Posted by : David Guyll December 14, 2013

Looks like we get maps instead of monsters, this week. Though I am not exactly a fan of hex maps it is still a decently informative article that helps put various map scales into perspective. I do question the proposed ratio of 1:10:50; why not go with something like 2:10:50 so that it scales consistently? Also at the end of the article it mentions a "traditional" dungeon map scale of 10 feet to a square. I hope that that will not become the default unit of measurement, as any group that wants to break out the minis (which groups did use pre-4th Edition) will need to do some extra work translating the map to a grid.

Kind of related I think that a kind of abstracted movement" rules module would be cool to have. You would not need to deal with precise distances in the dungeon, and it could be especially handy for those wanting to take more of a "theater of the mind" approach. Something like The Dresden Files's zones or Numenera's immediate, short, and long movement bands.

It would be nice to see some more mapping advice and information in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Like some basics on (normal) geography and climate rules, where to (normally) place villages and fortifications, and designing nations. Some people really get into this sort of stuff, but I think it can be intimidating for people that are just getting into world-building or even just want to run a fun game. I would also include other mapping (mapless?) methods like starting with a less-detailed local map and building out from there as the campaign progresses, like how you are supposed to do it in Dungeon World.

D&D Next Questions & Answers Bonus Feature!
Since there was not much to say about maps I figured I would also talk about this week's Q&A article, specifically the third question on the status of positional advantages.

So despite flanking being incredibly easy to model off the grid (just tweak something like 13th Age's engagement status), your allies will apparently provide cover to creatures you are attacking at range. Oh, and you can also maneuver in such a way that the monster is between you and your ally, making it harder for them to get hit. Yeah, I am sure groups will not have any trouble whatsoever trying to determine who is granting cover to what.

Seriously, it could get annoying even when you do use a grid, so if this is something that is going to make it into the default game then surely flanking would not be difficult to manage. If it ends up being part of a more "advanced" rules module I will not be surprised, as this is the team that thinks giving opportunity attacks all of two triggers is just too complicated, and that the elegant solution is to create an entirely new rule for everyone to remember.

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