interesting places series of maps started, a reader commented that, "I still have this problem with how to describe such an environment without just draw out the intricate twists on a battlemap." (This was in reference to the Caves of Madness map.) Having drawn some caves recently, I have been revisiting this very problem.
I mentioned this to Z and she recommended that I look into bubble diagrams, a spatial organization technique used by designers to establish relationships between rooms and areas in a house or building. First, what a great way to spec out the flow of a map before setting down to draw it. Second, it reminded me of the kinds of maps we used to make while trying to figure out how to navigate through Zork back in the day. Without any further thought, I quickly sketched out a flow:
graph than a bubble diagram. Nevertheless, it's good enough for our purposes. The next step was to translate the graph into a series of twisty caves. I pulled out the trusty light box and turned this out in about five minutes:
How would you use these maps in play? For those of you into production, you could turn the graph into a transparency and overlay the actual map. I'm lazy, however, and would be happy to use both maps simultaneously. When describing the location of passages and general directions, and perhaps even for looking up the key, I would use the graph. For everything else, including calculating distances and areas, I would use the detailed map. Your mileage may vary.
The Fine Print: I am sharing this map under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. If you follow that link you will be able to read about the conditions that apply to this work. In a nutshell: (a) you can't use it commercially, (b) you must attribute it to me, and (c) you must share any derivative works that you create.