Introduction: Epic Fantasy Map for RPGs

Ever wanted a map that looks like one of those maps that explorers used in the days before industrially produced paper? Well, look no further than this tutorial. Here you will learn to make a unique map and maybe even learn a new skill or two.


A sharp pencil (regular and mechanical if you have one), a pen if you plan to ink your map, scissors, paper, a dark coffee, a paintbrush, a hairdryer, a computer with an internet connection.

Step 1: Generate Your Map.

Go to Azgaar's Fantasy Map Generator: and mess around with the settings until you get a map you like. The settings can be found by clicking on the small arrow if they are not open. By going into the Options tab and going to the Map Template option you can choose the type of map you would like to generate (Also don't do it on mobile. I warned you!). Once you have a good map go to the Layers tab and make it so that only "Heightmap" and "Rivers" are on, then save it as a .png file. Then make another save with "Biomes" and "Relief" on. This can be done easily by selecting the correct layer preset at the top of the layer menu. Then print both versions.

Step 2: Prepare Your Map for Graphite Transfer.

Take one of your maps and scribble on the back of it until the entire back of the map is a dark grey/black color. Then flip the paper back over and cut out the map.

Step 3: Transfer the Map

Once Step 2 is complete, secure the map to a blank sheet of paper using paper clips, and trace the outline of the map and any rivers you want. You have to press down, but not too hard as you might rip the paper. Then once you are done, take off the paper clips and lift the map away. You should have a perfect copy of the outline you traced. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you are satisfied with the amount of landmass you have.

Step 4: Add Details to Your Map

Your map is great but it looks a little... plain. I know! You need forests, deserts, mountains, grass, swamps, and a legend so that your adventurers can tell a desert from a hill or a swamp from a grassland. Also, now is the point where you should ink your map if you are going to.

Step 5: Make a Copy of Your Map So That You ​don't Ruin Your Original

Create a copy of your map and prepare to possibly ruin it. Also, make sure that you have a version of it saved to your computer.

Step 6: Brew a Dark Coffee and Crumple Up Your Map.

Brew a dark cup of coffee and crumple up your copy (carefully) and then open it back up. Then gather your paintbrush, some cotton-tipped sticks (I don't want to be sued!) and a hair-dryer.

Step 7: Start Painting Your Map With Coffee

Paint your map with coffee using your paintbrush until you have a nice even coat. If you notice a small blank spot then use a cotton-tipped stick to fill it in. Once one side is coated, dry it off with your hair-dryer. Once it is dry, repeat the process on the other side. Also, be sure to give your hair-dryer a break as they can get hot very fast.

Step 8: Admire Your Work, Then Set It on Fire.

Find a candle, a lighter, and a well-ventilated space. Then find something to hold the candle (an adjustable wrench laid flat on a table works well) and light it. Then run the edge of the map through the candle, a small portion at a time, and let it burn only a small part of the edge. Once you are satisfied with the amount burned off, blow out the candle and admire your epic fantasy map.

Step 9: Use the Map

Now that you have the map it's time to play an RPG (Role Playing Game) with it. Even if you are in lockdown because of COVID-19 you can still scan the map and send it to your friends. Now get adventuring! (Note: I turned up the contrast and turned down the brightness in the darker image to make it easier to see.)

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