Sunday, June 28, 2020

Undermountain Map Origins

As documented on the Ruins of Undermountain sales page, "TSR didn't actually use Ed Greenwood's original maps," at least not in their entirety. This post documents the sources for parts of the Undermountain maps. (Let me know any other sources you can find.)

B1 In Search of the Unknown

Possibly the most well known source is the Upper Level map from B1 In Search of the Unknown, whose features figure recognizably—if not identically—on the Undermountain Level 1 map:

B3 Palace of the Silver Princess

The majority of the First Level map from B3 Palace of the Silver Princess contributes its basic layout to the Undermountain Level 1 map, just below where the B1 map appears. The B3 map has been rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise:

B5 Horror on the Hill

... and B5's Dungeon Level 1 map appears just above the B1 map:

Dave Sutherland's Empire of the Petal Throne campaign

The Ruins of Undermountain sales page also mentions that some of its maps are Dave Sutherland's maps from an Empire of the Petal Throne campaign. Thanks to an eBay auction in 2018, those campaign maps came into public view (you can see them yourself) , and some compose most of the Undermountain Level 3 North map:


  1. Nice work, Guy. Not son good work by TSR!

  2. Wow. I never knew this. That is really kind of cool.

  3. Recycling or plagiarism? You decide.

    1. Recycle, obviously. Let's take the effort to read beyond the title or first line. TSR has the rights to use their maps as they saw fit, include revamping them for other uses, take that how we may. Ed Greenwood had his original maps, TSR just declined to spend the effort to have a cartographer reproduce them. As stated on the sales page by Appelcline, "Apparently TSR didn't want to spend the time redrawing Greenwood's faded maps with their "cramped, tiny, wandering-all-over-the-pages keys". You can see the differences between the two styles of map in printed product when you look at the smaller rooms around the Yawning Portal entrance and compare that to the larger rooms everywhere else — though those larger rooms were sometimes broken up by Ed Greenwood, Steven Schend, and other TSR staff to make them more reasonable!"

  4. This is great info. I have DM'ed 2 groups through much of Level One of the Ruins of Undermountain and never recognized the similarity to B1, B3, or B5. (SMH)