Review: Darklight Interactive Map Packs

So, these were marked down to about a buck apiece, and I got four of ‘em. Each is presented as a PDF file and a set of images, say for VTT use. Here, I focus on the PDFs, as with this sort of product I tend to print and laminate – I can’t seem to get the hang of VTT, or the players that would use it. But I digress. I thought about posting small pictures, but the copyright statement seems to prefer that I didn’t, and I shall respect that.

M1: The Wayside Inn

This 43 page PDF covers a typical fantasy inn (distinguished from a tavern because it has rooms to rent rather than just a bar). It has a two floors, the ground floor featuring a fair-sized barroom, a kitchen, and half-a-dozen sleeping rooms, presumably for the owners and servants. The upper floor has a dozen bedrooms, mostly with twin beds.

Each floor is shown in a one-page overview and a set of tiles to print for the gaming table, and both overview and tiles are available in black and white or full colour. It’s a bit spacious for realism, but that makes it better for miniatures use – buildings drawn to scale have the figures bumping into each other all the time.

There’s a unique flavour piece in the Ethereal Bard, a kind of spell-powered fantasy jukebox. Easy to reframe it as a statue if you’d rather.

This is probably the most reusable one; your campaign is bound to have a pub, and the PCs are likely to return to it often.

M2: The Ring of Stones

This is a small henge in a clearing, consisting of an altar (with a sickle on it), surrounded by eight standing stones, surrounded by woods. Using a 5’ square grid, it would be about 100’ feet across.

Like the inn, it has overviews and tiles, in both black and white and colour. Unlike the inn, the black and white version is the colour version faded to greyscale rather than a separately-created drawing.

This one is limited in its applications. I’d probably use it as a Diablo II-style waypoint, allowing rapid travel across country for those who know its secrets.

M3: Crypt Entrance

This one depicts a plinth, about three feet judging by the steps, festooned with pillars (there may or may not be a roof, it’s not shown), with a smashed stone lid revealing stairs down. The whole is surrounded by woods and the map is about 100’ by 120’. Overview and tiles, but only in colour, no black and white option. That’s not a problem, I can do black and white with printer settings if I need it.

I doubt if I need more than one crypt entrance in my campaign, so not much reuse value here.

M4: Desert Tomb

This is indeed a desert tomb, composed of short corridors and rooms full of sarcophagi; the figures on the lids look like Christian knights. Rooms are about 25’ by 35’, corridor sections 35’ to 50’ long. There are three special rooms, one with a more ornate and solitary tomb, one with a couple of pillars, and one with a throne; a couple of standard rooms with no special features; and a bunch of corridors, often forming loops.

Again, no black and white option. One gets the feeling that the artist has pruned away stuff he feels unnecessary as he moves through the series. Looks nice, but I’m not sure how much reuse I’d get out of it.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5. They’re pretty enough, and they do the job. I have lots of maps now, though, and I should probably stop buying them. (No, I don’t think I actually will, either.)

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