The Gazetteer, Volume I, Issue II
Welcome back to our second day of mini map reviews from around the multiverse of tabletop gaming. If you missed out on yesterday’s maps, click here. Today we are looking at another inn, an odd paper doll/map mix and a full SET of maps from the Mor Aldrenn campaign setting. Let’s see if these maps are worth using in your campaign.
0one’s Blueprints: Eerie Forest – Red Vampire’s Way Inn
Publisher: 0one Games
Page Count: 19
Release Date: 07/12/2011
Get it Here: RPGNOW.com
I’ll admit, as much as I like really detailed and in-depth maps, I have a soft spot for the old school blue or black maps that we saw from the original version of Dungeons and Dragons into first edition AD&D. This is exactly the type of map that 0one games provides to gamers. Couple that with a name that feels like a perfect fit for one of my Ravenloft campaigns and you have a product I definitely was interested in. What’s really neat about this nineteen page collection of maps is that it’s not only a map of the primary location, that of the Red Vampire Way’s Inn, but it also includes a surrounding would-be haunted forest. IS it actually populated with things that go bump in the night? That’s up to the DM.
What I really like about these maps are how they can be customized to use as a straight PDF or for printing. Usually I’m down on giving players the actual maps I’m using unless it is a miniatures based campaign, as they might see something they shouldn’t. With this particular map, the PDF is editable by a “Master Control Button” Using this map turns certain things on or off so that the map you print can contain just the items you want your players to see. You can turn off the hexes, the room numbers, doors, furniture, text, etc. It’s pretty impressive just how much you can modify this map and it makes for a nice tool to use with players, say, by having them purchase a map from a vendor who promises it will show them how to get through the forest.
I also love that the map pack contains a VERY detailed legend so that you know what every little bit on the map means, if anything. You’d be surprised how few maps actually have one of these anymore. It’s a great boon to DMs, so I have no idea why map makers have stopped this.
One of the other things that really makes this map stand out is that it contains a story hook and a full background of the inn. Basically, it’s a trap by a vampire who uses it to lure in victims without having to exert any real effort. I was really excited about this, as again, this is a great map for a Ravenloft campaign, but also for any generic fantasy gaming session.
The various maps included with this pack are
1) a map of the haunted forest and surrounding other locations
2) a map of the ground level floor of the inn
3) a map of the inn’s first level
4) a map of the inn’s rooftops
5) a map of the inn’s cellars
6) a set of notes for the DM to write down ideas and information on
This is a really great in depth package. For less than two dollars, you are getting a set of maps that basically write an adventure for you. The maps are appealing to old school gamers, and although there isn’t enough detail to use it with a miniatures based campaign, the thing is wonderful for a campaign that just uses storytelling and imagination. This is a hard product to say no to.
Inked Adventures Encounter Lairs 2 :Templar Chapel
Publisher: Inked Adventures
Page Count: 5
Release Date: 7/17/2011
Get it Here: DriveThru RPG
This is one of those pieces that I honestly can’t figure out a real use for. It’s one of those things where the title sounds cool, but the actual product is so niche that I can’t imagine who would use it. I mean an Templar Chapel is pretty cool in theory, as it is something that could work with a lot of campaigns from Dungeons and Dragons to Pendragon, but the actual product feels like you need to buy a lot of other products to make this work, and I have a big problem with that.
For your $3.50, you are getting a five page PDF. The first page is the cover/title page, the second talks about how to print the map and put together the miniatures, the third page consists of five knights and three guards that you can cut out and use as minis, the fourth page contains another three guards, a bishop and miniature basis, and the final page is… a very small bare bones map of a single room in a church. I’m still kind of gobstopped that you get such a small map. It’s very pretty hand drawn art, and so are the miniatures, but the map is so small that it can barely hold all of the miniatures it comes with. So what is the point of a map this small that can serve no real purpose in a campaign or even a quick adventure? It’s pretty useless, and this product would have been better off as a straight up paper dolls/minis pack rather than a map based product. Compared to the other maps we’ve reviewed so far, I can’t recommend the Templar Chapel in any way, and it’s little better than useless unless you want to pay a little over three dollars for some paper minis.
Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack
Publisher: Headless Hydra Games
Page Count: 5
Get it Here: RPGNow.com
Man, this is our second Mor Aldenn map review in as many days. We kind of like Headless Hydra games here, don’t we? Although I gave a “thumbs in the middle” to The Wizard’s Staff map, here we are getting four maps for five bucks, which is a nice deal. Where The Wizard’s Staff was a map for a single location within the city of Mor Aldenn (although it could be apply to many fantasy campaigns), the Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack covers the actual city or Mor Aldenn itself.
Like other Mor Aldenn maps, this is NOT for use with a miniatures based campaign. These maps are either for DM reference or to hand out as a prop to your players. All four maps show the city of Mor Aldenn, but in different ways. The first map is a beautifully illustrated .tiff image showing the ley lines around the city. There are eight different sections, but I have no idea what they mean or how they can be used, so to find out you’ll either to have a Mor Aldenn sourcebook or a strong imagination. The second map is a full color map of the side from an overhead perspective. This, too, is beautifully done, but you’re getting an overview of the area rather than a street side view of the city, so if you are looking for something that gives you an exact layout of Mor Aldenn, you’ll want to look elsewhere. This map does have a handy legend pointing out all the important parts in the island city and its surroundings, so if you are thinking of running a campaign in this setting, it would be very handy to have. The third map is the same as the second, but it is in grayscale instead of colour. The fourth and final map is the same as the second one, but without the legend or location numbering.
Basically you’re paying five bucks for a ley line map and three versions of a second map. That’s not too bad, but compared to several of the other maps we’ve looked at over the past two days, it is a bit pricey for a single map.
The Revised Mor Aldenn Map Pack is a must have if you are planning to use this campaign setting, but it’s only useful for that specific niche of gamers. Everyone else has no real need to pick this up.
There we go. Another day, another three map reviews. We’ve looked at a wonderful old school map, a bizarre map of a single room that I can’t find a use for and some pretty maps of Mor Aldenn that are neat but only useful if you are playing in that specific Pathfinder setting. Join us tomorrow as we tackle another set and hopefully find something you can use for your campaign.