You Asked for Input on the "Map Experiment"


Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

On page 24 it says that the format of building battlefields on the fly is an experimental part of the playtest process, and that feedback is requested.

Personally, I see a massive opportunity here to let people get more use out of published Flip-Maps. I, for one, have a lot of them, but they don't get much use when playing through an Adventure Path (of course they are used much more heavily in PFS scenarios where specific Flip-Maps are indicated). What I would like to see is for these "build your own encounter locations" to make some suggestions as to which Flip-Maps would work really well, without making certain ones required. That way, if a GM has access to Bigger Forest, but not Desert, they could be encouraged to use the 'B-Side' of that map for an encounter like the hyena fight in Part 2 of Doomsday Dawn.

Certainly, GM's could make these decisions on their own, but I'm often looking for a reason to buy another Flip-Map anyway. If the adventure called out a couple that I didn't have, I'd almost certainly order one of those just to enhance the experience.

I also think that using this new "build-your-own-encounter-location" idea could be inspiration for a lot of new map packs. The Flip-Maps that I tend to buy first are the ones that are the least 'specific'. I know that if I buy Haunted House, I might use it once, but if I buy the Desert one, I'm going to use it dozens of times. We need more maps like that: super useful in a wide variety of situations, and easily customizable when building our own encounter locations using this new experimental method.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I think instead of just barely describing the mal they could include a sketch because as things are right now I have no idea if the map I have done is What the dev wanted to test in the playtest fight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I thoroughly enjoyed designing the new maps. I made two completely new maps here and here. I didn't do the ankheg map or the cliff map beforehand and just drew them on the fly. There wasn't enough to warrant it.

I agree that the devs could be a little more explicit in their direction. I had to reread their directions for the gnoll encampment map several times before settling on my design.

One thing that the devs should definitely do is express their desired size for the maps in area (squares wide by squares long). I ran into this problem in the playtest in the ankheg map because the characters detected the mound beforehand and wanted to put a large distance between it and them. (fortunatley they exceeded the ankheg's tremorsense distance, but just... and that was only because they ran out of map.)

A larger issue is that in wide open spaces, unless there's something in that map for the PCs to investigate (an oasis in the desert map for example) PCs are likely to simply walk around everything. So i think that something needs to be done at the design level to address that.

Scarab Sages

Zi Mishkal wrote:

I thoroughly enjoyed designing the new maps. I made two completely new maps here and here. I didn't do the ankheg map or the cliff map beforehand and just drew them on the fly. There wasn't enough to warrant it.

I agree that the devs could be a little more explicit in their direction. I had to reread their directions for the gnoll encampment map several times before settling on my design.

One thing that the devs should definitely do is express their desired size for the maps in area (squares wide by squares long). I ran into this problem in the playtest in the ankheg map because the characters detected the mound beforehand and wanted to put a large distance between it and them. (fortunatley they exceeded the ankheg's tremorsense distance, but just... and that was only because they ran out of map.)

A larger issue is that in wide open spaces, unless there's something in that map for the PCs to investigate (an oasis in the desert map for example) PCs are likely to simply walk around everything. So i think that something needs to be done at the design level to address that.

Your Maps are really greats ! I wish I could do that.

However after looking at them it seems clear that I absolutely didn't understood the instructions like you.

"Place the three 10-foot-square gnoll huts on one side of the river and the 10-foot-square smoldering bonfire on the far side of the huts from the river."

Shouldn't it be "river-tent-fire" and not "fire-river-tent" ?

I am not english native speaker so I am confused here.
Well that doesn't really has an impact.


That was my biggest problem, along with the directions the PCs were supposed to approach from. I think I read it so much that I confused myself lol.

You're probably correct in that the bonfire should be on the same side as the tents. But honestly, in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter that much. If they wanted something done in a specific way they would have put together a map themselves and published it. In the end, exact placement is probably not that crucial.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I haven't run In Pale Mountain's Shadow yet, but I am preparing it. I find making maps beforehand online to be much easier than if I were to do this in person. In person, it would all be on the fly which takes up valuable play time.

Some of the maps were very easy for me. The Ankhrav one only took me 10 minutes. However, the Gnoll camp took me 30 minutes and it could all be wasted if they bypass it.

I like the idea of not providing pictures, but the descriptions need to be spot on. The Gnoll camp map description was very confusing to me.

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

As I almost only do organized play, please never do this. The hallmark of organized play is standardization across GM's. This puts far too much up for interpretation and some GM's will take advantage of it to make things much harder, while others will make things much easier.

It also makes prepping much worse. Having to copy over a map can be bad enough - having to make it up on the fly will lead to sloppiness and delays of game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
thistledown wrote:

As I almost only do organized play, please never do this.

It also makes prepping much worse. Having to copy over a map can be bad enough - having to make it up on the fly will lead to sloppiness and delays of game.

Agreed. This should never, ever happen for PFS.

Honestly, unless you're playing a module the week it comes out, I feel confident in saying that the community is diverse enough with a large enough skill set that someone will have a nicely completed map for you to just drop in. I had my maps done and online a week ago. I would have posted them here, but for the website issues. I can also forsee a specific thread within an AP for user made encounter maps. Indeed, your largest problem might be choosing the one you like the most.

Hopefully that will allay some fears.


Indicating the Flipmat or giving an indication what the map should achieve would also be great. I did all the maps the evening before my playtest, and it took me approximately 90 minutes. Due to my tabletop Background I also had some Basic scenery lying around like trees and such.
But from the first hyena fight on, I was confused - what do I do with the dangerous Terrain? How do I get interesting interactions with it? And why would, in a hyena fight, anyone take cover behind a tree???

Scarab Sages

Mr.CoffeeCup wrote:

I haven't run In Pale Mountain's Shadow yet, but I am preparing it. I find making maps beforehand online to be much easier than if I were to do this in person. In person, it would all be on the fly which takes up valuable play time.

Some of the maps were very easy for me. The Ankhrav one only took me 10 minutes. However, the Gnoll camp took me 30 minutes and it could all be wasted if they bypass it.

I like the idea of not providing pictures, but the descriptions need to be spot on. The Gnoll camp map description was very confusing to me.

It took me 2 hours and it's not finished.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

When it comes to maps-on-the-fly, in my case it is typically a basic draft with a pen on a graphed paper, with PCs and monsters later getting marked there with pencil, as letters and numbers. Very primitive, good enough to grasp who is where. We are using it all the time for our homebrew campaigns, so "make your own map" is nothing new or unusual in our case.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had no issues with making my own maps. I liked that the encounters supplied the info of what was on the map and then it was up to me to draw them where I saw fit.

Having said that, I recently moved to digital displaying maps onto a flat screen TV and we put minis on the TV and use that. We made the change just prior to running the playtest...so I had to find a generic map to use as the base and then draw on the glass...which worked fine. But the timing of Paizo to test this out was funny to me.


I normally play on VTT, so finding some nice maps or pictures to fit a description isn't a problem. My group's regular GM also has a massive collection of flip-mats which I put to use for this scenario.

I do agree that the placement of the bonfire for the riverside gnoll camp gave me a headache. I had to reread it several times to understand that it meant "the bonfire is behind the tents, away from the river" instead of "the bonfire is on the opposite side of the river from the tents," and that's only because it didn't make sense that the gnolls would swim across the river to get to their fire.

I'd love to see more of this kind of stuff if it means getting more content crammed into an adventure!


Yeah, i interpreted it with the following critera:

1. The gnolls wanted their food prep area away from their camping area.

2. The river was waist deep on humans. I know what they said about the ability checks, but honestly, a 20' wide river in a reasonably gentle slope like that with a single mountain as a drainage basin isn't going to be much larger, on average. It should be fordable, with difficulty.

Add those two together and across the river seemed logical.

By the way, fording the river wound up being a point of contention in the adventure. The rules say a DC 15 athletics check (iirc). The party wanted to use a rope tied to the character to secure passage across, which I thought prudent and secretly lowered the DC to a 10 for them. But they wanted me to eliminate the roll entirely, which i wasn't going to do. There was several minutes of back and forth where I patiently explained that, among other reasons, personal experience in crossing fast moving streams meant that there would always be a check for this particular maneuver. In my head, the rope was to steady them (a little) and keep them from getting swept away downstream.

For me, there are two major issues with crossing fast flowing mountain streams like this. One is the force of the water pushing against you in one direction. The other is the slipperiness of the rocks (moss, algae, etc). The two work together to make your footing a little unsecure and then.. whoops! Into the water. And more that that, once you are in the water you'll start bouncing against the rocky bottom. That's damage (lethal or not - you decide) that you're automatically taking while underwater as you get dragged away.

I extrapolate all this from a DC 15 athletics check. I might be accused of being a little too realistic, but hey, at least when you accomplish something at my table, you really accomplish it.


Shaheer-El-Khatib wrote:
Mr.CoffeeCup wrote:

I haven't run In Pale Mountain's Shadow yet, but I am preparing it. I find making maps beforehand online to be much easier than if I were to do this in person. In person, it would all be on the fly which takes up valuable play time.

Some of the maps were very easy for me. The Ankhrav one only took me 10 minutes. However, the Gnoll camp took me 30 minutes and it could all be wasted if they bypass it.

I like the idea of not providing pictures, but the descriptions need to be spot on. The Gnoll camp map description was very confusing to me.

It took me 2 hours and it's not finished.

Ouch. I decided to stop trying to think about it and just allowed myself to screw it up. Hope it goes / went well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zi Mishkal wrote:

Yeah, i interpreted it with the following critera:

...

I extrapolate all this from a DC 15 athletics check. I might be accused of being a little too realistic, but hey, at least when you accomplish something at my table, you really accomplish it.

Sounds like a good interpretation. I think I put the fire too close to the water, but we'll see if it even matters. Part of me is thinking my party is either going to start firing their bows from across the river and it will turn into a shoot out or they will bypass it altogether.


I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!


PneumaPilot2 wrote:
Personally, I see a massive opportunity here to let people get more use out of published Flip-Maps.

I agree.

And while I didn't mind drawing the encounter in B4, I didn't like drawing (or guessing) about encounter B2 as much.


I used a published flip mat for everything but the hyena encounter. It was ok to just grab a few that were close enough from the map pile.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zi Mishkal wrote:

I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!

The PCs do? I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.


One of the main reasons to buy a ready-made scenario is to cut down on prep work. Having to make up maps adds prep work. That said, I have a lot of map-images I can show on my tabletop-TV, so I personally enjoyed picking out suitable maps.

Zi Mishkal wrote:
I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.

They are? I missed that reading the description - my impression was that the gnolls were camping on the riverside, and the PCs come out of the hill on the same side of the river - with the other side of the river being impassable. I'll need to go back to check. One of us read it wrong. It really doesn't matter who did - this tells us something about not including maps in a scenario - the improvised maps *will* often be based on misreading the encounter description.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Seannoss wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:

I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!

The PCs do? I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.

That's how I created my map. The PCs need to cross the river, and idling on the other side are the gnolls in their camp. The boxed text you read to the players indicates the PCs are on the opposite side of the river from the camp.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fumarole wrote:
Seannoss wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:

I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!

The PCs do? I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.
That's how I created my map. The PCs need to cross the river, and idling on the other side are the gnolls in their camp. The boxed text you read to the players indicates the PCs are on the opposite side of the river from the camp.

Liked this one very much, what did you use to create this map?


Seannoss wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:

I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!

The PCs do? I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.

Yup. At least the way I see it. The PCs had surprise (the gnolls weren't expecting trouble). They had adequate cover to fire from, so as to minimize damage. I drew the map large enough so that the PCs could cross away from the camp, if they wanted to. The PCs could pick the time of day to attack as well as buff themselves and set up beforehand.

That is a lot of advantage. Which is exactly why my party crossed the river right in front of the campsite and made a beeline for the tents. :P


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dante Doom wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
Seannoss wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:

I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!

The PCs do? I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.
That's how I created my map. The PCs need to cross the river, and idling on the other side are the gnolls in their camp. The boxed text you read to the players indicates the PCs are on the opposite side of the river from the camp.
Liked this one very much, what did you use to create this map?

I used Illwinter's Floorplan Generator. If you plan to use my map with minis, you should print it at 113%. Something funky about the application made the map (as well as the others I have created) just a tad too small. I've only been using it for about a week, so hopefully I can figure out why this error happened.

If you get the application I would recommend also picking up some mods for it on Steam, they add more textures and items that can be of very good quality. There's sci-fi content too if that is your jam.


Fumarole wrote:
Dante Doom wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
Seannoss wrote:
Zi Mishkal wrote:

I mean, the entire point of this encounter is to see what the PCs do when they have all the advantages. So i ran with that. they had height, cover, the river, etc...

.. and they immediately went into HtH combat. Of course!

The PCs do? I thought the gnolls had all of the advantages as they were on the far side of the river with bows.
That's how I created my map. The PCs need to cross the river, and idling on the other side are the gnolls in their camp. The boxed text you read to the players indicates the PCs are on the opposite side of the river from the camp.
Liked this one very much, what did you use to create this map?

I used Illwinter's Floorplan Generator. If you plan to use my map with minis, you should print it at 113%. Something funky about the application made the map (as well as the others I have created) just a tad too small. I've only been using it for about a week, so hopefully I can figure out why this error happened.

If you get the application I would recommend also picking up some mods for it on Steam, they add more textures and items that can be of very good quality. There's sci-fi content too if that is your jam.

Thanks, will give a look!

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Playtest Feedback / Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback / You Asked for Input on the "Map Experiment" All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback