Caves of Chaos Reimagined by Weem

  • Posted on: February 1, 2012
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So, this was another project spurred by something said on Twitter. Two nights ago Jerry LeNeave (@DreadGazeebo) asked the following via Twitter

Anyone know where I can find a nice high-res copy / fan-recreated map of the Caves of Chaos (aka B2 KotB). The 20+ year old scan is meh #dnd

Well, I had been looking at the map myself recently and decided to do a quick check via Google – see if I couldn’t link him to something. At a glance I couldn’t find anything and I thought… maybe I should make one!

Last night I started, and tonight I finished (I spent about 8-9 hours on it). Some quick numbers: It is high res (300dpi), 17″ wide by 11″ tall (5100 pixels wide by 3300 tall). The Photoshop .PSD file is about 760 megs and has somewhere around 400 layers. The full-sized higres JPG itself is almost 17 megs.

I want to thank @chattydm, @eldritchreverie, and @merricb for glancing over it really quick a bit ago. It’s nice to have a fresh set of eyes to make sure there is nothing glaringly obvious that I overlooked.

Download Options

Please feel free to download this and use it as you wish (even print it) I would just ask you keep credit to me in the image, and point people to this page to download it (as opposed to linking directly to an image). Each size has 2 options. The first is the regular version, the second (“No Trees”) has had the tree overlay removed, incase they get in your way.

Great for gaming use…

Large – (JPG, ~700kb – slightly reduced quality – 1200×776)
Large, No Trees – (JPG, ~700kb – slightly reduced quality – 1200×776)
Large, “Player” Version* – (JPG, ~700kb – slightly reduced quality – 1200×776)

Good for printing…

NOTE: Feel free to print these in large poster formats as well, as long as they are for personal use. For commercial use, please contact me first.

HiRes – (JPG, ~4mb – full quality – 2500×1618)
HiRes, No Trees – (JPG, ~4mb – full quality – 2500×1618)
HiRes, “Player” Version* – (JPG, ~4mb – full quality – 2500×1618)

And finally, this one is overkill unless you intend on printing it poster size, but here it is…

NOTE: Feel free to print these in large poster formats as well, as long as they are for personal use. For commercial use, please contact me first.

Full – (JPG, ~17mb – full quality – 5100×3300)
Full, No Trees – (JPG, ~17mb – full quality – 5100×3300)
Full, “Player” Version* – (JPG, ~17mb – full quality – 5100×3300)

*The “Player” version of the map has no trees, secret doors, secret rooms, traps or room numbers.


Follow Me on Twitter!

Discussion

- “Weem and the Caves of Chaos” [ENWorld.org]
- “The Caves of Chaos (from B2 – Keep on the Borderlands) map lovingly recreated in hi-res” [Reddit]
- “Nice Hi-Res Caves of Chaos Maps” [Dungeons and D20s]

120 Comments

  1. david schwarm · February 1, 2012 Reply

    Awesome! This is really an amazing map–great job! I would love to hear more about your image creation process. I have only recently gotten into creating digital maps & learning to use Gimp2 has proven slow & the maps I have created pale next to these, though much better then I was getting with MS Paint. Any tips that you have would be greatly appreciated & again–you have done a really fine job!

    • weem · February 2, 2012 Reply

      Thanks! Tips? Hmm… would it be cheesy to say, “just keep making maps”? Really, when it comes to any of this stuff, you just have to do it a lot so it helps when you enjoy the process (as I do). As for specific tips on how to achieve certain effects… I could dedicate a whole site to sharing that kind of information, but I would get bored really fast, hehe. I have loved seeing/reading them over the years, don’t get me wrong, but putting them together myself? Not so much (not that you were asking for that much information). Anyway, if you had a specific item or two from the map you were curious about, hit me up on Twitter or email me (mikeweem at gmail n stuff)!

  2. LonePaladin · February 2, 2012 Reply

    I’d recommend making a version that has some of the layers in place (either .psd or .pdf), for people who want to migrate this into a VTT or print out sections for the players to see. Maybe even a ‘player map’ that has all the secret passages and hidden doors removed (or put those on their own layer).

    When I was running a 4th-edition game, I would frequently take the pregenerated maps and use them for the fight scenes. This would usually require me to edit the top and left edges to make the program’s squares line up, and do some creative work in Gimp to remove the room numbers and critter markers. (Some of the maps in Dungeon Magazine are given a second, unmarked copy for people who do this. They still require clipping to line up right.)

    I really need to get off my butt and finish the version of this I was making in Sketchup to see how everything lined up in 3D.

  3. greywulf · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Oh wow that brings back memories. Downloading with intent to use, right now.

    Thank you!

  4. iowyn · February 2, 2012 Reply

    I love it, I like the style and that it’s easy to look at an follow with the colours used.
    I don’t think I want to spend 8 hours making maps for my online game, but I do like the methods used here.
    Do you have some tips for how you edge the walls, and give 3D details. I mean, a quick way.

    • weem · February 2, 2012 Reply

      Thanks! The walls are pretty straight forward. The inside-facing walls essentially just have a dark (though subtle) inner glow to give that shadow feel.

      The outside-facing walls are surrounded in a scratch-line pattern I created in Illustrator. The process for this was…

      I brought the pattern over to PS from Illustrator, defined it as a pattern in PS, selected the ‘dungeon’ tiles on said layer (so, everything that was non-transparent in other words), extended my selection to include the space off of the tiles (20 pixels out from them iirc), created a new layer under the tiles and filled with the custom scratch-line pattern. I could have feathered this a bit so the scratch-lines did not have a uniform edge, but I kind of liked the look – and it’s a subtle enough effect that it doesn’t really stand out anyway (as uniform) to most people. The pattern is dark as is the “earth” which helps as well.

      Hope that helps!

      • weem · February 2, 2012 Reply

        Forgot, the tiles have a subtle light outer-glow which helps give the “earth” a beveled look where it appears to connect with the tiles. Again, this is really subtle, which is what I tend to do – a lot of subtle effects that together get me a look I am going for.

        Anywho!

  5. Lee Reynoldson · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Superb work and a great service to the community, cheers. Nice work.

    http://osrandom.blogspot.com/
    http://redwald.blogspot.com/

  6. Jerry "The Dread Gazebo" LeNeave · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Thank you a metric fuckton for creating this!

  7. Topher Kohan · February 2, 2012 Reply

    OMG this ROCKS!

    I was also looking for a good (not old school blue style) map for this adventure.

    Hmm wonder why folks are looking for this map?!? ;)

    Thanks again man!

    PS now if I could make a request / suggestion is to make a map of this quality that the DM could lay on the table that just shows the exterior of the Caves.

    @TopherATL

  8. Mark · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Wow, these are incredible! Thank you so much, Weem!

  9. Mike · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Awesome! It’s now my wallpaper. :)

  10. Argokirby · February 2, 2012 Reply

    This is amazing.

    How hard would it be to double the scale so the map is more 4e combat friendly?

  11. Matthew · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!

  12. Moorhawk · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Impressive! Now I need to dig up that module.

  13. Alphastream · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Buckets and buckets of awesome. Thanks!

    • weem · February 2, 2012 Reply

      Hmm… I wonder what buckets of awesome would look like… I bet I could Photohop something…

      Oh, and thanks!

  14. Jack · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Dude!!!! DUUUUUUUUDE!!!!!!

    All I can say is WOW!!! I was just looking at my original module the other day….

    This rocks!

    /wipes away tear of nostalgia :)

    ~ Jack

  15. Paper & Plastic · February 2, 2012 Reply

    Wow! It’s awesome!
    I can’t still believe how much that adventure was fun to play.

  16. Me · February 3, 2012 Reply

    Oh oh oh!

    Me wants PSD ….please!!!!!

    seriously that is amazing….Great work there and I am really surprised it took you that short a time to put it together.

    Now please can we have a player’s map – I don’t want to do that myself tonight :)

    PS. Wasn’t there a complex of underground tunnels for the kobolds? Or do I remember wrong…Will have to check tonight.

  17. rredmond · February 3, 2012 Reply

    Wow! Wow! Wow!
    I love this. Got any more old school maps anywhere?

    I want to third the suggestion of a players map, trees in place and only the cave entrances that are obvious on the map. T’would be cool.

    This is a fantastic job though, love it and will use it!

  18. Todd Roe · February 3, 2012 Reply

    My God… I was thinking about doing this myself for a home-brew OD&D campaign, but you beat me to it, and did it better than I could have dreamed of doing it. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you!

  19. jmutchek · February 6, 2012 Reply

    Awesome work… I can feel an intense, old-school delve in my party’s future! Thank you.

  20. David Morgan-Mar · February 7, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for making these! Absolutely gorgeous work, much appreciated.

    Now, make more! :-)

  21. Me · February 8, 2012 Reply

    Man thanks for the player’s maps!!!

    I can’t thank you enough!!!!!

  22. Dr. Bull · February 8, 2012 Reply

    Beautiful, accurate and evocative! Thank you for your work. I’ve downloaded three versions for my own devious purposes…

    If I might suggest a future project? THE SECRET OF BONE HILL. I realize that it’s an AD&D adventure, rather than a Basic Adventure, but I’ve always had fond memories of that one… Just a thought… Maybe THE SINISTER SECRET OF SALTMARSH?

    Hmm… I’m detecting a pattern here. Do I like secret investigation scenarios?

  23. Aplus · February 9, 2012 Reply

    X2 MAPS PLEASE! (nice work)

  24. rrmusgraves · February 9, 2012 Reply

    Good Stuff!

    Thank You!

  25. Theodric the Obscure · February 15, 2012 Reply

    Very pretty. Thanks for sharing these!

  26. Osmos777 · February 22, 2012 Reply

    Running this in less than 18 hours. Fantastic job and thanks for all the work.

  27. Voll-ka the Deceiver · March 6, 2012 Reply

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Did I mention this is Awesome? Now, How about an expantion of the same!

  28. Skiltair · April 29, 2012 Reply

    Was just getting ready to introduce my Son to Dungeons and Dragons, and thought “Hey, he should start where I did, with Keep on the borderlands”. Did some digging on line looking for some maps I could alter to help get him going, and you had done just that and Did it Beautifully.

    Thanks for this, and I am sure, my Son will thank you as well :-)

  29. oregonpinkrose · May 24, 2012 Reply

    Prepare to get a lot of traffic.

  30. Haldarn · May 25, 2012 Reply

    Awesome, thanks!

    As oregonpinkrose alluded to above, I’m sure a ton of people like me are about to download your maps due to Caves of Chaos being used as the first playtest adventure for D&D Next. Would be nice if they had asked to include your maps in the playtest package rather than the originals.

    This work is lovely :)

  31. Gweemar · May 25, 2012 Reply

    Haha, Oregonpinkrose is right. This is EXTREMELY useful for the D&D Next Playtest material, which uses the Caves of Chaos dungeon as the dungeon complex in the packet, but doesn’t provide a good resolution or pretty looking at all map (using a low-res version of an old module map).

  32. Chas · May 28, 2012 Reply

    What about one more *initial* player’s map, this one without any of the caves at all, just the hillside and the visible entraces (i.e. not the ones obscured by groves)? Should be pretty easy? You could even improvise a little more detail on the landscape if you wanted.

  33. Sean_Mc · May 30, 2012 Reply

    Fantastic and useful beyond words!
    And for anyone looking for the 4E-friendly 5ft square, just drop another grid over this in your image editor of choice.

    Thanks so much Weem!

  34. Kenneth · June 6, 2012 Reply

    Just what I was looking for! I’m starting a 5e (D&D NEXT) playtest on a PBP site and this is PERFECT. All the maps are great, but I’m going to cut up the poster sized one so reveal one room at a time. Many many thank yous.

    Sincerely,
    Ken (aka That Evil Bastard That Killed My Favorite Character)

  35. OneMadMuppet · June 18, 2012 Reply

    Thank you so much! This, with a black layer over the top (which I remove to make transparent as they explore) and an overhead projector (facing down over the table) is making the D&D Next playtest much, much nicer!

  36. Mimglow · June 20, 2012 Reply

    Wow, this is fantastic. Getting it printed at Staples tomorrow, poster size, to use at the table. We’re play-testing on Monday, so this is perfect. Thanks so much.

    Any specific instructions I should give the people at the print shop?

  37. Bryan · July 4, 2012 Reply

    Awesome job!!!

    I too would love to take the player version to Kinko’s. I would love for them to print the appropriate size so everyone could use miniatures. Has anyone done this yet? Any specific instructions?

    Keep up the awesome work!

  38. Sentack · July 6, 2012 Reply

    Hey, great looking maps but can we get a real printer friendly version? An all black & white version with very sparse use of black? The color maps are great but they kill my printer and I rather not have to go to Kinko’s just to print them out.

    Someone had a player version too that didn’t show the full map but did show the contour lines, cave entrances, and a grid for the DM to draw on, which works out really well at the table.

  39. David · August 3, 2012 Reply

    Looks great. I echo the desire for a version of the map that shows only the canyon and the cave ENTRANCES. Would be very useful, and it would seem you have the resources to create it quickly.

  40. Soda Bob · August 21, 2012 Reply

    Great looking maps! Only thing missing is an “out door” version, with trees, terrain, and cave openings, but no “inside” portions (cave maps) shown – for outside combat, just showing the players what the valley looks like on the outside before they go “in,” etc.

  41. Soldeed · August 28, 2012 Reply

    Love the maps and enjoyed using them in the playtest. I didn’t notice at first, but there seems to be a door missing to room number 3. I checked with the original map and it’s definitely there. Just thought I’d let you know.

  42. Sherack Nhar · September 4, 2012 Reply

    This is incredible. I’m running Keep on the Borderlands using Dark Dungeon rules for a group of players who are only used to D&D 4 ed. We’re having a blast so far, but parsing the old scanned map was very difficult for me. This will help immensely!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this; I will advertise your site to my players!

  43. Lady N Duchess of Urnst · January 7, 2013 Reply

    I have only one suggestion/request a player’s version of this that shows the awesome entrences and the 1st 30 feet as would be seen with light from the entrance, and have blank grid for PCs to draw the caves in themselves as they go. Also add the goblin waters stream.

  44. Rus · May 9, 2013 Reply

    I really appreciate the effort you put into this map. I just recently decided to run a game of Dungeons and Dragons Next with some newer players, and pulled out Caves of Chaos. This is so much better than what was provided by WoC. After printing the original, I was actually dreading running the adventure. Now I’m very excited and ready!

    Thanks again!

  45. Rachael · August 20, 2013 Reply

    I want to print the player’s map via http://gamer-printshop.com/ but they need to have your permission to do so. Now this sight talks about large poster printing but does not actually say YES you can print this map via commercial printing for personal (no sale) use… can you please make such a note?

  46. Justin · September 22, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for posting this. Very illuminating.

  47. Shane · October 15, 2013 Reply

    Do you have player versions with Trees? That would be fantastic. I think they help set the mood and I know my players will try to take advantage of their locations.

    Thanks.

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