Last night I was running an adventure from an older issue of Dungeon Magazine. Not old enough to be a classic issue, nor one from the renaissance of the magazine once Paizo took over, but one from the early days of the 3rd edition era. Written by Monte Cook, the adventure takes high level characters off into the demonweb (of Lolth’s fame).
What caught my attention initially however (surprise of surprises) was the maps. These awesome maps drawn by Stephen Daniele caught my imagination, making the demonweb feel… very weblike.
It captures the organic feel of the webs, and how various bits and bobs of other stuff is trapped in the demonweb. I particularly like how he changed the orientation of the grid to suit the various sections that are out of alignment with said grid. My own groups don’t use grids so it didn’t matter in our games, but it’s a nice touch for a published adventure with a very organic map.
I also love how the various “bits and bobs” of junk in the demonweb feel like they’ve come from all over the place. A chunk of crystaline rock turned into a fortress in the lower right corner of the map above, or the ship of the damned in the map below:
These maps set fire to my imagination which in turn made running the game much easier because just looking at the map triggered all the great verbal imagery I needed to get it across to the party and kept me excited to describe each section.
I scrawled a few notes onto the maps as reminders, but with only 19 areas between the two maps, it was pretty easy to run even with the adventure on my lap instead of having extensively prepared for it.