Maps of Mastery creates poster and cardstock maps scaled for miniature battles. About two-thirds of their maps show space stations and other science-fiction locations. The rest feature natural encounter locations on a 1-inch grid, a perfect stage for fantasy battles in Dungeons & Dragons and similar games.
As proven by my map galleries, I collect printed battle maps, so when Maps of Mastery kickstarted new and reprinted maps in their Forsaken Lands series, they tempted me. I tried to remain sensible. At $12 per poster, the price seemed high compared to Paizo’s plastic-coated flip-mats. The pictures looked nice, but many outfits sell poster battlemaps that consist of geometric shapes flooded with coarse patterns. Many look better than I could do, but still appear homemade. After weighing my choices, I ordered 3 posters rather than all 4. I should have purchased them all.
Maps of Mastery – Forest Glade
The online pictures fail to capture the color and detail of these maps. These Forsaken Lands maps look stunning.
Forsaken Lands DUNGEON ODYSSEY
The Forest Glade ranks as the best. At 22×34 inches, it offers a feast for the eyes. I love the rays of sun crossing the glade and the mist rising from the waterfall. For encounters call for a smaller venue, the maps feature distinct areas like glade’s waterfall and faerie circle. On your table, you can frame the area in play. Plus, five of the maps join edge to edge to create a 170-inch-long odyssey. I need a bigger table.
To qualify for my mega-list, a dungeon must meet three qualifications. It must be…
in print or on the web in a form close to playable.
suitable for the focus of an entire campaign from low to high level.
too big to clear of traps and monsters, even as the focus of a campaign.
Most of these products attempt to recapture or update the play style of the original campaigns that launched D&D, so many use rules that emulate either original D&D or AD&D. If you prefer advantage, concentration, and armor classes that go up, you can play these dungeons with fifth edition. Just use the monster stats in your new manual and make up any difficulty classes as you go.
Rational: Ambient magic? Insane wizards? The mysteries of Dragon’s Delve remain locked from my gaze.
Snap reaction: A mountain of interesting content locked behind the dungeonaday paywall. Update: The only trace of dungeonaday now on the web is an adventure drawn from its content, The Tomb-World of Alak-Ammur.
Typical reviews: “Castle Whiterock is an epic endeavor that is the best adventuring product released by any company this year.” – Nathan C.
“The adventure features great encounters, adventure to be had, wonderful villains, great twists in the tale, and many hidden secrets waiting to be uncovered. On the down side, there are some tedious bits.” – Peter I.
Rational: Traps, magic, and monsters accumulated over the castle’s 1200-year history.
Snap reaction: No mere list of rooms, this product builds a campaign with numerous quests around a megadungeon.
Tagline: With Dwimmermount, the Golden Age has returned.
Typical reviews: “The very size of Dwimmermount may also be its enemy, a few forays into the place won’t discover much, and the levels get consistently weirder, but start very classically D&D.” – Dungeon of Signs
Tagline: Over 16,000 Encounters – A mammoth dungeon unlike any other! Every monster in the SRD – And a few you’ve never seen before!
Typical reviews: “Nothing remarkable or all that memorable about it” – Jeremy Reaban
“They don’t expect you to actually run the World’s Largest Dungeon as one big dungeon. Considering that’s the only reason that anyone would actually buy the product, I find that pretty stupid.” – oriongates
Rational: A giant prison for evil.
Snap reaction: Not so much an adventure as a publishing stunt.