Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Point to Point roleplay mapping

Other than AFS magazine, Chris over at the Hill Cantons blog is a big proponent of point to point rpg maps.

http://hillcantons.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/pointcrawl-series-index.html

Another point to point map I created was for a climbing session. There is a 'flare' at the top of a column in the great cave that switches on and off irregularly. The players are sent to fix it. At the top if an ancient structure / device that is essentially a light house. A lot of the adventure involves climbing the column and choosing different paths up it.



Makes more sense to use point to point for such a map. Hexes give granularity but sometimes it's too much. Some modern games like Dungeonworld recommend point to point maps / flowchart campaign structures. This got me wondering a bit. There are a lot of forum threads along the lines of; How do I actually run an rpg session? Part of the cause of these threads is in my view the move of rpgs away from something simulated and structured to something very abstract. I don't have an issue with abstraction but it is more counter intuitive. In a world where the explorable area is mapped and rules govern how far you can move it is easier to understand the imaginary. If the game is series of connected 'scenes' it is harder to conceptualise.  My advice to any new GM is to draw maps of your world, dungeon, village etc. Make the world as real as you can.

Point to point maps have their origin in war games;


They were a response to a problem with area maps. 


The argument being, that area maps are sometimes unclear.  For instance if four areas meet at their corners can you move diagonally between them? Usually not. Point to point maps show clearly all the routes an army can take. I usually think that point to point maps can look a bit ugly in war games and prefer areas. Also when I'm thinking about conquering a country, I think of capturing areas, territories, not points. Sometimes point to point can look very good though, and in wars where the pathways were more important than territories it makes sense. I know Martin Wallace used point to point for A Few Acres of Snow because it was the routes down rivers and trails that were important in the war. Another advantage of point to point is it is easier to show movement restrictions. If you have a path between two areas that only one army a season could fit down, showing it by colouring the point to point line is easier than colouring a border on an area map.


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