So lets discuss some options.
This newcomer is what inspired this blog entry. The Fantasy Trip just finished a great kickstarter and among the many discussions it inspired one guy who created this handy utility.
Its a free online clean and simple tool for making hex maps. Start with a blank hexmap, name it and set your size and zoom then pick a palette and start filling in the hexes.
You can save your own copy as a text or PNG file. For a quick dungeon crawl or building layout its great. Even do some outdoor battle maps.
The components tray lets you fill in part of a hex so you can have straight walls,or any non hex shaped boundary, including corridors using the Channel and Junction components.
This is a great tool! I give it an A+
This creates pretty overland maps but is not very intuitive. Worth a look for a fancy or artistic map like you might find inside a fantasy novel. It is free and lets you save your maps.
Fairly inexpensive this is an updated version of Hexographer and will eventually include Citygrapher and possibly Dungeonographer. Reasonably priced but can get expensive with all the addon sets for different icons. Some of it is pretty intuitive but a lot will require practice or actually reading the manual. Large maps can be hard on your computer but smaller ones load quickly. It has two options to create a map. Paint using icons as brushes which is pretty easy and fast or randomly generated maps which you can then alter with the paint tool. He does have some Youtube videos to teach or demo it. You can imbed notes to locations and it has built in logic for populating cities and nations.
I prefer this one for most of my maps, especially ones I plan on reusing.
Another paint brush style mapper rather than a CAD type tool. It is less sophisticated than Worldographer in that it has no data sets or population mechanics. It is just a drawing tool,but one with a lot of icons.
This set has been around awhile and creates some very good maps. It has a lot of nifty and powerful features but many find it very unintuitive to use so it has a steep learning curve. It has a world, city and dungeon version
My copy pretty much sits around unused,however other who invest the time find it a great tool.
Each of these tools have their own niche, with Worldographer and Campaign Cartographer being more direct competitors.
- Shadekeep is great for fast simple maps
- InKarnate for your artistic overland maps.
- Worldographer and Campaign Cartographer for more sophisticated and extensive mapping. The choice between them is based on budget and time investment.