Monday, August 22, 2011

Making the Players Map the Dungeon is a Waste of Time..


So check this out, this is normally what happens in a game session, between players and a DM. Doesn't happen all the time, but it happens to DM's that often like to creature their own magic, instead of following a module.

DM: The passageway continues another 60' south. Following it, you come to a T-junction, the perpendicular corridor running east-west.
Player 1: Was that 60' from where we're standing, or 60' from the door?DM: Which door?
Player 1: The door on the east wall.
DM: You mean west wall? There was a door to the north and one to the west.
Player 1: That one (indicates door on map with eraser tip)
DM: Yeah. 60' from that one. 
Player 1: OK. I got it. Which way, guys?
Player 2: Let's go west and see if this backtracks.
DM: No objections? The party goes west, travelling another 40' before approaching a large, square 40' chamber. (Blah, blah, blah room description)
Player 1: Wait, does the other corridor intersect this chamber?
DM: Other corridor? There's no other corridor. There's only one way into or out of the room as far as you can tell
Player 1: The long corridor with the spiders. It runs right through this room.
DM: No it doesn't, that's clear on the other side of the dungeon.
Player 1: Not according to this (shows whole map)
DM: This is all wrong. You've got this all wrong.
Player 3: Man, you are the WORST mapper.
Player 1: No, I'm the ONLY mapper. I don't see anybody else ever volunteering to do it.
Player 4: So he's the worst AND the best. Where did we go wrong?
DM: Way back here at this intersection. This whole part of the dungeon is supposed to come off of the north passageway, not the east one. 
Player 1: I thought we went east there. I said we should go east.
DM: I thought B. said north (pointing to Player 2)
Player 4: (To Player 2) Did you say north or east here? I thought we were going south, toward the noise.
Player 2: What here? (Points to map) I don't remember, that was like an hour ago.  
Player 1: No we said away from the noise, you were refilling the chips.
Player 3:  CRAP! 

Player 4: I'm going to catch a smoke while we figure this out, that OK?
DM: Sure. Everybody take 5. I'll redraw it the way it's supposed to go.
Player 3: (To Player 1) Dude, you suck.
Player 4:  Piss off. You do it.

Screw it entirely. Don't sit there and quote how far and how long, just allow the players to imagine the dungeon in their minds. If a player starts mapping, tell them to stop, and put it away. Players mapping takes away from the flow of the game. I personally HATE I am trying to describe the scene and set it up to get.
"How far was that door?"
"Was it a wooden door?"
"The room you said was about 100ft, was that a perfect square a circle?"

WHO CARES. Just play. Just go with the fun, I as the DM will tell you were you are, what is happening. If minor details need to be given, I will draw it out.

Also, you might be saying, "Well how will we find our way out?" 

That is simple, I simply allow the players to be able to backtrack their movements with a few wisdom check rolls. Depending on the pace of the game, if its been a really slow paced game, I'd move things along by just allowing them to recall. But if they are blowing through the dungeon and easily getting around, then its time for dice rolls.

Simple as that. If a player wants to map, sure they can map, as long as they don't ask questions.

1 comment:

  1. I'll map for my players unless a player specifically asks to be a mapper - probably because they want to have a taste of playing "by the book" and time isn't scarce.

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