Despite only participating in two D&D sessions (one where I was DM), I already want fancy maps for our campaign settings. I want pretty pictures and grids and things that look way better than anything I could personally create.
As a new DM, I’ve already learnt from our first session that players also prefer to have some kind of map for combat scenarios. I did use plain sheets of 1-inch graph paper and hoped we could rely on my description of the environment, using the graph paper just to orientate characters and enemies, but people still got confused. One point of feedback from my players was, “we preferred combat when you used the pretty, printed maps.”
Luckily, there are amazing D&D artists out there who want fellow players to have access to unique maps for astonishingly cheap prices.
It’s all possible through Patreon.
I support eleven creators on Patreon, and seven of them are D&D artists. I had to curb myself from subscribing to everyone ever, but even supporting 11 creators, I only pay £20.20 a month for unlimited access to almost every creator’s content — past, present and future. That’s cheaper than buying one box of tilesets from Wizards of the Coast.
Here are links and previews to some creators I follow…
2-Minute Table Top
The first artist I found was Ross on Tumblr, otherwise known as 2-Minute Table Top, and from his Patreon I discovered ~a whole new world~. His art style is scrappy and colourful, with content ranging from pirate coves, tree-top villages, Japanese tea shrines, to dungeon toolsets.
I love the sentiment behind his Patreon brand. As quoted from his overview, “Here in Australia we call our instant noodles “2-minute noodles,” and they are a famously cheap, quick, and easy meal. Likewise, I create my maps to be famously cheap, quick, and easy to use (though they’re much better quality, I hope!).”
I pay $2 per hand-drawn map, giving me access to everything he’s previously uploaded and to all of his future creations. Some of which have been prints for paper-craft houses!
Say hello to your new hero, aka, PrintableHeroes. This artist whips up print-ready miniatures for tabletop role-playing games and then releases them for free each month. That’s right, for freeeeeeeee.
And they are so beautiful! I pay $3 a month to gain access to files with colour variations, in case I’d rather have a ginger knight or a white dire wolf instead of a blonde knight or a grey dire wolf.
I’ll admit, I haven’t printed much yet because I’m lazy, but I have downloaded everything that looks even slightly interesting to future games. My pride and joy at the moment are PrintableHeroes’ dungeon assets. I don’t have the correct paper stock, so I stuck these dungeon prints onto cardboard, but they still look cute even with my hack-skills!
Mike, the artist behind MapHammer, creates absolutely opulent maps and locations for the official D&D and Pathfinder miniature size, and for online platforms like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds. His maps are highly detailed and he tries to release four a month. Again, I just download everything because it’s all so beautiful that I want to find reasons to use each tileset.
I pay $2 per map. This gives me access to everything he’s made past, present, and future. These are high quality, print-ready maps with or without 1-inch grids and gives me access to day and night/lit and dark versions of each piece.
In the image below, you can see how gorgeous the maps look when printed, and how well they go with PrintableHeroes’ paper miniatures.
Venatus Maps has a unique, almost Professor Layton style of artwork, but I like how crisp and clear the details are. The city maps, in particular, are incredible. If you’re looking for towns, battle locations, cities or even regional maps, Venatus might have something for you. They even create awesome asset packs, such as battle pieces, tavern furniture, castle items, forest tokens—there’s something to make even a simple home-drawn map pop.
I’ve used the tavern and castle assets for one of my own maps! They were the perfect touch, especially when coupled with food assets from 2-Minute Table Top.
I pay $1 per map and get access to everything Venatus has uploaded long before my subscription. Such wonder, for such cheap! I am eternally grateful.
One of my favourites to follow on Patreon, it’s Paper Forge. These illustrators create paper minis, item cards, spell cards and other props for use in D&D, Pathfinder and other Tabletop RPGs and release much of it for free on a weekly basis.
Aside from their stunning paper miniatures, what really caught my eye is their card kits. I pay $3 a month to have access to awesome item cards, colour varients, front and back views of the minis.
In there overview they explain, “We work on new minis every week, and release a free version of them plus additional content for our patrons (back views, color variations, source files, etc) at the end of the week. We also create more elaborate illustrated content such as item cards and card backs and release it at the end of a month. That means that at the very least we’ll be releasing 4 different minis with color variations and at least 1 prop every month, along with editable files for those of you who want to customize your game even more with easily edited PSD files.”
Just look at these item cards! And here’s one of their sublime minis of a centaur!
Now you know.
Now you know where to find amazing props for your D&D game at stinking cheap prices. Browse around! You’ll easily get absorbed in all the options available and start struggling over who to pay a monthly subscription.