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Age of Worms Maps

Age of Worms Adventure Path

Hello all

I am wondering what options DMs have chosen when it comes to drawing the maps out of the PDFs for encounters. Right now in other DnD we use a hex board and dry eraser markers. It gets annoying having to draw out every map and I was wondering if anyone had a better method?

Thanks for any info


I do the same thing but I have 3 maps so I can have multiple locations drawn out in the same game and don't have to worry about erasing and redrawing for the next encounter.

Honestly, if pre-drawing isn't an option, drawing as you go is about the easiest way there is in my experience. The only thing quicker and easier than erasable markers - that I've tried, that is - is to use an easel-pad of 1" graph paper, from ie. Staples. Don't bother erasing or hunting for special markers - just draw with anything that writes, then flip over a new page as needed. As a bonus, this way you keep all the old maps at playable scale, for when the PC's backtrack or return to an old location.

But WotC's Dungeon Tiles are pretty convenient too sometimes - epecially when the party wanders off the edge of the easel pad.

Some very nice options include casting terrain bits in dental plaster/hydrocal/whatever using HirstArts molds (time- and labour-intensive: mix, pour, wait, blot, scrape, wait, pop, repeat, dry-fit, assemble/glue, prime, paint), and building terrain in cardstock using WorldWorks Games pdf's (not quite as time/labour intensive as HA, but a little more expensive for printer ink refills, cardstock, UHU sticks, X-Acto blades, etc.: print, cut, score, fold, edge, glue). But I would not say they are more convenient than drawing maps out by any stretch of the imagination. Quite the opposite. But they do produce extremely nice-looking results if you have the patience for them. Dwarven Forge terrain is also extremely attractive & can set up pretty quick, but wow is it ever pricey.

I have recently completed building the entirety of levels 1 and 2 of the dungeon from the A Gathering of Winds adventure, mostly using WWG cardstock models, supplemented with a few HirstArts pieces. The whole of each level can be assembled together room by room, including all the walls and the occasional 30-foot dropoff, rooms at differeing heights, etc. This took a couple of months of my free evenings, but could have been done much faster if I had left out the walls and the differing heights of one room as compared to the next. I think my players will be impressed, and there are only 2 rooms where I am a little concerned about how easy it will/won't be to get our hands in there to move minis around. Worth it if you're a terrain-building nut like me, but otherwise I'd say you should likely pass on these - but do check out their excellent websites; you never know... To me, building this stuff is relaxing and a nice break from painting minis once in a while. But I'm definitely ready for a break from cardstock and plaster at this point. We just began playing the adventure last week, but they are still fighting the angry black dragon outside the dungeon's entrance, so we haven't actually used any of it yet... We'll see how convenient it is to actually use during this week's session, I suspect.


Jay Walsh wrote:

Hello all

I am wondering what options DMs have chosen when it comes to drawing the maps out of the PDFs for encounters. Right now in other DnD we use a hex board and dry eraser markers. It gets annoying having to draw out every map and I was wondering if anyone had a better method?

Thanks for any info


For most people most of the time the wet erase battlemap is going to really be your standby. Its probably the cheapest and simplest way of handling things. If you have spare time between games you can pre-draw the encounters. With extra cash you can pre draw them on a computer and print them out as personalized battle maps. If you happen to have a small fortune lying about and spare time (as well as pretty much a game room) you can get Dwarven Forge and make spectacular pre-done maps but you'll eventually realize that you could have bought a friggen car for the amount you spent on these. There are more advanced set ups like using computers and a projector to project the map onto a table etc.

Still in the end most of the time, presuming limited resources and limited time you really don't have much choice but to stick to the erasable battlemaps. Personally I go this route for most encounters but go that extra mile for the key encounters in an adventure and make Battle Maps which I print out at my local Kinko's.

Oh and I'm told that using stuff like Paizo's flip maps for encounters where these work is a great plan - the problem is that using flip maps can grow old since your always using the same actual map. Keeping these to just the occasional encounter means they don't feel as old but its also harder to justify the cost.

I have laminated three of the large 1" grid sheets that had been included in some of the Wizards minis that I bought way back, and they are working extremely well with erase-able overhead projector markers (medium tip, blue, black and red). I also print out the 'player' versions of the maps from Paizo's Dungeon Supplements, cut them out, and give them to the players as they move through and complete areas. I often reveal these as I go along, either cutting sections of the player maps and putting them on the table, or folding them, unfolding as more of the area is revealed. These useful player maps from Dungeon Supplement provide a valuable small-copy index of the places visited, the players make annotations on them, and can easily redraw them when we return to a place.

Kang, I am about mid-way through Gathering of Winds (and have been enjoying your posts over the years). Your terrain sounds amazing! I'd love to see a photo or two if you get a chance!

Aw, shucks, you're kidding - someone actually actually enjoys my ramblings? I don't even post here very often, but that sure is nice to hear.

Since you asked, I'll see if I can overcome my natural indolence and actually tear myself away from the HBO channel & my mini-painting gear long enough to take some AGoW terrain (& Ilthane the black - actually Grenadier green dragon #2505, c. 1984, painted the wrong colour and with basing inspired by the cover art of Dungeon #129) photos to post online; best bet would probably be to take photos during tomorrow evening's D&D session, get a series of shots as rooms get attached onto the explored sections... They might not have the best lighting compared to shots using tripod & multiple desktop lamps w/daylight bulbs etc., but maybe they'll look OK. I'll try and remember to bring my camera, at any rate. Anyhow...

We now return you to your regularly scheduled tapletop battlegrid mapping options discussion...

Hey Jay Walsh, let us know if any of these solutions work for you, or whether you come up with something else that does. I think a lot of DM's and players are always on the lookout for new simple and easy options for this kind of stuff. I certainly don't want to build every dungeon in the AP out of cardstock, that's for sure; my insanity does know some bounds... Glad I tried it once & it was lots of fun to make, but in future I'll probably stick to just making a few key encounter areas per adventure, possibly without even having any walls attached where possible (ie. other than to separate adjacent rooms that share a gridline)...


Thank you for all the suggestions so far. I am mulling over them now. I don't mind drawing the maps on the hex board but I like to give the PCs only the peices that they can currently see. Drawing as I go is the only was to do this and its painfully slow. The alternative is to show them the whole map, although it would speed things up it takes away from the game I find. In a perfect world we would all have lap taps and me moving and plotting that way.

I typically draw as I go, and it can be slow. One alternative is to pre-draw rooms on overhead sheets and drop them down as players uncover the map. You may still show a bit more than the characters can see, but it won't be the whole map.

One of my former DMs would scan all the maps and import them into photoshop, masking them. He'd then connect the PC to the TV at game time and uncover them piece by piece as we moved through the dungeon. He's make us (the players) draw what was revealed on the battle mat while he took care of other DM type stuff. It takes a bit more pre-game prep work, and the right setup, but it worked out well for us.

We have a large gridded whiteboard and dry-erase markers, and draw as we go, and (thankfully) it works very well for us.

It can be slow at times for very detailed and intricate maps/locations, but the time spent when I draw gives my players a chance to assess the situation (which, by golly, they desperately need!) and allows me to carefully describe what they see as I draw (and the PCs knowing their surrounding and what their characters actually see is of paramount importance, as far as we're concerned).

I've discovered this works really well for our particular group.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I use the Tact-Tiles jigsaw-style dry-erase boards, which sadly aren't available any more (though the new Battle Boards are pretty much the same thing). Before I got those, though, I used to enlarge the maps, then print and cut them out in sections. This works particularly well for complex rooms or areas, and you can use some generic corridor and room tiles (like Games Workshop's old Dungeon Floor Plans, or the various fan-made ones you can find on the Web) to lay in-between.

Callum wrote:
I use the Tact-Tiles jigsaw-style dry-erase boards, which sadly aren't available any more (though the new Battle Boards are pretty much the same thing).

I've been seriously tempted for some while to acquire a large number of these - enough so that we never clean anything during a session and just constantly add more tiles (or remove ones that are being pushed off the table because they are so far from the action). That said this would still only save us a few minutes because wiping off the map is not the slow part - its the darwing the maps that takes all the time.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

One of the advantages of the tiles is that you can prepare some bits in advance, if you have a good idea of where the party is going to be heading. And, of course, you can wipe off used tiles and re-lay them. But you're right - it's the drawing that takes time. I liked the idea that ckamel mentioned, of getting the players to do the drawing. Next time, I'm going to use Fantasy Grounds to reveal the map and have the players transfer it to the tiles!

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