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> Using battle maps? How many of you do it?
Shadowfox
post Jan 3 2009, 09:56 PM
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How many of you use battle maps, and/or how common is it among Shadowrun players? I've played 3.5 dnd and many times we wouldn't use a map and it made it more fun to visualise more than use a map. When I've played 4th edition DND, I hasn't felt the same to me, almost as if I'm just playing a weird chess game with magic and swords.

I'm just wondering if anyone doesn't use maps, and how it works for you?
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Muspellsheimr
post Jan 3 2009, 10:03 PM
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We always use a map, usually hex-grid, for combat, & occasionally other mapping. It makes it significantly easier to work out positions, movement, line of sight, etc, & I will not ever play in a game without some kind of visual representation again.
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Maelstrome
post Jan 4 2009, 12:41 AM
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we used a map once, but it slowed the gamed down a bit to set up the "stages" and move the figures around. i dont use maps unless i feel its necessary to get a point across. we prefer to visualize the area and the events.
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NetWraith
post Jan 4 2009, 01:11 AM
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We use a map(it's actually a table with the grid drawn on then clear coat on that) it works well for tactical combats
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The Jake
post Jan 4 2009, 01:20 AM
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Whiteboard, whiteboard markers and magnets ftw.

This means the GM keeps the full map behind the screen but draws up the main one for everyone on the whiteboard.

- J.
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vollmond
post Jan 4 2009, 01:32 AM
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We've been using Maptools. My group all has their laptops out most of the time anyway, makes it easy to visualize combat. We usually don't bother outside of combat.
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Hagga
post Jan 4 2009, 01:39 AM
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Our GM just describes most of the scenes we enter with brief detail, painting an excellent picture. We then keep little maps in our heads, as does he. Works really well; bugger paper.
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Rasumichin
post Jan 4 2009, 01:51 AM
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I have always used at least simple pencil sketches to get the basic layout of the battlefield and combatants' positions across.
It makes things that much easier, i cannot stress this enough.

To give an example, i'm currently playing in a pbp game where the GM doesn't use a map.
Right now, we're in the middle of a fight involving...i don't know, several dozen combatants (including chicken and a traditional Indonesian gamelan orchestra both posessed by shadow spirits), with the fight taking place in an entire village surrounded by jungle and there's smoke grenades and area effect spells and spirits and a ceremony to cause the end of all of Jakarta and whatnot.
My character is starting to levitate in the next round of combat and has three flight-capable spirits as backup, i want to call in suppression fire, there's broken gongs and xylophones all over the place, wood splinters flying around everywhere, hit-and-run tactics, hideouts, cultists trying to escape, a small group of adepts supporting our team...it's complicated.
If i would have to GM that fight without a map, i'd rapidly go insane.

What does that teach us?
Any serious conflict can get such a mess so quickly that you spare yourself tons of trouble if you map things out.
It also encourages the players to act more tactical, using the terrain to their advantage instead of just declaring that they'll shoot something and start rolling dice.
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The Jake
post Jan 4 2009, 03:09 AM
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QUOTE (Hagga @ Jan 4 2009, 01:39 AM) *
Our GM just describes most of the scenes we enter with brief detail, painting an excellent picture. We then keep little maps in our heads, as does he. Works really well; bugger paper.


This eventually ends in frustration. I've tried this for years. Sooner or later, players will have a disparate picture of what is going on vs. what the GM is thinking. While I shun the use of minatures, sometimes a bloody map is required.

- J.
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Ruin-Gar
post Jan 4 2009, 03:29 AM
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My group and I would like to use a mat and minis, but we can never find any good Shadowrun minis. We're not fans of the metal ones we've seen, and Star Wars minis kinda don't feel right.
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Caine Hazen
post Jan 4 2009, 03:58 AM
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QUOTE
This eventually ends in frustration. I've tried this for years. Sooner or later, players will have a disparate picture of what is going on vs. what the GM is thinking. While I shun the use of miniatures, sometimes a bloody map is required.

I agree completely with this. We use paper maps for some thing and minis when I host at my place.
QUOTE ( @ Jan 3 2009, 10:29 PM) *
My group and I would like to use a mat and minis, but we can never find any good Shadowrun minis. We're not fans of the metal ones we've seen, and Star Wars minis kinda don't feel right.

do a search on this, there have been many many good suggestions on this board that I have used to cobble together a SR minis collection.
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TheOOB
post Jan 4 2009, 05:37 AM
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I have a chessex dry-erase map is bought for D&D I also use for shadowrun, though I rarely care about exact distance. In shadowrun relative potion is more important then exact position.
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shadowfire
post Jan 4 2009, 06:03 AM
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As far as shadowrun goes, i would only do it if there was a large battle scene in a semi-open area like a large warehouse or docks.
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wind_in_the_ston...
post Jan 4 2009, 06:20 AM
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We use a big whiteboard. "Map not to scale."

No matter how well you describe the scene, once the action starts, someone loses track of where things are happening. It doesn't matter who, or how bad a mistake it was, it just sucks.
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Cain
post Jan 4 2009, 06:24 AM
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I don't recommend using a battle mat for Shadowrun. The system just isn't built for it. If you really try to apply the movement rules on a mat as per RAW, it can only end in tears.
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Fuchs
post Jan 4 2009, 12:00 PM
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QUOTE (Maelstrome @ Jan 4 2009, 01:41 AM) *
we used a map once, but it slowed the gamed down a bit to set up the "stages" and move the figures around. I dont use maps unless i feel its necessary to get a point across. we prefer to visualize the area and the events.


Same. Usually, I sketch something down quickly, if needed, but we do not use battlemaps/miniatures, not in SR4, not in D&D3. Using those grids makes me feel more like I am playing a boardgame - including the switch to tactics optimised for a game. Also, and especially in games where we don't have a TacNet and overhead drones unhampered by counter measures or terrain, I feel that the map removes the chaotic feeling most combats have, turning it into a chess match.
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Prime Mover
post Jan 4 2009, 03:45 PM
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Crude drawings on a roll out battle mat and dry erase markers. Back in 1st and 2nd edition it was clear plastic over graph paper and a grease pencil....messy.
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Pendaric
post Jan 4 2009, 06:23 PM
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Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on what works best.
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Lilt
post Jan 4 2009, 07:09 PM
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We usually use maps of some sort. I did buy a wipe-clean hex map at one point, and used that for a bit, but recently we've just use scribbles on paper. Also, we were never that bothered with miniatures. Although some people did buy them for their characters, often we just used dice or glass beads.
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Wesley Street
post Jan 4 2009, 08:23 PM
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I create scene layouts in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (you can see some examples in the Community Projects folder) and display them on a wall using a digital projector. I use little character, drone and vehicle icons, that I've placed on different Photoshop layers, and move them about according to the players' directions. It's worked very well.

I originally made some "Cardboard Heroes"-style pieces from scans I made from various SR sourcebooks and a wet-erase map. But that limited the size of battleground that I could run.
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Cang
post Jan 5 2009, 03:28 AM
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It's all about "blueprints" drawn on notebook paper and our imaginations. *enter rainbow*
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BIG BAD BEESTE
post Jan 5 2009, 02:52 PM
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Always used sketch maps and continue to do so. Just so that everyone can see the layout of the battlefield/encounter and correlate their character's actions. Sometimes I even drag out the old DMZ set and use those maps. I often use the cardboard cut-out miniatures from the 1st Ed GM screen and DMZ to represent the locations of PC's & NPCs as this eventually saves on squiggles and blobs drawn all over the place and thus confusing the map's details. Scale is a matter of each particular encounter though. As long as the positions of the N/PCs and their movement is recorded in relation to the environment, that's all that matters.

However, I do often run small encounters without maps if its only one to five participants and the description of the scene is certified with all of the players. Occassionally i d have to add a quick sketch to elborate or clarify certain details - but usually only because a player brings up a tactical query that needs it defined. (Most often this is for area effect spells and weapons to work out who has been caught in the blast radius).
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Aiolos Turin
post Jan 20 2009, 07:35 PM
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Id like to show everyone what all I've down with Shadowrun.

I play solely with my nephew, as it's often difficult to get my friend involved, my older brother is in Iowa and thus cant play except rarely, and my oldest brother is just now being introduced and might play with us.
All in all though, me and my nephew have created one heck of a world from scratch, and although I'm primarily gamemaster, we do have a unique way of playing. Perhaps that can be in another thread. For now, its about maps and visuals.

I am heavily into maps and visuals, not only for the tactical purposes, but also for the purpose of it being a form of Art- both in the drawings, the forming of imagination, and the fact I've been playing Video Games and watching TV for the last 23 years and rarely read anything and so visuals are a must for my psyche, lol.
With that said, we use a combination of things. After this post I'll post pictures in addition to information about our shadowrunning game in another thread.

At first I used a combination of WorldWorksGames and free cardstock buildings (all made from cardstock). We had a 4'6 battlefield that composed of a neighborhood. This was "our neighborhood". We started all as 12 year old street kids in a massive trash pile in the Redmond Barrens. With manutrition'd stats of 1 and 2 and without any skills. We were adopted by a tough ex-mafia pizza shop owner with a soft-spot for homeless kids (on condition we were his workers, so slave labor in exchange for food and shelter lol) and now we are 16 with developped stats, street fighting skills and knowledge, and we got kicked out of Stinky's Pizza to move in to a run down 3-wall shack behind the massive trash pile we started in. This means our entire first many adventures never went outside this incredibly small neighborhood.

Granted we couldnt stay in a two block area for the entire street teenagers campaign. Also, a build 3d virtual world that was 4'6" was too clunky and began to become a waste of space, so we retired it.
We tried GameMaps such as Paizo's "Slums" map set and Paizo's "Inn" dry-erasable map, which the inn looks IDENTICAL to stinky's pizza on the inside. It's great to simulate any tavern, inn, pizzeria, etc. in the Redmond Barrens (medieval style wood, makes it kindof look like a run down crap hole of a building)

But the easiest, most efficient, and best visual is self-drawn. I use a pencil and a notepad and rip out pieces of paper. Very crude and basic visuals (quickly drawn, saves time) help a lot. We also use two pieces of WorldWorksGame's street tiles as visual for the streets (these dont get in the way, and since they're cardstock and very quality visuals, it's perfect flooring for walking the streets. The "battlefield" was tiles glued on to thin foam type stuff (like a Miniature War Game Terrain) so it got in the way. Im going to print off just cardstock squares of the flooring (which includes concrete, streets, etc.) and the cardstock accessories can be added easily (street lights, stop signs, busses, destroyed cars, etc.) But only using about 4 tiles is perfectly fine.
For anything that isn't outside streets or rooftop apartment escape scenes, we just draw on the paper and go.

For long distance travel, we have an entire MAP of a large part of the redmond barrens. This is about a 16 block by 9 block radius that includes several neighborhoods, squatter areas, trashpiles, a corp Walled community, a massive Biodome in the middle, and the Body Mall near it.

For Miniatures, I have been extra creative. We draw full figure pictures of our characters, then I scan them, shrink them, and print them on cardstock. So we have our self-created art of our characters- details and all. They have a unique, fun artistic style to them (kindof like a form of Anime all to themselves) even if neither of us are artists.

I will post pictures in a second. Perhaps in another thread.
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Wesley Street
post Jan 20 2009, 07:44 PM
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QUOTE (Aiolos Turin @ Jan 20 2009, 02:35 PM) *
For Miniatures, I have been extra creative. We draw full figure pictures of our characters, then I scan them, shrink them, and print them on cardstock. So we have our self-created art of our characters- details and all. They have a unique, fun artistic style to them (kindof like a form of Anime all to themselves) even if neither of us are artists.

Cool! Though I've gone totally digital, I did the cutouts when I first started GMing Shadowrun. If anyone is curious, you can purchase cardboard figure holders here: www.boardgamedesign.com. Warning: ugly website.
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raggedhalo
post Jan 20 2009, 07:51 PM
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We mostly use sketches on pieces of paper, or crosses/names drawn on printed maps. For really big conflicts, I'll draw stuff on a wipe-clean hex map using OHP pens. It makes life _significantly_ easier.
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