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Thread: Dungeon Maps in your game

  1. #1
    Guild Member Rahva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    The Netherlands

    Question Dungeon Maps in your game

    I was curious to see how you guys n gals handle dungeon maps at your roleplaying sessions.

    Do you show maps to your players?
    Just for encounters?
    For the entire dungeon?
    If there are more rooms than they can see (secret rooms, rooms behind doors) do you trust your players not to metagame or do you cover the invisible areas somehow?

    For me, I've used full dungeon maps only as a reference for myself, and battle/encounter maps I usually scribble on paper on the spot if players want to know where everything is (we kind of wing combat at our table).
    But now that I'm getting into DD3 I'm making some maps that could actually be of use to my players, plus they aren't crappy enough for me to want to hide them.

    Obviously if you game over the internet this is not really an issue, since FantasyGrounds can mask whatever area of the map you want, and I'm sure similar applications have a similar feature. For actual physical tabletop gaming though, I'm at a loss. The only solutions I can come up with involve a) a truckload of Post-Its and/or b) a lot of duct tape.

    So how do you handle this?

  2. #2
    Guild Artisan Hoel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Skövde, Sweden


    I'm turning more and more to minis for my irl gaming. My gaming club has a huge supply of terrain, buildings and even dungeon parts (those printet-folded-paper-things).
    I GM a sci-fi campaign where we use 6mm minis on warhammer tables. The players can't see the table all the time (everyone takes their turn on the table) and the maps are used as reference. Most of my players have military experience so the combat chatter over radio and between players are intense and very in character.

  3. #3
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Tigard (and Florence) Oregon


    Oh man, it's been a long time since I've table-topped, but back in the good old days when I did play/GM at the table, we used to use a "battle mat." I don't remember what they were actually called but they came in various scales with both hex and square grids on a light brown cloth/vinyl background. You could get them at pretty much any gaming supply store and could use dry-erase markers on them as long as you didn't let the ink set there too long.

    I wouldn't map things out for the players in detail, but when they needed the limits of the encounter space, it came in handy both for drawing and as a means of measuring distances for the miniatures that we used.

    As for myself, I drew out fairly detailed maps for my own reference and often typed/printed up a detailed description of potential encounters/inhabitants and other assorted information. These, I usually kept in a notebook of some sort or, at a minimum, filed away.

    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  4. #4

    Post Fantasy Grounds

    I play online with a program called Fantasy Grounds. My players actually move tokens ontop of the maps on their screen and I can see where they move and what they role. We have an open chatlog and often a skype call going.

    I play with a friend from High School, even though we're in different cities. Our games are 3-4 hours which wouldn't cover the travel time between us one way.

    There is very little reactive automation. Virtual dice and role playing rules work just like the face to face real thing. It has its challenges but I get to play with people I miss and I don't go out in the nasty cold.

    Next game I'll take a screenshot to share, or you can go to the website for the program.

    I'm not affiliated with them at all but I do like thier system. The biggest challenge is that you burn through maps and its really nice to have good ones.

  5. #5
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Apex, NC USA


    Myself, Torstan, RPMiller, GamePrinter, as well as many others who lurk here use Maptool for online gaming(and sometime face to face also.) Although some of the features are built with D&D in mind, it is easily generic enough to play any style of RPG game.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  6. #6
    Guild Applicant
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    SW us


    I use maptools as well. It is flexible enough to work over the internet or via projector if everyone is at the table. We use it at the table with a projector every session for both battle and overview type mats. Tokens can be user or GM created and controlled. It has its warts, but overall it works quite well.

  7. #7
    Guild Member Rahva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    The Netherlands


    Roleplaying by projector That's pretty awesome.

  8. #8


    I run an HDMI cable from my wife's laptop to our HDTV and use Maptool. Maybe not quite as cool as a projector, since we can't place physical minis on the table, but I think it works.

    I am considering setting it up so that my desktop runs the GM instance so that one of the players can be responsible for moving the PC tokens around on the laptop. It gets a little bit cumbersome to be moving everything around myself, and I like to give bookkeeping jobs to the players to keep them a little bit more engaged when it isn't their turn.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer Morkhdull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Belgium - Lands of chocolate and the Marsupilami


    I use map only for city and country.

    Years ago, I also used dundjinni for the dungeons maps... The whole map was placed under a plexiglasssheet and convered by shhets of paper to be removed when character entered a zone.

    The plexiglass layer prevent from soda and hamburgers patches

    We played that ways for years...

    But it lacks something : Verticality.

    So 2BE3. Since march last year, I cast plaster bricks and build 3D modular dungeons...

    As you can see, the 3D setting add some dimension to the encounters.

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  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    Very cool Morkhdull!
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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