I’m running D20 Nocturnum and my group is fast-approaching a conflict with Kage, a shoggoth lord-like entity, and his bodyguards on a train. There’s also a minion working on behalf of Nyarlathotep that’s so large it takes five rounds to squeeze into the train.
Given the number of battles atop a train that take place in pulp literature, you’d figure there would be more train battle maps. Given that trains are a relatively modern invention, you might think there would be a map of a modern train out there somewhere. You’d be wrong. There isn’t. What we do have, however, is this perfectly suitable substitute, a “lightning train” that’s almost indistinguishable from a mundane locomotive.
The train cars are large out of deference to the design of the tabletop role-playing games; the cars are five squares wide and 14 squares long, not counting the boarding/connecting piece between cars. There’s a variety of empty cars too. The dining cabins seem to exist exclusively of passenger space – there’s not a lot of storage – but otherwise there’s really no reason you couldn’t use this map for any modern train. The sole exception is the engine, which looks a little strange on the inside and is a giant, funky, electrical contraption on the outside. The best part of the set is that it takes into account rooftop chases and battles, and every car has additional pages for printing the roof. The terrain beyond the roof is a blurry, a nice touch.
Unfortunately this train is a little large for my purposes. The big bad monster is huge and it’s supposed to take five rounds to squeeze into a car (giving investigators a head start on destroying it). With a 25-foot wide berth, there’s no reason for any huge monster to squeeze at all. This isn’t the fault of these maps so much as the general design of Call of Cthulhu scenarios which don’t usually worry about specific dimensions necessary for a miniature-driven D20 game.
Until I get a 15-foot wide modern train, this will do nicely. You can buy this map at DriveThruRPG.