View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:18 pm



Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3
Relationship Maps 
Author Message

Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 2855
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Post Re: Relationship Maps
Alright boys and girls - time to pony up for an old timer.

I'm kicking around/jotting down ideas for an adventure/sandbox. For the adventure, it's pretty straightforward. But I want to have a nice sandbox set up around it so it can be run as a one shot but fits into a campaign world nicely. As I was writing down various backstory (?) things, I noticed I was building up these relationships. And I thought, hey - maybe this is where I throw in one of them newfangled relationship maps to document this. So walk me through the creation of a relationship map.

For example, there's a ruler - called The Penarch - and a powerful "philosopher" named Rothrigar (the working title is "Rothrigar's Proxy"). Then there are others ranging from other states to the Pennarch's court and brothers and sisters and so forth.

Do I just start writing down all of the entities involved and drawing lines in between and so forth? Is there a best practice any of you have come up with that works particularly well for you?

_________________
The rules are my slave, not my master. - Old Geezer

I'm reaching out for something, touching nothing's all I ever do.

If you're interested in GaryCon


Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:00 am
Profile E-mail
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:19 pm
Posts: 2102
Location: Montréal, Québec
Post Re: Relationship Maps
Yeah, that's basically all I did. I simply pick the most central character or entity and then start drawing lines. The tricky part is that you can't always see what is the best arrangement and you may end up moving one to another side. That's where the software makes your life easier, but I think pencil and paper works fine as well.

_________________
despicable, vile, little worm and rabid defender of the podcast category
----------------------
This month on the RPG Haven Podcast: VSCA - The Diaspora Crew.


Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:20 am
Profile E-mail WWW

Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 2855
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
Post Re: Relationship Maps
I've got Visio, so that's what I'd use. I just wanted to know if there was a good way to plan it out to minimize that kind of do-over work or recognizing things in one's notes, etc. to facilitate the approach...

_________________
The rules are my slave, not my master. - Old Geezer

I'm reaching out for something, touching nothing's all I ever do.

If you're interested in GaryCon


Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:03 pm
Profile E-mail

Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:43 pm
Posts: 412
Post Re: Relationship Maps
IMHO, the best way to do it is either to start with the PCs in the centre or a McGuffin if your campaign is built around one. I tend to cluster people by attitude towards the PCs, with potential foes on one side and potential friends on the other. Anything or anyone they're fighting over goes in between them.

Protip: If you're using paper pick the halves by dividing the short edge, not the long one. It's easier to draw r-maps with shallow but broad sections than deep ones, but YMMV.

For intelligibility's sake I try to avoid drawing lines across lines if I'm using a single colour because it turns into an unreadable rat's nest. However, if you own a set of pencil crayons, you can colour-code relations using them which allows you to be a lot more haphazard.

I start with the relationships the PCs will start knowing about, or that will be immediately apparent once play starts. Once I have those in, I move onto ones they are likely to discover, or whose consequences are extremely important for some reason. On a first draft, I pretty much just focus on laying those out clearly. Once I've got a clear layout for those, I'll slot everything else in as needed (this is usually the fiddly stage, and it's when I jump to diagramming software).

For the actual relationships, there's a fine line to be walked when describing them. People sometimes focus too much on emotions or too much on the character's history together. You end up with a lot of useless "-> loves" or "-> once shared a beer" crap that no one cares about.

Personally, I only draw relationship lines if the characters are doing something to one another, trying to do something to one another, or preparing to do something to the other. My relationship lines have things like "Is preparing his army to invade the land of.." and "Wants him to join his political faction" and that kind of shit. Actions or desires that motivate action.

Protip: Draw asymmetric relationship lines (I user arrows). A rookie mistake is to draw a double-headed arrow and write "love" or something between two characters to explain that they love one another. Which makes the map totally useless if you want to keep track of two characters who feel differently about one another (like someone plotting to betray his best friend or whatever). If you stick to actions, this problem tends not to occur as often, but you've still got to avoid shit like "at war with".

My last piece of advice is to draw a relationship map of where everyone will be at the start of the campaign, and draw one that describes where you (realistically) think the same people ideally will be at the end of it, or at least at the close of the first major chapter. Comparing the two shapes should give you an idea of how the relationships between chars have to change to have that happen, even though in actual practice that final diagram will almost never be accurate.

_________________
I'm running a blog these days. Check it out!
Possesser of the Bonuses that Stack
3lite & 4rry & total 5ag


Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:50 pm
Profile E-mail
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 24 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.