The Dungeon Master’s Toolbelt – PART 2

Please note the General Copyright Post.

I will continue talking about the tools I use as a DM. If you missed part 1, you could check it out here: Part 1  

The rules have not changed, and neither did the rating system or the type of details I will share. That being said, let’s get going!

6. WONDERDRAFT

  • url: wonderdraft.net
  • type: overland mapper
  • availability: paid
  • online or offline: offline
  • ease of use: easy
  • rating: 8.0/10

Wonderdraft is one of my favorite mapping tools. I usually prefer offline software to online browser-based tools when it comes to mapping. It is a one-time-purchase, use-forever licensing method and is currently sold for $29.99.

It is straightforward to use and has beautiful artwork and different visual themes you can use to create your overland maps.

As usual, you can add your labels; you can zoom in, work with layers, export your work as JPG/PNG, and of course, save it offline for later work.

If you find that the available asset packs are not enough for you, you can buy a couple of more to expand your stock.

I created an A2 size, printed, hex-grid map with this for one of my campaigns, and it looked nice and was very useful. I’ll also include a down-scaled version of that below—and a couple of other ones that users have created using this great software.

7. INKWELL IDEAS

  • url: inkwellideas.com
  • type: city mapper, dungeon mapper, overland mapper
  • availability: paid
  • online or offline: offline
  • ease of use: medium-difficult
  • rating: 7.0/10

Inkwell Ideas produces Dungeonographer, Hexographer, Cityographer, and Worldographer as well–all tools that I use or have used to create maps for adventures. So this point is a discussion of 4 tools, not just one.

Some of you might know, while some of you might remember the times when hex-maps were very popular. Mystara, THE D&D Basic world is one that we all got to know through very easily identifiable hey-grid maps. That’s the type of map you can create with Worldographer.

The Dungeonographer is a decent dungeon creator, but I’ve seen better, to be honest. I’ve bought it and used it, played around with it, but I stuck to DPS, Doodler, or created dungeons by hand.

The Cityographer is not bad. If you don’t have the time or skills to create a city by hand (pen, pencil, paper or Adobe PhotoShop, or a combination of these), and you don’t like the total randomness of random-generators, then this may be the tool you are looking for. I am sure there are other things on the market that can create decent settlement maps, don’t get me wrong, and I do not now know all of them; that’s also for sure. However, if I wanted to create a city map with software, I’d choose this. But please, before you invest and smash my face with a baseball bat, do take a look at some youtube presentations and tutorials!

The below pictures are the actual examples provided on the site! I did not create them.

8. DUNGEON BUILDER

  • url: hobbyte.net
  • type: dungeon mapper
  • availability: paid
  • online or offline: offline
  • ease of use: easy
  • rating: 8.0/10

Dungeon Builder is a unique product by Hobbyte. It is unique because you can create isometric dungeon maps using this software, and they do look great! It is easy to use; the interface is clean and intuitive – so what’s the downside? It is expensive. The base license is €59 currently, but this, for example, does not allow you to monetize the material created with this tool.

If creating ebooks/books for money is not why you want this, €59 is still a bit steep. Still, I’d recommend everyone to check out what this software can do.

These are some of the maps I created while I was tinkering with this tool:

9. MASTER’S TOOLKIT

  • url: arkenforge.com/product/the-masters-toolkit/
  • type: dungeon mapper, overland mapper
  • availability: paid
  • online or offline: offline
  • ease of use: easy
  • rating: 8.5/10

Another excellent mapping software is Master’s Toolkit by Arkaneforge. This brings a few great things to the table, like different dynamic light sources, background music, sound effects, and a lot more.

An interesting note: I created a campaign not long ago before the pandemic hit, and we used Master’s Toolkit to play online over discord for about maybe 20 sessions. It worked great for us. It worked so great that one of my players started using this in his campaign, where he is the DM.

You purchase this software for $35, and there is a ton of expansions for it if you want to spend more: graphic packs, sound effects, map packs, and they also sell gift cards.

The software uses Unity; that’s how it masters some of the animated pieces and dynamic lights/ fog of war.

The maps have grids; you can upload your own images, and the tool has a built-in DM screen and player screen. I used two screens: one I shared over discord with my players. That was what they saw, and then there was the other that had all the hidden things that only I, as the DM, saw. You can make things invisible, or you can hide things from the players. You can recolor objects or make them emit light in different colors. I used a light source to show the players what their characters can see in the dungeon. I moved the light source around by hand, and it dynamically revealed things behind the fog of war. It was great. The software may be a bit demanding/ resource intensive if you are working on large maps.

I could not share my maps here, but I took some of the picture from the website itself, so this belongs to them of course!

10. CAMPAIGN CARTOGRAPHER or CC3+

This is AutoCAD for DMs. This software bundle has the steepest learning curve of all the mapping, or rather roleplaying, related software that I have ever come across.

If you have enough time and patience, you can create truly magnificent and complex things with this – sadly, I never could. I kept trying – uninstalling and reinstalling this thing over the years many times, but I kept failing because it is too much for me. The other reason why I am not too big on this software is because whenever I launch it, it feels like traveling back in time 15-20 years. The interface is just awful and timeworn.

Youtube is packed with tutorial videos on how to make this thing work, but I gave up. I am not happy about failure or giving up, but I just let this one go. 

When I look at what others have created using this thing, this fills me with regret and envy because, as you will see, if you know how to use this software, you can do wonders!

You can find some a lot examples at: ProFantasy Software – Reviews

At this point, I originally wanted to stop, but I don't want to break this into a 3rd part, so here are three more tools for you! Enjoy!

11. DONJON

url: donjon.bin.sh
type: random generator
availability: free
online or offline: online
ease of use: easy
rating: 9.0/10

If I had to choose one tool from my nowhere near complete list that best fits the word “toolbelt,” I would be forced to select DONJON.

Donjon is the everything-generator. What do you need? A name? A world? Or maybe you need a calendar, or a random campaign, adventure, inn, town? Would you fancy a magic shop or treasure? Do you need an initiative tracker or Medieval Demographics Calculator? Would you be looking for 4e, 5e, AD&D, Pathfinder? This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of what donjon offers.

I was not sure what picture I can offer you, but here is the dungeon random generator.

12. FANTASY NAME GENERATOR

url: fantasynamegenerators.com
type: random generator
availability: free
online or offline: online
ease of use: easy
rating: 9.0/10

I think this is a well-known tool. We all know what it does. Do you need a name for an elf, a dwarf, a dragon, a necromancer, an island? Do you need a slavic, roman or arabic name? Any name you are looking for, this tool has it!

I believe even dndbeyond points to this page for names.

13. WORLDSPINNER

url: ui2.worldspinner.com
type: random generator
availability: free or paied
online or offline: online
ease of use: easy
rating: 8.5/10

Worldspinner is a random generator that is aimed at randomizing a world for you with a map using a few questions and settings that you can change. This is cool, but again, as I noted at another tool, I can’t think of a scenario where I would want a random world.

What I use this for are heraldry and name. Using these tools on this page, you can randomly generate names based on cultures, and you can create a coat of arms/ heraldry. That’s pretty cool!

I made a screenshot of the generated names and I also give some examples of heraldry. Note that you can randomize these coat of arms, but you can also create your own from menu.

This is all I have for now. Of course there are loads more – but these are the ones I used or have used. I hope I could help 🙂

+1: you can always draw your own maps! https://digitaletrigan.wordpress.com/2021/04/24/things-i-created-2/

One Comment on “The Dungeon Master’s Toolbelt – PART 2

  1. Pingback: The Dungeon Master’s Toolbelt – PART 3 – digitaletrigan

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