On Exploration Maps

I love player maps drawn in the heat of the moment during the session. Even more, I love it when the map tells the story of the exploration the players have been experiencing. For today’s post, big thanks are due to Arlen and Evil Jeff from the Saturday Night Roleplay group for sharing their maps from the first expedition into Thaarl.

Symbolism was an important aspect of the play on Saturday night when the group first penetrated the half-buried ziggurat which they were tasked with exploring. I love how Arlen’s map details the Elemental symbols that they discovered and notes key features of the rooms. This gives us a strong impression of the space and suggests that meaning might be found in the details.

Evil Jeff’s map is more concerned with scale but it too contains the major symbols discovered in the chamber. It’s more carefully drawn and was the product of considerable descriptive clarification. We can imagine the character, Volin, pacing up and down the tunnels and chambers counting the paces between archways.

What I appreciate is the evidence that the players were engaged in exploration. The details mattered to them because they seem to understand that details exist for a reason in the Dungeons of Thaarl. The symbols are no idle dungeon dressing, but the key to accessing more and deeper realms. These players realised this and capitalised on the clues through making a map.

On top of all of that, I felt the adventurous nature of the characters coming alive through play. This is itself symbolised in the maps. They capture – at least for me – a strong and positive memory of playing with this group that will stay with me a very long time.

When one player commented that finding a secret stairway was, “almost as good as treasure,” I knew we were onto something special. Thanks for sharing, chaps!

Game on!

One comment

  1. “When one player commented that finding a secret stairway was, “almost as good as treasure,” I knew we were onto something special.”

    This is great.

    A lot of commentators on RPG’s put far too much emphasis is put on treasure and XP being what drives play and behavior of players. The experience of play and the rewards of solving a mystery, making progress toward an objective, the experience of fellowship and comradery are as much a driver of player choice as XP and GP.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.