I think that a map can be a DM’s best friend when running an adventure. However, many adventure maps do not provide much additional information other than location and a reference key number to that points to text in the adventure.
I took the classic map of the Caves of Chaos from Gygax (1979) Keep on the Boarderlands and redesigned it to impart more information to the DM.
Here is the original map:
Here is the map with revised cartography (spoilers) –
(Download PDF: 01_Caves_of_Chaos_Rev2_01)
- Used colour to distinguish areas controlled by a humanoid group (matching label text, encounter symbol, chamber colour, and hallway outline colour)
- Chambers are labeled
- Encounters with species and numbers indicated, with elites or leaders highlighted
- Doors are symbolized as locked or not, with DCs to pick the lock.
- Traps have spot and save DCs listed
- Amount of light (bright, dim, dark)
- Range of levels that the area is suitable for
- Development and reinforcements noted with arrows and the number of reinforcements that may be dispatched