Wednesday 27 November 2013

The Art of Map-Making

Another house rule, this time regarding map making.

While playing on Roll20, I realized that map making was not very compatible. I also never liked player and paper map making because puts things in the hands of the player, not the PC so you could end up with a 6INT barbarian keeping tracks of everything just because his player is an artist and make superb maps.


  • Map-making includes rudimentary mapping but also notes and descriptions. It requires some paper (1 per area/region) and some writing tools.
  • By default, it's in common but you can specify other languages.
  • If you choose the "map-making" action during the exploration phase of an area, do a DEX or INT(map-making) check, with proficiency bonus if you are proficient with the map-making tool and have one. I will then write these down with the roll in a journal entry. (ie: Trail from Crossing to Pflenzen - 17, Map of Pflenzen - 15, etc).
  • When you try to recall details about an area, you do an INT(recall) check with no proficiency bonus. By default, the DC ranges from moderate to impossible, depending on the area and how long ago you visited it. 
  • If a map was made, the DC will be lowered for anyone trying to recall something and using the map. Overall it would give something like this: INT(recall) Trail to Pflenzen, DC 20 - 17/2 = DC12.
  • "Recalling" an area includes not only it's layout, but also various details that were either written down as notes on the map or that you are reminded thanks to the map refreshing your memory. Drawings, stonework and other particular details might be recalled this way, details depending on the success range of the INT(recall) check. If need be, the actual map will also be revealed again, even if you're no longer on it.
  • You need a long rest before doing more than one recall check per given area.
  • By default, the recalling an area is an action that takes about 10 minutes. You can spend more time, potentially lowering the DC.
  • New tool: Map-making tool (25gp, 1 pound, 10 uses, includes paper).
  • Maps can sometimes be bought (or sold) in certain areas. Price is usually depending on the area you need a map for, overall map rarity in the current area and it's quality. For example, a simple map of Freiburg (10) that you're trying to buy in Freiburg itself would cost 5gp while a detailed map of Freiburg (20) would be about 50gp. The map pricing is something like this: base price of 5gp * 10(bonus to recall) * 1(common) * 1(available).
  • If you are selling a map, random merchants won't buy them usually. However for interesting areas and quality maps, it might be a decent alternative way to make some cash if you locate buyers.

Edit: Danik has been using this rule for a time now, works quite nicely.

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