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Episode 1991: Follow the Holo Luke Road

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A map is always evocative. Far off lands, new places to explore, hidden secrets just out of reach behind the innocent looking map symbols. A map provides not just a pathway to adventure, but many pathways. It invites people to explore and to choose which direction they want to head. A map is one of the best ways to avoid a railroad and give the players in a game free agency, to choose where they want to go and what they want to look at first.

Of course, in some sense you want this to be an illusion, and for there to be specific locations and places to be explored, that you have worked out in advance. But it's a powerful illusion.

Make maps. Show your players maps. You can have a secret GM version of the map indicating all the secrets and hidden things, but definitely let them see a "public knowledge" version of the map. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a map is worth a million.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

[Keybounce's comments will appear here when received.]

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Wow, that's a much better projector than R2-D2 has. So many improvements for astromech droids in 30 years. Or maybe BB-8 just has the special protagonist/sidekick boost for the sequel movies; R2 always seemed like he was built much better, faster, smarter than the other astromechs seen in the originals and prequels. Either way, totally fits that BB-8 would be better here. And man, this is probably another one of those cool set piece scenes that I'm losing something by not seeing it animated.

Comic-wise, that's a smart move to just project the map instead of handing it over for someone else to look at. Corey might or might not be a little naive about tabletop gaming still, but one does not forget about curses one's character has on them. Everyone else that's handled that map is actually or presumed dead, so I can see anyone who tries taking the map away from BB-8 getting an arc welder in return.

I know there's only so much room for text in the comics so we don't have an exact idea of how things are described, but this is the sort of situation that's perfect for pictures or props. Here, it sounds like the GM made or found and repurposed a cool looking map and is showing it off. Details like this, even if they're small pictures or rarely/never used again later, add so much to setting a scene. Having a GM suddenly show an image of of a creepy looking robot or a dinosaur stalking around a cabin in the woods makes the reveal of those so much more immediately impactful than when it's just a verbal description.

Transcript

Rey: Now as I was saying, where are we going?
Yanni: Beats me.
BB-8: Hello? Map to the lost world of Ahch-To and Luke Amidala! The obvious quest hook!
Yanni: You got a map? Let’s have a look.
BB-8: Can I project it as a hologram?
GM: Yep! Here’s what it looks like. It’s a section of the Galaxy.
GM: Zooming in, you see several star systems, and a route marked in red.
Rey: Yep. That’s a quest hook if ever I’ve seen one.


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Published: Tuesday, 04 May, 2021; 02:11:11 PDT.
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