The Dark Souls video game series is known for its twisty, windy, complex worlds, and after playing the original Dark Souls for the first time, Paul Wijninga from the Netherlands realized its locations would also make for ideal DnD maps.
The IT project administrator, who hopes to one day make a living by creating DnD maps (and soon YouTube content too), mapped out the Undead Burg, an early area in Dark Souls that marks the game’s first big difficulty spike. Using Unity, they converted it into a top-down view that would be playable in tabletop RPGs.
“I’m very late to the Souls party and it’s the only one I’ve played yet,” says Wijninga. “Dark Souls’ famous intricate and interconnected hallways and platforms make for an amazing experience, connecting everything together, creating something whole that you feel you can understand after walking through it.”
According to their creator, the process used to make the maps is quite straightforward: “I had Dark Souls 1 running on my pc, while in another tab I was making the map. I would walk into The Undead Burg in the game, and stand still, going to the other tab to recreate general outline and important shapes and locations. This way I was making the maps literally as I went through the game, stopping often and looking around carefully to map out all the details.”
However, there were some challenges to the process. “Dark Souls is meant to be played through as a 3d character, not for DnD combat. While I tried to stick to the original layout as much as I could, it was impossible to do an exact 1 to 1 copy of the in-game world, as the DnD map not only needs to be top down, but also clear and readable to use and play on.
Wijninga’s favorite part of their map series is how they’ve aimed to match Dark Souls’ unique atmosphere and the tone of the setting. “It looks abandoned, dirty, damaged, but you can see that it once used to be a tall and mighty burg,” he says.
As well as the Lower Undead Burg, Wijninga is now working on mapping out areas from the start of the game, such as Undead Asylum and the Firelink Shrine. Many Dark Souls regions are perfect for DnD, Wijninga says, “because of the interconnectedness, and the many height variations, resulting in tactical combat.”