Thursday, January 6, 2011

Modern Map Suggestions?

In light of my own advice, I’m giving some serious second thought as to what RPG I’d really like to run after (or even before) my Labyrinth Lord game winds down. There are a few candidates, all of them having the common factor that they are not fantasy-based titles. I need a little break after living, breathing, and most importantly, writing fantasy stuff for the last two-plus years.

Strangely enough, when it comes to modern setting games, my biggest hang-up is mapping. My modern games are more character-driven than location-based, and I’d prefer to spend time diagramming the relationships between various factions and individuals instead of detailing the office that the players operate out of. When such detail is needed, I can always draw upon real-life experience if necessary, quickly sketching out an old work place or what have you to use in a pinch.

The problem with that, however, is that, after a time, all the offices start looking the same, the churches have the same layout, and even the corner store get repetitive. So to combat this, I’m looking for suggestions on gaming resources filled with modern location maps. I see that there are a few such things on, but the reviews on them are not great. Does anyone have something they can recommend based on actual use?

My only requirement is that it has to be either a PDF (I’m not buying actual books this year) or a web resource. It should also have the widest range of locations possible from the mundane (convenience store) to the uncommon (funeral parlor). I don’t need them to be usable with miniatures, but being able to print them out and keep on hand for the next time the PCs chase the bad guy into a construction site would be a bonus. Cheap or free is always appreciated too.

Any suggestions?


Houndin said...

I recently found D20 Modern Critical Locations has a good cross-section of locations, including some off-the-wall ones like Ice station Zebra or whatever it's called. Christopher West of put a few in there. I also find that doing a Google image search for 'floor plan' and what I'm looking for will often come up with a decent selection, mostly from builder and real estate sites.

barrataria said...

How about d6 Adventure Locations?

Not the greatest book in the world, but it IS right in your price range.

BigFella said...

I found this company and their buildings INVALUABLE for a superhero campaign I ran.

The linked page is banks buildings, but you can see the other varieties of buildings on the side menu. Floor plans plus isometric views.

I mashed together a couple of these to produce this, which was HQ for the players' superteam. Click on the floors to see the floorplans.

David Key said...

I thought this might be of use.

Some cool designs there and you can print an image of what the building looks like and get the floor plans.

I will try and hunt down some more.

Michael Curtis said...

Thanks everyone! Ihad heard someone raving in a comment not too long ago about a modern map collection and I *think* it was Critical Locations. From what I gathered, I'm going to go buy the PDF right now!!!

Oh wait. Nevermind.

d6 Adventures looks pretty good. Not too slickly produced, but that's a feature. Thanks for pointing it my way.

The whitleyman and the fentonmill sites are amazing! I'm going to be bookmarking those and using them for sure. My only complaint is that the fentonmill site has a listing for a self-storage site, but the plans aren't shown. And I just had an idea for an adventure set in a self-storage facility thanks to me getting left in my own lock-up when the auomatic sensors turned off the lights on me.

David Key said...

Here are some Self Storage Plans I was able to find.

Pat said...

Just re-read this, and the thought occurred to me that it would be mighty cool to have a "modern" game with dungeons. One of the things I dislike about modern games is that it is so easy to get sucked into "story" driven game mechanics - a lot of Call of Cthulhu scenarios have that issue. It's not as sandbox-y as D&D because you can't just walk in a random direction and have adventure - the modern world is relatively safe and boring. Everything needs to be driven off NPC's, and the risk of somebody else's story driving player actions instead of the other way around is really high.

A big ol' dungeon would rectify that in a modern game.

Anonymous said...

As to modern settings not having dungeons:

Try setting the game in a place that is not safe. There are plenty of warzones and areas of countryside controlled by crime syndicates in the real world. There are also plenty of "wilderness" areas like arctic tundra, jungles, and remote islands. "How come nobody ever populated this volcanic island before?" they might say. "Because the villain wanted to put his base here and convinced the Russians to set it aside as a wildlife refuge" you answer.

Second, even in "safe" populated areas there are still abandoned buildings used by motorcycle gangs to warehouse drugs and unlicensed guns. Abandoned subway stations and tunnels. Read up on the tunnels under Moscow, it's incredible! You could stretch reality a bit and put a similar system under any old town, such as Paris, London, New York ... think about the possibilities of flooded and semi-flooded chambers far beneath the canals of Venice!

Which brings me to ruins. Mayan pyramids still concealed under the vegetation of the jungle? Strange cyclopean structures discovered by hot drilling robots on the Antarctic landmass? Old Russian military facilities in Siberia? Secret German Super-Human research facilities? Lost shipments of Nazi gold and looted cultural artifacts?

For inspiration, try Bond movies and their ilk for villain lairs and shootout locales, plus plenty of chase scenes. Look at Indiana Jones movies and similar, including pulp comic books and superhero materials (again for fight scenes, chases, and lairs). Google around for abandoned places in the real world for inspiration. Use Google Maps sattelite view plus Google Image Search for dossier pictures of people, places, planes on the tarmac, funky experimental weapons.

Anonymous said...


"Is there a way to get them fighting on the wings of an airplane, hanging from the gondola of a dirigible, or on the deck of a ship in the middle of a typhoon?"

That's a question I'd like to come up if I were playing!