Battle Map: Thistletop

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thistletop Preview


Here is my 33×17 inch, printable battle map of Thistletop from the Rise of the Runelords, Pathfinder campaign setting.

Finally the players in my campaign have vanquished the foes hiding under the glassworks and they’re ready to begin searching for Thistletop.  This time around I took a different approach to the construction of the dungeon.  It is designed to be cut up with scissors and then taped down on the dry-erase battle map as the players explore.

This idea came about as I was looking at my last dungeon, Catacombs of Wrath, printed to full size.  I didn’t like how the game played out when the players knew where all the rooms were in advance so I cut each of the rooms out individually and taped them down on the dry-erase battle-mat as the players explored.  They really enjoyed the element of exploration and not knowing what was behind each door.  It kept them on their toes and ensured got them into a “role playing” mood much easier.

Like my other maps, this is being released under a Creative Commons, Non-Commercial, Attribution, Share-Alike license.

Update:  when I get time I’ll post a version of the map that’s put together for those that just want to print it in it’s entirety and not cut out the little rooms.


  1. Alabast says:

    These are nice maps, Sean! I’m a big fan of cutting maps and displaying them as the players explore the area. When it’s appropriate of course. My comment though would be: Wouldn’t it be better to make the numbers smaller or even move them out of the rooms? And might it be an idea placing a small number next to each doorway so that people without the Rise of the Runelords can piece together the map and use it for their own gains?

    I plan to do a post on this kind of dungeon on my blog and I’d love if I could refer to your work here. Hope you’ll create more in the future!

    - A

    1. seanesopenko says:

      Yeah the numbers were an evolutionary improvement over our last gaming session. We didn’t have any at all on the last ones and I thought putting them on would help me out as a DM. I don’t know how exactly I could put the numbers outside of the rooms in this instance because they’re all so close together. But putting them off to the side on tabs of some sort would work for a more “dungeon” like map that doesn’t have tons of rooms close together.

      I think next time I’ll piece together the rooms into a full map that’s available for download, too, for those that just want to print it off in it’s entirety and don’t want to cut out the little rooms.

      The work is creative commons (attribute, share-alike, non-commercial) so you’re welcome to share it on your blog so long as it’s for non-commercial, give a link to the correct CC license and attribute me :).

  2. Airrin Flynn says:

    How did you do the C1 – C9 portion of the encounter?

    1. seanesopenko says:

      I did that on my gridded whiteboard. The mapping software doesn’t do a good job on organic stuff.

      1. Airrin Flynn says:

        Gotcha, guess I’ll be using my chessex vinyl mat.

  3. Airrin Flynn says:

    Also are you planning on doing maps for the lower levels of Thistletop?

    1. seanesopenko says:

      I’m definitely doing maps for the lower levels.

      1. Airrin Flynn says:

        Best news I’ve heard all day! Especially if you divvy them up like the Thistletop ground level map. I’ll drop a few GP’s into your coffer when you get them posted lol

  4. Martin says:

    I like this idea.
    I am running this Adventure Path as well, and went through the catacombs yesterday.
    Was trying to find a better way to handle this and found your page. Good stuff. Thanks

  5. Andy says:

    Great maps! Thank you so much! Running Thistletop tonight and this is perfect. You rock.

  6. GM Rondor says:

    WHen I try to print the rooms out it isnt print them all for some reason. Is there a trick to print out this entire map?

    1. seanesopenko says:

      If you’re printing at home on an 8.5×11 inch printer you’ll have to cut the map into chunks using Gimp (free) or Photoshop ($$).

      Some print shops can print large images like this, too.

  7. NuclearAnt says:

    I’d like to see more cut up maps. What are the odds I’ll get what I want? I would be willing to pay for them even.

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