After hours of walking in silence, there is a sudden onset of noise… Arguing. Coming from below.
Ahh… the cliffside map. So much potential. Wasted on conversation. The party had the high ground – the LITERAL drop on another group – and they chose to talk their way out of it. Which was fine, that was a reasonable option. There could have been all sorts of fun though! Sniping from the ridge, flying leaps onto enemies below, cliff climbing, throwing people off… But it was not to be.
This was where Campaign Cartographer really started to pay off for me. My other maps were cool and fun to use and all that, but this map took less than twenty minutes to make, and most of that was spent trying to figure out how to do the cliff properly to give it a sense of depth (I gave the ridge a big shadow and put it a few sheets above the ground, along with ones for the trees and the path. Probably should have done a multi-story map.)
I like Dungeon Mastering, and the work I put into preparation for a session I count as enjoyable leisure time, but if I can save time and build useful things quickly? That’s the key. Good looking maps for any situation, done really fast.
Really, the hardest part now is just thinking up interesting areas for the party to have encounters in.