To-Scale AP Level Maps


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


What's the chance of getting these? I love the map artwork in the books. Drawing out a map never compares. Also, some of them are amazingly huge and it becomes a real time sink during the session to draw the next area of the map.

To be honest, I thought this is what the map packs were until I bought one. :/ They're cool, sure, but, they're nothing like this.


Buri, this has come up a couple times before, and the answer is always that creating and printing all the maps for an AP to scale would be extremely expensive. The flip maps go for $13 each, and are only two maps. There are dozens of maps in each AP, so a whole collection of the maps would cost considerable more than the AP itself.

However, if you look closely at a few of the flip maps and map packs, they seem to be pretty close to some of the maps in certain APs. You might be able to piece together at least some of whatt you are looking for.

Liberty's Edge

Your best bet is to buy the .pdf of the interactive maps for the AP you are playing then print them out. The interactive maps come with switchable views so you can make a player-friendly version without loosing any of the great cartography artwork.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The chance is pretty much zero. The maps of locations we publish in every adventure are big. As an experiment back in the day, I calculated how many pages a minis-scale map would entail for the big castle in the penultimate Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure.

It turned out that a minis-scale map of all of the levels of Castle Scarwall would make a map approximately the size of a parking lot. A year later, someone actually printed out ONE LEVEL of the castle at that scale, and it more or less covered the entire floor of his living room. And Castle Scarwall had like 6 levels.

Pagecount wise, this would be a map pack that would consist of I think it was about 350 pages or thereabouts, if I recall correctly.

The cost to produce 350 pages of maps doesn't change based on a map's scale—it costs just as much to print a 350 page minis-scale map as it does to print 350 separate pages of different dungeons. Which means that what we'd have to price that product would be insanely high. I wouldn't be surprised to see such a product end up costing close to a hundred bucks, honestly, if not more, since the cost to do that is several times more than the cost to do a 320 page hardcover book.

And remember, that's just for 1/6 of an adventure path. To do products like that for all six parts means that you'd have to shell out several hundred dollars more per Adventure Path.

I'm not sure many folks would go for that...


I am shocked and amazed. Kind of awed. Thanks, James.

I did think about the PDFs with the interactive maps but they just don't scale well to 1" squares. If the artwork were kept in a vector format rather than rasterized (vastly larger files, I know; and assuming they were vector to begin with) then it'd work very well. I've even thought of laying my monitor flat and letting player place plastic-bottomed minis on it but no normal sized monitor will get you the scale a map provides. It makes me want a projector.

It's just a shame the artwork put into the maps basically goes to waste during play. With just a shading layer and a quick FoW deal, it could help heighten the mood. Then again, I am a tech guy trying to bridge my hobby with my hobby. :)

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

We have mounted a projector over our game table, and I import the encounter maps from the modules into our (custom written, work-in-progress) map projection program that lets us do fog of war, spell AOEs, distance mensuration, etc. It's pretty nice except that the low res of the projector blurs a lot of the cool artwork details.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Yeah, one of my players built a table with a projector under it. And that seems to work reasonably when extracting the maps from the pdfs.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Buri wrote:
It's just a shame the artwork put into the maps basically goes to waste during play. With just a shading layer and a quick FoW deal, it could help heighten the mood. Then again, I am a tech guy trying to bridge my hobby with my hobby. :)

I don't consider it going "to waste" at all. If something is beautiful to the GM, that can inspire the GM to run the game. If it's ugly, it won't.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There was a movie with Vin Diesel where he used a "paper" map on which you could scroll with your fingers. The Paizo VTT is already in development. I guess we can hope for a solution here in the next years.
Something like a digital gaming paper screen, where you can project map pdf´s too that is affordable.


Depending on the AP, some enterprising individuals may have already made mini-scale maps as free community downloads (what with the community liscense and all) and while the quality can be all over the place, there are some very stunning community made versions of AP maps. Rise of the Runelords is a fantastic example - nearly every location you go to (and some that are optional!) are available as printable maps from book one to three.

Though, the newer the AP, the less likely you are to find community battle maps... not to mention the cost of printing them to be quite high depending on the printers you have access to.

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Buri wrote:
It's just a shame the artwork put into the maps basically goes to waste during play. With just a shading layer and a quick FoW deal, it could help heighten the mood. Then again, I am a tech guy trying to bridge my hobby with my hobby. :)
I don't consider it going "to waste" at all. If something is beautiful to the GM, that can inspire the GM to run the game. If it's ugly, it won't.

Well I suppose that is one way of looking at it.

But back in the heyday of the 80s, the maps in adventures were not "beautiful" but GMs still ran them. The maps then were often just graph paper maps with symbols for features.

I am not sure how many people flip through adventures and judge whether they want to run the game mostly on the look of the maps. I doubt there are very many who base their purchases on the maps.

Honestly, yeah I have always considered the gorgeous maps produced by Paizo to be a tragic waste. Every time I see one of the gorgeous maps I sigh because the map the players see is a crudely hand-drawn graph paper map on a big mat. But 4 out of 5 people who participate in the adventure only see a crappy hand drawn map.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not faulting Paizo at all. It would be prohibitively expensive to print full scale versions of every map. I have created scale maps and printed them out and even relatively small maps require many pages.

BUT!!!!!! I think when Paizo releases Game Space one of the best sales pitches will be that finally those beautiful maps can be fully utilized. The problem hasn't been a lack of beautiful maps, or the printing of the maps, but the consumer-level technology to fully utilize those maps at a cost effective manner.

So in effect, Paizo has always been just ahead of its time. The tech is just now becoming available to use those maps. So keep them coming.

BTW... another viable alternative... 3d Virtual Tabletop should be able to link tablets, PCs, and phones together. So players can manipulate their characters on their devices and everyone will see the results! AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!


When I ran Savage Tide on a VTT I imported the battle of Farshore map , put a scale on it, and ran the whole thing with 5ft squares. You can get really enormous maps with VTTs.

The thing was , the Farshore map wasn't at a sufficient resolution to upscale well. It was super blurry.

I get that it doesn't make economic sense for paizo to try to sell printed battlemaps, but it would be nice if the art was at a higher resolution so those of use who wished to could make our own.

Ken


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

James Jacobs has addressed this issue before, and it basically comes down to higher-resolution maps being more expensive to produce. The maps in Paizo products aren't drawn full-size and then shrunk down to fit the page; they're basically drawn at the size they are in the books. Asking cartographers to produce maps at a higher-resolution to be blown up into battle maps without getting pixelly would cost more money and take up more digital real estate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Back in the 80ies EVERYTHING was ugly.
Clothing, shoes, haircuts, faces, food, music, you name it^^


Joana wrote:
James Jacobs has addressed this issue before, and it basically comes down to higher-resolution maps being more expensive to produce. The maps in Paizo products aren't drawn full-size and then shrunk down to fit the page; they're basically drawn at the size they are in the books. Asking cartographers to produce maps at a higher-resolution to be blown up into battle maps without getting pixelly would cost more money and take up more digital real estate.

What was true 4 years ago may not necessarily be true now :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Curmudgeonly wrote:
Joana wrote:
James Jacobs has addressed this issue before, and it basically comes down to higher-resolution maps being more expensive to produce. The maps in Paizo products aren't drawn full-size and then shrunk down to fit the page; they're basically drawn at the size they are in the books. Asking cartographers to produce maps at a higher-resolution to be blown up into battle maps without getting pixelly would cost more money and take up more digital real estate.
What was true 4 years ago may not necessarily be true now :)

He did, however, thoroughly address the question in an earlier post in this very thread.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Curmudgeonly wrote:
Joana wrote:
James Jacobs has addressed this issue before, and it basically comes down to higher-resolution maps being more expensive to produce. The maps in Paizo products aren't drawn full-size and then shrunk down to fit the page; they're basically drawn at the size they are in the books. Asking cartographers to produce maps at a higher-resolution to be blown up into battle maps without getting pixelly would cost more money and take up more digital real estate.
What was true 4 years ago may not necessarily be true now :)

But in this case, it is.

When that changes... I strongly suspect the world will know, because being able to provide minis scale maps at high detail to our customers (and thus to ourselves and our own games) would be SUPER AWESOME. It's not like we're not doing this only because we don't want to, or because we think it's a bad idea. We DO want to, and it IS a good idea. It's just not financially or logistically or temporally possible with current technology and current Paizo resources.


Which illustrates the coolness of Paizo being run by gamers.... try to imagine a soulless megacorp deciding to do anything for D&D simply because it would be SUPER AWESOME. We are really lucky that you guys are stewards of Pathfinder.

Thanks,
Ken

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

It turned out that a minis-scale map of all of the levels of Castle Scarwall would make a map approximately the size of a parking lot. A year later, someone actually printed out ONE LEVEL of the castle at that scale, and it more or less covered the entire floor of his living room. And Castle Scarwall had like 6 levels.

Oh, I don't know. This video makes me think you could probably fit it comfortably on a mostly 6x12 table...with a little extra sticking out.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

HangarFlying wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

It turned out that a minis-scale map of all of the levels of Castle Scarwall would make a map approximately the size of a parking lot. A year later, someone actually printed out ONE LEVEL of the castle at that scale, and it more or less covered the entire floor of his living room. And Castle Scarwall had like 6 levels.

Oh, I don't know. This video makes me think you could probably fit it comfortably on a mostly 6x12 table...with a little extra sticking out.

Well... it's easy to figure it out.

The castle of Scarwall is about 500 feet across at its widest point (this doesn't include the island it's on... that'd add another 50 feet or so). So, at minis scale, with one 5-foot square equaling one inch... that means that map needs to be 100 inches wide, which means it's close to but not quite 8 and a half feet long. That's around the distance from the floor to the ceiling in most homes, and a pretty big table.

Note, however, that fitting one level on a table was never the issue at hand. The issue was how expensive it would be to print and publish and ship 6 maps of that size every month.

(And yeah... I did mis-speak earlier when I said it was the size of a parking lot... I meant to say ALL SIX levels would be the size of a parking lot... and not a big one!)

Liberty's Edge

I was being sarcastic...alas, that didn't transfer. Still, the video is inspiring, and my friends and I play on a 6x16 table for historical wargaming, so CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well with the new Paizo VTT and gear like the unfortunately very expensive Lenovo Horizon some dreams might come true soon.

I guess instead of printing this the future will be digital there.
You don´t even really need a touch screen. I remember reading about some foil or similar stuff that could be used as a screen, water resistant and bendable, but i can´t find it anymore.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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With tablets growing more and more ubiquitous, yes... I believe that when this "to-scale maps" thing is solved, electronic/digital formats will indeed be the solution.


I wasn't necessarily asking to print them. But even slightly higher res maps in the PDFs would make the VTT experience better and less blurry, especially when projecting.

Speaking of which, it's been a long time since we've heard of Paizo's VTT, do we know when we'll learn more information?

And I agree with an earlier post, regarding Paizo's coolness. Their interaction with us, willingness to explain why things are one way vs another, and just being kick ass developers in general are the main reason why I subscribe to their products instead of just buying the specific things I want from Amazon or other stores. I'll gladly pay extra to Paizo directly if it will help them push out more awesomeness.


Some options to consider:

If you have a lap top and an HD TV, you can simply run your games in MapTools (free and ridiculously easy to use) in your living room. It's a different vibe with folks sitting around the room, rather than around the table, but you get the experience of playing on the high quality maps.

You could do largely the same thing if you purchased a relatively cheap HD TV (say, $250ish) and built a small box to mount it in, lying it flat on your normal gaming table. Miniatures and pawns could then be used as you project to the TV via the laptop. This is similar to projecting to your table, but should be cheaper I think.

You could enlarge the maps to suit your mini collection (1"=5') by extracting them or taking a snapshot via Acrobat Pro. Enlarge them in Photoshop using Perfect Resize (used to be called Genuine Fractals) and get them printed out on an oversize inkjet printer, tile printing where necessary. If you don't already have that software on hand and know what you're doing with it, this option is going to get pricey pretty quickly. All that printing will certainly run into some money too.


I just want to point out; I do by-hand reconstructions of AP maps that I need in Photoshop, at a resolution of 1" = 150x150px. My process, of course, requires a decent few hours sunk into each because I use textures and images scavenged from the internet to make them look more photo-realisitc and less like drawings, and with much more detail (because that's the way I like them). But if I were doing them hand-drawn like the ones in the published books, they would take about half the time. I do it because it's fun, and most of the time I only end up using the maps once, though they of course are free to anyone who wants them.

And 150x150 per square is plenty of resolution for gaming, I actually went up from 75x75 because I wanted more fine detail.

I seriously don't see how you're finding illustrators overcharging for maps that are barely a few hundred pixels across, and basically unusable, because I would suggest you dump whatever artists you have on retainer and find new ones.

Especially considering we're entering the time when Virtual Tabletops are becoming a big thing, it's certainly worth the investment to provide that service for customers. Buy your maps at a fair resolution, 70x70 is plenty considering how low-detail they are, and you may see people actually supporting you in it, because you chose to support them for their chosen platform.

Grand Lodge

Askren,
You are taking already developed maps and making them better. The people that do the maps you are talking about do them by hand and develop them freehand and for the AP itself from directions given by the author and Paiso. This is not as easy as what you are doing. What you are doing takes a little time.. what they are doing takes a little more time then what you might be thinking.

I would not dump the current map makers as I am very very happy with them, in fact I would even go so far as to say I would even purchase the original art for them if not a print :)


I agree, the current mapmakers are great. I can't emphasize enough how much as a GM a good map sells me on an adventure, and Paizo maps are top notch.
Aren't there community use guidelines for modifying and sharing Paizo maps? Maybe Paizo could host a place where people like Askren could upload their creations.


Deanoth wrote:
The people that do the maps you are talking about do them by hand and develop them freehand and for the AP itself from directions given by the author and Paiso. This is not as easy as what you are doing.

Yes, thank you, I know how art direction works, being that I do concept art for a living.

However, there's very little actual direction in the maps. They have no real detail to speak of, and the room layouts and descriptions are all written before the cartography done, so the process of illustration is certainly not one that requires massive back-and-forth between the contractor and the person receiving the product.

I would be happy to use the maps as-is, if they were useable. But they're not. They're way too small, and as Jacobs specifically said, they're printed at the resolution they're purchased at, so the originals would look exactly the same.

So either negotiate for a rate where they can actually be useable, or I don't see a whole lot of use in them.

Liberty's Edge

Another vote here for higher res PDFs for the AP maps! Digital table tops are the future of table-top gaming and will keep the hobby alive well into the 21st century.

I have a projector and an LCD TV to lay down on the table for this exact use. Fog of war plus scrolling to explore the maps...players are back to mapping their progress to find their own ways out once again!! Dungeon-crawling is back in a BIG way using this format. New tech + old school ftw!!

Liberty's Edge

I have a hunch that Paizo is working on bundling maps and tokens for use in VTTs.


Askren, do you have retouched maps for Shattered Star, Carrion Crown, or Rise of the Runelords?


Found this.

Dell XPS 18

It's not cheap but would work well for quick map switching and gives the ability to put some mood music right where the action is while providing enough screen space to not feel cramped.


I've been running Rise of the Runelords for the last year. We just finished book 2. I extracted, resized, and printed out all the maps so far (substituting a few fan-made ones for some areas, such as Foxglove Manor). I've dropped on the order of $300 doing so -- but it adds a lot.

Then I got to book 3, and instantly realized that I just can't keep doing that. The maps are TOO BIG. Fort Rannick would come out about 10.5 feet long and almost 5 feet wide. There's no place in my rather small town that's even capable of printing something that size. And if there were, I doubt my wallet could take the pain.

So I don't blame paizo for failing to provide print maps -- it just doesn't make sense.

I'm pretty comfortable with MapTool at this point, from a single-player campaign I've been running, and I have a projector. I can't put holes in the ceiling to mount it over the table, but I'm going to have the players sit on the couch and look at it on the wall. There's just no other good way to do it.


That's why I mentioned vectorized art. You can do a lot with it which means it gives you options, options which might not be possible currently.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Tinalles wrote:
I'm pretty comfortable with MapTool at this point, from a single-player campaign I've been running, and I have a projector. I can't put holes in the ceiling to mount it over the table, but I'm going to have the players sit on the couch and look at it on the wall. There's just no other good way to do it.

If you build a table with a translucent base you can put the projector under the table with a mirror and project it under the table.

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