Recently I was lucky enough to find out what one of the great D&D map makers, Mike Schley, has been working on of late. The answer came when he reached out to me, among others, to take a look at his latest project called Schleyscapes. You can check out some of Mike’s work over on his site (here) and it features maps you may recognize from products like Curse of Strahd, but lets talk about Schleyscapes! This isn’t an adventure or a system or a setting really. Instead what Schleyscapes features is a locale for your players to explore. Head over to Mike’s Instagram to find out a little more, because he has an awesome preview there. Not only was I able to check out the map and explore the site a little bit before I really looked at Episode 1, I was able to find links to other Instagram accounts I should check out including awesome artists I already followed on Twitter. I truly hope that this is a feature for each episode because it is a great way to connect the community a little more while giving ideas and previewing an actual product.
After perusing through Episode 1: The Forlorn Cottage, I was really impressed. Most of the complexity is in the form of the map. It is very detailed and comes with insights into each little portion including the cellar and rooms of the cottage. Even better is that it will include print versions and virtual table top versions for you to use as needed. Even included were black and white copies. Now, plenty of people make money of of maps, such as these, especially for virtual table tops, but Mike took the extra step to give you a reason to check it out. The Forlorn Cottage includes some backstory to the map and why adventurers might find themselves here, as well as what they should expect to find. Mind you, it is all mechanic-less fluff so anyone can use it for any system. Between the ideas, the great map, a page to make notes about the encounter, and even mini maps of interiors for a layered map experience Mike Schley has got a great product on his hands. What really sticks out is that the project is a simple step up from map, but becomes something much more than the idea and map are when separate.
For my part I wanted to get some word out about it and tell you all what I thought. For those who are really biting to know more or get your hands on this and future Episodes you can help Mike out. Head over to the Kickstarter which can be found here and support him. As of this writing it is at 110% funding and I still hope to add my dollars in come next paycheck!