View Full Version : Roleplaying and maps

10-14-2013, 03:27 PM
How alive is group-based roleplaying in the real world? I used to in the 80s and 90s ago, but I have come to experience it as "too limited" and "boring". How many people use their mapping products for settled RP endeavours.

Anyone use maps for other purposes...? Wargaming? Writing stories? Computer world design? ...anyone anything else?

10-14-2013, 04:06 PM
I find all other forms of gaming "too limited," myself. I am currently running a regular Traveller game with four players (plus me as ref); we meet roughly every two weeks, depending on how long it takes me to prep.

I attended a weekly gaming night before I left my hometown that had two tabletop RPGs and some console gaming going on simultaneously. There were probably about 30 regular attendees in that group.

I don't use a lot of maps for Traveller, but I make deckplans for the PCs' ships, and occasional maps for important locations. Most of the time I just sketch tactical situations on scratch paper, though.

I played D&D 4e briefly, and for that I used battlemats displayed with Maptool on my HDTV screen.

10-14-2013, 05:48 PM
I play Tabletop AD&D with a group of friends, once or twice a month. We always use battlemaps I have made for the game.

10-14-2013, 06:50 PM
I'm really curious as to why you feel it is too limited and boring? I haven't played a table top RPG for like 10 years or so now but it's kind of my golden gaming moment that I always refer to when I think of games. We played both war games and ran a D+D campaign. We only used maps for the RPG one though, but in all scales we dealt with, so regional, town, dungeon, encounter etc. We used pre-made maps for the city and region and the DM made his dungeons on graph paper, the encounters were just drawn on a clear grid mat with magic marker.

Frankly I would think that the overall number of games is picking up especially as board games grow in popularity and computer gamers try to expand their horizons. Also gamers who played these things are raising spawn who probably have an early introduction to our nonsense. I am certain that whatever your game, it is easier to find one running near you than it was ten years ago.

10-15-2013, 07:02 AM
i play tabletop roleplay with my friends since... oh my, a lot of years. Usually we play twice a week, two different campaigns with different master and usually slightly different number of players.
Just now i am trying to convert them to vtt, at least for purpouse of projecting maps, hints like old letters and parchments, symbols etc. , but we still use a lot a clear grid with magic marker.

I also play online with an italian Ultima Online non-official server (totally reworked, both in scripts than in map) since 2003: it's a full rpg shard, class based.
I play even single player "rpg" (skyrim etc).

I make (as master and as player) large use of maps, and even for the Ultima server i try to create maps to embellish the website and introduce the newcomers to the "new" world...

I am observing an uprising phenomenon (i am still referring strictly to Italy): a lot of younger players, coming from single player rpgs or from pvp games, experience a lot of difficulties to adapt to a kind of gaming more "ruled" (classes with limited capabilities, need to follow a coherent background) and at the same time more "free" and requesting imagination (interactions with other players, evolution of their own pcs, creation of plots).

Part of this phenomenon i am noticing especially in Ultima is sometimes the inability to relate to external visual elements such as maps and similar, mainly when they are presented in "different" way.
Just tilt the map by 45 degrees and 90% of gamers feel lost: and i think it's because they do not read the map, they are only comparing one image with the "radar map" of the game.
If you broke the direct link altering the aspect or the orientation, it's over.

10-15-2013, 04:45 PM
We play D&D/PF every Saturday from about 7 pm to midnight. While we often use a white board and markers for many on-the-fly encounter maps, because I own and operate Gamer Printshop, I often print maps for our weekend games in full color, full miniatures scale. Although we usually play in our home-brew setting, I have run many of the one-shots and the adventure trilogy from my published Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG), and I've printed out all the maps I created for those publications.

Note: I play tabletop games on an actual table with people sitting around it rolling dice. I do not use a VT application. We don't allow laptops, IPADs or other electronic devices in the game room - books, paper, pencil, dice - a calculator is as digital as we allow. So printed and print/laminated maps are the most commonly used game aid we use, aside from miniatures. (Also I don't do World of Warcraft, Ultima, nor any console game, and never have played any of those games in my life... and never will.)

10-15-2013, 09:32 PM
In my experience I have found maps especially helpful for immersion to the game world :)

11-25-2013, 01:14 PM
Some players are visually oriented. They cannot go with just the description. I have had the players draw their own maps as we went too. Some of them got quite interesting and they had a log of where they had been that way and how to get back out! It makes all the difference in the world. It is all about perspective. I personally like drawing maps and see how the players manage to draw the same map as I have just with their notes on them.


12-29-2013, 10:38 PM
How alive is group-based roleplaying in the real world? I used to in the 80s and 90s ago, but I have come to experience it as "too limited" and "boring"...How could something only limited by your imagination be "too limited" or "boring"?

This does not compute.

12-30-2013, 01:04 AM
How could something only limited by your imagination be "too limited" or "boring"?

This does not compute.Not quite, it is a group endeavor. As such it's limiting factor can be group dynamics, the imagination of the group, and the groups suspension of disbelief. Another factor is also always going to be the system used to roleplay, which all have their own quirks and limitations and lead to similarly constructed games.

Cunning Cartographer
12-30-2013, 03:07 AM
I play with a VTT (Virtual Tabletop) and those communities are pretty alive and kicking. My group is made up of guildies from my old SW:TOR guild, where we played Star Wars Saga Edition for 3 years as a build up to SW:TOR (basically started playing when SW:TOR was announced). That campaign finished, we didn't play SW:TOR for long, but some of the Tabletop guys stayed together. I know run 2 campaigns myself, a D&D 4e and a Savage Worlds post-apoc themed game (alternating every couple of weeks) and design the maps myself. I'm also a player in a Star Wars Edge of the Empire game that happens every week or so, and we're gearing up to start a WW2 game (myself as a player again) in the new year.

So yeh, people still want maps.

01-02-2014, 08:52 AM
I would like to add that I have seen similar issues with younger gamers in America. Although with the rise of more choice oriented RPG's like Fable and Mass Effect it is becoming easier for them to make a choice when faced with one. (i.e. prompted by the game to pick paths based on character interactions and such) But that leaves them still unable to generate a background for the character since one is typically given in those games.

Myself and a friend would play Skyrim and we found it much more enjoyable to have a strict background that limited the characters development in some way. Almost like enforcing D&D rules onto the Skyrim characters.

01-11-2014, 12:21 AM
I have been running games for a very long time. We try to get at least 25 to 30 new players a year in a Table Top RPG. This past 4 January 2014 we had an event at a Game Day in Maryland. I spent the money (0nly $60.00) to have printed a 34 inch by 44 inch map at a printer. The map a lone attracted 25 people to look at it. We have 5 new players thanks to the map.