Thursday, August 18, 2011

Maps

For my D&D 4e game, I'm converting an old AD&D 1e module (a lot of the players were new, and I wanted them to experience some old school classics).

The weirdest part of planning this is the map.  Coming from World of Darkness, tactical movement was quite possible, but never used by my group.  A simple description of circumstances sufficed.  "All right, you move up to the snarling zombie and blow out his midsection with your shotgun.  The other two zombies eye you hungrily."  Even some dungeon crawls admit that the dungeon is an adventure flowchart, meant to get characters from one combat (or puzzle, or trap, or whatever) to the next.  The structure of the dungeon doesn't really matter (and a cheap DM trick is to have each option basically lead to the same place).

This is a little different, though.  With a more tactical movement system, it doesn't suffice to describe a tangle of tunnels (and this dungeon is pretty closed; once you're in the complex, you're pretty much stuck there until you complete the adventure).  The PCs can literally go anywhere, and a fight in a single room, or even a series of rooms and attached corridor, can literally go anywhere.  The stationary combat in my head can easily turn into guerilla warfare throughout the dungeon complex, as the characters make tactical decisions that move the fight.  Those maps I'm adapting are highly important, not just for that "flowchart," but also for tactical reasons.

Which, again, is an odd state of mind coming from games that were almost entirely in one's head.  It's still fun, mind, just a different kind of fun.

As a final note, I've examined many free mapping utilities, but ultimately, I'm doing this the old-fashioned way: pencil and graph paper.

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