View Full Version : A lurker steps out of the shadows...

07-28-2009, 09:20 AM
Greetings All,
The works of art I've appreciated on these boards are quite inspiring and I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shared their work. For me, perusing a fine map is like stepping into another realm and imagining the myriad possibilities. Since I consider myself to be more of a scenario writer/GM than a cartographer, it is unlikely that I will have much to post here. However, at ravell's' suggestion, I have submitted this introduction.

I was directed to this site some time ago while gathering online gaming resources, but didn't register until more recently. Several years ago I started up an online ADnD game with some friends, who are scattered around the globe. I wanted to provide opportunities for certain elements that I value in a face to face RPG: the spontaneous banter and interactions between PC's and NPC's (both in character and out of character), smooth and reasonable combat resolutions, and the shared thrill of discovery and excitement. I believe I have been successful, to some extent.

In considering the various means for online gaming, I took into account the two most popular, PbEM and PbP, and dismissed them. The pace and format of PbEM and PbP games were unsatisfactory - the game I wanted to run had to be done in real time, just like a face to face game. Back then, I had not heard of anyone using chat programs to conduct a game, but the possibilities intrigued me, so I experimented with IRC and Net Meeting's White Board (the latter for mapping and other graphical displays). Net Meeting didn't work out due to instability, but we eventually found another white board program (there are numerous virtual tabletops available, now, but none offer comparable simplicity and utility to sway me to try them). Voice chat was considered but text-based chat has more advantages, such as scrolling back to catch missed dialog which allows for nearly, seamless game flow among people who can't uninterruptedly ignore real life situations for the 3-4 hour blocks our game sessions last.

Online gaming, regardless of form, has many restrictions. To keep the pace moving I (the GM) do all of the party's mapping, which is a quick and simple matter of copy-pasting sections of an existing map onto the white board as it comes into play. For this kind of accessibility, my maps have to be digital. Most of the mapping I did in the beginning was with Dungeon Crafter 1.41, which works better for dungeon maps than for city/town-scapes. I started using Paint Shop and CC2 to map those other areas and eventually, DC1.41 became a tool of the past.

And that, is what brought me here.

Steel General
07-28-2009, 09:31 AM
Welcome Aboard!

07-28-2009, 11:23 AM
Welcome to the Guild!

07-28-2009, 11:26 AM
A DM must wear many hats: that of cartographer is one of them. Don't sell yourself short.

07-28-2009, 12:09 PM
Since you've been working with white boards and chat applications, you should really consider using a Virtual Terrain application like MapTool or Fantasy Grounds. A VT app is essentially an online program that shares maps and contact between players and between players and GM. Most let you post a regional map that shows the adventuring party as a dot on the map. Once a situation calls for an encounter scale map, the GM loads it in the VT app, and the map appears on everyone else's PC. Characters are displayed as tokens, as are NPCs and monsters.

For all intents and purposes its almost like playing a pen & paper game on a common game table. Contact between gamers is via a chat application, sometimes including sound for VOIP. While not a fast as a live game, its a viable solution and far more satisfactory than working with a white board instead.

Something to consider anyway. MapTool is a Free application and worth serious consideration.