Quick to draw "Sketch" maps

I’d love the ability to create simple maps about as fast as I could draw them on grid paper. That means good drawing tools, perhaps focused entirely on one style. For example, a system where you could draw rooms with rectangle, polygon, and ellipse tools that would then rapidly render them in a style like Dyson’s (https://dysonlogos.blog/maps/) or other sketch-looking, way would be fantastic. Especially if it could be done real time as the players explore.

Maybe provide, or sell, just a few drag-and-drop symbols for chests, traps, etc in the same style as the map. I imagine you could even hook dynamic lighting into such a system without having to draw overlays on another layer.

All the VTTs I’ve seen focus on letting you import bitmaps to create your own tiles, and make very detailed and pretty maps. This could be a differentiator, plus a lot (ok, at least just me) of people like to have very simple stylistic maps like this so that most stuff can still be in the imagination.

UPDATE: I just found Gridmapper. Click the link at the bottom of the page to view the demo. This feature request is for some thing like that, except that it (maybe) creates dynamic lighting maps and, of course, results in a playable area in astral.

This is a great idea.

It’s definitely happened to me in the that my players have decided to randomly go somewhere else that I haven’t planned for and I suddenly have to breakout the dry erase markers and my handy battle mat. So far I haven’t run into this problem on my campaign in Astral but knowing my players it will happen eventually.



Yeah, you can have all the animated, triggered, scripted, multi-layered gorgeous maps in the world… but if your players decide to leave the world (planar travel maybe… or just to loot a random house that you didn’t prepare for :stuck_out_tongue:) then none of it matters. I just want to be able to make a “good enough” map ASAP.

In fact, I think I’d rather do all my maps sketch style and without scripting to facilitate improve and encourage imagination… but maybe that’s just me.

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I feel this. I have a maps that look absolutely amazing but I have a feeling once my players get to level 10+ I’m going to hear, “Why shouldn’t we go to the Abyss and fight the demon horde?” or some nonsense. Who knows.

I submitted a ticket via the feature request button and James got back to me. He said he would bring it up to the team but again I want it to be a simply quick sketch like the line, circle, rectangle tool in photoshop.

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I’ve been using Deepnight’s rpg map maker to make most of my maps. Takes less than 10 minutes to sketch a complex map, you do have to get used to the 32(play) and 16(lighting system set up) size grids.

A simple map for a small area can be done immediately and thanks to the drop upload feature (i see you roll20 with your long upload times and clunky interface) i can make a new area in minutes.

While im making these new areas i have them roleplay with a riddle i pull out of a d100 table riddles to open the lock on the door or something.

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I think this would be a really great addition!

What one needs is just really a whiteboard tool with a pen. Most of my games are theatre of the mind, so being able to draw on maps or a whiteboard would be great.

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There is another whiteboard/blackboard request in…I take it you want something more like a gridmapper/shmeppy function?

Someone pointed me to this Reddit post:

I’ve been assuming this request is for something along those lines. Right?

Hi all :wave:

Exciting news, we’ve taken another look at this feature request, as well as Drawing on the map

We’re considering what implementation may look like, so please give us any feedback or thoughts regarding these feature requests. Let us know your use case, what you’d like to see from it, additional settings, anything you can think of that may give us a better idea on how to build this for you.

Thanks much, and Happy Adventuring! :crossed_swords:


On these kind of tools, I tend to appreciate simplicity over customization (see the linked post+video in my previous post).

There’s basically two types of terrain in this scheme:

  • Open, walkable areas.
  • Closed areas, such as walls.

The drawing “tools” may very well be limited to: lines, circles, rectangles, and polygons. And maybe brush width if we’re feeling adventurous.

The rest is styling and theming, even if we stick to the binary open/closed areas:

  • A cave may be drawn as rock walls (for closed areas) and rough path (for open areas).
  • A dungeon will be drawn as stone walls and floor tiles.
  • The inside of a spaceship may be drawn as metal walls and floor grating.

Of course, a lot more could be achieved with non-binary areas…
… but even on binary areas, a few simple decorations could fill in the void. And dynamic lighting would make it shine.

Oh, and please… allow to enable/disable snapping to grid.

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Another option from dyson logos who is basically just using a photoshop brush that draws around the curser.

As stated earlier…I’ve used shmeppy and works very well.

Embedding DL would be great…but could lead very quickly to maps that are intense on performance.

Agreed. When given three options for places to go, so many players find a fourth.

As both a GM and a player, I like to add notes to a map. These notes are often typewritten, and might just be numbers or short phrases about things.

Sometimes, particularly when I’m in combat or the existing map is lacking some information, I’ll draw arrows pointing to things. This can be if I want to point to multiple things at a time or if I just want it to be a permanent fixture (rather than the existing arrow/ruler feature or pings, which are inherently temporary).

I don’t need something fancy, like the above tool for literally drawing old-school dungeon maps (though that would be swank). All I want is basically MS Paint’s pencil, eraser, and text tools, and the ability to modify these once they’re on the map. Modifications can be moving them, resizing them, etc.

Any drawing from this tool should go above any existing map layers but under the tokens. It should be visible to all players and GMs, but the GM should also be able to hide notes for themselves and reveal those notes later (probably how tokens can be hidden now). I suppose a nice perk would be if the players could also draw secret text that only they and the GMs could see.

Other use cases:

I had 2 maps of a clearing. In one, the trees were fully leafed. In the other, 5 were deleafed. I transitioned to this map because I had a planned event for the trees to be deleafed. Of course, players being players, they went ahead and deleafed another tree. Being human, I didn’t have a map with every permutation of trees and their leafiness. Being able to scribble on that to denote deleafitude would’ve been nice.

In a game in which I’m a player, we explored a spaceport. The map of the spaceport was a pre-built map. In a plot thing that the map makers didn’t intend, part of the spaceport was destroyed, so the GM scribbled over the destroyed parts (this was in Roll 20). Nice and easy

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I believe that there is a separate request somewhere for a GM layer.

I should also point out that there’s also a request for drawing on top of the map: