Cartography Part 1

It’s been a few weeks since we had a Thursday that includes some “actual” resources.  There were couple weeks of reviews and then last week I shared some more games for you RPG groups out there.  Getting back to resources to put on your shelf and add to your bookmarks, I have a new subject to cover: cartography.  Map making is an integral part to RPGs, at least classically.  Dungeons, kingdoms, and worlds all need their layouts and information detailed out paper.  Sometimes it is for the DM to track things, sometimes it is to give the PCs a visual.  Either way maps are a major tool for games today, but not everyone is great at making maps.  Whether you are looking to get better at making them, or looking to get some from those who are, these are some resources for you.

Cartographer’s Guild

This website is a great resource for those looking for anything to do with maps.  A community of mapmakers from the professional to the hobbyists to the amateurs.  There is plenty to get out of the Cartographer’s Guild and its forums.  Of course, there are plenty of maps on the site but I also urge you to peruse the forums.  You could find tips, tricks, tutorials, and just simple advice.  Plenty exists there for inspiration and there are the occasional semi-random pieces of information.  For example, right now, I see one of the recent forum topics is Russian naming and someone offering to help with such things.

RPG MapShare

This is another fantastic site, especially if you are using Roll20, or a similar program, to play your games.  This website has a forum as well, but the biggest benefit of this site is the gallery.  This is one of the best resources I have found for making battle maps.  It is pretty easy to navigate and many of the images can be downloaded in various sizes.  I have to mention that while there are over a thousand images on the site, they are mostly directed towards a fantasy game.  However, there are tons of wilderness maps on there and those are usable for virtually anything.

Dyson’s Dodecahedron

Dyson’s blog is a create resource for those who need maps, especially the old school, black and white dungeon maps.  Dyson makes a lot of maps, and I have seen some interesting projects in the G+ communities that he has worked on.  If you are a DM and need some inspiration on how to make simple, but amazing maps, you need to check him out.  He doesn’t just do maps, though.  From what I gather he started the blog to make and share characters.  This is definitely a blog worth checking out, and his gallery is truly awesome.  There are dozens upon dozens of maps.  Look through them at your leisure, but don’t get lost, you could be there for hours.