Do your players map?

the Jester

Legend
Absolutely. I run big dungeons, and it's easy to get lost. Also, unless someone has the Keen Mind feat or another way to determine cardinal directions, they get "right" and "left" from me, not "north" and "south." And when it's time to find their way back out of the dungeon, it's easy to get lost if they weren't paying close attention.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Yeah, we map. We have to. Luckily, we often capture inhabitants (humanoids, that is) when possible and have them "sketch" out what they can in exchange for their freedom later on.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
I don't have the time for that nonsense any more.
I'm in this boat. Back in the days of six+ hour sessions, we used to have a dedicated mapper. Now, we usually play for three hours, and I try to avoid having players spend time on elements that aren't directly driving the drama.

With that said, there is a PC in the group who is a cartographer and spends time drawing up maps to sell in town, so we just figure that he is keeping track of things. (He has the right supplies, but we don't worry about what he does with them when battle breaks out... I imagine he stuffs his notes into his pouch.)
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
With that said, there is a PC in the group who is a cartographer and spends time drawing up maps to sell in town, so we just figure that he is keeping track of things. (He has the right supplies, but we don't worry about what he does with them when battle breaks out... I imagine he stuffs his notes into his pouch.)
This is the rule I generally use for mapping the wilderness if the scenario involves overland travel:

Map. If there is no strong wind or precipitation, you can draw a map that records the group's progress and helps your party get back on course if you get lost. No ability check is required, but you must have training in cartographer's tools, be in possession of said tools, and have both hands free while doing it. Once you have created an accurate map between two points of interest, make a note of this map in your equipment list. It provides advantage to any ability checks to navigate while traveling in the mapped area.​

In a dungeon, strong wind or precipitation is generally not a concern, but having two hands free is. This can be a tough choice for characters with shields or other objects that they'd prefer be held at all times given that the potential for combat lurks around every corner. While there's generally no navigation required in my games for getting around a dungeon, often I'll make a source map of the dungeon worth gold and so they have to weigh the risk of being less prepared for combat against the gold they can earn for mapping.
 

tommybahama

Explorer
I currently only play on Roll20, a VTT, so mapping is done automatically unless Theater of the Mind is used.
We use dynamic lighting so the map goes black once you leave a room. We don't use fog of war because apparently it requires a good PC for everyone. I really, really don't like dynamic mapping.

In 2E, however, I found a great technique that tracked the PCs route with minimal effort. You simply drew a line for directions taken, leaving marks for other exits, including secret doors. If an area was noteworthy, you marked it (A,B,C...) and wrote a note on the back of the map.
The angry GM has an article on mapping that recommends something similar.

An Angry Guide to Practical Cartography
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
As a usual rule, the party has one person who writes down treasure, and one person who maps as necessary.
This is exactly what we do also; and in any game I play in I almost always end up as treasurer (largely because people always seem to want me to map, and I do enough of that as a DM :) )

And yes, maps are made - the assumption being if the players aren't making a map the PCs aren't either, and thus risk getting lost. (and we also note who's making/carrying the map in case the party gets split up)

If the mapper or treasurer happens to miss a session someone takes over for the night.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
... often I'll make a source map of the dungeon worth gold and so they have to weigh the risk of being less prepared for combat against the gold they can earn for mapping.
For those looking for 1st level or even 0th level adventure ideas, you can do much worse than send a party in to a cleared-out (in theory!) dungeon as a training exercise, with their goal being to come out with an accurate map of the place....
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
Normally, NO WAY!

1.) One does not "map" in real life.
2.) No PC normally carries paper/ink to make one.
3.) No PC has the skills to make a map/read a map.
4.) In the event the players get "lost", I can always have their PC roll their Int/Wis to see if they know where they are, etc.

5.) Only when we do a "random dungeon/adventure" is the map made as we go, and usually I draw the map after I have the players roll the next section/area.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
For a game that supposedly was emulating swords and sorcery, mapping always seemed a strange activity. What self respecting pulp hero takes time to map out locations? 🤣

Mapping was one of those frustrating tedious chores that drove me away from the hobby back in the day. So no mapping required at my table, other than maybe quickie sketches.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I've learned the hard way that if I-as-DM don't have a map I'm hooped; as if I wing it I'll inevitably end up putting two rooms in the same physical space, which the players - using their map - will gleefully (and rightly!) point out.
There are occasions where I will use one, like a large dungeon complex that I expect them to be in for a few sessions. For something where it might only be a single session and they get in and out then I will often not worry about a map.
 
I usually explain the flowchart map that's standard at my table as a representation of some manner of trail blazing efforts on the part of the characters. Scratched arrows on the wall, piles of pebbles arranged in Ranger code, whatever. There isn't a character walking around with a light cantrip on and pen and paper in hand while he paces off the dimensions of each room to make sure he doesn't miss any secret doors.
 

aco175

Adventurer
Not in a long time, most likely since the 3e terrain maps came out. Mapping mostly became a problem where the player did not understand the DM enough or the DM not explaining enough to the player. The DM ended up reaching over the table to sketch for the player. Repeat a few more times each night of play.
 
It's been at over 25 years since I played in a group where a player actively mapped, back when we'd finish the adventure then spend hours trying to figure out why the left half of the map was two squares off from the right half.

More recently, of course, mapping typically happens on the part of PCs in-game to facilitate "getting back out" or "completing the mapping mission" or "navigating the maze" or whatever, for the sake of skill checks or something. But as a DM, I typically just draw it out as needed for tactical purposes.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I don't require mapping. My current players don't enjoy mapping - if I had a certain player from my table from a couple of decades ago I might have mapping be part of the game. That player really enjoyed mapping.

It's a session zero conversation for me: Do you like mapping when in dungeon environments?

I create a map for players when we are doing a megadungeon. Besides I enjoy laying out most of the dungeon in terrain - so there is at least a kind of map on the table for those sessions.

Same thing for some other elements - my current crew does not enjoy riddle-solving. I still succumb to throwing a riddle or two into adventures, but it is never a bottle-neck - there is always a way around it.
 

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