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Tokuriku
September 3rd, 2007, 03:46
I am one of those GM's that like to use the visual aspects of FGII a lot. Be it for images, vistas, portraits or maps. As the title of this post suggests, I'll be talking about maps here.

I find a lot of good points about maps and/or battlemaps but there are some points I'd like to address and see if a comfortable solution can be found.

Don't get me wrong, I REALLY like the way maps work to give a good battle ground for encounters. One thing that resonates out of using them is that, once you start using a couple good ones and your characters go somewhere unexpected, then you have to draw one on the go within FG wich leaves a sense of lacking even to the most comprehensive players. The other pending of that is that when you have a great map to show, then the players have a feeling that they are not in control of their character's action (since they got where the GM wanted them to).

Well with any adventure, once the players agree to go to some place, then the "BIG" important maps can be used without them feeling out of control. As for the maps on the fly, I tend to use generic maps, be it only a background of grass for outdoor encounters and a wooden floor background for inside stuff. I can draw walls and important stuff over that using the built in FG options. This way, the visual aspect of the game is not interrupted.

Now, one of the major problems I have with maps of enclosed environments is the following. Back when I played on Tabletop, I could describe the rooms and encounters to the players... even draw the room on a battlemat or something but I never gave the "big pcture". I always let a player be the mapper for the group. This was part of the intresic aspets of a game. Some feel it as more ritualistic and for some, it helps them sink in the universe better. Whatever it was, it was for sure a part of what roleplaying is as much as getting rewards after a mission or finding a new magical item, etc... If the player handling it made mistakes, it could bring interesting situations. The players had to describe the way to get back out of places. And the GM could use it for evolving (changing) environments like sliding doors and corridors and stuff.

Is there anyone with some advise to bring this back to my now "Virtual" Table.

Griogre
September 3rd, 2007, 16:45
You can let the players map, you know. I have. In fact it was one of the features on my check list of features when I first looked at FG. Player can draw with pen. With voice in particular you can go "10, 20, 30 feet away is a wall, T intersection" and let them map. Then when they open a door or come to a section you care about or an encounter just pop a room or area map.

I have heard some people do something like this because of map scale. IE they will have a large dungeon map at say 16 pixels per 10' scale and the map is at 10' per square. Then when the players open the room the DM popped up a 5' scale battle map if there was an encounter.

NymTevlyn
September 3rd, 2007, 17:30
Need a random dungeon?

http://www.gozzys.com/article.php?cm_id=8

Griogre
September 3rd, 2007, 18:32
Very nice maps. I haven't seen this site before. Thanks for the link. I'm sure most people have seen Jamis' dungeon generator here (http://www.aarg.net/~minam/dungeon.cgi) the maps are not pretty but the rooms are populated and treasured. Seems like you could take the room descriptions from Jamis and use the maps at Gozzys to generate some ideas.

NymTevlyn
September 3rd, 2007, 21:15
I don't type anything in and just make everything up on the fly. My players haven't complained yet.

Tokuriku
September 4th, 2007, 01:50
Thanks to both and yes Griogre, I never tought of opening an empty image map and letting the players draw it by themselves !!!
Why haven't I tought of that :eek:

But as someone that actually used it, what is the actual feel of it.
Does it resemble what happened on table top or is the feel a bit different?

Griogre
September 4th, 2007, 20:32
I don't type anything in and just make everything up on the fly. My players haven't complained yet.
One the top reasons I picked FG over the others was you could do this. It's not very easy to do in a number of other VTTs.

Griogre
September 4th, 2007, 21:23
But as someone that actually used it, what is the actual feel of it.
Does it resemble what happened on table top or is the feel a bit different?
This is a little tricky to answer for me. I'm going to say it resembles table top play. However, different people run things differently in face to face games when it comes to mapping, so YMMV.

It may take your mapper player a little longer to get up to speed on how you call out the map, but on the other hand you can see what he is doing a lot easier and faster - since you can see what he is drawing as he is drawing so you can fix meaning communication problems. IE when I say the wall is 40' way where do I assume the mapper is standing, ect.

Hamish
September 5th, 2007, 07:17
This is a little tricky to answer for me. I'm going to say it resembles table top play. However, different people run things differently in face to face games when it comes to mapping, so YMMV.

YMMV???
I thought I was pretty well versed in acronyms, but that's a new one for me...

NymTevlyn
September 5th, 2007, 08:30
In fifteen years, I've never had players map out a dungeon as we played. Online or offline. The most I do is map out an area for an encounter on the battlemap or provide a handout for local areas.

Griogre
September 5th, 2007, 08:47
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. Or my way may not be the same as your way.

Tokuriku
September 5th, 2007, 11:05
In fifteen years, I've never had players map out a dungeon as we played. Online or offline. The most I do is map out an area for an encounter on the battlemap or provide a handout for local areas.

Well, I can definetly recommend the technique.
It is one of those things you have to try to understand it's value.
In my experience with roleplaying games (whatever game it might be) mapping has been an intresic aspect of the game.
It is one of the facets of roleplaying just like receiving xp at the end of a session or for acomplishing something great is.
If you take it out, then I believe your at some loss.

Let me give you a nice analogy.

One GM I know does not give xp. When he thinks you are ready to go up a level, he gives it to you. This is fair in my opinion and for most cases more then valid. First he doesn't have to give you the reasons why someone levels faster then another. Second he eliminates discriminatory xp givings like xp for monsters based on the damage you did to it (the way it worked before) where fighters would level faster then wizards for exemple.

The negative aspect is... well... most players strive for xp be it in the form of roleplaying well or from combat. When you see xp ranking in, you see that your character evolves and it is appealing. Take that away from players and it's the same as taking mapping away from the characters.

One thing I can say specifically about player mapping is that when a player takes time to draw a room by him/herself, the room and it's dimensions get ingraved in that person's mind. They have less of a difficulty understanding the limits of their environment and what is possible or not in that space. I usually have players who are very inventive and don't bug myself to only the maneuvers that are in the rules. Sometimes what they want to do is simply impossible. When they draw the paces themselves, it happens less frequently that they try for these impossible things wich basically mean that we are on the same page, we see the same thing in the minds' eye.