I talk about Dyson Logos on this blog a LOT. If you want to see how much, put “Dyson” in my blog’s search and see what comes up. I have used his maps for literally dozens of sessions, across many different systems. At one point Dyson noted that I may have played through more of his maps than he has. (Look at the comments.)
Why do I keep returning to Dyson’s offerings? Because Dyson does good work. His maps are evocative and imaginative, sure, but it’s more than that. His overall style, especially when stocking, feels PLAYABLE. It feels old-school but unbound, with some whimsey and flexibility for those “Cool!” moments. Look at the Dodecahedron issues; re-skinning dragon breath, shuffling up what undead can do, tinkering with thief abilities, and the massive stocked depths of various environments… this guy loves his stuff, and his love transmits through the maps to light up corners of your imagination you may not have ever used otherwise.
I drew heavily from his maps for the Fantasy Masks game. Then I drew from his maps (especially Challenge of the Frog Idol) for the Fictive Hack dragonslaying game. When I need a pick-up map, Dyson is my go-to guy.
On my own map page, you can see a fan resource I did for Dyson’s Delve, with a 2-page spread that shows all the maps and how they connect. Yes, I am a fan-boy. I have a consuming drive to design for role playing games, and I recognize its burning kin in Dyson’s obsessive and gifted work.
I have a copy of his “Mapper’s Challenge” that I printed on ledger paper and keep in my game room. I color-coded it by era and faction once, for how it was built and how it fit together. I have not keyed it, and I know my group does not at this time have anything near the attention span to play it–but a DM can dream, right? Dyson fuels those dreams with premium stuff.
Money is tight for me. So you can imagine my delight that Dyson shares all this amazing work, from one-off maps to entire massive stocked environments that are all unique, with their own feel, distinct and delightful.
I also picked up both of Dyson’s books he has offered for sale; Dyson’s Delves in paperback, and Magical Theorems and Dark Pacts in hard-back. “Delves” is useful for anyone running games of any kind, really. “Theorems” is much more focused on OSR play and some assumptions in rule books I do not use, but it still has lots of great stuff in it.
My exposure to Dyson’s maps has shaped my work in some significant ways. Sure, I first picked up some cross-hatching style from looking at his work and thinking it was cool; that’s still a default style even though I’m moving on to more computerized mapping. But the main inspiration is in what the finished product should be.
I want people to look at my maps and want to play them. I want to draw maps that lure imaginations into their confines. When people see my work, I want them to get an irresistible itch to play again, soon. I want the map itself to inspire a level of suspense, desire to know what happens next, in there.
After all, that’s what Dyson’s maps do. That’s why I keep coming back to his work. And that is why I am grateful to him for what he has shared. Thank you, Dyson!