This article is sponsored by Czepeku. See all of the maps on the Czepeku website and support the artists’ work to receive weekly downloads and access to the full archive of more than 4,000 maps - including both static and animated maps - by subscribing from $5 per week over on Patreon.
While going on epic, memorable adventures in Dungeons & Dragons 5E and other tabletop RPGs is a big part of why so many people love to play TRPGs, coming up with ideas for your next campaign or scenario can be a tall order for dungeon masters and GMs if you’re not playing a premade adventure.
Luckily, there are plenty of talented artists and creators out there that can lend you a hand by sparking your inspiration. While not going so far as to write a whole story for you - letting you keep it your own and slot elements into any existing world-building you’ve already done - using these existing materials as a leaping-off point can take a lot of the hard work out of thinking up ideas.
One of the best ways to plan your next D&D campaign or RPG adventure is by using maps as a starting point. While some worlds already have deep lore tied into their locations, others simply nod at evocative environments with breathtaking visuals and intriguing details. Best of all, if you use a map to inspire your next adventure, you’ll be able to use that map to help players really immerse themselves into the world, adding to the staying power and storytelling of your session.
Below we’ve picked out five maps from artist duo Czepeku that are compatible with D&D, Pathfinder and other fantasy RPGs. All five maps have details that hint at lore, stories and characters beyond what’s seen on their surface, helping you to dream up your next unforgettable adventure.
1. Grand Cathedral
Big Dark Souls vibes
High fantasy and cathedrals go together like swords and sorcery. With its towering spires, circular stained glass window and gothic architecture, this Grand Cathedral map brings to mind real-life wonders like Notre Dame, as well as the foreboding buildings seen in video games such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
Your party could find themselves fighting in the outside courtyard, perhaps even faced by one of the reanimated statues that flank either side of the main doors. Before they even make it that far, the bridge at the bottom of the map could be its own obstacle, with the water below a potential risk - or useful way of dispatching foes.
With variants of the map including one soaked through with a flood of blood, the stark building and its religious overtones could even be twisted to fit a demonic plane. It’s the perfect place to take your party before a grand confrontation with their next big bad, or somewhere to serve as a spiritual shelter from the dark forces outside its walls.
2. Coral Throne
Think The Little Mermaid, but with an interstellar aesthetic
It’s sometimes said that the deep sea has more in common with space than it does the rest of the world on land. This map leans into that feeling with a mysterious atmosphere to its coral-covered seat of power: it could be 20,000 leagues under the sea or a trillion lightyears into the depths of the galaxy (or the Astral Plane).
Wherever the Coral Throne is located, and however your party discovers it, its otherworldly aura lends itself to endless interpretation. The throne itself could be filled by an important character in your world, or maybe it’s been vacant and is looking for a new inhabitant?
Around it, the inky depths could be the very depths of the ocean or the void of deep space. Do they represent something for your party to venture into in search of further discoveries, or an unknowable danger to be avoided if you end up fighting across the pearlescent bridge that spans the map?
Colourful and cryptic, this could be what your party have been searching for this whole time - or the start of their new quest.
3. Archeological Dig
What lies beneath?
Dungeons & Dragons and… discoveries? This map could inspire your party to channel their inner Time Team and dig into the dirt in search of answers.
With the huge dragon skeleton taking pride of place, there are plenty of details to help inspire your adventure. Note the spears that litter the ground next to the fallen beast, and even pierce its neck. Is this the site of a battle of old?
The human-like skeletons - equipped with swords, shields, magical staffs and axes - uncovered in a separate dig under the dragon’s tail and next to its head might suggest so. But perhaps this is the site of past sacrifices, or even an ultimate test of strength that few ever passed.
While your party ponders the site’s mysteries, they could rest with a bowl of food from the pot bubbling next to the tents at the top, or peruse the unfolded map for their next destination. Perhaps clues they find under the earth here will point the way…
4. Hell’s Tax Office
Death and Taxes
Admin and paperwork is many people’s idea of Hell, so it’s only natural that there should be a place in the Nine Realms (or the underworld of your choosing) for bureaucracy.
This infernal office lies between a valley of desks, with what look like ball and chains keeping some of its workers quite literally tied to their desks. On others, glimpses of the demonic - or perhaps devilish - denizens employed can be seen.
Likely immediately drawing your attention - and that of your party - though, is the enormous three-eyed monster behind a smaller horned being sat at a main desk. Could this be the Administrator you’re here to see - for conversation or confrontation?
If it’s the latter, the vast hall has plenty of room to fight - and columns along each side to use for cover or climbing. You may find yourself having to take on the Cerberus that sits patiently next to the desk, however. Maybe it’s best to just fill out the forms as asked.
5. Mechanical Palace
Take your fantasy adventure into the future
If your fantasy RPG campaign is likely to take a sci-fi turn - maybe while you’re exploring a setting such as D&D’s Eberron - the eerie atmosphere of this techno palace may well give you futuristic food for thought.
At the centre of the map is a strange blue being, who appears to be connected to the faces that line the walls with a series of glowing tubes. It could be some kind of tech deity, a construct or something else.
From each of the being’s hands pour forth what looks like steam or smoke, or maybe even the stars themselves, while behind it there’s the orange glow of something burning. Maybe this futuristic technology isn’t as advanced as it seems, and there could be an engine hidden beneath the pipes.
Are those other faces for decoration, or is this a gathering of sorts? And what do those glowing blue shapes do that lie either side of the main walkway? It’s up to you to decide - and your party to find out.