The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=28036.
The Crypts is actually a collection of three different crypt maps, all with a horrific fantasy appeal. The first map is a set up like a maze with one of the rooms given over to a collection of sarcophagi. The second map is a dungeon-like room, completely open and filled with pillars to hold up the ceiling. Any number of nasty villains could call this home. The third map is another dungeon-like room with a center containing a flow of lava and one side has a large opening beneath a bridge. This particular map reminds me of a cult hideout from a pulp thriller.
Starting with the first map, this one is similar to The Ossuary map with a collection of sarcophagi, what appears to be the ossuary built into the extreme walls, two bone pits in the room with all those sarcophagi and a couple of statues that look like they guard the room. While I’m not thrilled about the stairs (they don’t feel convincing due to the lack of shadowing), the whole map is exquisitely creepy and just feels like it belongs in a horror adventure.
The second map is open and simple, with any number of possible uses. There are a few skeletons including one crushed by a fallen pillar, a nice added touch, but otherwise the room is mostly empty (aside from the puddle and the pillars). This is not a bad thing as it is large enough to be used for a wide variety of purposes. The overall stone design of this room makes it good for dungeons or underground lairs.
The third map is cool in concept but I’m not thrilled with the execution. The floor texture is very blurry and I have a hard time connecting a floor that looks severely cracked and weathered with a bunch of pillars that look as though they haven’t weathered at all. I think the texture is supposed to represent the cracking of the floor due to the lava, but the lava flow is very isolated to a center “stream.” The map is still very cool and can definitely be used for a number of things. It definitely gives off a vibe of chaos in a room that could house any number of villains.
The Crypts is a good collection of battlemaps. One major strong point is that it contains three different crypts with a variety of uses. In fact, if you look at the whole collection, they can easily be used outside of the standard fantasy or horror settings to include pulp fantasy, gothic sci-fi, and a lot more.
Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
The three crypt maps contained within The Crypts are all rectangular and subsequently cut very well to fit within the different pages. The third map, with the bridges, even contains a set of closed bridges to layer on top of the open ones found in the actual map. As always, the maps come in both square and hex grids.
Visual Appeal: 8 out of 10
The stone textures used throughout all three maps are superb. The floor on the third map is a bit tricky to discern, but that could easily be part of its appeal. The walls are well-done and properly shadowed and all the little extras, like the skeletons, have been rendered wonderfully. However, the stairs are not very convincing as stairs, maybe more like a ramp. It may also help if they stood out a little more.
Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
From a utility stand-point, these are a great collection of maps to use for dark, crypt or dungeon-like situations. They just look terrifying! One very valuable thing to consider is that these maps are generic enough to cover many types of use and house any number of lurking beasties.
Overall: 9 out of 10
It can often be difficult to find maps that are more horrific in their design than just fantasy or dungeon. DramaScape has done a good job of presenting another map (three of them in fact) that carry that darker side of gaming and truly bring out the horror that could be inherent to any questing situation. After all, if you want the mood to be dark and terrifying, you should have a map that matches it.