Map Mondays – The Weston House: Part 1
by Ethan Hudgens Twitter
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“When they say that house is evil, what is it they mean? Evil is an insidious force. It is a malignant intent and thoughtful action. Evil knows that what it is doing is wrong and continues onward, pressing its knife deeper into the heart of it’s victims. Then how? Regardless of the carpenters’ design or residents of the place and whatever foul deeds they explored, how can any ‘thing’ be evil? I ask to you come and see this place. Unbare its timbers that you might uncover some truth, though do not tarry long for there is intent in that house and it has had a long time to scheme since it’s last visitor.”
Often times when we use a battlemap we have it there as a backdrop to the story. Something to give players and GMs a starting point for the epic battles between adventurers and antagonists, a place for tactical minds to work and teamwork to come together.
But there are instances where the map is the story. We often find this true in classical dungeon crawls where our adventurers are simply exploring the space. When that is the case it is important to make the location the story. Each space should be like dialogue with contextual clues as to the purpose of the place. Each room should add something to the story whether it be mundane (such as a smoking parlor or study like the northern rooms in this map), or much more directly (in the southeast room the furniture has all been propped up against the doors) that should make your players ask questions and formulate theories. Listen for those theories and build the story around them as they continue to explore because in the exploration of a setting as story the climax is in the reveal of of its true purpose.
Have thoughts or theories of your own? Stay tuned to see if they hold up when we reveal the upper floor next week!