The internet is full of free resources for RPGs, but one of the most basic needs are diverse maps. While graph paper and geometric hallways might fit your needs for an immediate dungeon the adventurers have stumbled upon, some moments need more specific, and maybe more randomized settings to interact with.
We shared some mapmaking resources before. Here are additional resources that are more involved than simply hitting a “generate” button, but still have randomization built in for customized, interactive cartography.
- For basic combat terrain, check out the hazard generator on Chaotic Shiny. There are plenty of other generators for stats and randomized attributes available on the site as well. This generator will not provide visuals, just attributes.
- For diverse map visuals that are built up grid-style from a database, check out Dave’s Mapper. You can pick the map style and required elements, plus cool options like side view mapping for deep delving.
- Pencil and paper are generally the most tactile DMs get with their mapmaking, but Last Gasp ups the ante by providing dice-produced cities divided into burroughs. Their relationships and types are determined by the numbers on the dice and where they physically land.
Can’t wait to see what maps you roll out this year!
(Visual is from Dave’s Mapper.)
Interested in releasing your game, but unsure where to start? Step one (after creating a prototype of the game) should be to get your friends together and have them give it a shot.
Done with kind feedback from those who most love you? Send your design to a more critical eye by requesting play testers either through a local gaming group, a listing like r/TabletopDesign’s playtesters‘ page, or the big try: a convention.
Here are some other resources!
RPG Worldbuilding is enough work without hammering out every mechanic. Use these free systems to kickstart your next universe, without the number’s game.
Open Legend is a stripped down rules system with a focus on collaborative story telling. This makes it ideal for those that want their RPG universe to flow with mythology and lore more than physics and condition tables. What is truly outstanding for this system are the level of development that has gone into its tools.
Let’s start with the basics: in order to interact with the gaming world, you need character! Open Legend Character Builder gets you rolling with an interactive character sheet plus tutorial. It’s also a great guide for anyone looking to design their own sheets in the future.
For those who would rather look to the stars, Stars Without Number offers endless possibilities for worlds and encounters. The rules PDF is available free. Set centuries after communication between planets has been cut off, Stars offers the possibility to build and expand a world all its own before introducing it to another one as technology pushes toward the galactic scale again.
Fate is a system designed to mold to whatever genre you want to explore. It’s lighter on dice interaction, heavier on narrative, and ideal for mishmashing genres until you get the characters you’ve always wanted to know. While Fate has plenty of base rules systems to offer, it’s best suited for intimate interactions between characters and spaces than epic architectures or Tolkienesque wars.
This was just the most timid of toe touches into RPG worldbuilding. We’re looking forward to bringing more resources for you to shape your settings into exactly what you imagined, not to mention tips on how to run them.
The world of role playing games are ripe with seemingly endless possibilities to make your game tactile, more visually engaging, or more easily accessible. One of the most basic tools is the map. Whether for the RPG world, the characters’ homebase, or an encounter, maps instantly pull PCs into the setting and start the game’s movement and engagement mechanics going.
RPG resources are popping up on all platforms. Instagram account Fantastic Maps has excellent how-tos to assist with fleshing out those encounter areas, or populated regions. Check out the classic town map tutorial as a starting point!
For a quick fix on a pick up game, check out this city map generator, complete with auto filled in guild sections. The creator accepts donations for creating and hosting this awesome tool. Give if you can!
Placing NPC and PCs on your RPG map can be just as important to setting the scene. While colored stones, painted wood game pieces, or even just torn paper may do the trick, there’s little more fun in the world of 2D representations of 3D space than fulling illustrated tokens. Some users have created free templates for NPC tokens that you can print yourself from popular games with Dungeons & Dragons. Roll Advantage has provided a free tool to design your own for a more personal touch.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have as much fun playing around with these tools as you will using them in game!