Doing Some Dungeon Mapping

I am mapping additional levels of the Montporte Dungeon, using AutoREALM, and I am doing some experimenting as I go. My goals are to: (1) Speed up the mapping process; (2) Make the maps a little more interesting; (3) Make the maps bigger so that I do not have to flip back and forth so often in Roll20.

I have been creating maps with a grid that is 60 x 60. With 5' squares, that creates a 300' x 300' map. That's the size of the maps used in Michael Curtis' (The Society of Torch, Pole, and RopeStonehell. He uses 10' squares, but I wanted a scale that would support tactical virtual mini play on Roll20.

My current maps are functional, but each level of Montporte is big and so each 60 x 60 map (at 5' per square) only represents a small area. Players cannot zoom out in Roll20 and see the bigger picture. And for me creating maps of entire levels has involved the tedious tiling of smaller maps into a giant grid in MS Publisher and then saving it as a JPG file. I am sure there are other ways to do it, but I just testing to see what works.

My first attempt at a 180 x 180 maps (900' x 900') yielded this map (I am only showing a small portion so as to not give the Montporte players too much info):
Meh. It is blurry and the graphics using for the flooring in AutoREALM did not scale properly when I saved the map as a JPG. The rectangular rooms on the right are 30' x 60' rooms with brick floors. Those bricks are mighty big.

I messed around with the size and shape of the JPG file, which can be modified in AutoREALM when saving the file and I ended up with a much better looking map:
Much better. This will work, although I still need to test it Roll20 [Later edit: It works fine in Roll20].

My next questions are:

  • Leave the grid out of the map and use the grid in Roll20 as needed?
  • Set up these levels with the dynamic lighting feature in Roll20? I can always give the players updated maps (in the journal section of Roll20) of what their characters have mapped so far. I am not sure how much work this would be on my end or if it would make a really big megadungeon unplayable for the players. Thoughts anyone?