I am creating a cartographer character, in my group's upcoming Out of the Abyss game, who was hired to create a map of the Underdark. I imagine that would involve a skill check each time he adds to the map. Which skill would be used for making a map, Nature, Survival, or just a straight-up intelligence roll?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Unless there’s a real map involved, the tag doesn’t apply. It’s just a skills question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: Fair enough. I was debating whether or not it was appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 6, 2019 at 2:18

1 Answer 1


Drawing a map does not require any rolls. It's listed among Activities While Travelling: Other Activities, see p. 183 PHB

Someone who is hired for creating a map would likely be proficient with the appropriate Artisian tools for crafting maps though: Cartographer's tools (p. 154 PHB)

Crafting a map after collecting the "data" would require a Ability check adding the proficiency bonus, if proficient in Cartographer's tools.

2 Abilities come to mind (DM's choice):

  • Dexterity: Crafting something artistically
  • Intelligence: Deriving the layout from available data
  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh it seems like that would involve some sort of memorisation of the landscape. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 23:03
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Xanathar's has some optional rules on how to apply tool proficiencies, including Cartographer's Tools. It describes a special use for each tool proficiency (if you're proficient and have the tools); for cartographer's tools, it says: "Craft a Map. While traveling, you can draw a map as you go in addition to engaging in other activity." So it seems like it just automatically works, though the DM might ask for some sort of check to determine how precisely/accurately you draw it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 23:46

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