View Full Version : Kicking It Oldschool -Graphpaper Maps!

Deth Muncher
2010-07-23, 03:25 AM
Yo! So here's the skinny - I fail at online mapmaking programs. Instead of wallowing in despair, I've decided to go to the tried and true method of graphpaper maps. My issue, however, is I'm not entirely SURE I know what to do. I mean, it's easy enough to sketch out what I want the map to look like, but with graphpaper you're supposed to be more precise. I guess what I'm looking for here is, what's the proper bookkeeping for a book of graphpaper maps? Do I do two maps of each place, one blank and one with treasure marked, for example? Stuff like that.

2010-07-23, 03:33 AM
I usually draw a master copy and photocopy it personally. Did this to create a jigsaw puzzle for my players once... they kept getting portions of map.

2010-07-23, 06:49 AM
I've always used a fairly blank map (just the walls and door and maybe traps indicated), kept it hidden from the players, and used a numbered key to record details of the room contents in more detail.
Sure, you might want to put more objects on the map, but only if their placement is important.

As for making two copies - why do you feel you need to? The players can make their own record of the dungeon as they go along. After all, where is the record in-character? Someone in the party must be making it...

2010-07-23, 12:47 PM
Online Mapmaking programs, even the holy MapTool, are often more complex than they're worth.

Graphpaper, due to its physical nature, often becomes a b---- to work with.

The compromise, therefore is Windows Excel. No, really. It's like graph paper, but on a computer! :smallwink:

2010-07-23, 01:38 PM
Yay for oldschool!

I used to graph out everything. Basically I'd draw a master version of the map in exquisite detail. When the players reached an area of the dungeon, I'd copy that to the larger sized battlemap.

I don't bother any more though. I always found myself correcting little errors (fudging it so that a room was 8x9 instead of 8x10). It stressed me out to copy the map correctly. And the thing was, it didn't matter. The size of that room had no effect on the game. I planned it arbitrarily and then copied it precisely. Why not just make it up on the fly instead?

2010-07-23, 01:59 PM
Aye, there's no real need for two copies. I always just drew one (precision being a concern partly for realism, and partly because my players are fond of smashing down the thinner walls with Mountain Hammer when they notice something that looks like a shortcut), and then copied any rooms where combat was going on to a transparency with dry-erase markers. If the players want to keep an accurate map as they go along, they can do that themselves.

Specific encounters, on the other hand, I usually only have a vague idea of in advance; as long as you know what's around, it's easy to adjust positions for what the PCs are doing.

2010-07-24, 10:02 AM
I believe the Cartographer's Guild (http://www.cartographersguild.com/) has resources for hand-drawn maps as well as computer-drawn. You should be able to find a lot of info there.