GM Tips: Use the Map
GM Tips articles offer advice and ideas for gamesmasters to help hone their techniques and run their games, these lists are not exhaustive but provide some tips to point a GM in the right direction.
Have you ever had one of those moments when someone suggests something to you, that as soon as you hear it seems really obvious and yet you’d never considered it up until that point?
One of the many good suggestions that Rob made during our current D&D campaign is that I should have the map up on the screen of our Google Hangouts (since we’re running online) more, in retrospect this seems really obvious but was something I hadn’t considered before. I gave it a go during the last session and (despite a few initial technical hitches with screen sharing) it seemed to help during the session, I screenshared an MS Paint window with the map of Battlebridge in it and used arrows drawn freehand to show the characters travels around the city; when I needed to use it again later I could just press CTRL+Z to undo/remove the previous arrows.
I also really found this useful as a GM allowing me to keep track of where everyone was and be able to give them descriptions of the places that they were walking past and the people they might meet.
Although we did this online I’m pretty sure the same would be applicable in a face-to-face game, you could lay out a map on the table between your players, cover it with acetate and use a wipeable marker or a chinagraph pencil to draw the arrows on it, wiping them off as necessary.
I found this was extremely useful and would advise any GM to consider getting the map out more and using it as a tool to aid in exploration around your game world.
Picture is part of a Doré wood engraving illustration from The Divine Comedy labeled for reuse on Google Image Search, the original image can be found here.Tags: campaign, campaign idea, campaign ideas, Grim World, maps