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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » Game Masters

Subject: Worst Convoluted Maps rss

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Geoffrey Burrell
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Which game that everyone else out there whom GMed an adventure where the map of a castle that was illogically laid out so much that was convoluted an totally sucked?
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I find that usually the convoluted map works gamewise but isn't very logical from a castle design perspective. And conversely, logical maps are either too big and empty or too small and easily navigated for game play.
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Mark Wilson
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I generally think maps enhance games, so it's pretty hard to think of one where it detracted from events.

In our Curse of Strahd game, the 3D map of the castle they provide is a bit confusing. It's pretty, but not ideal for gameplay. We later found 2D maps that are more logically laid out, and have used those exclusively.

That's the closest I can think of. I'll be honest and say there are plenty of old-school dungeon crawls with (to me) relatively random layouts. I'm not sure I'd have the same love for D&D if my intro to it was a 100+ room mega-dungeon grind. But I'm also guessing a bit, since I haven't experienced a crawl of that magnitude.
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Clark Timmins
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I've looked at several real-world castle/fortress maps that make it very clear the whole confabulation was built piece-wise, with no overall plan. You'd be hard pressed to find fantasy castle/fortress maps that made less sense.
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Hans Messersmith
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ctimmins wrote:
I've looked at several real-world castle/fortress maps that make it very clear the whole confabulation was built piece-wise, with no overall plan. You'd be hard pressed to find fantasy castle/fortress maps that made less sense.
Heh, I've worked in hospitals for the past 15 years, and there isn't a single one that has any kind of rational sense to its floor plan. They accrete like coral reefs over time with various new wings added with wealthy donor names on them, all shoved together with walls knocked out to make new connections and frequently with different heights for the floors (e.g. level 4 in one section is roughly level 3.5 in another). I'm sure most historic castles were much the same. I would expect dungeons to be the same as well.
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john Whyte
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My go to here is the map of the glassworks in Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition. It's in both the original and the anniversary edition. It's the first dungeon. It's big and despite effectively being rooms is oriented wrong on the page the rooms are all at weird angles to the grid. Most of the rooms are at the same angle so it would have been easy to snap the layout to a grid.

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Roger
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skalchemist wrote:
ctimmins wrote:
I've looked at several real-world castle/fortress maps that make it very clear the whole confabulation was built piece-wise, with no overall plan. You'd be hard pressed to find fantasy castle/fortress maps that made less sense.
Heh, I've worked in hospitals for the past 15 years, and there isn't a single one that has any kind of rational sense to its floor plan. They accrete like coral reefs over time with various new wings added with wealth donor names on them, all shoved together with walls knocked out to make new connections and frequently with different heights for the floors (e.g. level 4 in one section is roughly level 3.5 in another). I'm sure most historic castles were much the same. I would expect dungeons to be the same as well.

You should see the floor plan of my high school. Hint it was built into a hill, or parts of the ground level were suppose to be a bunker if the a bomb dropped.
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John "Omega" Williams
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GeoffreyB wrote:
Which game that everyone else out there whom GMed an adventure where the map of a castle that was illogically laid out so much that was convoluted an totally sucked?


While not convoluted overall. I will say that most of the maps in the 5e D&D setting book, Sword Coast Adventurers Guide are really bad. Some are very murky and hard to read. Some have no locations listed. Some have no grid even. And several are too mall to make any sense of.

Ran into this too with the map of Barovia in the Curse of Strahd module. The map is tiny in the book. There is a bigger insert map. But you have to tear it out of the book to open it.
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Doctor Tough
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A2: Secret of the Slavers Stockade is basically one giant hallway with rooms off of it. So if you're a monster on guard duty to get back to your room you have to walk through all these trap areas with mirrors and fake mummies and cloakers all sorts of other stuff. It's also not even remotely fire code.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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This is a *simplified* map of Mont St. Michel in France:

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Hans Messersmith
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Dr Tough wrote:
A2: Secret of the Slavers Stockade is basically one giant hallway with rooms off of it. So if you're a monster on guard duty to get back to your room you have to walk through all these trap areas with mirrors and fake mummies and cloakers all sorts of other stuff. It's also not even remotely fire code.


Goblin Boss: "Right, who put this fire trap here?"

Goblin Slaver: "ummm, well, we needed to block off that passage to prevent adventurers..."

Goblin Boss: "Adventurers?! You needed to block off adventurers?! Do you have ANY IDEA how much our dungeon insurance premiums would go up if the boys from Tiamat, Orcus and Lloyd Insurance saw this here? We'd be bankrupt before the next full moon! Get it out of here, you idiot!"

Goblin Slaver: "Yes boss."
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Alain Curato
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And what you cannot see on it are the hidden crypts.

The first church on the mount was a small one. When the monks got wealthy and had pilgrims, they rounded out the top and built rings of rooms around it to make the basis for the cathedral.

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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Karkared wrote:
And what you cannot see on it are the hidden crypts.

Right, and there are actually levels below the one you've shown. There's this, and I think parts of this level have something beneath them, too:



I've played in a Three Musketeers game set there - the GM (Paul Dupuis) had printouts of all the subterranean rooms and passages - it was marvelous.
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Phil Dutré
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If you look at the historical lay-outs of *real* medieval European castles, most of them are rather simple and boring, and not suited at all for an exciting rpg adventure that relies on an interesting map. People tend to forget these were not massive structures with 100s of rooms, but simply open courtyards surrounded by walls and towers with one main building that had living quarters. Granted, the courtyard itself might have had wooden structures for stables etc, most of them which have (naturally) disappeared over time.

Most real medieval castles are also relatively small affairs.

There are a few exceptions of very large sites, of which indeed Mont St Michel is one. But these are more like cities rather than a single castle.
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