"Fog of War" on physical battlemats

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
This weekend I'll be running a dungeon session on a large map that I'm printing on poster-sized paper. Of course, I don't want the players to see the whole dungeon; I want them to discover it room by room. Approaches I'm considering:

1. Cut out paper the shape of each are and lay (tape) each one in place. Downside: the shapes themselves will convey a lot of information.
2. Same as above, but use larger rectangles (whole sheets of paper) to mask shape. Downside: the overlapping regions will mean that I'm constantly shuffling pieces of paper around, and probably revealing things I don't mean to.
3. Cut up the map itself into individual areas, and lay (tape) down each area as they discover it. Downside: I hate to cut up my new map. :-/

Anybody try these or other solutions and have advice?
 

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Voadam

Legend
I did a modified number three in the 90s when I was using scrap paper to map out stuff as the 2e AD&D party went along. I was translating tiny maps from inside modules to miniature scale ones for the players to put tokens on. I was laying them down as the party came to a section, then picking it up behind them as they continued on.

The group only sees one or two sheets worth of stuff at a time which is fine for dungeons and caves and usually roughly light source/infravision radius. The group had this feeling of moving through an area with limited view.

Downside is keeping things straight so you have the right pieces of paper at the time and don't lose them between games. Sometimes it can be tricky to see something you sketched out and know where it connects up on your DM map.

Number two should be fine, a little adjacent peek across walls for rooms not sheet sized is not terrible. Keeping things easy and quick moving is a virtue to keep in mind.

I would not cut up a map unless it was from a PDF printout I could do again. Even so losing pieces or trying to gather them up from a loose pile in the middle of a game could be a big pain and momentum killer.
 
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Tutara

Explorer
I have put down cut out paper over the top of my maps. This worked pretty well, though once it's revealed, its revealed. Good for set-pieces and so forth.

I have also built the map as I went along, adding in modular rooms. This worked fine, though set-up can be annoying, and the miniatures lurking at the sides can be a giveaway anyway. I did this for the whole of Castle Ravenloft - it was pain and cost me the end of my index finger because I am not a craftsman - but was reasonable effective, except when the party wanted to double back and I ran out of table space.

My current DM's approach is just to set it all up and not to worry too much about the fog of war. Honestly, I think this is the approach I will take in the future, as we are good at roleplaying like we are surprised. Your mileage may vary.
 

Mezuka

Hero
Never mind. Misread the OP

[I use the tiles found in D&D boardgames like Wrath of Ashardalon and Official D&D tile sets. Each room is in a different ziplock and they are numbered. When the PC cross into another room I look at the room number on my mapping and pull out the ziplock for the room.]
 

TwiceBorn2

Adventurer
I use a combination of #1 and #2. For the most part, I cover rooms with cut-outs that match their size. I do, however, add additional random sized pieces to cover the entire mat -- including "non-encounter/blank areas" -- if only to misdirect players into think there might be more to a location/dungeon than they think.

Secret/hidden chambers are a bit trickier... but since I often fill in all blank sections of my mats with solid black marker and do the same for secret chambers until found by PCs, the players don't normally take "blocks of solid black marker" as proof that they're blotting out a hidden chamber. And more often than not, there is no hidden chamber... so they normally don't search for such things unless I've provided them with fairly obvious clues, or they've found info elsewhere strongly suggesting that a secret chamber should be present (fortunately, my players aren't the kind who search for secret chambers everywhere they go, which they find tedious... they also know that I myself get really annoyed at dungeons stocked full of improbable secret passages and chambers). If they do find their way into a secret chamber, I then dry erase the solid black fill to reveal it.
 
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Reynard

Legend
My advice: don't use the big sheets. Cut out individual rooms as "battlemaps" but do the exploration as TotM/old school. If room 7A has a certain battle in it, you throw that room cutout down just before initiative is rolled, positioning everyone based on the moments leading up to the init roll.
 

Never mind. Misread the OP

[I use the tiles found in D&D boardgames like Wrath of Ashardalon and Official D&D tile sets. Each room is in a different ziplock and they are numbered. When the PC cross into another room I look at the room number on my mapping and pull out the ziplock for the room.]
Exactly what I do but with very old style GW dungeon planner sheets
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Thanks, all, for input.

I'm now considering a variant of 3: contact cement the map to foam core, then cut out each area with an xacto knife. So it all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, but stays in place.

It's the Redbrand hideout from LMoP, so I'm just printing the official players map at a print shop. It's not a fancy map from a boxed set:
map-2.2-Redbrand-Hideout-player.jpg
 

TwiceBorn2

Adventurer
Thanks, all, for input.

I'm now considering a variant of 3: contact cement the map to foam core, then cut out each area with an xacto knife. So it all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, but stays in place.
That's a cool idea. I might have to consider doing the same thing in the future.
 

I use something similar to this when I play in person. What I do is add small dots onto the grid to help me for when I draw in the rest of the map. I, fortunately, have not run into the scenario where a player looks at the map and (in)correctly guesses that there must be something there because of the blank space. But I'm just lucky.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I use something similar to this when I play in person. What I do is add small dots onto the grid to help me for when I draw in the rest of the map. I, fortunately, have not run into the scenario where a player looks at the map and (in)correctly guesses that there must be something there because of the blank space. But I'm just lucky.

Part of that is the style of map. The one I will be using will tend to make blank areas obvious, unfortunately.
 

dbm

Adventurer
Part of that is the style of map. The one I will be using will tend to make blank areas obvious, unfortunately.
If you have the tools and are up for it, my suggestion would be to modify the map to blank out the hidden parts before sending it to be printed. Then separately print out the original section but as an overlay you can use if the party find the secret doors in question.
 
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TheSword

Legend
I laminate the battle map for stability and then just up individual room. Then piece them together on the table with a bit of blu tac if needed to keep them in place (don’t usually need it)

My preference now though is to either project on a TV or just use the maps for the set piece battles and theatre of the mind everything else.
 

aramis erak

Legend
This weekend I'll be running a dungeon session on a large map that I'm printing on poster-sized paper. Of course, I don't want the players to see the whole dungeon; I want them to discover it room by room. Approaches I'm considering:

1. Cut out paper the shape of each are and lay (tape) each one in place. Downside: the shapes themselves will convey a lot of information.
2. Same as above, but use larger rectangles (whole sheets of paper) to mask shape. Downside: the overlapping regions will mean that I'm constantly shuffling pieces of paper around, and probably revealing things I don't mean to.
3. Cut up the map itself into individual areas, and lay (tape) down each area as they discover it. Downside: I hate to cut up my new map. :-/

Anybody try these or other solutions and have advice?
Color copy the new map THEN chop the copy
 






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