View Full Version : Newer isn't always better...

The Cartographist
12-20-2007, 07:36 AM
So, as I continue to review old threads in search of new (to me) and exciting cartography, I was looking at gamerprinter's Veil Vale thread about using layers as contours. Anyway, toward the end, a few people commented on Ravenloft and Strahd, etc.

And I got to thinking--

I think that anyone who was familiar, and who played 1st ed Dnd, believed that Ravenloft was one of the best modules of all time. [I believe it was voted in the top five in some sort of poll/contest/something-or-other.] I believe that one of the reasons for that was the cartography. The isometric maps of his castle were (to my knowledge) some of the first and best uses of "3D" in module mapping. I think that the original still holds up as a fantastic map.

So I was HORRIBLY disappointed when WotC released the Ravenloft hardbound sometime in the last year or few to see that the maps in that supplement fell way short. There wasn't a single, large map of the whole castle (admitted difficult in a hardbound); the maps weren't isometric; and... (I could go on.)

I really feel that they dropped the ball. What do the rest of you think?

12-20-2007, 09:05 AM
yes, i too was upset by the maps in the book. the first time i laid eyes on the original module i just went crazy. those maps are probably the best anyone had done in a module up to that point. when it came time to see the book, i just assumed they were in there, but all we got instead was a bunch of stupid encounter maps and little else.

and about the newest book, can someone tell me why every room in castle ravenloft suddenly needs and encounter? the great thing about the original was the lack of encounters, and the dread of waiting for Mr. Strahd to show up when you were in the middle of something. now, almost 90% of the rooms have encounters, and most of them are arbitrary slug fests that have nothing to do with the adventure or the story at all.

sorry, i'll stop venting now.

12-20-2007, 10:14 AM
Perhaps I'm overly cynical The Cartographist, but the new encounter format seems to be a way to cram the smallest amount of content into the greatest amount of space. If you don't like it, you may want to skip 4th ed, as all of the 4th ed modules will be using it (and will be nearly thirty bucks US retail (20 British pounds?) to boot).

If you liked the original Castle Ravenloft map, download for free the pdf supplement to the Dungeon Magazine 133 Adventure "Kings of the Rift". The adventure was a high level installment in the Age of Worms adventure path. It features a 3d map of the Citadel of Weeping Dragons in the giant stronghold of Kongen-Tholnir done in semi-Ravenloft style (although the map is in tan, black, and white and not color as the orig Ravenloft map was).

It was a great adventure (although it would take extensive adaptation to use it outside of the AOW) and the map brought back many pleasant oldschool memories. You can find the Dungeon 133 map supplement available for download at http://paizo.com/dungeon/resources/downloads.

Mona and company had a flair for doing cool adventures and commissioning cool maps--they had one adventure map for a dungeon that was essentially a giant water flume, I'll see if I can hunt down that adventure supplement.

12-20-2007, 10:35 AM
... (and will be nearly thirty bucks US retail (20 British pounds?) to boot).
You may want to check the exchange rate now and then ... $40 US is around 15 Sterling currently. Not that we won't be charged 20, companies usually try to charge the same in Sterling as they do in US$

12-20-2007, 11:32 AM
"Threadjack on"

Yuck, I had heard the exchange rate had headed south and I knew the Canadian dollar had reached parity with the US dollar...looks like I won't be going on any trips to Europe soon. On the other hand, the US has suddenly gotten a lot cheaper to visit for Europeans--good luck with airport security though.

"Threadjack off"

The Cartographist
12-21-2007, 06:48 AM
thebax2k - Thanks for the link to the giant stronghold of Kongen-Tholnir. It is definitely done in a similar style--really good map. And thanks for bringing to light (for me, at least) the Dungeon downloads. Very handy reference.

12-21-2007, 11:08 AM
I'm glad you enjoyed the map The Cartographist. The Age of Worms is a great adventure path, one that I would like to run one day. My only regret is that Wizards yanked both Dungeon and Dragon away from Paizo and is now only publishing them in electronic form.

Speaking of 3d Ravenloft castles, one of the many 2nd edition modules for Ravenloft had a poster sized map of a castle Azalin the Lich was using. The name of the module escapes me, but if you ever need another 3d map that's not as iconic as Ravenloft, hunt that module down.

Edit--Almost forgot. The poster sized map of the High Clerist's Tower guarding the pass to Palanthus in the Dragonlance series of modules is an outstanding 3d map. I believe the module its in is DL8 or DL9. Its perfect as the headquarters for some evil wizard or bbeg--with so many levels (15 or 16), parties will be exploring it for quite some time.

The Cartographist
12-21-2007, 12:12 PM
The High Clerists Tower was a HUGE structure--and you're right, the map was pretty cool.

I think that if a DM wanted to throw out all reality and just pack every room with encounters, that you could have a huge hack-and-slash fest that would last for months.