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Relationship Maps 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:19 pm
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Location: Montréal, Québec
Post Relationship Maps
So I had to do a network diagram of our office here and the task has revealed to me the joys of diagramming. I used Dia, which is a bit clunky, but also has an old school methodology of stable repetition which I find quite soothing.

Coincidentally, we are starting up a new campaign this week. We will be using Reign and the GM this time wants to make fuller use of the Company rules. He is also using a tighter, mission-based, structure. He likes politics and competition for power among neighbouring kingdoms. He sent us a 3-page guide of the political situation. We are basically a kingdom that is made up of 5 Counties and that is then surrounded by 3 other kingdoms, a barbarian territory and a grouping of islands that make up an economic power. There are some little details in there. Because it is in french and because I have trouble absorbing info this way, I really have to push myself to learn the campaign background. I decided first to use one of these campaign management tools (which I've been whining about like an entitled internet-age gamer who wants everything for free).

But once I saw the power of Dia, I decided to diagram out all the power relationships. At home, I have a Mac, so Dia was not an option (well not without a level of geeking out I wasn't ready for), so I played around with the free version of OmniGraffle. Very nice program. I had to kind of cheat and do some cutting and pasting, because the free version only allows you 20 objects at a time and the program costs $99.95 (clearly aimed at business users, which is fine, just way outside of my budget).

It's in french (not trying to be pretentious, just copied and pasted the text from the original campaign guide), but I think you can get the rough idea. Royaume means kingdom. At the very least, I think you can appreciate how complicated relationships in a political game can get. This is just the beginning. We haven't even started interacting with them. I may have to figure out a way to scale these diagrams, so be able to zoom in and out.

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:23 am
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:16 pm
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Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Post Re: Relationship Maps
stupid French...

</thread crap>

:lol:

On a more serious note - I've actually thought about doing something like this on a high level as I develop Infidelus further; to get that sandbox really set up so that things are happening and that make sense while the adventurers wander the wilderness.

How often do people update these? I would assume you'd change them as events take place at the cause of the characters, right? I mean, if the characters stumble upon a slavers hold and take it out, I would assume the relationship stuff would change to reflect the slavers now seeing the characters as enemies?

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:35 am
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
Yes, the diagram will definitely be changing. I'm a player, so I'll basically be taking the role of the mapper, but instead of mapping out the dungeon, I'll be noting the various new important people, groups and such and how our relationships with them change. I'm going to print the map out, write on it during the session and then update it later in the week. This will help me remember what the hell is going on, too!

I think if I were a GM running this kind of campaign, I would prefer that my players do the relationship mapping, just because I'll have enough work to do and it is a bit labour intensive.

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:51 am
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Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:50 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
I use these sorts of diagrams all the time.
One of the gems of the old White Wolf "by Night" books, for me. :D


Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
walkerp wrote:
Yes, the diagram will definitely be changing. I'm a player, so I'll basically be taking the role of the mapper, but instead of mapping out the dungeon, I'll be noting the various new important people, groups and such and how our relationships with them change. I'm going to print the map out, write on it during the session and then update it later in the week. This will help me remember what the hell is going on, too!

I think if I were a GM running this kind of campaign, I would prefer that my players do the relationship mapping, just because I'll have enough work to do and it is a bit labour intensive.

I would have both do it; though like mapping a dungeon I wouldn't force the group.

But it sure would be fun to compare them. I mean, they might make enemies of the slavers but suddenly get on the good side the Order of Twelve or something because they are fighting for good. Only to have them later do something that upsets the Order without knowing it...

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:24 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
Benoist wrote:
I use these sorts of diagrams all the time.

Do you use any specific program or just draw them by hand?

I'm realizing that these diagramming programs can be quite handy for making quick maps as well.

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:58 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
Well check this out, someone has made a set of D&D Dungeon Map stencils for OmniGraffle.

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:31 pm
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:43 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
Use Gliffy. It's the best free software for this shit out there.

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:59 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
I played around with Gliffy and quite liked it (though I'm still too much of an old codger to ever feel truly comfortable creating documents via a browser). But I was concerned about the limitations of the free account. What are they?

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Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:58 pm
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Post Re: Relationship Maps
Here's the exact details: http://www.gliffy.com/prodcomparison.shtml You can save and store more diagrams.

I use the paid version at work, and it's excellent for diagramming. Not perfect, but extremely easy to use and more than good enough for 90% of all the work I want to do. I use it for site maps and wireframes.

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Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:38 am
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