8/13/2016

Frugal GM Review: River City Map Pack #1

Frugal GM Review: River City Map Pack #1
While I usually don't review straight maps, this River City Map Pack #1 caught my eye, so here we are.

This map is by Terry Maranda and although it is marked as Pack #1, this is the only item, much less map pack, from Terry. No biggie as we all have to start somewhere.

The file is a 3 page PDF that only comes in at 7.57 MB, even though the pages are 82.02" x 61.88" at 300 DPI. I'm kind of jealous because I can't get my big maps down to that size (with only 1 page!), but that is probably the difference between vector and raster art. I did run some basic math here and the given size should print up quite nicely, if a bit small, on a US Letter-sized sheet.

Even though the DTRPG listing shows that this should be a "Watermarked PDF", which also means it is locked down, the file I downloaded was just a regular unsecured PDF. This made me quite happy because that means it is relatively easy to open this huge map in Photoshop (or the like) for some tweaking. I could see cutting this map into pieces & parts, increasing the size while reducing the DPI to use this on a Virtual Table Top (VTT).

I really only have two criticisms for this product and they might be a bit "fiddly" for most folks. First is the fact that the document properties for the PDF haven't been filled out. I usually don't expect them to be filled out for maps.....I don't do it for mine....but since this is a new artist/publisher, I think having that info filled out could be useful. Luckily there is a small copyright notice in the lower right corner of the map. The copyright is a bit messed up (should be ©Terry Maranda, not ©www.terrymaranda.com), but at least you have some info on the artist. The second point is that this is a 3 page PDF where the 2nd and 3rd pages are just some extra map bits that would have been better added as layers instead of separate pages.

I'm sure that is enough regarding the PDF.....the map itself is quite nice. Just the right mix of order and chaos when it comes to building placement. Things can look a bit messy when viewed at 100%, but if you wanted to have an urban campaign this map could do the trick. There are enough interesting buildings that even without pages 2 and 3, which show points of interest, an enterprising GM could easily come up with some good ideas.

Frugal GM 5 Star Review: River City Map Pack #1
Overall though, this is a great map and if it is going to be #1 of a series, then I'm looking forward to the rest of the maps. River City Map Pack #1 is currently PWYW on DTRPG, but definitely worth a few bucks.