Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"B2" Caves of Chaos Maps


Is a portion of the map I created for the upcoming Twelve Hour B2 Caves of Chaos Marathon I'm running on April 3rd at my FLGS Dragon's Lair in Austin, TX. (also used for this B2 Caves of Chaos game).

I call it Caves of Chaos instead of Keep on the Borderlands 1) I totally thought that was what B2 was called. 2) It's a mixture of D&D B2 and Hackmaster B2, and some some additional weird shit by me (more caves, more innter-connections, more loops, molemen instead of goblins, warangtangs instead of hobgobs).

I started the Caves of Chaos map on a lark to see if I could make an isometric version of the classic B2 map.  It turned out ok.  After I was sure I was running the B2 marathon I got excited about working on the map again and mixing in Hackmaster stuff.  It really flowed and new ideas poped into my head as I was drawing it.  (maybe why it got a little too crowded).

I used different wall styles / colors for the various levels. Which you might just be able to make out the "square" stone dressed blocks of the Black Temple in this slightly zoomed image. [clicky for embiggin]


After I color photocopied original I used different color pencils to "shadow" / "crosshatch" the stone in a way I hope accentuates the isometricness.  I like to write notes right on maps such as what and how many, encounter tables, and the like. But didn't want to junk up "nice" map with those and the room key so, I made some b/w copies of the original.


For being poor at cartography/art I think my isometric Caves of Chaos map project turned out pretty bad ass. Don't know if it's practically superior to flat map, but I sure do like lookin at it.


  1. That is hardcore! I too think it's bad-ass and inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice! Are the players going to get to see the map?

  3. Where ever did you get the isometric graph paper? Was that a download or an obscure office supply store purchase? This post has inspired me to try my hand at an isometric map and I think I'll require some paper.

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  5. isograph paper is from drafting supply co, German manufacturer. I forget name / don't have it handy. Could be found at paper supply / art store probably.

    Or this site has some.

  6. I have a program that lets you create any kind of graph paper known to man. I scooped it off the interwebz like 10 years ago, can't remember where I got it but it's freeware. It including log, perspective, square, triangle, hex. There is a metric boatload of ways to customize to your heart's content and print what you need. The perspective looks like what you want. If anybody wants it just e-mail me at

  7. Norman I'd love to see the map if you could bring it up to NTRPG Con. We could even display it (or make a copy of the original and display the copy)and hang it behind the registration desk or something if it was ok with you. It's definitely an inspiration!

  8. The manufacturer was probably Staedtler. I've seen it at OfficeMax and/or Staples in both letter and deskpad sizes.

  9. Staedtler is the one. It's 11x17, which is good cause isometric layout takes more room than top down. At same time got some giant 17x22 8 squares per inch paper for the mother of all megadungeons. But then I got into One Page Dungeons, so, don't know if I'll ever use it. Both are real nice paper, take ink well, pleasure to draw on. Worth the expense if enjoy the act of drawing.

    Unless I forget I'll bring it to NTRPG (disclaimer I'm forgetful). But, I don't think it's all that special. When I say "bad ass" I mean in relation to other stuff I've done, not in comparison to the real cartographic masters out there.

    players don't get to see the map, I make a rough surface map on cheap, but large, and free* newsprint that they can use to draw their map on.

    * working for newspaper has its benefits.

    I'll post more pics after big event and something about what I changed/borrowed from Hackmaster B2 and why.

    And thanks for the kind compliments.

  10. Wow, consider me inspired! I've gotta try my hand at isometric mapping.

  11. This is (DM) cartographic mastery to me.


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