MAPPING AND CALLING

Mapping and Calling are somewhat lost arts in the more “modern” versions of the game beyond AD&D First Edition.

Although each person will be playing the role of a character, the players should also handle the jobs of mapping and calling. Any player can be the mapper or caller. These “jobs” should be assigned to experienced players within the group so that the newer, more inexperienced players can focus on learning the rules and playing their characters.

The mapper is the player who draws a map of the dungeon as it is explored. One or more of the characters could be making maps, but one of the players must make the real map. The map should be kept on the table for all to see and refer to. Pencil should be used when making the map, in case of errors or tricky passages. If the party’s movement carries it into new and unmapped territory, the DM will describe the area in detail so the party’s mapper can map it. If something such as a secret door or treasure item is discovered, the DM describes it and announces the results if the characters look at it.

The Caller is a player selected by the other players to describe party actions so the DM doesn’t have to listen to several voices at once. Essentially, the Caller talks to the players, makes a list of what will be happening this turn, and then confers all the information to the DM in a logical manner. He or she simply tells the DM what the party is doing this turn. If the DM prefers, each individual player can describe his own actions. The caller is just a convenience in many campaigns; it’s not a game rule that players have to use.

So do you use a Mapper or Caller in your game?

Please share your own experiences.

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2 thoughts on “MAPPING AND CALLING

  1. You know, I always LOVED being the mapper and note-taker back when I used to be a player. But my players HATE It. I bought them awesome little notebooks, gave them preprinted sheets to help with notes…and they doodled other stuff on them instead. Granted, we weren’t doing dungeon crawls, so if they didn’t have a map, it was less disastrous than it could have been. The one time I tried to force them to be “lost” as a consequence of not having a map, they just used the tracking skill to get out of the jam. So I gave that whole ‘mapping’ thing up; why force them to play in a way they don’t like just because I liked it? Now I just make maps on Campaign Cartographer and show them where they are as they move along.

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  2. Yeah, I know the feeling! I guess it’s a change in the culture of D&D. Mapping was always fun for at least one guy in the group. I think that one reason why mapping isn’t a big deal anymore is that most of us Dungeon Masters don’t show the players why it matters. So the next time you want to shake them up, bait them into entering a small dungeon that is a maze. Let them find some cool treasure, and then allow them to GET LOST IN THE DUNGEON. Getting lost was a big part of AD&D when Gary Gygax discussed it. Maybe if they have to find there way OUT of the dungeon in the same way they found their way IN, then mapping will matter.

    However, I think the days of having a Mapper is dead thanks to Dungeon Tiles, and fancy mapping devices like you mentioned.

    I blame video games.

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