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Fantastic Maps: The Ice Temple $2.95
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/22/2009 07:01:59

Fantastic Maps: The Ice Temple is a 33 page pdf file from cartographer Jonathan Roberts and Rite Publishing. This product is one of several products in the Fantastic Maps series, each product featuring a 1-inch scale battlemap of a unique and interesting location to use for your roleplaying gaming needs. Ice Temple features a frozen cavern within an icy overhang or waterfall, that holds the long trapped body of a dragon, and an altar of sacrifice. The product is suitable for any fantasy RPG, and contains both a colour and a light grayscale version of the battlemap tiles.

The product comes as a single page pdf file that contains both the versions of the battlemaps. The cover features a larger scale overview of entire cavern, allowing you to get an initial impression of the map that the product contains. No backstory is provided within the product itself for the features and details of the icy temple, although the advertising blurb for the product features a plot hook or story idea that you can use. The product, barring the front cover, consists entirely of the tiles - 16 tiles in each version to form the entire cavern. The tiles are a rather unusual size, being something like 9 x 6.5, meaning that if you were hoping to combine this product with other tilesets, that may not be possible. Other tiles appear about half-size, although I suspect that it got more to do with the fact that the cavern is suspended in the air, and hence all the whitespace is just that - air. Overall, a satisfactory presentation, although I would normally expect more than just a cover and a whole set of tiles put together in a pdf. A tile overview or summary page would've been useful, for example, as well as some explanatory text.

The Ice Temple is a single room cavern or temple buried within an icy overhang or frozen waterfall. The main feature of the room is a trapped dragon, caught within the ice, presumably by some sort of magical ritual. The other noticeable feature of the cavern is a sacrificial altar. Based on these two main features of the cavern, one can imagine quite a number of possible plot hooks or backgrounds, and on that score I was pleased with the uniqueness of the location of the map and its features. The artwork and cartography is well done, particularly as I would imagine it's quite hard to get the look of ice right for a product. The cartographer has done well to capture the look and feel of the scene well in the art, although I have to admit that the dragon looks a bit short and stumpy to me - more akin to a buffalo than a dragon, but that's neither here nor there.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this product. While there's some scope for improving presentation, I think this product offers good value. Naturally since it's only a single cavern, and due to the awkward tile size, this product is going to have fairly limited versatility. However, given the location of the map, it's unlikely to be a cavern or map that's used frequently in any case. This is more of a one-shot kind of product. I'm pleased with how the product captured a location and map that's quite unique despite the lack of versatility. Unique locations are often hard to come for good value when most gamers prefer utility and scope above uniqueness on the gaming table. Good art, good presentation, good product.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
I just wanted to thank Peter for taking the time to do a very through review of "The Ice Temple"

Steve Russell
Rite Publishing
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Fantastic Maps: The Ice Temple
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