Michael Klamerus turned me on to a tool called The All-Seeing Eye (ASE), which is like another one I used for Might & Magic games called “Where Are We?”. It reads the game’s memory while it’s running in DOSBox in order to provide an automap, as well as some optional cheat tools and such. Highly recommended unless you’re determined to make your own maps by hand.
How to use it: Run the game and start a party / load a save. Run ASE; it will ask you for your game folder path and a string to match against your DOSBox window title (only need to change if you’re on something other than official 0.74), then you can click Search and it should go to map mode. Right-click the map for additional options.
I went for the middle ground and printed off some maps I found on the internet, and got the pdf of the hint guide to look at on my phone.
Having physical paper maps and a handful of highlighters to mark off where you’ve visited is a pretty close approximation of making your own maps back in the day without as much of the hair-pulling tedium.
Just started using it tonight and it’s so good. I know mapping everything is part of the gameplay but I don’t think I would have the time to get through the game this month if this didn’t exist and if I’m having more fun using the tool then I don’t think it’s a problem. I didn’t know about the Might & Magic one though, I’ll have to check that out.