View Full Version : Mapping

2011-04-30, 05:05 PM
Hey guys,
I was wondering what you guys do to map/describe a dungeon as a DM. Do you make the players map it with graph paper? Do you map it for the players? Do you just not map it at all and let the players wander through it relying on their memory? Do you make a full scale map (like one does during combat) and actually put their minis on it?

2011-04-30, 05:18 PM
I'll typically draw it out as they move further into it. They can see pretty much whatever they're vision allows and as they move further in I'll draw more. Incidentally, my dungeons don't have a bunch of unused space since there's no point in drawing a bunch of things I have no purpose for. If it adds flavor? sure. But no empty wings of the castle, or unused floors in the wizards tower. If I draw it it will have something there to define it. If they do explore something empty then I'll just say there's nothing there to avoid me having to draw it(unless they have to investigate it).

2011-04-30, 05:21 PM
I always had my own maps and encouraged them to draw theirs. Throwing in teleporters made it interesting.

2011-04-30, 05:39 PM
I always have my map on graph paper, and have an equivalent sized version for the players- minus DM notes.Then I'll cover it with bits of paper and shift the paper around based on what the party explores.

If they use survival checks, they'll know the direction they're facing (kind of a house-ruled intuit direction from 3.0). A decent wisdom check will allow them to remember what the dungeon looked like.

2011-04-30, 05:41 PM
If they use survival checks, they'll know the direction they're facing (kind of a house-ruled intuit direction from 3.0).Intuit Direction was actually rolled into Survival as written: anyone with 5+ ranks in Survival automatically knows the direction of North, assuming they're in a plane where that's meaningful.

2011-04-30, 10:04 PM
I find the best way is to maps rooms when needed, narrate otherwise.

2011-04-30, 10:09 PM
I have several sheets of A3 size paper with a 1" grid drawn on them in pencil that I had laminated. I then draw the grid for battles with dry erase marker.

I rarely measure travel times apart from overworld travel. Local travel I just estimate.

Usually, I provide the area map if it's a large wilderness area, and at some point the players would also acquire a overworld map for the general region. Typically, maps reveal more than locations. The overworld map was a very important plot point in Red Hand of Doom, for example.

2011-04-30, 10:14 PM
Often I just describe rooms to them, unless there's something specific like battle going on there or we just wanna keep track. But that's boring.
I have a big piece of graph paper laminated (with stick-on type laminate), and I draw the map as we go with whiteboard markers. I usually rub it out as we go, to simulate what they can and can't see, but that can be a pain if there's a lot of back-and-forthing. To help fix that, I laminated (proper laminate) some card-sized bits of graph paper, and draw on those which lets me move them around and stuff.