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Thread: Fancy versus functional versus target audience/use

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    Administrator Facebook Connected Robbie's Avatar
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    Post Fancy versus functional versus target audience/use

    I am often faced with a dilemma when I set down to draw a map. My players are very in-the-moment gamers, and don't obsess over their characters or the campaign setting outsie of our sessions. They don't look at and examine maps very carefully and often don't absorb themselves int he campaign world that I'm creating for them. Sometimes its discouraging and makes me want to just dump them in a pre-made setting, but I personally love and enjoy the world-crafting that is involved in my own campaign setting.

    An example, this weekends session involved a dungeon map...I actually used the map of mystery from this recent Dungeon magazine as a basis but modified it in my own special way. When I began crafting it in CC3, I started doing all the pretty fancy things that I usually do, and it started looking really awesome...BUT...I realized that the map would basically end up being printed out on one page and being held in my hand as a reference for when I drew the relevant sections on the wet-erase mat that sits on our gaming table.

    This means all that effort to make a gorgeous dungeon map was wasted on somethign I would look at and then probably hand to them to file away after they finished exploring the whole thing.

    So I ask, how much effort do you usually put into maps that won't be actually printed out directly for the players versus maps that will? Should I bother?

    For dungeon maps, I probably should start printing them out to scale for miniatures..as opposed to the drawing mat.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

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    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    Most of my gaming is done online these days, and my approach has become extremely minimalist. I put in just enough to make things obvious, but that is as far as I go. I've come to realize that players really do all the "prettying up" of maps and settings in their heads so the map is really just a tactical thing rather than a big part of the game session. The exception being when they buy a map or find one. I'll spend a little more time on that to make it more "realistic".

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    I too love the worldbuilding part. I like the idea of having other events unfold in a dynamic world that is not centered around the PC's. And because of this, I'm currently spending alot of time building a campaign world with my friend Jim who is currently overseas. This gives us something to work on, and keep us busy until we finally get to start playing again.

    Our world map is going to be very detailed, and showing pretty much everything in the world when zoomed in enough. By adding all of these details it will give the players less of an impression that the world is just thrown together. Besides the highly detailed map, we're also building the world from the ground up:

    World Map (actually just regional.. but the npc's think it is the world map.. leaves room for future expansion)

    Kingdoms/Empires
    - their histories
    - their politics
    - their imports/exports
    - religions
    - prestige classes/ class restrictions

    and also other areas outside the political kingdoms that can lead to many many game sessions.

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    Administrator Facebook Connected Robbie's Avatar
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    Thats what I am doing with my world too...just building and building and building...adding more and more history and background info and stuff. Its kinda cool actually. BUT I don't know if the players will get involved at that level at least not until later...maybe they will...If you build it will they come?

    As for the question I asked...I believe what I'm going to try to do is start printing the maps to scale on multiple sheets of paper and use them for exploring AND combat. perhaps even build a little map holder out of plywood, a hinge, and some plexi. Who knows That might help to draw them into the world a bit more too.

    As a DM one of my weaknesses is expressing the machinations of the world around the players beyond the scope of what the players are doing. I often leave out some of those little details that help suspend disbelief like using different names for different currencies (as opposed to gold and silver, etc) referring to days and times of day by the game worlds standards and names as opposed to our own...etc...I really need to work on that. But this forum is a mapping forum I don't want to venture too far into DMing.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

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    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    Perhaps a new forum is in order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller
    Perhaps a new forum is in order.
    I agree... if we had a campaign board, people could display the maps they've created along with the world details, or just share worldbuilding ideas.

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    Administrator Facebook Connected Robbie's Avatar
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    Well, this forum here is for full spectrum campaign mapping...so it does fit in here...I guess I could have a separate "gaming section" but thats really what the Wizards community forums and stuff does well already.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

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    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    While that is an excellent point something I've grown to believe quite firmly is that people really prefer to have just a single forum that they can call "home" where they will find everything that interests them in one place. It is about the only way that a forum can grow actually.

    That being said I call about 5 forums "home"

    So unless you are cool with sending folks to other forums to get what they are looking for, you may want to consider at least trying the addition out and seeing if it takes off. While I would like to believe that it will, you may be quite right that people will prefer a site with more to offer... isn't that a great example of a Catch 22.

    Anyway, just wanted to toss the idea/argument out there.

  9. #9
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    I'm currently redoing the AD&D world that I've been running since 1979. I find myself doing way more detail that I think the players will ever appreciate. I'm trying to do everything to a publishable level, even though it could never be published because of so much derivitive TSR and Games Workshop intellectual property kicking around in it (I was 13 when I started on the world, I happily stole from anything I liked. While I've filed off a lot of the serial numbers over the years, the Drow are still the Drow, etc.).

    I've struggled with the question of "why am I putting so much time into this?", and finally came to the conclusion that the creative act itself was worthwhile, and left me fulfilled, even if I'm the only one that ever sees the map.

    loyd

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    Administrator Facebook Connected Robbie's Avatar
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    THAT is an excellent point...the creative process was worthwhile just for the sole satisfaction of it.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

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