Home / Delve into the Depths in the Kobold Blog / Staff Picks: Campaign Builder Cities & Towns Map Folio is on sale now!

Staff Picks: Campaign Builder Cities & Towns Map Folio is on sale now!

Staff Picks: Campaign Builder Cities & Towns Map Folio is on sale now!

Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from March 1–March 25, we’ll unveil a gem from the Warrens and put it on sale through March 31!
Check in 3 times a week for a new tome!
From the legendary City of Cats to the Realm of Shadows, across the Wastes of Chaos to the Old Margreve, each title in this sale is beloved by one of Kobold Press’s very own staff. Whether you’re new to Kobold Press or celebrating 18 years with us, find something exciting for your table.
Staff Picks on sale now!

A bit of northern New Mexico, courtesy of the United States Geological Survey

I have always loved maps.

When I was a youngster and my family would go on vacations in the mountains of northern New Mexico, we would go on long hikes along old mining trails nearly lost to time, and I learned how to navigate them by looking over my father’s shoulder at USGS maps. Understanding contour lines, peak markings, National Forest Service roads, and compass bearings gave me a thrill.

When I discovered tabletop roleplaying games, I stared at dungeon maps and space station floorplans and fantasy continent maps and star field maps for hours. Some made amazing use of space—both horizontal and vertical—and some . . . left something to be desired. I drew my own, burning through hex and graph paper, sometimes on graph paper with as small a grid as ten squares per inch(!).

My father is a retired civil engineer, and I thought for a long time I would follow in his footsteps. I excelled at drafting (before CAD, mind you) and applied everything I learned by osmosis from him into making amazing maps.

I never wanted to draw a castle as just a box with four circles at the corners. I wanted to design my fortresses to fit the terrain, organically. I studied maps of real historical locations, observed how thick the walls were, how staircases were built inside those walls, how new construction added onto old over long periods of time. I understood that water flows downhill and never (very rarely) splits into two channels as it does so.

Somewhere along the way, I figured out I was more interested in stories than physics and chemistry, and my path took a sharp turn, leading me to a career in the roleplaying game industry, rather than as an engineer. My dad has always been supportive of this, but I wonder if he knows just how much his influence on my formative years still impacts what I do today.

Which brings me to my favorite Kobold Press product: Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns Map Folio. Well, it’s one of my favorites, anyway; all the map folios and map tiles are pretty darned cool.

I am biased, because I worked on the maps in this collection. Much credit goes to our wonderful cartographer, Jon Pintar, too. I just sketched the maps as a starting point; Jon did all the amazing work of turning them into pieces of art. But I got to apply my knowledge of spatial relations and engineering coupled with my appreciation of what makes not just a realistic but a useful and fun map to make them. I hope this shows, that you find them valuable and entertaining, too.

So, what’s in this map pack?

Well, some of the options are what you would hope to find in a well-rounded collection of civilian locations: there are city streets, a plaza, a dock area, and even a ruined neighborhood. But there are also some more unusual places, like a cemetery, a market at the base of a ziggurat, an elven forest village, a cistern full of fresh rainwater (rather than the usual sewers), a temple and its walled grounds, a set of canals, and even an arena for jousting tournaments. All in all, a good cross-section of the usual and unusual.

What might not be conveyed in a simple list is what went into conceiving these maps. They are places, sure, but as I drew them, I was also considering how they could be used. Are there good ways to run a chase scene through this or that map? What about a ceremony? Maybe with an assassination attempt? Are there places where a thief could pickpocket someone and then scurry away and hide? What might it look like if a riot breaks out in the city streets? A parade? A natural disaster?

Cities and towns are great places to set lots of terrific adventures, and they sometimes wind up as side notes in campaigns, places to cash in treasure, rest in comfort and safety, and purchase supplies for the next adventure “out there.” Hopefully, these maps (and the Campaign Builder: Cities & Towns book the folio pairs with) give GMs inspiration for running encounters right in the middle of the crowds.

And if you do, I hope you take a moment to stop and appreciate just how cool maps really are.

Manhunter’s Map

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement )
6,000 gp

This vellum map depicts a geographical area roughly the size of a duchy, in an area of 40 square miles. Once attuned, you can find your location on the map as well as notation of elevation, as though it were written on the map itself. You can also speak another creature’s name who you have met, and that creature’s location and elevation also appear on the map. If a creature does not have a name or you have not met it, the creature cannot be tracked this way. This ability can only be used once until the next dawn, when the previous named creature’ location is removed from the map.

about Thomas M. Reid

Thomas, the Editorial Director for Kobold Press, grew up in the Dallas-Forth Worth area in Texas. He has been involved in tabletop roleplaying for more than 40 years. When he’s not working or gaming (or working on gaming!), he enjoys taking trips to the mountains and gardening with his wife.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Kobold Courier and Earn Loot!

Stay informed with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox weekly. Join now and receive a PDF copy of Caverns of the Spore Lord

Join The Kobold Courier


Be like Swolbold. Stay up to date with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox twice a month.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Scroll to Top