Prolific and talented D&D map-drawer


Originally published at:


wait…isometric projection graph paper? what have I been DOING with my life that I didn’t know this was a thing?


I don’t see that anywhere on his site, but it should be possible to buy somewhere in this big wild internet.

These maps are purty, make me wish I was twelve again, but had the internet, but didn’t know about porn. I guess that probably won’t happen.



Does not mean it won’t get use again in the future or in other campaigns. Or that he doesn’t want other people to use since he’s posting said maps.


That’s enough of a hook to remind me of the wonderful DM Of The Rings:


I’ve seen isometric graph paper at the fancier art supply stores, but there are plenty of sites that let you download any kind of graph paper you’d ever want.


Oh, better still: Print your own graph paper.


Man, I used to love drawing maps when I was younger. I should get back into it. Adult coloring books just don’t quite do it for me… need something more interesting and meditative…


Isn’t half the fun of running a dungeon designing your own?
Frequently we only rough out a location, then transfer it in whatever detail we need to the hex or grid map when needed. Washable markers are your friend.


If the RPG Old School Renaissance community was a country, Dyson would certainly be one of its national treasures.

More of his work can be found in compilations here:


The fun part is trying to describe these maps behind your DM’s screen. “You enter a 20 by 10 foot room with a twisty bit on the North side and a ameboid-shaped hole in the center.”


As the designer of these maps, I actually had the following interaction with my players last year:

Me: "Through the door is an unusually shaped room…"
Player: “You mean it is a plain square or rectangle? Because damnit, we haven’t seen one of those in weeks!”


I have three sources of Iso paper for my maps:

  1. My girlfriend bought me a bunch of pads of it (Letter and Ledger sizes) from Lee Valley Tools.
  2. I got a few pads from when I backed one of his kickstarters.
  3. I occasionally print some off from


I’m trying to design my own adult coloring book for exactly this reason. There is something just not…I don’t know? color-y? and a lot of them aren’t very cool.


Wouldn’t some sort of map lay out sorta thing be cool?


It’s funny how 10’ (or multiples thereof even) is the standard width of a dungeon corridor. That’s a pretty wide hallway! It makes even less sense when the dungeon is populated with small monsters like goblins and kobolds – wouldn’t they build warrens that human-sized murderers couldn’t even fit into?

I tried to design functional dungeons but those turn out to be pretty boring. Lots of linen closets and bathrooms and other rooms without any sort of treasure or traps (because someone lives there! Why would they have deadly traps all over their own apartment?) (You have reached the arch-lich’s inner sanctum! You see a chaise longue, a mini-fridge full of beer, and a magical picture frame showing a local sporting event.)


Yeah, in my most recent efforts, I’ve tried to stick to very simple shapes, so the players have some sort of chance to follow it even through purely verbal communication. Buuuut even so, last time it instantly broke down, and I ended up drawing a crummy map for them.

I might just have to figure out some handout system or onscreen part-by-part revelation of the map. Meh, it sounds too complicated already…


I try to go for funny dungeons with a dash of function. You don’t have to detail every support function and linen closet, but throw in a couple of functional things in an otherwise semi-silly dungeon, and you’re good. Well, that’s my theory, at least. I might run into some players that keep track of the number of toilets per number of dungeon occupants…


That could lead to a variation on spawn-camping. “We know there are only a couple of commodes here for at least a platoon of orcs, so if we hide here after dinner we should be able to take them all out two at a time.”


While the others were unrolling blankets and making beds against the walls of the chamber, as far as possible from the hole in the floor, he crept to the edge and peered over. A chill air seemed to strike his face, rising from invisible depths. Moved by a sudden impulse he groped for a loose stone, and let it drop. He felt his heart beat many times before there was any sound. Then far below, as if the stone had fallen into deep water in some cavernous place, there came a plunk, very distant, but magnified and repeated in the hollow shaft.

I suppose if the dwarfs hadn’t bothered to develop good sewerage infrastructure, the Balrog becomes a much more sympathetic character.