Tobold's Blog
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Ghosts of Saltmarsh Color Maps

While my group is still in the middle of Curse of Strahd, I am starting to plan for my next campaign. I'll talk about the that campaign more in another post, but for the moment I'll just say that it will be a nautical campaign, using the Ghosts of Saltmarsh 5E D&D book. Ghosts of Saltmarsh is not really a campaign, but a selection of 7 naval adventures from D&D's past. The first adventure is Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, which was originally published for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in 1981. The consequence of that is that the "original" maps in the book just plain suck. Back in 1981 all the maps of a module were printed in light blue on white on the inside cover of the modules, to prevent photocopying. While 40 years later the maps in Ghosts of Saltmarsh are a darker blue, they are still simple mono-colored line drawings.

After surfing Reddit for a bit, I found the Patreon page of InspiraSean86, which has plenty of color maps for Ghosts of Saltmarsh. I am not a big fan of Patreon for content like this: I want to buy a set of battle maps for my D&D game, not an ongoing patronage relationship with some artist. I didn't like the idea to pay the minimum $1 to download all maps and then cancel, because I thought that would be too cheap. So I paid for an annual subscription at $10.80, and then cancelled. This is how I handle most "subscription" services these days, I cancel on the same day as I subscribe. Otherwise you end up with dozens of subscriptions all over the place, which are very hard to keep track off, and are often for stuff you don't really use anymore.

(I also don't like how relatively complicated downloads are on Patreon. I ended up using the Patreon Downloader Chrome Extension to download my maps.)

I looked into using tools like World Anvil and DungeonFog for my new campaign. But again, you can't buy these tools, you can only buy a pricey subscription. I wouldn't mind paying $40 - $50 for a piece of software, but I do mind paying that much every year. Especially for a service where I am basically paying for keeping access to the content I created myself. There are free versions available, but for example in DungeonFog the free version gives you only 3 map slots, and limited assets to put on those maps. I'm rather putting my hope into Dungeon Alchemist, where I only had to pay €30 once.

I'm not sure yet what tool I will use to keep notes on my campaign. Obviously I could just do it in Roll20: That has the advantage of having the notes directly in the software I use to run the game, but Roll20 doesn't really structure information very well. I like the idea of World Anvil having interactive maps, where you can access the information you wrote about a city by clicking on that city on the map. But I dislike the subscription model for something I would want to have access to for a long time, but infrequently. So I have to look into "buy once, keep forever" solutions like Scrivener. Anyone got any recommendation for campaign notes software?


You might try Obsidian for campaign notes. It’s Markdown-based and handles linking between notes well. The free version has all the features you’re likely to need.
I recently found out about FoundryVTT
I haven't had a chance to play with it though.
Microsoft one note is really pretty good for DM organization as well. It has less specific D&d stuff but all the features you need and skills with one more transfer to day job stuff
Microsoft one note is really pretty good for DM organization as well. It has less specific D&d stuff but all the features you need and skills with one more transfer to day job stuff
You might want to try Foundry VTT. It’s a one time purchase. I believe its fully integrated with D&D beyond as well.
OneNote seems to be really popular. Google Docs is also good, basic solution.
But after running rpgs for nearly 30 years, jumping from one to another and sometimes trying to frantically find and decipher old campaign notes, I found that I like them simple and accessible. I am not so sure I will still use OneNote/Google services in 10 years, so I rather just keep my campaign info in Pages (that would be Word for Windows users) files, neatly tagged and foldered. For lower priority quick scribbles I use build-in my OS Notes app (and would rather use traditional pen and notebook, but my handwriting is pitiful).

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