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by Mike on 9 October 2023
DMs often overprepare. Drawing our own maps is typically one such activity. You may be tempted to draw out your dungeon maps and, if you enjoy it and have the time, go with the gods. But if time is tight or you feel like your time may be best spent elsewhere, use existing maps instead.
Dyson Logos, the cartographer responsible for numerous maps in published Wizards of the Coast adventures, has more than a thousand maps available on Dysonlogos.blog. Instead of drawing a map, grab one from there. I've used Dyson maps for all sorts of locations in all sorts of worlds whether it was Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Shadowdark, or Numenera.
If you have an idea for a location, keep the general location in mind and scroll through Dyson's maps. When you find one that fits your needs, stop, download it, and stick it in your notes.
Dyson's maps are easy to use in a VTT, easy to replicate on a hand-drawn battle map, and cheap to print large-scale as blueprint maps at your local printer. They follow the best practices of Jaquays-style maps including multiple entrances, multiple paths, loop-backs, asymmetric designs, elevation changes, and secret passages.
Here's a handful of other tips for making the most of Dyson maps:
The next time you're tempted to draw out a map, grab a Dyson map and put your prep time into other high-impact areas like building encounters around the characters, making interesting or unique treasure, or thinking through the eyes of your villains.
This week I posted a couple of YouTube videos on my Uncharted Journeys Spotlight and Drusilla's Hut – Shadowdark Gloaming Session 6 Lazy GM Prep.
Each week I record an episode of the Lazy RPG Talk Show (also available as a podcast) in which I talk about all things in tabletop RPGs. Here are last week's topics with time stamped links to the YouTube video:
Also on the Talk Show, I answer questions from Sly Flourish Patrons. Here are last week's questions and answers:
Each week I think about what I learned in my last RPG session and write them up as D&D tips. Here are this week's tips:
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