Relationship Maps in Adventure Paths


Biological Disaster
Riffing off some commentary in the thread about bloated adventures, I'm curious as to how many people use relationship maps to help organize themselves? Specifically thinking about the more complicated Pathfinder APs, but the D&D5e campaigns would definitely benefit from them. They're fantastic tools even for simple adventures, since they're an easy visual reference for who relates to who and how.

For those unaware, relationship maps are graphic webs that show the connections between different characters. For a big example, this is the relationship map for the mobile game Arknights, which shows who is connected to who, and if they're part of a subgroup within your company (lore-wise).

If you do use them, what software do you use to build them? I've been trying to find a decent program that allows filtering but doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Trying to convert/simplify the Pathfinder AP Hell's Rebels, and being able to build a relationship map for it would make figuring things out a lot easier.

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I dont use images like this, but I do build out faction/relationship maps. Ever since getting into Foundry VTT, I find making folders to maintain all the info I have for NPCs, factions, places, etc... Is a great way to organize and track info.

I do like this idea, however, and will wait to hear more from the community on how they do it!


Biological Disaster
That's a terrific example of what I'm talking about! If I'm running a game and a heavy RP section is coming up, one quick glance at this and I can easily roleplay any of the characters in question because I know how they feel about anybody they might be asked about.


I do not use them, but can see where they would be handy. Maybe have one for a town for the people the PCs run into. Have the important info the PCs can get from them on it as well. Would it be too much work to list all the interaction how the NPCs feel about each other unless it is a home base for the PCs. I guess it depends on how much usage it will get.


I used a relationship map to run an entire campaign for Spire. While I didn't have to breakdown something the size and scope of an Adventure Path, I did include things from published works, including the Spire core book, as well as the Campaign Frame "Blood and Dust". I wanted something easy to reference in play, to help remind me of the impact of the PCs actions as they interacted with any of the factions/NPCs on the map.

I used a free online mind map tool which you can find here

This is what I made with it and used to run a 32 session campaign. The core of it revolves around the three factions in red, which are the competing criminal factions in the district of Red Row. Everything else revolved around that balance of power, and what would happen if it was in some way disturbed.

Spire Mindmap.png


@hawkeyefan I will have to give mindmup a shot, thanks! Did you update the map as things changed, or just use it as an initial launching point for the game?

I actually printed a copy and made handwritten notes on it during play. Those mostly consisted of crossing people off as they were removed from play... usually bloodily. After a while, I did create an updated version once there had been some significant changes, and the notes were dense enough to make it less quickly referenced in play. This was probably about halfway through the campaign.

Here's the updated version. A few folks were eliminated, most notably the PCs killed two of three Sisters that formed one of the three main crime factions. That left only one Sister, who the PCs convinced to work with them. The other two crime factions were working toward absorbing the Sisters' remaining holdings. The PCs (the three names with the bold outlines) had made quite an impact on the district, to the point that one was "declared dead", meaning he was considered dead and to be killed on sight.

I didn't make any further mindmaps after this one because things really escalated, and so the names on here started dwindling. A few never actually came into play though... Lord Drynn and Warm-In-The-Brillian-Sun were kind of manipulators behind it all, but we never got to them at all.... events were very focused on the struggle between the three crime factions and those in their immediate orbit, along with some folks who the PCs were connected to.

Spire Mindmap Phase II.png


I realize a lot of the above will seem like nonsense without the context, but I put just enough on there to work as a reminder at a glance. I also wanted to leave enough space to write notes. The main advantage of this for me is that it kept everything to one page. I had some stat blocks printed on a few other pages, but kept those separate. I never had to flip around through books or multiple pages of notes during play.
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