Fantastic Maps: The Watchfire Keep PDF

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Jonathan Roberts, cartographer for Kobold Quarterly, Sunken Empires, and The Breaking of Fostor Nagar, presents another Fantastic Map: "The Watchfire Keep".

This multi-page PDFs allow you to print out maps of a keep and beacon hill set with a great bonfire that is used to send warning messages. Adventurers might need to guard the keep from those who don't want a warning sent or storm the keep so that a warning cannot be sent. 

The map pack contains:

  • multi-page pdf scaled to print at 1 inch=1square, in both letter format and A4 with full colour and printer friendly greyscale.
  • High resolution jpgs of the maps for home printing and for use in virtual tabletops (vtts) - with and without grids.
  • Maptool map files that can easily be imported into any campaign with vision set up, forquick use in any OGL, 4E of PFRPG game. The files require maptool 1.3.b84 or newer to work.

This mapped originally appeared in the pages of Kobold Quarterly #18 to accompany the "Who Watches the Watchfires?" adventure.

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4.50/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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Watchfires and cliffs


A gorgeous map of an infrequently detailed location, Watchfire Keep provides a useful tool for Game Masters. As is typical of the Fantastic Maps series, this pack contains full size color maps and black and white printer-saver versions of the same maps. Also there are files for maptool use as well as A4 files for folks with European printers. The only thing extra this pack comes with is an additional stack of wood to be placed where the GM likes. This map works directly and specifically for a 4th edition D&D adventure in Kobold Quarterly #18, “Who Watches the Watchfires?”

The map artistically shows the keep from a bird’s eye view. The only thing that I can complain about is the lack of detail showing the height of the surface. It would be nice to know how steep the hill is. Either a small cross section view or isolines showing 5 or 10 foot vertical contours would help a great deal in determining the height of the hill on which the keep rests. The adventure in Kobold Quarterly tells how high the walls and towers are. But if a person just purchased this map pack and not KQ #18, he or she would not have access to this information. I know for myself, I would probably print out the whole thing and tape the pages together. Then I would draw out the contours myself using the obvious artistically rendered cliffs and slopes as guides. Mapping and cartography is second nature to me. This isn’t the case with everyone. Most GMs have players who will ask them how high the hill, walls and towers are.

Gorgeous map with handy full size sheets to print for use with miniatures and tools for computer map sharing make this product a good one to have. I am assigning Watchfires a 4 of 5 due to some desired but lacking information of the vertical height of the hill, walls and towers.

Cool map that closes a prominent niche in maps


This latest installment of Jonathan Robert’s Fantastic Maps-line comes as a pdf with 35 pages, 1page front cover, 1 page how-to-use.

In tradition with the series of excellent and beautiful maps that has continuously received top ratings from yours truly, the pdf begins with a one-page overview of the map before offering 17 pages of the same map, blown up for use with miniatures in both full color and grayscale. All the maps come with grids that facilitate using them as combat terrain.

It is here I’d like to mention that watchfire keeps feature prominently in the borders of my nations and thus this map is very appreciated – just think of LotR or similar fare to recall how iconic these locales can be. It should also be noted that, while the keep does feature a prominent stack of wood piled together, this could also be for a religious rite (Burn the Witch/Wickerman, anyone?) or simply a stacked up pile for the winter that has been arranged so it can easily be set ablaze when the enemy approaches, offering more uses than necessarily intended. The keep features 4 large towers and two smaller ones as well as three buildings, enough room for a small garrison and/or a group adventurers seeking shelter… or trying t take the keep!

In tradition of the series, we also get maptool-files, high-res jpegs of the keep, a bonfire png-file and an alternate version of the maps in A4-format for Europeans like yours truly. There are no maps of the interiors of the keep’s buildings, but if you need some inspiration, just consult your KQ 18, the adventure featuring this map can be found there, albeit not with as much support, miniature-friendly versions etc.

What can I say, this latest installment of Jonathan Robert’s beautiful cartography once again leaves (almost) nothing to be desired – the map is beautiful, the pdfs are all bookmarked and the map serves an as of yet uncovered niche within my map-array and comes with the plethora of support we know from the series. While I consider the lack of interior maps a bit of a drawback, I do like the idea of presenting a watchfire keep map enough to refrain from detracting a whole star, resulting in a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.

Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine! Great work!

Thanks for the review end, this is all Jonathan his work is just Glorious.

Dark Archive

nice review end.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Also worth noting: There's a complete adventure with a copy of this map in Kobold Quarterly #18.

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Also worth noting: There's a complete adventure with a copy of this map in Kobold Quarterly #18

You're of course right. I did mention this in my review, though. ;)

Endzeitgeist wrote:
but if you need some inspiration, just consult your KQ 18, the adventure featuring this map can be found there

I try to be thorough! :)

Frog God Games

My review is also posted.

Dark Archive

Nice review Dark Dawn Sasha R Fischer. :)

Nice review, Dark Frog Godish Editing Dawn! ;)

Oh look an avatar of the frog god!

Thanks for the review dawn.

Wow, I look away for a couple of weeks and all this happens! Thanks a lot for all the reviews - and also (primarily) to Wolfgang for the ability to get my art (and first adventure - woot!) into the pages of Kobold Quarterly.

I also wanted to mention I'll be using this as my players' first castle base. It's an affordable first step for those looking to get their foot on the first rung of the fortress ladder.

Edit: And if you want to see something really great, you should check out the 3D modular castle kit this inspired.

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