3/05/2016

Frugal GM Review: 47 Ancient Maps, Scrolls, and Handouts

Frugal GM Review: 47 Ancient Maps, Scrolls, and Handouts
This week I picked up an item that was listed as a "Silver Best Seller" over at DriveThruRPG. As such I had some high expectations....after all, who couldn't use 47 Ancient Maps, Scrolls, and Handouts?

I thought it odd that the download was listed as two pages, but the item description said that the maps were attached to the PDF, something I've never seen.....

...probably for good reason.
PDF Attachments?

The attachment interface is a bit clunky, and I'm running Adobe Acrobat Pro. I'm not even sure this works with other programs. The thought of having to select each file and tell the program to save it just so I could get to the files.....well, it was a bit much. Luckily the normal keyboard shortcuts worked so one Ctrl+A and clicking "Save" (Ctrl+S didn't work) and I had my unattached files.

Now before I get into the meat of the download I have to remark that adding attachments to the PDF pretty much sucks, for several reasons. First off, the preview features on DTRPG can only show the two pages of the front cover and back cover. You'll have to go in blind on this purchase. Now as to the PDF itself, these two pages are 300 dpi PDFs. I have to ask.....why? There is no reason for this because nobody is going to print these two pages.

Now the "pages" you'd want to print......they are low-resolution files. Most are 72 dpi and some are 96 dpi. I'll admit I only opened 5 pictures at random, but every one was under-sized. Sure, the dimensions for the pages were generally much larger than letter-sized, when you accounted for the reduced DPI, the files I opened were't even half a page. Now I recognized some of the handouts from free textures available online, and at least one of them is actually smaller than the base copy I had (from online). On several of the pictures there is an odd thin black border that really doesn't need to be there.

PDF propertiesLooking at the PDF properties...well, the PDF title was "47 FANTASY aVENTURE hOOKS". To me this just speaks volume about this download.

Normally I'd be in favor of an inexpensive game aid, and at the normal price of $1, this would fit that category. The time savings alone are usually worth spending a dollar. I'm really put off by the lack of an appropriate preview, the clunky PDF attachments (a .zip file would have been far easier), and the actual "maps, scrolls, and handouts". I think a GM would be better off using Photoshop or GIMP and spending a couple of minutes with Google.

Frugal GM 1 Star Review: 47 Ancient Maps, Scrolls, and Handouts
TL;DR: I really don't see 47 Ancient Maps, Scrolls, and Handouts as being an inexpensive GM aid....just a cheap one.