Round 2: Create an Encounter Map Rules

Create an encounter map for a previously unmapped location in Golarion.

Entry title and descriptive text must be submitted through the submission tool at The map image for your entry must be submitted to with the subject line "RPG Superstar Round 2 Submission." Both parts of your entry must be submitted by 11:59 PM Pacific time on September 3, or you will be disqualified.

Submissions will be revealed and voting begins on September 8, 2015, and voting ends at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on September 13, 2015. We'll announce the Top 16 entries on September 14, 2014.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry must be a map of a fantasy-themed location on Golarion appropriate for an encounter. You may create a map for an encounter set in a city, wilderness, dungeon, or any other fantasy Golarion location appropriate for an encounter map. You may present a map designed for a specific encounter, or one useful for a variety of encounters.
  • Each entry should have a name for the map. This can be generic (such as "Haunted Alchemy Shop") or specific (such as "The Flooded Cauldron").
  • The entry should include any notes about what various symbols, lines, shaded areas, each area on the map represents. The map need not be ready-to-publish, but a cartographer given nothing but the map should be able to create an accurate, useful, interesting publishable final map without any other information.
  • The entry may include up to 50 words of explanation not presented on the map itself. This may be used to explain symbols and shading (to increase map clarity by not presenting that information on the map), to describe background about the location presented, or suggest a specific encounter that may take place at the location. This should not be used to present a full encounter (including things such as tactics and monster statistics), so don't attempt to do so. This challenge is about presenting an interesting and clear map, not about designing a specific game encounter.
  • Entry must be on a 24 x 30 grid, with a 1 square = 5 feet scale. We've provided a sample grid here.
  • Your map must be submitted as a 72 ppi .jpg (if you're scaling down a scan of your image, a 24 x 30 inch area translates to 1728 px x 2160 px). A preview of your maps will be shown at a maximum 500 px width, with a link to the full size image you've provided.
  • Your map may be color, grayscale, or black and white.
  • Your map may be in either vertical or horizontal orientation.
  • Your map may be hand-drawn or computer-generated (maps generated in Photoshop, MS Paint, or similar are acceptable).
  • Your map must have a compass rose indicating north, and a scale ("one square = 5 feet").
  • Artistic merit of the map is not a factor, but your maps should be a place you would want to adventure. Make sure your map is clear, detailed, and imaginative.
  • Submitted maps should be legible, neat, and contain all of the necessary information from which a cartographer could create a professional map illustration for a published adventure. If your handwriting is hard to read, consider using the text tool on an image-manipulating program to create the text on your map; alternatively, print out the text on a separate page, cut out the text into small sections, tape it to the map, and create a scan of the tagged map.
  • If your map has features that aren't immediately recognizable, consider adding a map key (• = pillar, o = barrel, and so on). All this information must either fit within the 24 x 30 area of the map or be included in the 50-word descriptive text. NO other material may be presented beyond the map's name, what is on the map itself, and the 50-word descriptive text. If you add too much information, you map will be cluttered and part of the space not used well. Be judicious.
  • Maps must be emailed to with the subject line "RPG Superstar Round 2 Submission" no later than 11:59 PM Pacific time on September 3.

I am not the best at maps. Can I have a friend or someone else draw the map for me?

No. The entire entry, including the Map, must be your own work. We realize that this rule is essentially unenforceable except by the honor system but we all believe in the honor system so we feel it is sufficient. There are many free computer programs that you can use to draw simple maps. Your map doesn't have to be beautiful, it just has to be clear enough that Paizo could hand it to a professional cartographer without having to revise or redraw it.

How much text can I put on the map?

There isn't a limit on the amount of text that can be included in the map image, but all the information on the map should be relevant to the map itself. If you try to include information the judges decide is not relevant to the map, you'll be disqualified. If you decide to draw a city street corner, it's reasonable to name the city, notable buildings, and terrain features, but don't talk about its political system or alignment. You can mark where specific monsters may be found on an encounter map, but can't talk about their tactics or personalities in information on the map itself. The 50 words of descriptive text have much more leeway, though they aren't enough to do much more than give a context to the map, and suggest ways in which it can be used.