Today was supposed to be the release of an adventure review. As you know the past couple weeks have been hectic for me, but what you might not know is that the adventure is nearly 100 pages long. Those two things combined means I am switching around this month’s reviews. It is a bit easier to review images than it is to review 100 pages of written word! So, that review is still coming and you will see it on the 23rd. For now let us take a look at some of LoreSmyth’s amazing dungeon tiles. As a note all of these tiles are digital products!
I have a few of the tile sets from LoreSmyth, but let’s start with a good basic dungeon tile set. Genesis Foundation is a core set of dungeon tiles that includes over 60 image files. I have to say, right off the bat, that is an amazing number and sits right around the average of their sets which range from 40 to 80 or so. These images are all matching thematically so that any of them can go together, just as a set of tiles should. In this case, the stonework of the tiles is not your average grey or tan, but a lovely shade of blue-green. It gives it an incredible look and adds a bit of flare to the look of a dungeon. The color and design is also easily interpreted as an underwater ruin, some temple on an alien world, or just a unique stone that some ancient race used in construction. This nice versatility makes that different, but equally as usable as any of the grey stonework you see in other tiles.
In addition to a standard floor tiles (2) there are a terrific number of tiles from which to make your dungeon. These are categorized and titled based on the type of tile and how big it is. The tile might be a corridor, a room, or a junction between hallways. These may also be only one square / inch wide or up to three. Rooms and hallways feature alcoves, pillars, odd shapes, and different amounts of exits. Given the huge variety here, there is virtually no limit to the number of dungeons you can make.
This second set uses the same theme and colors of the one above, but represents an expansion of that set to provide you with even more possibilities. This time we are provided some of the items missing from the first set. While we got some floor tiles, we are missing walls to make out own rooms of varying sizes. Now, we have those. We have more junctions, more hallways, and a variety of extra features like stairs and chasms to add in. Between the two sets a GM can make a gigantic complex or mega-dungeon, easily. There are also a handful of appropriate decorations too. Pillars, broken pillars, and debris allow you to add some life to the custom rooms without mismatching the style of the art. Just keep in mind that this package is called an expansion for a reason, there is less you can do with just this package.
I love this pack even though it is on the small end of sets. While it has barely over 40 tiles, it is just beautiful. As the name suggests plant growth is heavily featured in this set. Still, the underlying architecture is similar to that of the genesis set. With this set you can make quite the variety of dungeons hidden away in jungles and forests of the world. It includes rooms, corridors, and junctions. In addition it includes a floor tile and a walled floor tile to make your own rooms. On top of all that decoration images are also included with plant growth, pillars, and strange magical tentacle-plants too. Everything you need for wilderness ruins is here for you to use. Oh, and since they are so close to the Genesis series, I can only imagine how well the combined three sets will work together. Personally I cannot wait to make some maps.
Packaging & Style
This isn’t the best way to phrase this section, perhaps, but I want to talk about packaging. Style, of course, might reference the actual artwork. However, it also might reference the way in which these products are to be used. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, these are digital products. With this in mind it is important to note what that means. Most importantly, this is THE way I want digital tiles to be delivered to me if not bought within a system like Roll20. They come in two folders: one for PC and one for MAC. Each and every image is titled to allow you to quickly determine, at least roughly, what it is and what it will look like. Finally, every image is a PNG. If you aren’t aware, PNG files are the type you want for a high quality while maintaining a transparent background. This is absolutely necessary for dungeon tiles. I have purchased other sets that require manipulation, adjustment, and even pulling from PDF. LoreSmyth has put in the effort to take all that work away from you and allow you to focus on dungeon making.
Additionally, these tiles are digital products and, as such, are generally meant for the digital world. In making them, LoreSmyth based their sizing and design off of Roll20’s grid system. Why is this important? One: it maintains a regularity between tile size and resolution to help them match up well. Two: it means that when I upload them to Roll20 I will not need to do anything other than resize them. I LOVE THIS. Once you resize a square in the tile to a square in Roll20, the whole image snaps to the grid properly. No rough 3×3 resizing estimates and careful placement. Size, snap, and go! It also must be noted that the tiles are all within the upload sizes of Roll20! I don’t have to pull them into photoshop, adjust them, make sure they save small, and then upload them. Everything is perfect for me.
Other Use & Value
Finally I want to talk about the fact that these are made so well, that you should have no trouble using photoshop to make a full one-image map. In fact if you go to this page here, LoreSmyth has some instructions on how to go about this best. These instructions will help you make sure your project has the right grid and features to make creating those maps as smooth as possible! With that, and everything else, in mind let us talk about final value. It is the BEST value tiles I have ever purchased. Each of these sets is less than $5, which makes them as cheap and mostly cheaper than other sets. They are also the best quality and easiest to make useful tiles I have ever purchased digitally. Despite the work and money (paper and ink) I would need to put in, they are also of better value than the D&D physical tiles I purchased. Why? While I must put the effort into quality for a physical version, there are two ways to do it. First I can select the ones I need and print them to equitable sizes via photoshop when I want them. I can take as little or as much time as I want or need to build a library of tiles, only ever giving me more options. Aside from that the $17-$27 I didn’t spend on them vs physical is seed money to make my choice of tiles. The other option? Make a large map in photoshop and pay a pretty low price to get it printed on appropriately size poster paper at, say, Staples. For a huge map that could last 4-5 sessions of game play, why not spend time making it and a few bucks to print it. Take care of it or laminate it, and it is reusable too.
When it comes down to it, if you use Roll20 or are crafty and want quality maps / tiles, then this set is worth every single penny.