Tobold's Blog
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Gardmore Abbey Player Map

I'm planning on running a huge "sandbox" adventure for my D&D campaign, using Wizard of the Coast's boxed set Madness at Gardmore Abbey. Basically that is a huge abbey complex on a hill with lots of encounter locations, and the players are sent there on different quests and have many different possibilities on how to approach and play through the place. For me it appears obvious that at some point in that adventure the players will need a handout of a player map of Gardmore Abbey. But the adventure only provides a DM map, with big encounter numbers written on it. The one dialog you don't want to hear in that adventure is "Where do you go next?" - "We go to the place marked "3" on the map!".

Now I did find a nice photoshopped front view of Gardmore Abbey, which will be perfect for the first session. But at some point I will need a map with the encounter numbers removed. And to my surprise I couldn't even find one with Google. So I had to make one myself. I am not the world's biggest expert on Photoshop, as evidenced by the fact that I don't even have Photoshop but use MS Paint instead. But I was able to scan the DM map and remove the encounter numbers good enough for my purposes. So as a public service I decided to put my Gardmore Abbey player handout map on my blog, for future DM's to find. It ain't perfect, but better than nothing.

I'm curious how this fits with your view of copyright. To be clear, I expect that the map is copyrighted. Do the laws where you live allow for making small alterations of a protected work and then distributing it?

In the USA you can arguably use small samples or bits and pieces of another protected work in the making of your own. Doing that though can be very risky as there are no clearly delineated lines about how much you can use before you are violating copyright.
This is one (altered) page out of four 32-page books, not to mention the other stuff in the box, thus less than a percent of the content of the Madness at Gardmore Abbey box. Clearly that falls under the "fair use" clause. You can't really do much with this map unless you buy the rest of the box.
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