Using a Visible Map in your RPG

Using props for your RPG game can make a welcome change if not overused.

I've seen physical letters, a sombrero for a character playing a Mexican, story dice cubes and even a puzzle box to break into.

And one of my favourites is a map people can see, and study...

Deadlands Town of Lahood

For my groups current game of Deadlands Reloaded (Savage Worlds) we have a town map of Lahood, where our electoral race for mayor is taking place.

This sits on a whiteboard in plain view of everyone and details the town centre where most of the action is taking place.

Map of Lahood for Deadlands Reloaded

Places to Go, Plans to Make

The map has made it easy for my players to see what the town offers and helped them lay their plans.

In some cases it has sparked a few ideas and gives more atmosphere for the setting.

Also important, it has cut down on questions about where things are located in relation to one another. They can see it straight away!

Mapping Opportunities

 This is the first time I've given a physical map that can be seen all the time (not just a handout) and it won't be the last. I hope you try it to.

Some ideas include

  • Star charts for your group's space voyages. Possibly using a monitor wired up to a map that can be explored by touch or mobile.
  • Maps of a town or city for a city campaign
  • Illustrated map of the region they are exploring, with illustrations covering gaps in the knowledge of the map maker
  • Interactive map your players are free to modify, either physical or digital
  • Maps showing visualisations such as populations, species, trade routes, military forces or magical sources.
  • A map to go down on the tabletop, which can be viewed during the session (and covered if you need to use miniatures for fight scenes!)

Leave a comment if you do something similar in your own games!