White Board Map

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Hello All,
So i had the smart idea to buy a small White Board and dry erase markers for doing encounter maps for D&D, so now im trying to come up with a Generic Map & Color Key i can use druing encounters, thing is I need to be able to use the same Key for every map, so im trying to decide how best to make as big a key as i can with only 7 colors. Here is what i got...

Red
Orange
Green
Blue
Magenta
Purple
Black

My idea was to have a PC and NPC color and just use initials for the marks then use other colors and map style marks to detail the map for any specific encounter but im having a afiew color issues. If i use green or blue for players then if i add any water or grass they would be lost in it. Also how should i scale the map, should i go close in like a bird's eye view and add some detail or do more of a dungion map view and use basic doodles for things like trees rocks pillars and stuff. Any sugestions or ideas would be great! I look forward to seeing what you have to say, Thanks.           
   Only pretty basic ideas here..

  Blue - water
  Green - plants
  Black - unknown or blocking
  Red - danger

  Now I doubt you want a PC or NPC color.  Both move around a lot and will require a lot of erasure and drawing.  Figures or little magnets or stickies will likely work better.
I'm pretty sure that you can buy magnets that have erasable surfaced tops. With that you can right initials on them corresponding to the monsters and PCs as they come up and just pick them up and move them around. If your willing to make purchases, I would say it might be worthwhile to get some tokens on amazon or buy the Dungeons Master's Kit and/or the Monster Vault for the tokens, not to mention the other valuable things in those sets. There are some video reviews on youtube that show you all of the stuff you get in those boxes. I used to play on graph paper during my early 3e days and tokens are definetly a worthwhile investment. Hope this helped!
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The problem with whiteboards and dry-erase is that it doesn't take much to smudge or erase, so those pretty trees and rocks and caves you've drawn are going to disappear after one round of combat.

An erasable battlemat with wet-erase markers will do what you need.
Red - Enemies
Orange - Fire/Lava (I find it comes up more than you would expect)
Green -  Trees, Hedges and vegitative terrain. Don't draw grass, you will end up drawing tons of it.
Blue - Water
Magenta -  Allies/NPCs.
Purple - Magical Auras/walls and effects. 

Black - Use it to outline features and general "stuff".


I would only break it out for combat encounters. Then just draw features relavent to the encounter. For a world map, use a seperate sheet of graph paper or something. This probably won't change much. 

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The problem with whiteboards and dry-erase is that it doesn't take much to smudge or erase, so those pretty trees and rocks and caves you've drawn are going to disappear after one round of combat.

An erasable battlemat with wet-erase markers will do what you need.



I think the erasable battlemats seem to be one of the better out-of-the-box mapping options I've seen.

I've never tried it, but I hear that using a piece of plexiglass on top of paper poster maps, sketched paper maps, downloaded and printed PDF maps, Dungeon Tiles, and even pre-printed erasable battlemats, in combination with erasable markers used to draw on the plexiglass, is supposed to be a very good opiton.
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