Thursday, 7 January 2021

Megadungeons on A1 Scrolls

Yesterday, I discovered that my stationery cupboard at work has a huge stash of A1 notepads. Of course, work stationery exists only to be pilfered, so I will help myself to one sooner or later, but a great idea (great to me, at any rate) popped into my head as well the moment I saw them: megadungeons on A1 scrolls.

I have experimented in the past with mapping dungeons on A3 paper because it allows you to easily include both map and key on the same page (the latter either situated in a box in a corner or as notes within/next to rooms), with space to breathe, cutting out the need to flip between pages or files. How much truer would this be of A1 paper? Especially if the whole thing (or at least an entire, sprawling level) could be made to fit on one sheet. If so, it would be a simple matter to carry round a megadungeon rolled up in a tube, whether as one sheet or several. Pop a sheet of house rules in with them, and you're ready to go. The advantage of the scroll is also that one does not need to unwind the whole thing - just the cross section where the action is happening. 

I would much prefer to run a dungeon from a scroll than from a book, if only for the vibe, man.

9 comments:

  1. Reminds me of an exercise we did when I was doing my stint in the army. The exercise was "operation wallpaper". Terrain was drawn on a full roll of wallpaper, and the roll was unrolled as the platoon advanced. We were all sitting around, and the training officer would question us about what to do next, how to deploy, etc. Once the discussion was over, the plastic model vehicles and soldiers would advance, and the scroll would be unrolled to reveal the next obstacle (a defended position, a river, a wood, ...).

    It was of course a gimmick, but always rememberd it or the fun of it and the easy way in which new section of terrain were revealed.

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    1. Gift wrapping paper is handy for this, as much of it comes pre-printed with a 1" grid on the back.

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    2. Gift wrapping paper! Genius.

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  2. And of course the more linear a dungeon it was mapping, the better this would work out. Like for example a miles high tree...

    (and for those of us who use imperial measurements, A1 paper is 23.4 x 33.1 inch, so about the same size as the dozens of oversized figures I have been handling this week)

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    1. Haha. Funnily enough I am working on the tree dungeon at the moment.

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  3. I'm all about that vibe. Poster tubes exist - why isn't this a thing? Selling a megadungeon, rules and dice in a tube seems like the sort of thing Kickstarter denizens love.
    Also, scrolls in-game should sometimes be overlarge. I've never thought about it before, but why aren't more scrolls and books stupidly unhelpful sizes. I love the image of a wizard with their A1 spell scroll tube.

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    1. You could have a "rounds taken to unfurl" stat for spell scrolls.

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  4. I really like using A1 size paper for dungeon maps (although I haven't drawn a map in years), but for a slightly different reason... very early on I found the page-size sheet of paper artificial and constraining when creating anything larger than a small complex of rooms or group of buildings as an adventure area. I mean, what are the odds that every level of a dungeon fits in a 425' x 550' area? (if you are using a std US letter at 5 squares to the inch graph paper) And how come the underground complex hasn't collapsed years ago from all those corridors and rooms packed together with only thin walls supporting thousands of tons of rock and earth?

    Using the large pad, you can start small and evolve a map without artificial border constraints. An A1 can be folded/cut up into 8 page-size A4 sheets, so you end up with 1-8 maps for the level. You can fold it up into the page-sized sheets and either scan/photo-copy those (keeping the original) or cut up the sheets to put into a notebook. Much more organic in design.

    As cool as it sounds porting around a scroll I would probably never use the full sheet as a gaming tool, only as design tool (although I have used full sheets with an appropriate scale for battle maps).

    A few drawbacks: A1 pads are relatively expensive (compared to A4) so I used to tape sheets of letter paper together until I found (and could afford) to buy A1. Thank goodness I discovered art stores. You also needed a relatively large table handy, but for most folks that isn't a problem.

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    1. This is all true. I think the main issue is finding a way for the DM to look at the map without the players being able to.

      But another idea that strikes me: the players could use an A1 sheet for doing their mapping.

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