Dungeons & Dragons Walkthrough Maps Now Available!


Some of the most enjoyable artwork I’ve done over the past year and a half has been the Dungeons & Dragons classic module Walkthrough Maps for Wizards of the Coast. I’ve really loved making these: drawing and ‘plotting out’ each one gives me the vicarious experience of both DMing and playing the adventures, and it’s incredibly fun to flesh out all those two-dimensional, graph paper maps into little worlds in pseudo-isometric color.

After many months of people asking about them, I’m proud to announce… the D&D Walkthrough Maps are finally available as full-size art prints!! Each map depicts a different classic adventure from the ’70s and early ’80s, namely:

* S1: Tomb of Horrors by Gary Gygax (13″x18″ print)
* S2: White Plume Mountain by Lawrence Schick (16″x18″ print)
* S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks by Gary Gygax (11″x22″ print)
* S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax (18″x27″ print)
* A1: Slave Pits of the Undercity by David Cook (18″x24″ print)
* X1: The Isle of Dread by David Cook & Tom Moldvay (18″x24″ print)
* I6: Ravenloft by Tracy & Laury Hickman (18″x36″ print) (!!)

Every inch of bloodsoaked battle and every copper coin of treasure is thrillingly depicted in ultra-detailed style with mock men in the role of the human (and demi-human) characters. I hope you love looking at these maps as much as I loved drawing them. And I’m still drawing more of them on the Wizards of the Coast site, so please stay tuned for future announcements!


Discussion (24)¬

  1. Hg says:

    So you come up with the outcomes for the various adventuring parties? I wasn’t sure if they were logs of actual play-throughs or hypothetical outcomes.

    Also, I’ve been curious… why are the adventuring parties in many of the adventures so large? Is that the way D&D was played back in the day? I’ve always considered a typical group size to be in the DM + 3-6 players. Seven would be a large group but some of these maps have parties with a dozen or more adventurers, which I personally would find impossible to manage as a DM.

  2. Jason says:

    I’ve also heard that D&D parties were much bigger back in the day; apparently some of the original Gygax games were played with groups so big the players designated a “caller” and only that one person was actually supposed to talk to the DM! o_0 (Also, apparently people playing 2 or 3 PCs at the same time wasn’t uncommon.)

    But for the Walkthrough Maps, the real reason the parties are so huge is that, that way, I can show more & different horrible PC deaths. Although I’ve played most of the adventures (a long time ago), they aren’t based on actual play; I came up with all the paths & outcomes based on what I thought would be most interesting, with a little advice from my ever-patient editor at Wizards.

  3. Jonathan says:

    When I DM’d 1e and 2e, parties of 6-8 were the norm. I did play in a 10 person party at Dragon Con in the 90’s. That was pretty chaotic but was loads of fun.

  4. Jason says:

    The largest D&D game I’ve been in that was in the slightest way “successful” was a heavily modified “Tomb of Horrors” I ran for 10 (or was it 12?) people at FanimeCon sometime in the 2000s. I once *attempted* to run “Tomb of Horrors” for a crowd of 20ish at another convention, but that’s another, more embarrassing story… -_-;; (But I maintain it could be done with multiple DMs!!!)

  5. Krypter says:

    I love these diagrammatic maps. So flavorful, illustrative and most important: funny!

  6. Matt says:

    Great stuff! How much is the international shipping to the UK for all the prints?

  7. Jason says:

    @Matt – Shipping for all 7 overseas is $25!

  8. Caradoc says:

    Our 1st Ed group was made up of ten (often 8) characters plus henchmen (3 or 4) and occasional hirelings, which was a big party but seemed necessary sometimes. We started many campaigns that seemed to cap at 8-9th level. We never really made it to be high enough level to get the armies or followers fighters and rangers would get. First ed was deadly, so having enough people to survive a couple Save or Die effects

  9. Jason says:

    I’ve always heard about those epic, death-heavy, multiple-PCs-per-player 1st ed. D&D campaigns! I wish I had played in one of them myself… but sadly, I was only in elementary school while 1e existed, so while we played a lot of D&D, it was pretty wimpy fudge-the-dice D&D where no PCs died (at least not until the cleric got “Raise Dead”) and everyone ended up as landowning barons with tons of treasure, etc. I’m sure we’d have had dragon mounts if we’d had the idea back then. -_-;;

    Honestly, it wasn’t until I discovered Call of Cthulhu that I realized roleplaying games can (should) be DEADLY!! :) That changed my roleplaying mindset forever! ;)

  10. Tronia says:

    Awesome. How about the giant series? G1-G3?

  11. Jason says:

    I drew maps of G1 and G2 for Wizards earlier in 2014, but I’m not sure if they’re up on their new website at the moment. More news soon!

  12. […] From the author’s words on his website: […]

  13. John says:

    Let me know when you get to Keep on the Borderlands. That’s worth a few gold pieces to me.

  14. […] Jason Thompson has procuded an illustrated walkthrough of that module (and several others) which is available as a poster. The 18″ x 36″ print is absolutely packed with humorous […]

  15. Kit says:

    I would love to see the Temple of Elemental Evil!

  16. Sean says:

    Wow, do these bring me back to when I was 9 or so around 1980. My brother Eric would DM a pretty large D&D group at the library in Marlboro, Ma on saturdays. Excellent work Jason; I’ve been following your stuff for years.

  17. Jason says:

    A public library is a great place to play!! My one library game experience was a bit of a bomb, though; it was when I was about 10 and on summer vacation with my grandparents in Roanoke, Virginia. An unfamiliar group who had put up flyers for a gaming group called “S.C.U.M.: Society for Cutting Up Monsters” (-_-) and I begged my mom to let me go. However, the other players & DM were all teenagers and were surprised and not particularly thrilled to see an elementary school kid show up for their campaign– and admittedly, I was totally out of my depth due to the fact that they were playing RuneQuest (or something, it was a long time ago) and I had never played anything but D&D before and had even brought my super-minmaxed ridiculous high-level character expecting to kick ass. I’m sure it was a bad experience all ’round… -_-;;

  18. j.b. diGriz says:

    I played in the 80s, and the game was a product of its roots. It arose from the foundation of a wargame system, and the game (all things being equal) was less about role-playing and character-driven stories, and more about creative decision-making using limited resources. Characters at one point were expected to die. You rolled up 2-3 characters so you’d be able to keep playing. I was once in an old-school game where there were 11 players + DM, and the adventuring party was around 30. We were an adventuring company, by default. We were pretty light on hirelings, who were basically hired to take care of the horses, repair armor and weapons, make arrows and one paladin had a squire. No one ever managed to get a character any higher than 5th, and anything magical found during the adventure were deeded to the company. I think we had two refreshes of the entire company over time. People would design whole characters around a magical item the company owned.

    Our DM was old school. No sentimentality. His games were legendary. He had a custom critical hit/catastrophic botch table that was a d1000 percentile role. When your lance specialized cavalier loses his right hand thumb from a crossbow bolt, it makes you personally question your place in the universe.

  19. As to large party size, don’t forget that in early D&D, players typically had hirelings come with them. It’s why Charisma wasn’t a dump stat…that dictated how big a retinue you might bring with you! So paying a wizard with four fighter bodyguards (or whatever) who were maybe only a level or two behind you was the norm. It’s why the old games could be so deadly….lose a PC, start playing one of your hirelings who graduates to full pc.

  20. Sangelia says:

    Are you planning on doing the Palace of the Silver Princess one as a walk thru?

  21. Jason says:

    @Sangella — The next map I’ll be doing will be G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King. ;) I did play Silver Princess as a kid and fondly remember Erol Otus’ cover art of the octo-thing.

  22. Jason says:

    I’d love to play a really big, deadly, oldschool D&D game sometime. There’s certainly enough “life is nasty, brutish and short” D&D retroclones out there (Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Carcosa, etc.) that I should be able to find some options. In terms of insane critical hit tables, the game that really comes to mind is Rolemaster…

    All this talk of classic games reminds me of an infrequent podcast I’ve been listening to, “Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice.” Here’s the link: http://tekeli.li/podcast/

  23. Please please please do a walkthrough poster of Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan! I will purchase it in a heartbeat. I’m already going to get Lost Caverns and Isle of Dread, two modules we spent hours and hours playing.

  24. solomani says:

    These. Are. Brilliant. Thank you.

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