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Yepesnopes

Maps, deck plans! more more

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Beyond the Rim page 52:

 

"Instead of providing an exact map of the layout. GMs are encouraged to handle the exploration cinematically and keep the action moving."

 

I want to encourage the FFG designers of SW to be less lazy next time. Skip overused terms like "cinematically" or "narrative" to lamely justify decisions like this one of not providing a map of the Sa Nalaor (or at least a sketch of it). While I am not a fan at all of running dungeon crawls, I am of the opinion that nice maps can inspire the GM imagination, which in its turn may help him or her to devise more "cinematic" and "narrative" scenes!

 

:angry:

 

Where is the nice job this team did with the beginners game, providing maps of a cantina, Mos Shuuta, the Krayt Fang, a cave, some hangars, a Hutt's palace...??

 

Angry Yepes

Edited by Yepesnopes

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This was answered by Sam Stewart in Episode 30 of the Order66 podcast. Sam is a proponent of maps and admitted he uses a few purchased from Maps of Mastery as well as a few others, so he's not completely biased.

 

Long story short:

  • Maps lock in many details of what could be represented for the given area.
  • Maps are expensive and take up space which drives up the cost of a product or cuts out content in other areas.
  • Maps take a long time to develop and could potentially affect the release date. Essentially, maps would have to be commissioned at the same time as the adventures are written, if any changes have to be made to the art, you can bet that the release date is going to be affected.

 

I personally understand the need for maps, but I think Sam's explanation (which was better worded than the paraphrased version given to you above), made sense. I've eschewed maps a few months ago, and I haven't looked back since.

Edited by kaosoe
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I want to encourage the FFG designers of SW to be less lazy next time.

 

How is making a design choice and sticking with it lazy in any way, shape or form?

I, for one, am glad they didn't add maps and stuck to such high quality content.

Having played BtR through to the end we needed a small sketch of a locale once, it was fine.

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What I'd prefer is if they made some of the fantastic art available without the text overlay. The pictures in BtR are great and could be inspiring for the players to look at, but you can't show them without clumsily obscuring parts of the pages. There should be art handouts in the back of every book.

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  • Maps take a long time to develop and could potentially affect the release date. Essentially, maps would have to be commissioned at the same time as the adventures are written, if any changes have to be made to the art, you can bet that the release date is going to be affected.

 

I completly agree and understand why maps aren't for everything. However, I take some issue with this point. I'm somewhat surprised that they don't have an artist on staff who could make maps in their down time. Maps which their staff can use in their own games. Maps that can be stored in their archives until needed. Maps which adventures can be designed to use.

 

I would think that they have plans for their adventures at least a year out. I would think that they have some inkling as to what might be included in an adventure when it's just in the rough sketch phase. Have some starbase and starship maps on hand that they can pick from when they fully write up the adventure.

 

That being said, I understand it costs money and it would probably take a large studio like WotC to pull this off, to be able to have staff artists always drumming up maps that may never see the light of day. They probably need to make sure they see a return on investment for every penny spent.

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How is making a design choice and sticking with it lazy in any way, shape or form?

 

 

I can handle my reports with no graphics on them and in black and white because this is my design choice. Because including graphics and pictures takes time, you have to design them, make them fit with the text, they have to be appropriate and meaningful for the text etc. So, I have made a choice of design, the one that costs less effort = lazy!

 

From the 3 points exposed by kaosoe the second one is because of cost (really? with all this artwork and full colored pages?) and the third one is because of the effort it takes to include maps (my point).

 

But don't take it too hard. I think FFG handles good quality products, but I liked more how the line looked like during the Beginners game with all those not heavily detailed maps. I like maps or at least sketches. Let's be honest, those maps were there for a reason, if they included them on the final product is because they know that they bring added value to the product.

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I'd prefer downloadable content personally; and given the sheer size of the Sa Nalaor, I can see why a map wasn't included.  

They included a map of a section of the Wheel, the one they thought relevant for the adventure. This approach is good enough for me.

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I'm torn on this. On one hand I'm a huge fan of the WFRP boxed sets and can't imagine why FFG wouldn't try a similar release style with Star Wars. Maps, player handouts, npc tokens. I spent less on The Gathering Storm than I did on Beyond the Rim and am getting twice the product and experience in some ways.

 

On the other hand, with Act 2 of BtR a lightbulb sort of went on concerning that area and I ended up making a really great, multi-level map. A "dungeon", if you will. That part was actually one of the highlights of that adventure and was really a big confidence booster as far as me just creating my own stuff and rolling with it.

 

I think FFG is just decided to play it safe with SW. After the "Fiddly Bits/Components & Maps R Bad" backlash from the WFRP mental patients I imagine they didn't want to risk a similar backlash with this IP. Maybe if they see enough demand they'll release some optional components in the future, but there are definitely some missed opportunities with the published adventures. That said, they run just fine as they are and the hardcovers are nice.

 

Meh.

Edited by GMmL
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I can understand why FFG shies away from maps and art honestly.  There is simply too much content available on the internet for free to justify the financial expenditure on creating the stuff in house for publication.  You can google practically anything in Star Wars and find a piece of art for absolutely free.  There are a ton of commercial floor plans that can be downloaded as well to represent nearly any structure.  I don't think of it in terms of being lazy, more of not wasting money on something with little return.

Edited by 2P51
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All I wanted in BtR was a simple layout of the Sa Nalaor. It is the main focus of the whole adventure up until that point. Instead the whole interior was described in a handful of text boxes on one page of the book. However, they did have the time and resources to make a full-page map of the jungle around the wreck which only had three locations on it, the engine section, the main hull and the Retreat. The map added no additional information that wasn't already in the text descriptions.

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I think FFG is just decided to play it safe with SW. After the "Fiddly Bits/Components & Maps R Bad" backlash from the WFRP mental patients...

 

Hey, I partly resemble that remark   :)  I hate all the fiddly bits in WFRP, but maps would be fine with me...though I didn't miss them in BtR, and had the same fun as you with the Sa Naloar, I was able to use the descriptions to design my own interior and turned it into a Half-Life style creepy crawl with the players being stalked by cyber-nexu.  The lack of maps here was liberating because I could adapt more easily to what the players were doing, allowing me to pace the episode better.

Edited by whafrog
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Agreed. I don't need a pile of detailed artwork level maps, but if the players are expected to explore a location I'd really like at least a simple floor plan for consistency sake.

 

I find it a little ironic that the narrative heavy mechanics of this system actually work really well with a lot of the old WEG maps and diagrams that did little more then say what room is next to what, and left it to the GM to actually populate it.

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I think FFG is just decided to play it safe with SW. After the "Fiddly Bits/Components & Maps R Bad" backlash from the WFRP mental patients...

 

Hey, I partly resemble that remark   :)  I hate all the fiddly bits in WFRP, but maps would be fine with me...though I didn't miss them in BtR, and had the same fun as you with the Sa Naloar, I was able to use the descriptions to design my own interior and turned it into a Half-Life style creepy crawl with the players being stalked by cyber-nexu.  The lack of maps here was liberating because I could adapt more easily to what the players were doing, allowing me to pace the episode better.

 

The only place it backfired on me is that my Act 2 was so awesome that it ended up being the crescendo of the entire thing. Act 3 was tough to whip into shape and still didn't feel as climatic as it should have.

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Agreed. I don't need a pile of detailed artwork level maps, but if the players are expected to explore a location I'd really like at least a simple floor plan for consistency sake.

 

That would be handy.  I like the maps from places like Maps of Mastery, but they are too detailed...they are works of art with their own tone and flavour, and it's hard to adapt them to a different context.

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A hardcover book, full color pages.  Some incredible artwork.  Yet they say they cannot include a map because of costs, and it might delay the product.  I smell a lot of PR BS.

 

The Maps in the beginner game, and even "Debts to pay" were invaluable for me as a GM.

 

A simple deck plan for the wheel like the one for Bespin in JoY would have been appreciated.  A map of the settlement on Cholganna would have also been nice.  I would have been fine with a black and white downloadable content.

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Because I paraphrased episode 30 and a lot of people got upset based on what I said alone, I went ahead and dug up the answer. The context of the answer was discussing maps in Suns of Fortune, so why they didn't include a map of the Sa Nalaor or other environment pieces was never truly discussed. This is the best answer we have at the moment.

 

For those of you who want exactly what Sam Stewart said, check out Episode 30 of the Order 66 Podcast starting at about 1:05:15. The entire discussion lasts about 7 minutes.

 

After re-listening to it, I want to apologize. The cost factor mostly dealt specifically with including maps for areas in Suns of Fortune. Which laid out information on a great many different areas and planets. He did admit that cost is a factor, but certainly not the biggest factor. The biggest factor is "Locking in" certain features rather than having something flexible.

Edited by kaosoe
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 The biggest factor is "Locking in" certain features rather that having something flexible.

 

They included plenty of maps in EotE beginners game, they did the same in AoR beginners game. Have anyone seen that one? There is a base fleshed out.

 

Obviously, those are products aimed to attract as many players as possible to the hobby. Therefore they deliver a high quality product with some visual content. Apparently, in those products they are not worried about "locking in" anything or anyone.

 

If a supplement (adventure, sourcebook,...) contains maps or sketches like the one of the Wheel hangar deck, the GM may or may not use it (if he finds his creativity limited or constrained for example). By not including the maps...well there is no choice!

 

Ok, now I will stop ranting, I don't want anyone to think that I don't like the game. Obviously we will not see many maps on these game lines, but our brains will gain in creativity a lot!  ;)

 

Cheers,

Yepes

Edited by Yepesnopes
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Because I paraphrased episode 30 and a lot of people got upset based on what I said alone, I went ahead and dug up the answer. The context of the answer was discussing maps in Suns of Fortune, so why they didn't include a map of the Sa Nalaor or other environment pieces was never truly discussed. This is the best answer we have at the moment.

 

For those of you who want exactly what Sam Stewart said, check out Episode 30 of the Order 66 Podcast starting at about 1:05:15. The entire discussion lasts about 7 minutes.

 

After re-listening to it, I want to apologize. The cost factor mostly dealt specifically with including maps for areas in Suns of Fortune. Which laid out information on a great many different areas and planets. He did admit that cost is a factor, but certainly not the biggest factor. The biggest factor is "Locking in" certain features rather than having something flexible.

 

Listening to that I think the problem is that they need to be willing to back off from the fully illustrated ultra detailed maps that people are used to from the less flexible systems that shall not be named, and back to just the simple floor plans and sketch maps of the old days.

 

Sam mentions the huge crisis of a sector map and yeah, the one in Space Texas sourcebook is very pretty. But a only marginally better version of this would have done just as well.

Elrood_Sector_Map.jpg

 

Not only does it get the point across, but it uses standardized icons and imagery that can just be filed away on the shared drive, allowing a sector-type map to be generated rapidly and adjusted when content has to be cut or added as the production schedule requires.

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Calling them lazy is a bit confrontational. I consider the quality of everything they have done to date to be exceptional. Personally I don't want a map when the game isn't a tactical grid based system. I prefer the flexibility of just creating and describing what I need for my group. I didn't even use of show them the maps from BtR. As for the beginners game the only map that saw use was Mos Shuuta and it was just pinned to the wall and was not really used other than to set the scene

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I prefer the flexibility of just creating and describing what I need for my group. I didn't even use of show them the maps from BtR. As for the beginners game the only map that saw use was Mos Shuuta and it was just pinned to the wall and was not really used other than to set the scene

 

And some would prefer having something more concrete to describe the surroundings, environment, and relative position of elements in the scene. It's not like you would have to use the maps if they added a couple; you could continue playing completely without them. Also I will point out that you said you did like having the flexibility of having the map to use it to set the scene :D

 

I don't think anyone is asking for multiple poster-sized maps detailing every possible place the PCs could go in an adventure; just a couple more maps to give some idea of where things are located on the Wheel, what the general layout of the Sa Nalaor is, a 'general village' map that we could use for the Retreat, etc. Some people (including me) would find that sort of thing useful.

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I'd prefer downloadable content personally; and given the sheer size of the Sa Nalaor, I can see why a map wasn't included.  

They included a map of a section of the Wheel, the one they thought relevant for the adventure. This approach is good enough for me.

 

I honestly didn't even need that, but it was nice fluff.  I took the entire adventure and made it my own, so the sparse maps worked well for me.  Still, I like to project that stuff so a download would be convenient....

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