1”, 1.5” and gridless options
- Rat Swarms
- Removable 3D sewage flow
- Dungeon wall in 1”, 2”, 3”, 4” and 5” lengths (both 2″ and 3″ heights)
- Dungeon wall (angled)
- Dungeon wall (crumbling) x3
- All necessary E-Z LOCK connection pieces
- Full color instructions
- Beginner’s Guide to Card Modeling
Additional 2D/3D Terrain Posts