For my game, I like to draw battle maps of key locations in advance. I use gaming paper or easel pads marked with a 1-inch grid. When I copy an adventure map to a big sheet, I hate counting squares, but I’m too fussy to fudge and settle for close enough. My taste for precision makes winding caverns a particular nuisance. Sometimes I print map graphics as battle maps, but that requires more printer ink, cutting, and pasting than I want to lavish on a huge map. See How to print map graphics as battle maps using free software.
After my weekly group managed to end a session by alerting an entire dungeon, the next session promised a running battle spanning the site. I needed a big map. How could I draw it without wasting time counting squares and recreating that underground river? If only I could just trace a 50-by-50-inch map from my computer monitor.
Inspiration struck. I have a projector. And a wall.
How to draw adventure maps on 1″ grids without counting squares.
What you need
For this procedure, you need the following items:
- a wall
- a gridded easel pad with Post-It style sheets
- a computer image of the original map
- a computer
- a projector that connects to the computer
- Connect the computer to the connector.
- Open the map image in the computer.
- Project the map image on the wall.
- If the map includes a 5-foot-per-square grid, zoom the map image until the squares projected on the wall measure 1-inch across. Otherwise, zoom the map image until 5 feet on the map spans 1 inch on the wall.
- Stick a gridded sheet on the wall so the squares on the sheet align with any squares on the projected map. If you want to stick the sheet with a long side up, use removable tape.
For me, this method proved far faster and easier than counting squares.
Once I finished the map, I cut it into sections that I could lay out as characters explored. Having pre-drawn maps increased the pace of the next game session. The missing gaps behind doors and around corners seemed to encourage players to scatter and open doors, escalating the mayhem of battle.
I suspect I’ll use this trick often.