Dungeon Mapping

Patrick (Renovating the Temple) asked me how I created the maps I use for my Montporte Dungeon campaign. I use AutoREALM, a free RPG mapping software package. Given my experience with cartographic and GIS programs, it has been a fairly easy program to use. While creating maps can be a bit tedious in AutoREALM (at least compared to drawing them by hand), I can save the final products as JPEG files so that they are ready to go with a virtual tabletop program.
Map A
Dungeon Maps for Gameplay
We use Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, so it is great having a map in JPEG format that can be uploaded into whatever VTT we happen to be using. All of my dungeon maps represent 300' x 300', the same size as the Stonehell Dungeon maps. My scale of choice is each square representing 5'. I find that this scale works perfect with virtual figures or pogs, so that the map can double as an online battlemap. The map above (Map A) is actually a composite of four JPEG files.
Map B
I start with the above template (Map B). The first thing that I do is mark any of the corridors or other features that come into the the map from adjacent maps. I do the same thing with stairs or other features that connect with levels above and below. Then I superimpose the map I am working on with the adjacent maps, just to double-check the alignment 

For regular dungeon features, I draw straight lines and use the AutoREALM snap grid feature to line them up with the grid. I use the draw polygon function to fill in the spaces between the rooms/corridors. For caverns and other irregular features, I use the freehand drawing feature and draw closed shapes. I keep doing that until I get the features I want. You can see the results of both methods on Map A above.

In order to publish the maps on my blog, I first create a Publisher file and line up the JPEG map files next to each other. Then I draw and fill black squares to cover up the unexplored areas. I save the resultant map as a JPEG file and crop it. That is how I created Map A above; it is a composite of four separate JPEG maps with the unexplored areas covered and cropped.

Other AutoREALM Maps
I am not particularly good at creating maps in AutoREALM, mainly because I haven't spent enough time playing around with it. I created the following maps for my Castles & Crusades Emmon Campaign.
Map C: Elbow Bay
Map D: Sali Isle
Map E: Village of Melford
I had two different groups of players for the Emmon Campaign. One group started in Melford (Map E) where I used a number of modules from Dragonsfoot (The Melford Murder was a huge success!). The second group started on a small island, where I used Death Frost Doom. The results of that adventure forced the player characters to flee the island and they ended up in Elbow Bay (Map C).


  1. Thanks for this post. I will look into AutoREALM when I need to move on from sketching things in notebooks.

  2. Really nice maps. I was already familiar with the Montporte dungeon map, but I had not seen your Emmon maps. They look great. I'm going to have to check out AutoREALM.

    1. Chris...thanks for the compliment. Let me know if you get a chance to use AutoREALM.