Sunday, September 23, 2018

Barrowmaze Mapping (Area 1)

I've been reading through Barrowmaze lately and have to say it is pretty cool.  Written by Greg Gillespie based on his home-game dungeon, with the best lineup of artists outside of the DCC rulebook, Barrowmaze is a sprawling 375-room single-level megadungeon with an undead theme.  It was published through crowdfunding in 2014 and has been consistently referenced among the best dungeons published in the OSR since.  From the back cover:
Local villagers whisper of a mysterious place deep in the marsh - a place shrouded in mist and dotted with barrow mounds, ruined columns, and standing stones.  The tomb-robbers who explore beneath the mounds, or rather the few who return, tell tales of labyrinthine passages, magnificent grave goods, and terrifying creatures waiting in the dark.  Are you brave (or foolish) enough to enter Barrowmaze?
It's a pretty classic setup.  Written for Labyrinth Lord, the book includes a gazetteer introducing the region around the Barrowmaze, including a small hex map to explore and the town of Helix to serve as base of operations.  There's a smattering of new monsters, spells, magic items, and some nice tables for dungeon dressing and random crypt generation.  For more of an overview, you can check out Questing Beast's video, and there are plenty of reviews out there praising it.  After the break is some mapping stuff, so if you're playing in or planning to play in a Barrowmaze game, go away.

So here is the complete map for Barrowmaze.  As I said, the entirety of Barrowmaze is a single level, making it pretty unique for any dungeon and one of a kind for a megadungeon (purists might even argue that it can't be a megadungeon without hitting that 5+ depth threshold, but I think that 300+ rooms supersedes any level requirement).  The map is fantastic but is also pretty unwieldly for online play.  It's too large to load into Roll20 at any scale that would be useful in play, and of course there's no player facing version of the map so you'd have to be careful what you're revealing as you go.

In the hopes of running this thing online soon, I've been working on recreating it in Dungeonographer.  I started with area one, The Forbidden Antechamber, which is also the largest section of the dungeon, including rooms 1 through 88.  I created the player version first, which hides away all labels, secret doors, traps, etc. that shouldn't be seen by them.  I tried to be quite thorough in including every statue, sarcophagus, pillar, and pile of rubble.  The only real change I made to the map is in straightening out curved areas and the natural tunnels in the lower right section.  I pretty much suck at drawing curves in Dungeonographer and it's also harder to setup dynamic lighting in Roll20 over rounded areas so I had to make a concession there in the interest of getting it finished.  The map cuts off at connections to rooms 110, 89/91, 92, 286.

The DM version of the map includes the overlay with all the room numbering, secret doors, and traps.  If you're running this in Roll20, load the player map onto the mapping layer and the DM map onto the GM layer.  Adding dynamic lighting is simple with the snap to grid tool for the most part (although some of the narrow corridors have to be free marked.  The page should be set to 48x66 grids.  The maps are sized to 70px squares for Roll20's standard.

Both files are available here.  I did reach out to Greg Gillespie and he approved me sharing these with the community.  So if you're running Barrowmaze online, I hope this is useful to you.  Let me know if you spot any inaccuracies or have any trouble with it.  I'll be working on the next area soon, which will probably be some kind of Frankensteining of areas 2, 3, and 4 into a single map.  It may take me a while, so if your players are rushing through the Forbidden Antechambers too quickly, you might have to get creative in deterring those grave robbers a bit.


  1. Did you ever create more of this map?

    1. I have not, sorry. I haven't gotten around to running Barrowmaze, so there hasn't been a need.
      I've been working with Gimp a lot lately though and think it'd be easier to slice up and edit the original map in Gimp rather than trying to recreate sections in Dungeonographer, so if I do decide to run Barrowmaze I'll probably try that. It's a nice map but absolutely unwieldly for VTT play.

  2. man thats a shame, i was hoping to be lazy and steal your content :)