||?Adventure Aids 1: Fantasy Caverns? is a 14 page PDF supplement from Goblinoid Games. This product is a package of 12 ?old-school style? cavern maps compatible with OSRIC(tm) or any other fantasy game. The maps are simple black and white cartography with limited on map markings beyond water, which is designated with wavy lines, and a compass direction to provide you with a north. There is no scale or grid provided. There are labels to identify each of the maps so I will to provide some context for how I would use each map and titles.
Map 1 ? The Black Dragon?s Lair ? This is one of the large-size maps. It contains about 15 good-sized* encounter areas. There are no visible exits to the surface, so this cavern level will likely need to be approached from another level, shaft, or sinkhole. There is quite a bit of interconnectedness in the passages that could disorient characters. One of the largest rooms features a pool that covers more than half the room and could double as a black dragon?s lair.
Map 2 ? Den of the Slimy Overlord ? This is a large-scale map with only 7 good-sized encounter areas. There are no visible exits to the surface and one-quarter of the open area in this map is covered with water. I would think that the large body of water could likely possess passages to other maps. I would use this map as the lair of an Aboleth and its slaves, deep within the confines of the Underdark.
Map 3 ? Dead Man?s Cove ? This is a large-scale map with 22ish good-sized encounter areas. The caverns can be reached by sea and could serve well as a location for pirate raiders or long forgotten treasure. The map looks like a large disjointed and mutated skeleton.
Map 4 ? The Crossroads ? This is a large-scale map with 11 good-sized encounter areas. There is no surface exit and no water on this level. This map didn?t provide me with the same sort of instant inspiration as the first three. Many of the rooms have multiple entrances and egresses making travel easy on this map. There doesn?t seem to be an implied ?boss room? so I would use this map probably between major levels, maybe with some Duergar and their slaves who are forced to mine new passages.
Map 5 ? The Frozen End ? This is a large-scale map with 19 good-sized encounter areas. There are no surface exits and many rough long passageways. There is a large water area with an island protrusion against the far wall. In my game, I would place this map in the frozen north with caverns set within a melting glacier, the large water area serves as hot spring that has begun to melt passages through the frozen ice.
Map 6 ? The Warzone ? This is a large-scale map with 25 good-sized encounter areas. There are no surface exits, two watery areas and many bending passages. There are at least three locations that could easily serve as starting corners for cavern explorations. Because the variety of rooms and the lack of implied direction or final room, I would probably use this map as a contested level between 3 or more parties seeking to control it for their own purposes.
Map 7 ? The Warrens ? This is a large-scale map with 21 good-sized encounter areas. There is an access to the surface included in this map. The passages often lead off into dead ends or loop among themselves giving the area a burrow-like feel. Some of the larger rooms are riddled with irregular columns that could have been formed by the loops becoming overly intersected and forming a larger room. This is a lair map that I would use with rat-man, werebadger or other tunnellers.
Map 8 ? Skull Island ? This is a large-scale map with 8 good-sized encounter areas. The caverns are located on an island that is skull-shaped and the caverns provide eye sockets and a nose. This map would be well suited for a island prison (with a little remodeling) or the island lair of sea wizard.
Map 9 ? The Foundry ? This is a large-scale map with 20 good-sized encounter areas. There is no access to the surface. This area looks like a foundry or site for the manufacture of magical weapons. The map features many globs or nodule areas at the end of hallways that could be the site of mined out areas. There is a single h shaped room in this cavern with a black pentagon and a water filled chamber with many mini-islands or columns in it (though in my foundry this would be a magma chamber).
Map 10 ? This is a large-scale map with 17 good-sized encounter areas. There are no surface accesses to this map nor are there any water features. The map has two substantially larger rooms that could easily serve as a lair for a dragon or a sleeping tarrasque. There is an obvious enter point in the northeast corner of the map and the tunnels have a skeletal face in there design (see cover of product).
Map 11 ? This is one of the two smaller-scale maps. It possesses 12 good-sized encounter areas. There are neither exits nor water features on this map. The map has a main circular tunnel path with three radial offshoot sections. Again there are several large rooms that could be the home to gargantuan or colossal creatures.
Map 12 ? The Hellmouth ? This is the other small-scale map. It possesses 7 good-sized encounter areas. It has an exit to the surface and a ?boss room? with a black pentagon and a pit shaped like a twisted grin from which foul denizens could crawl free once the required sacrifices are made of course.
The product delivers exactly what it promises ?a collection of twelve blank, black and white, ready to customize old-school style cavern maps?. At roughly 14 cents a map, this is an inexpensive product that may save you some prep time for your next Osric game.
* Where ?good-sized? is defined as any space I feel I could squeeze an encounter into. You good-sized may not be the same as mine.
LIKED: Inexpensive Maps
Many invoked immediate ideas of where I could use them.
DISLIKED: I would have like to see more surface exits.
I didn't care for the look of the pentagrams, doors or worked walls.
QUALITY: Very Good
VALUE: Very Satisfied
[4 of 5 Stars!]