Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On Mapping

I think I realized how I handled mapping wrong during last session.

The first mistake was giving Tim graph paper instead of blank printer paper.  The second was giving him dimensions of the rooms.  These combined let him generate a more-or-less canonically accurate map with high precision.

For some reason, I get the impression that this isn't how things are supposed to work.  Like PC maps are supposed to be sketchy and iffy, with creating one being an act of artistic interpretation and reading one being an act of intuition and not a little trepidation.  To this end, I think ditching graph paper for players is probably a good first step.  I also think that having a rule of "DM is not permitted to look at player map" would likely help, but that's slightly more extreme.



Timothy Vaughan said...

I rather enjoyed the way we did mapping. We can change it if you like, but I might not like it.

Graph paper and precise maps strike a good balance between simulation and game, in my opinion. Besides, I've never heard of old-schoolers freehanding maps before.

And if we're not spending the 10 minutes it takes us to walk 10 feet measuring the length and the width of the hallway, what _are_ we doing?

I guess one thing you could do is be really careful about describing things exactly from our relative perspective; also, come up with interesting ways to describe hallways and corners. (e.g. the stone walls are lined with burnt out torches in wall sconces, the corridor veers abruptly right) Ooh, and you could have things lurk just around corners, stalk the party, etc. Maybe have me flip the map during battle or other non-map situations?

John said...

I think just using "DM doesn't look at the map" worked out well enough in practice. And I was basing it off of some OSR player maps I'd seen, which were did not appear to be well-scaled and had silly medieval-style cartographic art in the margins.

But yeah, I think what we've been doing the last two sessions worked pretty well.