Its December and whether its hot or cold where you live, I decided for our first map of the month to create a winter map for a bit of a snowy festive theme. Hopefully this one will be useful for you all at some point, it should work well for general winter wilderness encounters and even locations in higher elevations.
Thank you all so much for your continued support, have a wonderful weekend, and as always happy adventuring! Now onto the map notes.
The weather has turned deadly, what was a brisk sunny winter’s morning has transformed into a blizzard of monstrous proportions. The wind races across the landscape whipping up clouds of snow and draining whatever heat your bodies still maintain. It has been snowing for hours, dropped from thick grey clouds that blanket the sky. Once the sun sets, the temperature already freezing, will drop even further, to levels you know will be your deaths. You must find shelter soon or succumb to the storm.
And then you see it, a dark entrance, a cave opening against the cold stone of a cliff face. You stumble forward eyes blinded by snow glare and the relentless frigid winds. One by one you step into the mouth of the cave. The roar of the wind is cut instantly to a low rumble, darkness replaces the white of the blizzard outside. Your eyes, so used to the snowy whiteness take time to adjust. Behind you someone strikes flint to steel, lighting a torch. The flame flickers, guttering in the wind, they hold the torch aloft illuminating a circle of cave around you. Beyond the light’s reach is blackness, and something else, eyes reflecting the flame like red jewels in the night. You notice a strong musk in the air, a scent of animal and with that comes a noise, a low rumble that mirrors the wind outside. A growl of warning and menace. It seems whatever lives here is not happy to have guests.
Notes and Tips
- 30×30 grid map
- Winter themed maps don’t need to be used solely in winter settings, this could be a mountain pass or be some kind of magical weather.
- The pools and river can be flowing or be frozen depending on what you want to do with them.
- Frozen environments can have many environmental hazards, temperature, ice, deep snow and avalanches. Not to mention snow can reduce view distance and even blind a character.
- Winter animals can be driven to attack the party out of starvation. Describe their emaciated, skeletal appearance.
- Yetis, Owlbears and any number of forest or other wilderness beasts could inhabit the cave. Or some other travellers could be using it for shelter, they don’t have to be human, I imagine a hunting party of humanoid monster (goblins, bugbears) would make for a fun encounter here.
- Larger humanoid beasts could throw boulders at the party as they move along the trail, trying to prevent them from finding their cave.
Winter Crystal – Day/Night
I imagine this could be used for some kind of magical encounter where the weather has some magical origin.
Firelight – Day/Night
For those awkward encounter with someone or something you just don’t want to be encountering in a lonely cave in the wilderness.