Wacky idea of the week …
So I’ll admit it, this mapping idea is pretty out there.
It started when I saw this public post by Ray Otus on MeWe (I don’t know how to link to a post in MeWe, so here’s a clipping):
.. and, it got me thinking about how to present Fighting Fantasy (FF) type books (and then modules/adventures) in a cross-referenceable grid. Since FF books have 400 entries, I thought I’d use something less ambitious to test this idea out, like my 1988 Dungeon:
So here’s the normal 1988 Dungeon map:
Grid Crawl map version
And now here’s the same map present in a ‘Grid Crawl’ format:
To make this, I simply put a mark between interlinked rooms/locations.
Once you get your eye in, it’s fairly easy to navigate this map. Say you are in Location 3, you either read up and down Column 3 (or side to side along Row 3) to see which rooms/locations you can travel to, i.e. from Location 3 you can get to Locations 1, 4, 7, 9 or 21. Rinse and repeat to navigate the dungeon. Clearly, this is a completely abstracted point crawl version of the 1988 Dungeon presented in two dimensions. And to be fair, this is just a test, to see what the outcome was like.
Edit – Here’s also a ‘grid crawl’ version of the famous ‘point crawl’ in Slumbering Ursine Dunes; the only obvious advantage is that it dispenses with the need for two 13s on the original point crawl map:
Analytics / other things
The heat map on the right shows the nodes of connectivity. Also, the number at the bottom right gives a measure of non-linearity of the adventure (Jaquay(ing) Number ??? … for more on this please see this post, which also pointed me to this post). For example, completely linear adventure, e.g. Room 1 leads to Room 2, leads to Room 3 etc, would have a ‘Jaquaying Number’ number of 0.
It’s probably abstracted beyond the point of being useful (when starting from an already completed map). But, in theory, it means you could easily generate and run a point crawl with a very simple mechanical setup, or use a simple program to make a dungeon. I suspect, this could form the bones of some sort of program led adventure.
If nothing else, it’s just another way to do a map! Go figure …
I’m just putting this out there for people to make of it what they will. RPG’ers are creative lot, there might be some sort of nifty social encounter mechanism hiding in here somewhere, or way to use it as some sort of AI engine etc …
So, if you have any feedback (or better ideas), I’d be glad to receive them.
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Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea.
Very cool. I think if nothing else the heat map of active nodes is important. Note that I identified certain passages that offered the most interesting moral choices in the CYOA book I was reading. Thinking in reverse, as you populate your dungeon it seems more likely that characters will be in and/or return to those hot zones, so it’s a good place to put key points of interest. Neat!
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I really like this! I agree with you that I think there are possible applications beyond what you’ve intended that are not obvious. I’m terrible at visuo-spatial stuff, I pretty much exclusively design dungeons by donjon random dungeon generator, and then edit the contents myself. Even editing the HTML and having it intra-hyperlinked is a pain, if nothing else, something like this could be a really easy tool to run the dungeon with, and also doesn’t require me to actually map it out while still implying a visuo-spatial organization! I know pointcrawls are a pre-existing thing, but I never had a great framework to developing them, but I think this could be it.
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Hi Max, thanks for the comment. I’ve also toyed with the idea of using this ‘Grid Crawl’ type map in combination with the pop-up feature shown in the below linked ‘SAM module’ approach:
This is probably not what you are after … but, as you point out there might be some interesting gaming applications/options out there for people to use/try!
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You’ve just independently reinvented what’s known in computer science as an “adjacency matrix”:
That’s certainly not intended as a criticism – both point-crawls and grid-crawls represent location information as graphs, and when you have a lot of vertices (dungeon rooms or points of interest) and edges (connections between the rooms or points), an adjacency matrix can be more compact and easier to draw than the kind of graph diagrams Chris Kutalik used in his original point-crawl posts.
Cool, thanks for the link! Interesting stuff.
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