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Mega Map Madness

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Before Adam Smith from the Order of the Amber Die had the first adventure of Strange Aeons sent to him, Adam Daigle warned him that the Briarstone Asylum was pretty detailed and complicated. After seeing the maps for the previous Giantslayer marathon, we knew that he put a ton of work into his maps, and apologized ahead of time for how much time he'd spend with the asylum.

Before you go further: Spoilers for Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity follow. All of the spoilers. Avert your eyes.

Okay, now check out this frickin' AMAZING thing! So, that massive map of Briarstone Asylum from their marathon playthrough of Pathfinder Adventure Path #109: In Search of Sanity? That incredible behemoth playmat? Yeah. That lives at Paizo HQ now. We were so blown away that most of the office stopped by the developer cubicles just to gawk at it!


Check out Adam, Crystal, Liz, and me drooling over it—and maybe pointing out a few opportune unicorn slaying grounds.

Countless thanks to Adam Smith and the Order of the Amber Die for their adventure reports, their kind note, and the one-of-a-kind mega-momento! We're totally blown away!

F. Wesley Schneider
Editor-in-Chief

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Tags: Community Paizo Pathfinder Adventure Path Strange Aeons
Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Awesome! ^_^

Paizo Employee Developer, Starfinder Team

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A truly AWESOME mapping job, and an amazing thing to send in. Thanks a ton!

Order of the Amber Die

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Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
A truly AWESOME mapping job, and an amazing thing to send in. Thanks a ton!

We are glad it made it safely all the way across the country! It really is an amazing map Wes! The nature of how the map works was fun to see as it revealed itself room by room. Then, seeing it all laid out after playing through the entire adventure and how it gives the illusion of choice was enlightening.

It's in a proper home now. We hope having it fully rendered inspires you all as much as it did us.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wes, we hope that one day you'll get the chance to GM your people on this too. It won't really matter if they know the spoilers, because they'll still need to be at their best to beat you!

Order of the Amber Die

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Wow, a huge thank you to the team at Paizo for appreciating this so much! The marathon of PF109 finished at 4:30am with us standing around, the sun coming up, discussing the module as we always do. It's always one of my favorite moments, because for the first time we get to see the map fully revealed together as GM and players. I spent around 30 hours with it by myself (mostly in silence for this one), lamenting the entire way that it would be washed off as so many of my Giantslayer maps were. As we each shared our opinion of the In Search of Sanity experience, everyone at the table agreed that we had enjoyed the adventure so much, that more had to be done to express how we felt. We came to a decision: The map belonged at Paizo HQ. This is the same map we played on, so be warned that it's already tasted the blood of two PC deaths, and once a map tastes the blood of a character--well, you know the rest.

Also, thank you to so many appreciative fans on the Paizo Facebook who gave such warm reception, it has inspired me to do another one like it soon. Let's see what other intriguing maps await us in Strange Aeons!

To other GMs out there: I really can't recommend enough this old school method of drawing maps for your players, as it enhances the shared experience when all of you get to explore and enjoy a map together. Lastly, I should mention that in case anyone is interested in some of the production photos of what it took to create this map, I placed a map procedure booklet in our Dropbox.

Editor-in-Chief

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Super appreciate it, guys! This was a fantastic surprise to wander into this morning.

Now just to find an appropriate place of honor. :D


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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Super appreciate it, guys! This was a fantastic surprise to wander into this morning.

Now just to find an appropriate place of honor. :D

Great map!

Of course first it has to be digit(al)ized and made available as a (free) PDF here on Paizo, hehe.

Ruyan.

PS: Also, happy to see I am not the only one having too small a table to fit the map.

Scarab Sages

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Is this location larger than Yzadirune(?), in chapter 1 of Shackled City?
Because we thought we'd be in there forever, till we stumbled on a secret door.

Order of the Amber Die

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Snorter wrote:

Is this location larger than Yzadirune(?), in chapter 1 of Shackled City?

Because we thought we'd be in there forever, till we stumbled on a secret door.

I've run Shackled City for a session or two in the past and have been wanting to run it again soon. Jzadirune is a logistical nightmare for a GM and also players, it's just really huge. Until I did a second count of the map, I would have said that Jzadirune is at least 1.5 times the size of Briarstone Asylum. I was wrong, and I'm glad I double checked, but I only considered dimensions of the maps not actual sq footage. The map for Jzadirune is approximately 390 x 290, the map for Briarstone is 350 x 260. Somehow slogging through Jzadirune seemed much worse, it had to be the traps. Although the fear caused by Briarstone definitely seemed to distort how big the map was, and the constant paranoia helped as well.

Side note: Would love to discuss your experiences with Shackled City, I haven't spoken to many people that have played or run the game. It's still in the works for me to run, but is currently on the back burner.

Liberty's Edge

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I learned two things from those pictures ...

1 - that is an AWESOME map!

2 - either black t-shirts are the required Paizo work attire ... or Wes and Adam just like to coordinate their outfits :)

Order of the Amber Die

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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Super appreciate it, guys! This was a fantastic surprise to wander into this morning.

Now just to find an appropriate place of honor. :D

You're very welcome Wes, and thank you for writing a module that made a bunch of hardened veterans feel like scared rookies again.

Can't wait to see what you decide to do with it. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Amazing effort you guys.

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
RuyanVe wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:

Super appreciate it, guys! This was a fantastic surprise to wander into this morning.

Now just to find an appropriate place of honor. :D

Great map!

Of course first it has to be digit(al)ized and made available as a (free) PDF here on Paizo, hehe.

Ruyan.

PS: Also, happy to see I am not the only one having too small a table to fit the map.

Finding tables to fit these maps is definitely a challenge! Here's the kicker: while the asylum is the most intricate map I've ever drawn, it's not the biggest in overall size. The largest map was actually the Tomb of Skirkatla by Jim Groves, which buried me for about 22 hours with dozens of giant-sized pillars. A close second would be Tim Hitchcock's Cathedral of Minderhal.

Our PDF of The Giantslayer Endeavor has a map gallery with more than twenty maps I drew for that AP, and our Facebook has lots of maps from various adventures, including the recent Storval Stairs in full scale rendering. I really hope all of this helps or inspires other GMs try to draw some of their own maps.

Happy gaming!

Paizo Employee Developer

I was out last night when this went up, so I didn't get a chance to say thank you (again)! This thing is awesome and my jaw dropped when Wes stepped into my cubicle with that big tube mailer and started pulling out a battle mat. I knew what was about to be revealed but I couldn't believe it.

Paizo Employee Developer

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And, yes. Wes and I just happen to be firmly in the jeans and plain black t-shirt camp when it comes to daily wear.

Order of the Amber Die

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Adam Daigle wrote:
I was out last night when this went up, so I didn't get a chance to say thank you (again)! This thing is awesome and my jaw dropped when Wes stepped into my cubicle with that big tube mailer and started pulling out a battle mat. I knew what was about to be revealed but I couldn't believe it.

Thanks Adam, that's a cool story, we're all really happy that everyone likes it as much as they have. When the group decided we would send it, my first reaction was "thanks guys, we're going to send a map we've played on for 44 hours, and especially one that I didn't know when I was making it, would someday be at Paizo HQ?" I insisted that I get a chance to do some touch-ups, and that turned into a few more, and so on. I had visions of it melting in some USPS warehouse in Nebraska, with marker ink leaking out the bottom of the tube...but I see that it looks good, and it's in the right home now. :)

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So, how many chessex mega-mats does that take? I've got two.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
So, how many chessex mega-mats does that take? I've got two.

this is larger than a single mondomat, let alone megamats. the entire asylum is about 74"x58", which is slightly wider than a single mondo. what i'll probably end up doing is using a mondo and a mega in combination. this asylum is truly terrifying.

on a side note, is there a high-res version of the map that could be released (to take to kinkos and blow up to scale)?

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
GeraintElberion wrote:
So, how many chessex mega-mats does that take? I've got two.

It takes one whole Chessex Mondomat and then a small piece of any other Chessex mat. We cut a piece off of a Megamat and used that for the 10-14 inches of rollover. It would probably take 4-5 Megamats combined to create the same amount of space as one Mondomat. Mondomats are pretty amazing actually, even with the fairly high price tag, since they should last you a very long time. I've got one that's going on 10+ years now!


Alright, I'll suggest it. Paizo should be sending you a replacement mondomat.

As I said before, you map is amazing. I'm glad you didn't have t erase it.l


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Swiftbrook wrote:
As I said before, you map is amazing. I'm glad you didn't have t erase it.l

As are we! We often refer to these maps as works of art, but our GM shakes his head and reminds us that they're not original creations. But to us that doesn't matter, because we've seen first-hand that it can take just as much time, effort, and passion rendering replicas the way he does. I believe I speak for all of us in the Order when I say that we're totally spoiled because we get to play on them on a regular basis, and I'm happy that their appreciation isn't exclusive to our gaming table anymore. Thanks for the comments everyone!

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Mondomat?!

Now i need a bigger table...

Order of the Amber Die

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GeraintElberion wrote:

Mondomat?!

Now i need a bigger table...

Yes, a bigger table--or three. We use a couple of very sturdy 36x72" tables side by side, and for sessions where there are large maps like this, we add another 24x72" extension table. If you're taking the time to draw this map or any others of this magnitude, by the time you're finished, figuring out how to display it will seem like a minor concern. Feel free to reach out with questions as you're drawing it!

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