Game: Battlemaps: Floorplans, Inn Vol I
Publisher: 0one Roleplaying Games
Review Dated: 25th, February 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10 [ Really good ]
Total Score: 8
Average Score: 8.00
Hmm. Yummy! Gorgeous floorplans from master cartographers 0one Roleplaying Games. Oh wait. Hold on. We’re back at the Fang!
Okay. The chances are high that you’ve never been to the Fang before, even if you’re an ardent 0one fan it might just be for their quality battlemaps. The Fang is the inn from their Deadly Ice adventure and that PDF perks included floorplans of the Fang. I’ve had a bit of a wrestle with this; is this a bit cheap or this is a genuinely handy bonus? I think it’s a bit of both. The repeat floorplans are at a minimum, there are 23 pages in “Battlemaps: Floorplans, Inn Vol I” and most of them are new. Er, okay, wait, that’s not to say that there are 23 floorplans because each page is repeated: the original in colour and then the repeat in black and white. It’s a bonus in a small way because if you happen to run Deadly Ice then these fit perfectly. I don’t think they’re too much of a spoiler risk and so GMs probably shouldn’t panic if their players are known to download 0one Battlemaps. In the end this debate fades away to nothingness compared to the actual product itself. These floorplans are top notch.
There are seven floorplans in the download; 5 single page plans and 2 double-paged plans. Each set has a grey scaled clone. The double-paged images work well; they run straight to the edge of the page and so can be pushed together easily to form a continuous map. Many of the single page plans do not use the full page and show a smaller room but on the same scale as everyone 0one battlemap. At a first glance these smaller rooms seemed to be a bit of another cop out but really they’re very useful. Face it; after a while it gets to be a bit tiring that every room has exactly the same dimensions, it would have been product-ruining wrong to have changed the scale and so smaller rooms that don’t fill the page are the only way forward.
One of the winning tricks in these battlemaps is the way the map squares are easy to see and yet subtle. The square patterns tend to be worked in well with whatever material the floor is made up of. Many of the rooms in the Fang, for example, are floored with large chequered tiles and it just so happens that the natural edges of the tiles show the game map. The floors aren’t bare, in addition to obvious accessories such as tables, chairs and chests there are rugs and sometimes strewn pieces of paper. The discarded paper manages to completely cover the floor without confusing the map. The rugs are always put down at an angle so you can always see at least one title edge and keep yourself on the right square.
It’s light. It’s shadow. I think that’s the 0one trick. These floorplans seem to be computer generated rather than manually drawn, whereas I normally much prefer the latter, I’m totally won over by these. Computer generated images tend to be too crisp, too angular or a bit too geometrical but that’s not a problem here because there’s always enough shadow and pools of light on the ground and furniture to diffuse the rough edges. The door is always slightly open (and this makes it easy to spot in a top down view, too), light streaming in from a window or a glowing fireplace.
As it happens the patrons of the Fang are an interesting lot (fleshed out by the Deadly Ice adventure) and their rooms seem to have taken on a bit of their personality. This isn’t a product that tries to sell you a collection of otherwise identical inn rooms with the door in a slightly different place for each. One room has a great big boiler in it and a sea of paper, there’s one with a double bed, a desk and enough shelves to make a small library. It’s the kitchen and the communal area that get the special double-page attention. In this case it’s the happy coincidence where the locations that fights are likely to break out, where you’ll need the battlemap most, that are genuinely the bigger and more impressive rooms in the building.
These battlemaps are a must if you have a colour printer and plenty of ink. If, like me, you’re stuck in grey scale then you’ll appreciate the carefully grey scaled duplicates and I think you’ll be pleased with how they print off too. My only slight concern is the price, $6 for 7 maps, but that’s $6 for 9 pages of maps or even $6 for the maps plus the overall and profile images of the Fang. I think the battlemaps are a little bit of a luxury purchase, a little bit of a specialist buy but a sure fire why to impress your players. Impressed players are worth six bucks.