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2014-04-29

On Maps, Dungeons, and VTTs

For a long time I didn't use maps and minis in my games. When I first started to GM, I would draw up a map and just show the players the portions that they had discovered. Later, I no longer ran “dungeon crawls” so maps were not that important.

After discovering GURPS, I started to draw up combat maps. Just a quick sketch or using a large laminated hex grid, I would jot down some walls, cover objects, etc.

By the time my games when online, I NEEDED a Virtual Table Top that could handle hexes, facing, etc. With that, I could quickly draw up a room, place the tokens, and have a fight.

Now I am running Dungeon Fantasy... and a few issues have cropped up.

For the first time in a very long time, maps are important to my games. Players need to know where they are, what alternative passages they might need to back track and check out, when a hall loops back around, etc.

At first I thought that I would use the guidelines on B491 and just give general descriptions of size and space, and let the players make their own maps. But I want accurate combat maps, and it is fairly easy to import maps into a VTT, place monster minis, etc.

Now I’m importing these huge maps (which I think might be causing some of the technical issues I have with the VTT I use). I like having the map, but I also wonder if it might be more interesting if the players were making their own map (much harder to do a “turn-around” trap if the players always know where they are on the map.)

I could just import the “combat rooms”, but then this is DF! There are LOTS of combat rooms. There are wondering monsters, etc. Combat could happen anywhere.

I’m still not sure what would work best. I want to eventually run a sort of “mega-dungeon”, but I don’t see any way of handling mapping in a VTT wit that.

So, does anyone else have any experiences with this? How do you do dungeon maps in a VTT?