More reviews! Tonight we finish up our Mapstravaganza. This time around we've got offerings from two longtime favorites around drnuncheons' gaming table: Skeleton Key Games and Fiery Dragon. We've also got a couple of items from Project-0 Games.
Skeleton Key has an enormous line of products spanning urban, wilderness, dungeon, and even spaceship-based tiles, all in full color, all printable at battlemap scale. Ed Bourelle does a fantastic job creating tiles with a vivid style that's clear and clean and easy to use, with the battlemap grid unobtrusively incorporated into the map textures.
e-Adventure Tiles: Encounters No. 1 ($3.49, on sale for $1.75) provides more detailed locations suitable for set-piece fights or other important encounters. It gives you an ossuary/throne room, whose floor and walls are made of bones; the top of a mostly submerged swamp temple topped by a lizard-man statue of some kind; and a dungeon supply cache warded by some kind of magic circle. The Encounters series, like the Cartophile sets, are where Ed's work is at is best.
e-Adventure Tiles: Desert Boulder Fields ($7.99, on sale for $4) are somewhat less exciting. There's really only so much you can do interesting with sand and large rocks. The high point of this set are the campsite tiles, but unlike the dungeon and cavern sets, I can't see myself pulling this one out again session after session.
Project-0 Games seems to be trying for the same niche as Skeleton Key with their Quick Maps: Super Dungeon 1 ($2.00) The product features 53 8x8 tiles of dungeon rooms and corridors. Like the Skeleton Key maps, the grid is worked into the drawing. Forcing all of the tiles to be 8x8 allows for some interesting layouts, like a tile with two unconnected passages. Unfortunately, the set is missing any truly large (multi-tile) rooms. The designs are very blocky - no diagonal walls here, just 'stair-steps'. Most of the tiles are corridors, with some rooms, the occasional pit, some dungeon entrances, and several variations of a chamber with a magic circle.
But no matter how good your maps look, you still need things to put on them. Project-0's Dungeon Objects 1 ($1.50) provides a variety of counters to spice up your maps. The counters are set up to be printed and then folded to make double-sided tokens, and feature bookshelves, a variety of tables, beds (occupied and empty), coffins, sarcophagi, barrels, crates, and treasure chests. The art looks like it would be a good match for the Skeleton Key tiles.
And, of course, you'll need monsters. Fiery Dragon has been doing counters since the early days of 3rd Edition, using the art of Claudio Pozas. I've been a big fan since the first Counter Collection, and even though these say "4th Edition" there's nothing tying them to any edition or game. Counter Collection: 4th Edition Heroic 3 ($10) has all the heroic-tier monsters from the Monster Manual 3 as JPGs, so they're easily printed or used with Maptool. Counter Collection: 4th Edition Paragon 2 and Counter Collection: 4th Edition Epic 2 do the same for the Paragon and Epic tiers of the MM2. Claudio's art definitely has a comic-book feel to it, which works quite well on the 1" counters, where a more detailed style would get lost as the picture was scaled down.
All of the products reviewed during Mapstravaganza were provided to me free of charge by the publishers.