Understand how to use maps.....

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A group of us are wanting to start playing D&D 4 but I have a question about how to use the maps in the senarios.  In each of the senarios it has Maps of what an encounter will look like.  But I can never seem to find a full size version of the map anywhere in the senario?  How are these intended to be used?  Is there a book of maps that I was suppose to purchase? Point me in the right direction here.  Thanks!

-Jeff 
Yeah, that's an issue. You can buy Dungeon Tiles, which some of the maps are made of, but it's probably better to just draw your own, or use some other existing map in a creative way. You don't have to run the encounters exactly as presented.

Good luck.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Just seems silly to me that they would take time to create the map, then not spend the extra 2 seconds to place a useable one in the book with it.  If I could at least just purchase them that would be great too.  As much as I want to spend time creating a bunch of stuff, I would rather just pay someone else to do it so I can spend my time playing.   =P  To each his own I guess.  
I would suggest looking at the various maps in the DMG as a basis, and work from there. Buy a battlemat and wet-erase markers. If you can, draw the map(s) out ahead of time. If you can, get a double-sided battlemat so you can just flip it over.

To me, one of the most frustrating things was that when modules did come with maps, they'd print out the easy, square maps, but leave us to draw up the most convoluted and complicated ones.
Just seems silly to me that they would take time to create the map, then not spend the extra 2 seconds to place a useable one in the book with it.

I expect it's more to do with the money.

  If I could at least just purchase them that would be great too.  As much as I want to spend time creating a bunch of stuff, I would rather just pay someone else to do it so I can spend my time playing.   =P  To each his own I guess.  

It takes two seconds to sketch out a map, and probably less time to repurpose an old one. Plenty of games don't even use maps, and with enough trust at the table 4th Edition doesn't require one either.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Hmm, I guess I see what you are saying.  I think that part of the appeal of this was being able to play out little battles with minis.   Maybe a different game would be closer to what we are looking for.
Hmm, I guess I see what you are saying.  I think that was part of the appeal of this was being able to play out little battles with minis.   Maybe a different game would be closer to what we are looking for.  

Yes, probably. Besides which, the D&D combat rules are flatly uninteresting compared to dedicated wargames, as they're designed to be a loose framework that allows anything a player can think of, rather than something that covers every option.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Well Thanks for the help.  At least I won't be going mad trying to find the correct maps =P  I supposed we can give this a shot.  The worst that can happen is we hate it!  Thanks again.

 
Playing 4e without some kind of map is akin to taking a motorcycle, removing the engine, and raplcing it with a chain and foot pedals.
It's possible, but completely against its design and purpose.

Buying a wet erase board is probably the easiest, but you can print graph paper for free, and spend a few seconds drawing it up.
Mini's aren't specifically necessary, but you do want something to represent everything in combat. Again, you can get free print-out paper minis online, or buy a supplement like the MonsterVault which comes with hundreds of monster tokens to use. 
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Playing 4e without some kind of map is akin to taking a motorcycle, removing the engine, and raplcing it with a chain and foot pedals.
It's possible, but completely against its design and purpose.

The design and purpose was to allow players to do cool things without having to clear it with the DM. If players don't mind clearing it with the DM, or the DM gives the players narrative control, and there's a enough trust at the table, not only do you not need a map but you can do something better without a map.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Playing 4e without some kind of map is akin to taking a motorcycle, removing the engine, and raplcing it with a chain and foot pedals.
It's possible, but completely against its design and purpose.

The design and purpose was to allow players to do cool things without having to clear it with the DM. If players don't mind clearing it with the DM, or the DM gives the players narrative control, and there's a enough trust at the table, not only do you not need a map but you can do something better without a map.




Tell that to any character that really needs exact positioning for his character to function properly.

4e needs a map.

One of the best things you can use is a Chessex map.  Make sure to use wet-erase markers. 
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..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Tell that to any character that really needs exact positioning for his character to function properly.

4e needs a map.

One of the best things you can use is a Chessex map.  Make sure to use wet-erase markers. 



Any game where you have combat movements and distances made in concrete measurements needs a map.
Sharpies are banned from the gaming table.
Any game where you have combat movements and distances made in concrete measurements needs a map.

Not hardly. A good portion of the time, sometimes for entire encounters, exact positioning doesn't matter a whit. We like to think it does, but it doesn't nearly as often as we think it does.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Any game where you have combat movements and distances made in concrete measurements needs a map.

Not hardly. A good portion of the time, sometimes for entire encounters, exact positioning doesn't matter a whit. We like to think it does, but it doesn't nearly as often as we think it does.



I can't actually think of a time where, handwaving aside, it didn't matter to my rogue or barbarian where anyone is.
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There are versions of D&D where a map is not necessary, but If you play 4E without the 1" grids, you are really playing another version.  That doesn't mean that there are any less of the other aspects of an rpg like role playing and skill checks in this iteration, but 4E's greatest trait is that it takes the guesswork out of combat and puts the cool factor into those great powers and skills where everyone can see it.  That creates a dynamic where your fellow players can see what you are doing and enhance it, capitalize on it and/or play off of it in a cool work-together kind of team effort.

4e without the grid is like buying a car to have a stereo. 
Any game where you have combat movements and distances made in concrete measurements needs a map.

Not hardly. A good portion of the time, sometimes for entire encounters, exact positioning doesn't matter a whit. We like to think it does, but it doesn't nearly as often as we think it does.



I suppose if nobody is using area of effect attacks, and it's a flat wide open battlefield with no obstacles or terrain features, and nobody wants to flank, then yes, it wouldn't matter.
There are versions of D&D where a map is not necessary, but If you play 4E without the 1" grids, you are really playing another version.

There isn't another version in which spellcasters are balanced with other classes across the board.

That doesn't mean that there are any less of the other aspects of an rpg like role playing and skill checks in this iteration, but 4E's greatest trait is that it takes the guesswork out of combat and puts the cool factor into those great powers and skills where everyone can see it.

Advocates of past editions (I am not one) will tell you that they could always due cool stuff in combat. And that's true, if they had a DM that would allow them to do it.

  That creates a dynamic where your fellow players can see what you are doing and enhance it, capitalize on it and/or play off of it in a cool work-together kind of team effort.

This is why combat takes forever. Most of that dynamism, and most of what you see, doesn't matter a whit. Haven't you ever sat there and watched someone count movement and range, when it's dead obvious that something is or isn't possible? Or argued over whether or not someone was flanking and then rolled something the bonus wouldn't have changed? Or gotten out a big map and had all the action clot in one place. Exact distances rarely matter, and in trying to make them matter, we waste time at the table.

Don't get me wrong, I like using a map. Asking for clarification from a DM wastes time too. But if you have a DM you trust, and who trusts you, a map is not necessary, and becomes difficult to recommend, because the cool combos just work. Obviously it's possible for the wizard to hit just the enemies, or push the enemy into the damaging terrain. Obviously it's possible for the fighter to get an OA. Obviously it's possible for the rogue avoids OA. It's obviously possible on a grid, too, but for some reason the presence of the grid makes us have to stop and count it out anyway. And sometimes ask for permission, too.

Nope, you don't need a map, just "Yes, and...." Another 4E inclusion, by the way.

4e without the grid is like buying a car to have a stereo.

I bought 4e for the balance and abstraction. I use a grid, but not always. Sometimes it's just not necessary, and slows things down.

Any game where you have combat movements and distances made in concrete measurements needs a map.

Not hardly. A good portion of the time, sometimes for entire encounters, exact positioning doesn't matter a whit. We like to think it does, but it doesn't nearly as often as we think it does.

I suppose if nobody is using area of effect attacks, and it's a flat wide open battlefield with no obstacles or terrain features, and nobody wants to flank, then yes, it wouldn't matter.

Obstacles and terrain features are easily handwaved. Lots of the time, players don't bother with them anyway.

As for flanking, 90% of the time, if you want to flank, you can, probably with movement to spare. Just say you are and be done with it. Who cares? It's not hard to get OA in any case.


If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Centauri, I know it sucks but it is pretty obvious that you do actually lose a pretty big part of the depth of the 4e design if you ignore the map in combat.

I'm not saying it is inherently bad or good.  I'm not saying you can't play without it.  What I'm saying is that it was designed to be played with a map and all of the abilities function that way.  There is a reason it is Close Burst 5 instead of Close Burst 25.  The board really does matter.

Also, if you are trying to work at the tactical side of things, there are a ton of terrain effects that will really matter to your players in combat.  I think last combat we had the players were about to flank something a grand total of twice due to terrain and other limitations.  It isn't always trivial, and even when it is there is a lot of other stuff to take into account.  Sure you can handwave "hey can I hit all the trogs with my fireball and not hit the fighter?", but its a different game than generic 4e DnD. 
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I echo what people say above--just get a wet-erase battlemat and draw the room for each encounter. I do not think the game would really be improved by having gigantic table-sized battle maps necessarily published for every map in every adventure.

Especially considering that in the single adventure I purchased (Marauders of the Dune Sea) before WOTC abandoned my world to the internet, one of the two battle maps was completely worthless. Dark Sun battle mat full of oxen, medievial-European market decorations, water, etc.
Centauri, I know it sucks but it is pretty obvious that you do actually lose a pretty big part of the depth of the 4e design if you ignore the map in combat.

I'm not saying it is inherently bad or good.  I'm not saying you can't play without it.  What I'm saying is that it was designed to be played with a map and all of the abilities function that way.  There is a reason it is Close Burst 5 instead of Close Burst 25.  The board really does matter.

Also, if you are trying to work at the tactical side of things, there are a ton of terrain effects that will really matter to your players in combat.  I think last combat we had the players were about to flank something a grand total of twice due to terrain and other limitations.  It isn't always trivial, and even when it is there is a lot of other stuff to take into account.  Sure you can handwave "hey can I hit all the trogs with my fireball and not hit the fighter?", but its a different game than generic 4e DnD. 




This.
Centauri, I know it sucks but it is pretty obvious that you do actually lose a pretty big part of the depth of the 4e design if you ignore the map in combat.


Engaging with that "depth of design" is not always appropriate. It's a schematic when a sketch would do.

I'm not saying it is inherently bad or good.  I'm not saying you can't play without it.  What I'm saying is that it was designed to be played with a map and all of the abilities function that way.  There is a reason it is Close Burst 5 instead of Close Burst 25.  The board really does matter.


Not as much as people want it to. It's like alignment: it's there, it's a player choice, and so it seems as though it should make a significant impact on the game. Because it does not inherently have the expected impact, people look hard for ways to justify their choices. In every single combat round.

Also, if you are trying to work at the tactical side of things, there are a ton of terrain effects that will really matter to your players in combat.  I think last combat we had the players were about to flank something a grand total of twice due to terrain and other limitations.


The point is: did flanking, or not, make any difference to his group in that encounter. The odds are good that it did not, or at most cost them a few extra resources that didn't matter two encounters later. I guarantee that figuring out how to get that flanking took up game time far out of proportion to its benefit. This is even assuming there weren't arguments, and confusion, and copious amounts of recounting, rechecking and reexplaining as the DM tried to make sure that the players weren't getting around something.

It isn't always trivial, and even when it is there is a lot of other stuff to take into account.


It's there to be taken into account, but it probably doesn't all need to be.

Sure you can handwave "hey can I hit all the trogs with my fireball and not hit the fighter?", but its a different game than generic 4e DnD.


This is a meaningless statement. I don't play a given game a given way for its own sake, I play it that way to enjoy it. Besides which, 4e D&D certainly doesn't prohibit gridless combat, or any other approach I want to take. In fact, it offers several different options for approaching challenges and scenes, and a group should use whichever of those makes the most sense at the time, rather than feeling beholden to something the books don't actually require.

The amount of print or rules devoted to an aspect of the game need influence no one to give that aspect of the game, or any aspect of that aspect of the game, any more weight than any other aspect. The car/stereo analogy is poppycock for this reason, and so is any implication that playing "a different game than generic 4e DnD" has any bearing on how someone should play "generic 4e DnD."

This.

Well done.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

A group of us are wanting to start playing D&D 4 but I have a question about how to use the maps in the senarios.  In each of the senarios it has Maps of what an encounter will look like.  But I can never seem to find a full size version of the map anywhere in the senario?  How are these intended to be used?  Is there a book of maps that I was suppose to purchase? Point me in the right direction here.  Thanks!

-Jeff 



Jeff, which specific module did you have in mind to run? Many people have made downloadable maps of the best-known modules. If you let me know which modules you are running I might be able to like you a set of maps. Alternatively use google-searching to locate. 
Engaging with that "depth of design" is not always appropriate. It's a schematic when a sketch would do.

No, but you probably should start out by playing closer to the book, learning how the game was designing to be played, and then venture from there once you have a strong basis.

Not as much as people want it to. It's like alignment: it's there, it's a player choice, and so it seems as though it should make a significant impact on the game. Because it does not inherently have the expected impact, people look hard for ways to justify their choices. In every single combat round.

The problem with alignment is that it is subjective and ambiguous.  The fact that its player choice isn't in that debate at all.  In Theater of the Mind a lot of stuff is subjective and ambiguous but grid based combat is very straightforward.  There isn't a lot of wiggle room there.  Things do what they say.

The point is: did flanking, or not, make any difference to his group in that encounter. The odds are good that it did not, or at most cost them a few extra resources that didn't matter two encounters later. I guarantee that figuring out how to get that flanking took up game time far out of proportion to its benefit. This is even assuming there weren't arguments, and confusion, and copious amounts of recounting, rechecking and reexplaining as the DM tried to make sure that the players weren't getting around something.

This is two issues.  The first is whether playing tactically on the grid made a difference. The second is whether following the rules to do so created fewer arguments than not doing it that way.  
1:
I would propose that, in several combats I've run, where the player is standing from round to round, whether they have CA or not, whether they can charge that target or not and whether they can see how much they can blast without clipping allies does make a big difference to a tactically minded combat.  If it isn't making a difference, chances are that combat needs something to make the choices better and the combat more interesting.
2:
From what I have seen of Theater of the Mind (from playing a lot in 3.5 and PF) not having clear definitions of who is where takes a lot more time than anyone being able to know at a glance.  Its very easy to see where everything is and figure out a good tactical move if you can clearly see everything in order to make your decision.  Instead of saying "So... on the golbin's last turn it was near the tree that was 20 feet away and it charged the fighter who was a bit away from the rogue.  The rogue is like, what 15 feet from me?  So if I cast my spell between the fighter and the rogue I think thats where the goblin is and its probably not going to get the tree cause that was near where the goblin started.  Right?"  Without a clear way to see where everything is, it is harder to make your decisions.  At least that is what I have experienced.  Imagine how a Battle Interactive would work without a grid.

It's there to be taken into account, but it probably doesn't all need to be.

Right, but taking it into account isn't taking it and throwing it to the wayside.  The abilities, the descriptions, all the examples of things in 4e combat take place on a grid.  Especially for a new player, playing without one is probably going to lead to a lot of argument and/or ambiguity or a severe lack of tactical playing.  Not saying it is impossible, but seems very unlikely from what I've seen.

Sure you can handwave "hey can I hit all the trogs with my fireball and not hit the fighter?", but its a different game than generic 4e DnD.


This is a meaningless statement. I don't play a given game a given way for its own sake, I play it that way to enjoy it.
Right but if you are trying to learn how to play 4e.  Like, if you ever want to go and play it at a con, its probably important to vaguely know how the rules work.  If someone showed up at my LFR table with a character and was baffled that they had to learn the grid system from scratch and they had been ignoring it for a year of play I would feel bad for them.

Besides which, 4e D&D certainly doesn't prohibit gridless combat, or any other approach I want to take. In fact, it offers several different options for approaching challenges and scenes, and a group should use whichever of those makes the most sense at the time, rather than feeling beholden to something the books don't actually require.

From the PHB1:

"When a combat encounter starts, it’s time to turn your attention to the battle grid. The combat rules assume that you use D&D Dungeon Tiles, a poster map, a gridded white board, or an erasable, gridded mat to show the area where a battle takes place. The rules also assume that you use D&D Miniatures to represent the adventurers and the enemies they face." 


So actually the books pretty clearly state they assume everyone is using gridded combat.  They state that pretty clearly at the very beginning of the description on combat.

That entire section basically says "We are giving you all of the rules in all of these books starting from the premise that you are using gridded combat."  Thats pretty darned close to "we require you to use a grid to play".
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I echo what people say above--just get a wet-erase battlemat and draw the room for each encounter. I do not think the game would really be improved by having gigantic table-sized battle maps necessarily published for every map in every adventure.

Especially considering that in the single adventure I purchased (Marauders of the Dune Sea) before WOTC abandoned my world to the internet, one of the two battle maps was completely worthless. Dark Sun battle mat full of oxen, medievial-European market decorations, water, etc.

And the darksun tileset - half the maps are of water. I get that water would be source of battles, butthere's more water in the darksun tileset than the forest one I brought. 

"http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75862/29330951/Is_There_a_Way_to_Play_Saga_Edition_Without_Maps..._"

Might help. The two systems are very similar at the base of their comat rules. They use the same types of maps, etc
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