Mapping the Scenes with Premade Items

Published 1/24/21Last updated 5/30/21

There are a lot of different items and accessories that I bring to my table to make our story come to life. Table top gaming can become very expensive you you strive to have a fully filled 3D dungeon especially if you wish to strive for a table full of Dwarven Forge and/or WarLock accessories. As much as I would love to have 3D terrain and miniatures for everything it is not financially possible for me and DM Bork. Here are the accessories that we use at our tables to create maps in ways that pieces can be reused and enjoyed by our players. Please note that I do not exclusively use things for Pathfinder or D&D. Even though specific brands made the items I do not exclusively use them for their branded game.

Pathfinder Map Packs

These laminated map pieces come in small moveable pieces that can be used together to bring life to your maps. There are many different map packs to pick from, each containing 18 unique pieces to pick from. I personally used Frozen Sites due to me running the Pathfinder campaign "Reign of Winter" but can also be great visuals for Ten Towns. Labyrinths are good for quick dungeon crawls that make it easier to come up with quick randomized dungeons. I love the Bridges pack due to the variety of pieces available. I have had players that want to do things to bridges (blow them up, booby trap them, etc.) so it is nice to pull out a random bridge for them to play on.

These pages are durable and can be customized using dry or wet erase markers (the packaging says permanent markers as well but I personally have never been brave enough to try that). I have six map packs, the Arena map and the Tavern map produced by Paizo. They make beautiful and easy visuals that can be used to make a memorable map.

The Arena

Does your player wish they had an Arena to play in? Does your player want an Oblivion moment where they can become the Arena champion? I recommend the Arena Map. One side has water the other is sand. Your players can take on monsters or gladiators to prove their trial by combat worth.

Ship Configurations

This map pack has been a life saver on more than one occasion. I never know when my players want to go on a boat and with 18 different boat map pages to pick from you get to choose size and structure changes that you want to provide you players when it comes to traveling the seas.

Roof Top Chases

I have used these rooftop map pieces to give my players a chance for roof top chases, ambushing enemies from above and I have also used them for players to have streets to explore towns with.

Dungeon Tiles

I own all three boxes featured in the picture. I do not use them exclusively by themselves and have mis-matched different pieces from each of the boxes to create unique map pieces for my players to explore and play in . I love that each box has different themes to choose from and pieces varying from all sizes small to large. The pieces are made of durable card-stockish cardboard and the artwork is very nice.

I will say don't get the box and expect to make a full dungeon. I use the pieces with other parts of my dry-erase map and other map packs that I own. Some of the pieces are quite unique (spell pieces, statues, fountains) and can be added as decorations. Not all the pieces in the box work together all at once (such as the City box has sewer and city streets and docks) but gives you a variety of pieces to work with.

Bringing Maps to New Levels

What I really enjoy about these boxes is between the pieces inside, the cover and the bottom of the box you can make a three layered space to explore based on the different heights. Here I show a recreation of a dungeon I created for a homebrew campaign. The players enjoyed having the height difference as the BBEG was using magic form the top tier to attack them as they entered at the bottom of the crypt. Each box set can be used in its own themed three layer map.

Rooftops to Bridges

You will find a variety of pieces in each of the boxes to create playable spaces for your minis. These pieces are from the City box and I enjoyed making docks, bridges and using the lid for a roof chase.

Different Terrains

The wilderness box has you ready for encounters in the grass lands to the desert. I also like that there is a tent tile for those times when your party decides that they need a rest.

Inside Comforts

This tile has been my go to for guard barracks, cheap group inn rooms and for encounters where players were sleeping.

Little Book of Battle Mats: Dungeon Edition

I originally picked up this mini book of battle mats to use during my D&D gaming with my students during nap time. I liked that it is very portable (6.5" x 6") and is dry erase marker friendly. This was created by Loke Battle Mats and they have a variety of dry erase map products available. This one in particular has 40 pages that create anything from plain square grid map to dungeon tiles, lava bridges, caves and a bridge. The price was also pretty low when compared to some map pieces and with dry erase capabilities it still can be customized to fit different scenarios.

Grassy roads


Dungeon Hallways

Some maps are only one page large.

Mapping Things Out

There are a lot of things that go onto the board that can affect a map as well. Here are some more things that can make your map and table work that I have used and enjoyed.

Spell Templates

I love these because there is no longer the question of "Does my spell reach?" These were 3D printed to have the variety of AOE and spell ranges. I use dry erase maps and my players use to have dry erase markers that they would use to draw out and figure out where their spells go. It made cleaning up spells messy and the maps themselves usually got pieces erased as spells got erased. I am all for things that can be added to the map and then easily removed after its been cast.

Minis... in a multitude of ways

I love having some sort of visuals to let my players know where their enemies, traps, interactable items, npcs, etc. are on the map. I love miniatures, but not always in expected way. DM Bork and I own A LOT of miniatures thanks to two Bones Kickstarter campaigns. One day I hope to paint them and have an accessible display case/shelves where I can easily pull out the needs of all my encounters; but now is not that time. The miniatures that we do have painted currently are mostly personal character minis. For now, if I do have a mini for an encounter I use the unpainted model or an empty black base for miniatures I do not have.

3D printed beauties are another form of minis that have taken highlighted moments on my maps. One of my players (who is also a Dm for his own group) had a 3D printer and helped print the minis needed for our final in-person battle for a campaign. It really made it a great experience having something that my player contributed in building taking the main stage if our final battle.

When I do not have a mini (especially for traps and environmental hazards) I find images that I like off of Google to create my own paper minis that I can glue to thin cereal box cardboard. I have used google images to create lots of magical wards, a half dozen bear traps and other special homebrewed monsters come to life on the table. You can also find paper miniatures for free or for sale to print as well (, PrintableHeros and Paper Forge for example) that can be a cheaper alternative to plastic miniatures.

Dollar Tree Counting Chips

I got these "counting chips" from the dollar store and use them as miniatures. Have a big battle? I use these chips to color code the attacking enemies from the helping npcs. They are dry erase capable so I can number them for players to give me a color and number to know which one is being attacked. They fit into the 1 inch squares and were very versatile. They also worked for inspiration tiles as well for 5e and you could write what die on the token the player can use for inspiration.

Sticker Pack Accessories

I first picked up these sticker packs made by Role 4 Initiative expecting them no not last very long, but after I stuck them to plastic lamination sheets (or overhead plastic pages) these sticker packs have lasted me years.

They come in a variety of images and sizes. There are different sized crates, furnishings for rooms, light sconces, campsites and tents and all the dressings you need for a tavern bar fight. I have the Dungeon Dressing: Containers, Crypt, and Furniture.