WTF is the deal with Maps!!


Starfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Okay, pardon me for ranting and if I seem a little frustrated but I'm just prepping book 3 of Dead Suns for play and dealing with map pain again.

For context I'm a subscriber, I buy the APs and the pdf, and I do have the minimal technical knowledge and access to the tools to actually extract maps from the PDF (which many people do not from looking at reddit and forum threads).

But what I want to know is what is the Paizo's expectation of customers use of the maps with the AP's:

- Am I supposed to just use the ones in the book as inspiration and draw my own
- Am I supposed to extract them and blow them up and print them myself
- Am i supposed to take the 10 foot grid maps and overlay another grid so I can make them into usable 5ft maps (which is what i do)

Given that Paizo have access to hi-res versions of the maps (i've seen them on artists websites and in the fantasy grounds content packs) why is there no way for me to acquire them physically or digitally even if i have to pay extra.

Why do paizo even bother making nice maps when their primary customer has no access to them and has to fiddle around with image extraction just to get a crappy low resolution image to print out.

Am I crazy here, whats going on! I mean I love paizo, everything they do is just top notch but this map issue is just like someone kicking me in the balls for fun everytime I go to start an AP.

Why not just include all the maps as a downloadable resource somewhere (I'll pay extra)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

I too would be very interested in a way to acquire highress maps. I use the maps from the AP pdfs for Roll20 but I find at times the maps too lowress and look a bit fuzzy as some of them can be quite small and require me to scale them up to fit.

Id gladly pay extra or..even better allow me a choice of download as I am a subscriber.

Liberty's Edge

They have said numerous times in the PF AP section that it is not "affordable" for them to do so.

Others have called BS, and I agree with them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I get that it wouldn't necessarily be cost-effective to make a physical map pack (though I'd buy it), but I'd expect that they're getting a higher resolution image from the artist and then shrinking it down so that it's appropriate size and quality for the PDF. If that's the case, I'm not sure why it would cost more to make the map available separately in higher resolution PDF...maybe it requires different/higher payment to the artist for a standalone map distribution as opposed to distribution as part of the artwork for the AP?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Tyrnis wrote:
I get that it wouldn't necessarily be cost-effective to make a physical map pack (though I'd buy it), but I'd expect that they're getting a higher resolution image from the artist and then shrinking it down so that it's appropriate size and quality for the PDF. If that's the case, I'm not sure why it would cost more to make the map available separately in higher resolution PDF...maybe it requires different/higher payment to the artist for a standalone map distribution as opposed to distribution as part of the artwork for the AP?

Technical stuff is not my strongsuit, but my understanding is that the maps are drawn for the required size/resolution. I believe getting the cartographer to make a more detailed map is more pricey (and would just be wasted money if they're not going to use it).

I may be misunderstanding what people are asking for, but from the Pathfinder discussions over the years that's always been an issue - the maps are drawn as needed for the books and scaling them up to 1 inch squares results in grainy/pixellated images. Paizo aren't interested in selling something ugly like that so if it were to happen, they'd have to get the maps drawn at a higher resolution which isn't cost effective.

For Pathfinder, I know they make some kind of digital map pack available for the APs. Is that the sort of thing people are looking for, maybe?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
Tyrnis wrote:
I get that it wouldn't necessarily be cost-effective to make a physical map pack (though I'd buy it), but I'd expect that they're getting a higher resolution image from the artist and then shrinking it down so that it's appropriate size and quality for the PDF. If that's the case, I'm not sure why it would cost more to make the map available separately in higher resolution PDF...maybe it requires different/higher payment to the artist for a standalone map distribution as opposed to distribution as part of the artwork for the AP?

Technical stuff is not my strongsuit, but my understanding is that the maps are drawn for the required size/resolution. I believe getting the cartographer to make a more detailed map is more pricey (and would just be wasted money if they're not going to use it).

I may be misunderstanding what people are asking for, but from the Pathfinder discussions over the years that's always been an issue - the maps are drawn as needed for the books and scaling them up to 1 inch squares results in grainy/pixellated images. Paizo aren't interested in selling something ugly like that so if it were to happen, they'd have to get the maps drawn at a higher resolution which isn't cost effective.

For Pathfinder, I know they make some kind of digital map pack available for the APs. Is that the sort of thing people are looking for, maybe?

As a artist of both digital and wet & dry media myself I find it hard to believe the artist renders these maps at such a small scale.. I mean I guess its possible but with the availability & ease in which these things can be scanned and re-scaled (if produced as physical media) it doesn't make sense.

However regardless a map pack like your suggesting would be welcome. the problem is always that the images are too small. For use in digital programs like roll20 they wouldn't even need to be that big at all. We are talking 150 dpi in most cases allows the image to roughly double in size and still look solid on the average screen.

Im not looking to print these things but better quality maps I can use digitally would be very welcome. I can pay :)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Vexies wrote:
As a artist of both digital and wet & dry media myself I find it hard to believe the artist renders these maps at such a small scale.. I mean I guess its possible but with the availability & ease in which these things can be scanned and re-scaled (if produced as physical media) it doesn't make sense.

As I say, my technical knowledge is pretty much zilch, so I may have misunderstood Paizo's explanations (or the actual issue being raised here).

That was my understanding though - I kind of pictured it like: "We'd like a half page map of a warehouse" and the artist drew that (by hand) and then scanned it in at a 1:1 scale. (Forgive my naivety, if that's just stupid!)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Hmm, sounds like I was thinking of this kind of product:

Iron Gods AP Interactive Maps

but it's not clear to me that those are what people are looking for (since by the sounds subscribers get the equivalent anyhow via PDF).

Probably best not to pay too much attention to me! This kind of thing sails past without really sticking in my head: I buy two copies of the APs and cannibalise one for the maps/handouts I want.

Cut-and-Paste means something very different in my world! :p


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:

but my understanding is that the maps are drawn for the required size/resolution. I believe getting the cartographer to make a more detailed map is more pricey (and would just be wasted money if they're not going to use it).

Nope digital artists always create high res images and scaled down for whatever context it's being printed in. The images in the AP's have been made available in the fantasy grounds content packs in hi res (which I haven't worked out how to extract) and a few on the original artists websites before being removed or slapped with a big watermark presumably at paizo request (which is fair enough). So paizo already own and have paid for the hi res images in all liklihood.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I may be misunderstanding what people are asking for?

It's simple really, I'm questioning the purpose of the AP' as a printed/digital document.

Is it just to be fun read and not play? If so then fine it certainly is fun to read and and the maps are pretty to look at at low res in the corner of a page.

Is it to be a toolkit to run a game? Then it fails on the map front because the maps are not provided to the customer in any usable form.

While yes you can mess around with PDF viewers and try and extract the images this can't be a serious proposition for non technical users.

The answer is simple I think just make a zip available with each AP' with all the maps in hi-res. It might be awkward, it might take time, but it'll increase the usefulness of the AP's tremendously

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Gnomatsu wrote:
Is it to be a toolkit to run a game? Then it fails on the map front because the maps are not provided to the customer in any usable form.

Out of curiosity, because I honestly can't think of any, can you point me to some adventures on the scale of an AP that come with full 1'-scale maps that aren't boxed sets? While I know some adventures, including many we've published, have a poster map of either a single key location or of a larger-scale region like a city or nation, I can't think of any--other than Emerald Spire--that have preprinted battle maps for every room in the entire adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Gnomatsu wrote:
Is it to be a toolkit to run a game? Then it fails on the map front because the maps are not provided to the customer in any usable form.
Out of curiosity, because I honestly can't think of any, can you point me to some adventures on the scale of an AP that come with full 1'-scale maps that aren't boxed sets? While I know some adventures, including many we've published, have a poster map of either a single key location or of a larger-scale region like a city or nation, I can't think of any--other than Emerald Spire--that have preprinted battle maps for every room in the entire adventure.

as digital media. I can see the reasoning for not wanting to give us to highress. I mean they sell flip mats after all. The problem is the gaming environment has moved solidly digital. While there are plenty of table top games still happening there is a fair amount of games happening solely on computer. Those of us who need the maps for this reason are being left with less quality than we would like or could easily achieve. Im not asking for large highress maps just better / slightly larger middle ground that would be perfectly usable scaled up on a computer screen for those of us who play primarily on one of the many game services out there like roll20.

While many of the maps work "ok" once extracted from the PDFs many do not. I fail to see how simply offering us a slightly better ress download of these maps is a huge deal / expense / time investment. It literally would take maybe 20 minutes to do. While I think they should come with the APs I know many of us would pay for the privilege of that 20 minutes.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:


Out of curiosity, because I honestly can't think of any, can you point me to some adventures on the scale of an AP that come with full 1'-scale maps that aren't boxed sets?

Hi Mark, thanks for replying!

Yep I can't point to any either, but thats not really what I'm asking fo though, as I can see that would be cost prohibitive and effectively be a whole other product line.

The thing is the hobby lives in a digital age now where people either play online (not me) or have cheap and easy access to printers (free for me in my job ;-) ). I know paizo know this already as they've lead the way in making PDF's of their products easily available.

It would be a real boon to players if the maps included in an AP were provided separately as a digitally downloadable resource such as a zip pack maybe like the community resource packs. Or if it needs to be watermarked then as a pdf with full page maps as these are high res enough to print well. Charge or not for these, whatever makes most economic sense for paizo. Also some maps in APs (eg sunrise maiden deckplan) are sold separately as part of the maps line which is fine, just leave these out of the other pack.

I can see how paizo might want to avoid this for online use as they want to license it to fantasy grounds and roll20 and have it be a perk of that purchase, but that leaves traditional tabletop players in the lurch, who just want to print out the pretty map ;-)

Anyhow i'm sure paizo know their business way better than me, all I'm asking is for paizo to allow a way for customers to print out the maps already included in the AP in a way that isn't horribly grainy and fuzzy, and involve having access to pdf tools that extract images.

Thanks again Mark.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I for one would love to buy a digital map pack that has every map for an adventure path at print resolution. All one has to do is take a look at the community created sections on these very forums to see there is a demand. Whether or not that demand is enough to justify the work is a different issue.


Starfinder Superscriber

I'll throw my voice in with those requesting high res AP map images. It's not like paizo doesn't already provide some maps in high res: the flip map PDFs are generally very high res and work really well at scale online. I'd love to see the AP maps at the same sharpness and detail, I'd even be willing to buy then seperately.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I've been trying to find a decent discussion from when this has come up in the past. Unfortunately, I haven't really had any luck.

This is the closest I can find as a passing explanation of why the maps they commission aren't scalable to one-inch squares without a lot of blurriness.

EDIT: Looks like there's a display glitch there - you need to scroll down the thread to James's third post on the page. It starts "We pay by the printed page for a map..."

I'm sure there was a whole thread on it somewhere (and I thought it was James who provided most of the information) I'm not having any luck chasing it down though, I'm afraid.

One thing I could have sworn I remember is that the maps aren't produced digitally - they're drawn by hand and then scaled in at an appropriate scale (and touched up in a cartography program). I seem to remember that being another barrier as to why they weren't 'super-zoomable'. (Granted, my memory for snippets like this is extremely unreliable - it could just as easily be me remembering speculation from a forumgoer rather than information from a staffmember).

Liberty's Edge

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Several people have tried to offer high resolution maps, converting existing AP's to better maps and have given up due to getting shut down by Paizo. Several artists have said it is not harder to offer higher resolution maps and have offered samples, but Paizo doesn't pick them up.

Right now, we are stuck with what we have unfortunately, and as a result, the digital platforms we use to game are getting short sticked.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As a professional graphic designer, I can confirm that cartographers and artists never make their work at low resolutions from the start.

If anything, we tend to start very large, so that scaling down as needed is an option (next to impossible to scale a raster image up, but a peace of cake to scale down).

If the artist made the image as a vector, then it can be scaled to any size, at no extra cost or meaningful effort.

Mark Moreland wrote:
Gnomatsu wrote:
Is it to be a toolkit to run a game? Then it fails on the map front because the maps are not provided to the customer in any usable form.
Out of curiosity, because I honestly can't think of any, can you point me to some adventures on the scale of an AP that come with full 1'-scale maps that aren't boxed sets? While I know some adventures, including many we've published, have a poster map of either a single key location or of a larger-scale region like a city or nation, I can't think of any--other than Emerald Spire--that have preprinted battle maps for every room in the entire adventure.

In Pathfinder, I share the OP's frustrations. I've encountered NUMEROUS maps in the adventure paths that were unique (not available in a map pack or flip map) and unavialable as anything other than low-rez pics that, when printed for play, render as extremely blurry or pixelated.

One example would be nearly every map in Skulls and Shackles #6 (that my group just finished up). I found the sea caves of Lucrehold particularly frustrating. It was such a large map left at such a low resolution that it came out especially blurry when printed as 1-inch grid squares.

I've also seen this in Dead Suns #1 with the Acreaon, Docking Bay 94, Drift Rock, and Fusion Queen. Many of the Starfinder Society maps are also unique and low rez: Abandoned Outpost, Abandoned Warehouse, Arniselle Lodge, Blackmoon Dig Site, Chibrani Mainframe, Conservancy Gala Sit, Crashed Starship, Digger's Dive, Duskmire, Level Thirteen, Level Two, Offices, Redspire Canyon, Repository Depths, Repository Upper Levels, Scaffold Tower, Solar Observatory, Struggle's Scholar, Thasteron Mine, The Countdown, Warehouse, We Love You Songbird Station, JUST TO NAME A FEW.


Mark, I'd personally just love to have the Interactive Map packs for Starfinder the same way they have them for the Pathfinder line.

I've always found those super easy to get what I want out of them and the ability to remove the lines is actually something I prefer(since I use a VTT pretty much exclusively at this point).


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:


One thing I could have sworn I remember is that the maps aren't produced digitally - they're drawn by hand and then scaled in at an appropriate scale (and touched up in a cartography program). I seem to remember that being another barrier as to whythey weren't 'super-zoomable'

This is untrue definitely for starfinder at least. How do I know? If you purchase the fantasy grounds digital AP pack all the maps are available in it in hi res.

You can't extract them from the app however but they are present on disk in an encrpyted form. Fantasy grounds don't commission the artwork, they receive it from paizo.

Given the ready availability of the hi res images and the fact they supply it to online tabletop licensees, makes it extra frustrating that they won't supply it to regular customers too, even when we're willing to pay extra. ( I even paid for fantasy grounds just to see if I could extract images.)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ah well that's promising (my recollections are definitely from well before there were any such licensed arrangements - also, there's a good chance I'm just remembering wrong).

Fingers crossed meeting the needs of those products will mean we're more likely to get hi-res AP interactive map collections in the future.

In "the old days" they used to produce Map Folios collecting every map from the AP (I presume in PDF as well as in print) but there was huge objection to them on the forums on the grounds people resented paying for the same thing twice. That was also before the surge in virtual table top software though. The inclusion of such in the Shackled City Hardcover is what brought me to Paizo but I rarely found anyone else who found the collected maps useful (in print).


I would hesitate to offer these as a standalone product, I'd much rather have them included with PDF purchases as a way to differentiate the PDF's

Dark Archive

Mark Moreland wrote:
Gnomatsu wrote:
Is it to be a toolkit to run a game? Then it fails on the map front because the maps are not provided to the customer in any usable form.
Out of curiosity, because I honestly can't think of any, can you point me to some adventures on the scale of an AP that come with full 1'-scale maps that aren't boxed sets? While I know some adventures, including many we've published, have a poster map of either a single key location or of a larger-scale region like a city or nation, I can't think of any--other than Emerald Spire--that have preprinted battle maps for every room in the entire adventure.

There are none (that i know of)!

But that is beside the point.
I read the explanation by James Jacobs that it wouldn't be financially feasible to create ALL maps in an AP as flip-mats and i have to agree, sadly.

For me personally it is the most time-consuming activity in adventure preparation to draw the maps. And they never look as good as a flip-mat.

That is why i love the "Pathfinder Playtest Flip-mat multipack"!
"Doomsday Dawn" also uses 4 existing flip-mats and in part 2 asks (on page 24) if it is enjoyable to create battlefields on the fly (it's not).

But that is also beside the point.
The point is, that there is a certain demand for high resolution map that can be used for digital gaming and to print out for actual miniature gaming (we played parts 1-3 of Serpents Skull with such bloen up and printed maps and it was great).
Paizo could differentiate themselves further from Wizards of the Coast and 5E by offering such maps.

That's just my 5 cents, thanks for listening.


Bump, high res digital maps would be awesome to have. It'd also be great if Paizo started making maps with actually square grids, since now they are made of randomly sized rectangles way too often.

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