When you can, always take the high road

Thursday has come around Quickly this week.

This week I went way back to basics.. This was really triggered by finding a binder that I used many many years ago early in my DMing.

No fancy tools this week, hand drawn maps that could be tweaked for fantasy or sci-fi but easily usable for modern settings.

Timings Street


Once a bustling street when it was first created the thriving merchant street in a retail distrit suffered several collapses to the road which saw the street and eventually section of the city blocked from traffic or use until it could be repaired.
That was many, many years ago now.

This may would be suitable for any adventure where you want the paty to search for items, people or a way around another obstacle. There are a few places to hide and more than one way through the street. There is also several places to be ambushed so party members beware.

The starting ‘zone’ for the party is on the left of the image, to the north and south (assuming they enter from the west) is a 15ft wide street that passes several long abandoned buildings. Some have unstable areas or areas that have fully collapsed to perhaps a lost mine, the cities sewer, or deeper.
There is one obvious way through, the street to the north (top of the page), but a less obvious way is down the stairs just south of this exit, along the rift on the right of the page.

There is a walkway down the south (bottom) of the map that can be accesed by jumping the 10ft railing or by taking the stairs to the north immediately as the party enter this area. This will however require the party to jump a 10ft rift, failure will be dire.

To the north of the road is a “food court” or a place where maybe merchants would set up their shops to display and sell their wares, complete with storage areas where some goods may still be present and useable. Maybe.

The Alley


Yeah is pretty hard to have a good name for an Alley, so for this purpose its just any alley that you want to include in you game.

The alley is home to the forgotten, several fortified doors litter the sides of the street where crates and boxes covered in linen or Tarps. Thugs and the misfortunate have made makeshift dwellings in the forgotten roof spaces of buildings either side of the narrow walkway (10 ft) and the party are sure that the person they are looking for has entered into this area.. now just where did they go.

The easiest way is encountering a thief, bandit, pickpocket or hunting one out for a bounty (02MoSt1). Or when the party is on the run from someone or something.

There are a few hiding holes available for the player or their target, on the left is a locked door with stairs down into the underground passage ways – getting through that door wont be easy though. On the right of the entrance (bottom of the map) there is an unlocked door (4ft wide) that leads to a room with just a bed. I would imagine that it would hold a sleeping person who wouldn’t be fond of being woken up.

The crates in the middle are covered (and create a bit of a rain cover/shade cloth effect) by a tarp/linen but can be climbed. Once at this height the party should be able to jump to the tarp covered enclove to the right, where people could be hiding, or valueables may be hidden amongst some hidden boxes, barrels or crates.

On the left opposite this enclove is another place where the party could climb up, Each box I would make it between 3 and 4 feet tall so the party members have to climb on these boxes to get to where they want to go – the aim is to give them or who they are after options where they want to hide.

To the north behind a series of boxes covered by a tarp or shade cloth there is a hidden hole or door in the wall.. a perfect place for an stash of goods or someone avoiding the party that was chasing them.

I had a look at a few Isometric drawing programs today, all of which I was unfamiliar with, as I wanted to try something new that I could suggest for peoples toolbelt. I started to toy around with Inkscape but ran out of time (untimely windows update that locked up my PC for the day… )

The purpose of the two maps are to be able to fit into almost any encounter, adhoc or planned, for the party to experience. They can easily be tweaked in style, description or setting to fit any RPG theme; not just the gritty semi-future/modern hybrid world that inspired me today, so that they can be used for future encounters or adventures. Perhaps re-used again if the party wasnt equipt to take on whats down in the sewers or under-world that the maps have the opportunity for.

Sometimes the best way to convey and idea is to just get a mechanical pencil (or non-mechanical), some plain paper or grid/graph paper like I had in that long-forgotten folder and just put pencil to paper. Having a look, or remembering what maps, action or chase scenes from your favourite movie or show can help create a map that your party will enjoy just as much as you enjoyed thinking it up.

Dont forget to have fun with it, if you think something is cool on a map or mindscape then your players should too, and as always don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe