This dungeon to scale

A ways back I wrote about a Kickstarter that I backed which supplied with the Level Up gaming accessory, essentially a modular table add-on you can place on top of your gaming surface to give it more space by allowing things to go beneath it, like dice or a plate of pizza or a character sheet.

Now if there is a downside, it is that the table that I bought is only 2′ by 3′ (to be fair, you can buy extra pieces). However, given that I play on a 4′ by 8′ table, that gives me a 12-18 inch margin around the outside, which is comfortable.

So that means I have a workable space of 24 by 36 inches. Now in my mind, a useful way to approach this is to make any environment–outdoors, dungeon, street venue–fit neatly into the space. So a dungeon level, or sub-level, or sector or however you want to call it, can be placed neatly within 24 to 36 inches. If the players move on, you shift the whole locale.

That got me thinking about how to plot all of that out. Most of my modular dungeons use a “one inch equals five feet” ratio, typically designated by floor tile demarcations of some kind. So with that in mind, a dungeon map could span 24 by 36 squares. At four squares to the inch, that’s six by nine inches. Which, as it turns out…

…is roughly the size of a page in a graph paper composition book, which is my usual medium for jotting down gaming notes.

That puts one square at five feet, but I am a little old school and tend to think of gaming maps in one square equaling ten feet, like the old D&D modules. So if you were to go with that scale, and then drop the square size to five per inch, what does that give me to work with?

A 3′ by 5′ index card! And with room to spare for notes, including a name, etc. There’s even room on the back. In some ways I get a better sense of what I have to work with on the Level Up using this scale. The cards are easy to carry around with me so I can jot down quick sketches of layouts as they occur to me, and each square can also serve as a single Dragonlock tile, should I want to go that route.

All of which is laying continual groundwork for something a big bigger. More to come…

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