How to present Dungeons to the players


Rise of the Runelords


Hi!

I'm currently running Rise of the Runelords and my players are about to explore Catacombs of Wrath. I was wondering how to present them these dungeons. In previous battles I simply drew on a foil map with squares things around but I am not sure how to present my players that place. I don't want to show them the copy of the entire map straight away so I wonder how you as GM deal with the dungeon maps.

Cheers


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Looks like you got turned around somewhere, this is the part of the boards that deals with the MMO Pathfinder Online. I flagged your post for moving.

Regarding your question: I use the blank battle mat from the Beginner Box and white board make to draw out maps room by room. Sometimes, when there are high-resolution maps available (usually created by people from this community), I print them out on letter sized paper, glue the entire map together and then cut out reach room to put it on the table as the group explores.


Thank you Nullpunkt. I'm sorry for the late reply but I've been very busy for the last couple of days. I don't have a beginner box but I'll try to look for the online maps and print out on a5 size format.

Cheers


kaczka wrote:

Thank you Nullpunkt. I'm sorry for the late reply but I've been very busy for the last couple of days. I don't have a beginner box but I'll try to look for the online maps and print out on a5 size format.

Cheers

I have a program called inkscape.

It is similar to a program at work called adobe illustrator.

What I do for my dungeons is find a digital copy of the map.

Then set it as layer 1. lock in place.
Then create a second layer. create a huge filled in figure, and then just use the erase tool to slowly erase the parts the explore or the room.

Mind you I also picked up a 4 dollar monitor from my local Goodwill and I have it connected via VGA. It works pretty good.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

If I have time before a session, I lay out the entire dungeon with Dwarven Forge dungeon decor in advance, then cover it with rectangles of cardboard, revealing the dungeon little by little as we go along.

In our last session, I printed out the Graul's farmhouse, cut & pasted the sheets of paper together, then did the cover and reveal method as above. Beautiful maps!

When I don't have time to set things up in advance, I'll often set up the dungeon little by little with the Dwarven Forge tiles. Another friend has a large blank map on which he draws out the rooms and corridors with dry erase markers as he goes along. So whatever sort of props or technology you use, it's pretty simple.


What I have found that works best for me is to print out the entire map and cover it with large scarves. Then I push the fabric this way and that to reveal the bits of the map that players explore, especially for maps with irregular shapes that don't lend themselves very well to other reveal methods.

I have tried covering the map with paper cut-outs and that didn't work very well (and I don't want to cut my beautiful glossy maps into bits either). So it's scarf of war for me.


print out map
lay plexiglass sheet over map (cheap and acquired at local hardware store)
lay black squares of construction paper all over map on top of plexiglass
push paper squares out of the way as they discover new rooms

To show what I mean:

here is a photo of my prep from a previous local convention

Maps, plexiglass and you can see the stack of black construction paper for "Fog of War" on the left side


kaczka wrote:

Hi!

...I wonder how you as GM deal with the dungeon maps.

Cheers

See my response to another thread asking a similar question


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My group is currently using a 32' LED Tv for mapping, I take the base off and I lay it flat on the dining room table at game time. I use maptool as I find it has the best VTT options for in person gaming, especially for its ability to zoom in and out, and scale the map on the fly. Oh, and it's free.

When choosing the TV, I chose the cheapest and thinnest one with the least outer bevel, and then placed a piece of plexi-glass over the screen. Then we use good ole miniatures on the plexi-glass, works like a charm!

On the biggest maps (Fort Rannick & Sandpoint)we tend to use digital tokens, so we can shrink the grid to get a closer look at the larger area. Was much easier to run this way.

Cost me around $200 bucks total. Easily!!!.. the best investment I have made for gaming ever. As I can run the dungeon and not fiddle with printers, ways to cover maps, or drawing a huge dungeon out room by room. Then when not in use as a gaming screen, my daughter uses it as a normal tv. Added bonus.

Scarab Sages

kaczka wrote:

Hi!

I'm currently running Rise of the Runelords and my players are about to explore Catacombs of Wrath. I was wondering how to present them these dungeons. In previous battles I simply drew on a foil map with squares things around but I am not sure how to present my players that place. I don't want to show them the copy of the entire map straight away so I wonder how you as GM deal with the dungeon maps.

Cheers

Lots of solutions above. Traditionally, you see GMs either drawing the map as the player explores (often on a wet erase grid) or just blocking sections of the map from view with physical objects (like books).

Lately I've been tinkering with the idea of actually having 2 or 3 prepared maps per encounter, and then a genaric map, then having the players roll a Knowledge Geography or Profession Cartographer to see what quality of map they get... Not a joke, just something to keep it realistic. If the players lack the skills tell one forest from another, why give them a new map for a different forest? Then have a drawn map that I hand draw as they explore if they roll decent, and if they roll very high, just give them the full map, printed from the book (minus any traps or secrets, of course). Lot of extra work, that's why only tinkering with the idea in my head, rather than actually testing, but it does seem like a fun gimick to keep things real.


My solution is a hybrid. I have a plexiglass table to draw on with dry erase markers. But I also use Roll20 (free program) to show players the maps and use the fog-of-war feature. The players use a tablet to view their copy of the map.

However, I don't think any solution short of playing entirely in a program like Roll20 or MapTool will help with some of the maps in Book 6 (they are huge). I had to restrict some of the later battles to the limits of the table when the room was bigger than the table.


I use a large flip pad (office supply) with 1 inch squares, and a big pile of felt tip pens. I prepare some ahead of time, but usually draw it as the players explore. So mapping + combat grid become the same thing.


Wheldrake wrote:


In our last session, I printed out the Graul's farmhouse, cut & pasted the sheets of paper together, then did the cover and reveal method as above. Beautiful maps!

Many years ago when I ran the Catacombs, I used fan-made maps, printed to scale on cardstock, then cut rooms out and had a folder to keep them in. As they opened a door, I'd lay down the cardstock map. I did this for the first 3 books, I think. In more recent years, we acquired enough Dwarven Forge to go that route, but even then, oftentimes I'd just make new set pieces. In fact, I did Fort Rannik in 3D cardstock buildings for the exteriors (flat cardstock for the interiors) and I had a version of Sandpoint for the start of book 4 done in cardstock buildings, Styrofoam hills, resin river, flipmat grounds, and some scale model buildings as well. It was sufficiently epic.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm fortunate enough to have access to a plotter, so I print out maps and cover some bits with paper, revealing parts of the map as the players explore. I copy the maps from the interactive maps file that came with the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition and import them into GIMP. I then edit out anything I don't want the players to see (areas behind secret doors, etc.) and then print them out. Depending on the map size, the prints are enlarged anywhere from 170-350%. They are not the best quality at that scale, but certainly usable.

Here's a photo of the Catacombs of Wrath in action.

It's not the best angle to see the map, but here's the party at Thistletop.


I use a projector and roll20 and a custom table painted with an ultra-white top. roll20's fog of war allows me to reveal what they can see, and if I have time, I can create tokens for spell effects so the party can see exactly where that fireball hits without jostling minis, plus the token can look like fire instead of a wire frame. The only big drawback is that the table is rickety so it moves a lot as people lean on it or move things around, which means minis are often drifting out of the squares they're meant to be in. Smaller drawbacks include hands blocking the image as people move their minis, and the map being reversed from how I see it on my laptop, so there's some minor guesswork when placing spell effect tokens that wastes time.

I think if I knew then what I know now, the custom table would have a LED tv built into it, under a plexiglass top.

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