16 June 2020

Potential Pointcrawl Mapping Software - Introducing MUDMap

It has been a while since I've graced the three of you who've read anything I've written with something new, and this time it's not even about my own work.

So since the pandemic I've had two campaigns implode, and if I do decide to start another one, I'm going to have to simplify some things. One avenue I've considered is diving into pointcrawls (the origin of which I believe lies with Chris Kutalik, over at his wonderful blog the Hill Cantons), as it really streamlines the map, and clearly defines the points of interest available near the players. But I couldn't find a decent software to make a pointcrawl map on.

Enter: MUDMap.


MUDs (multi-user dungeons) are a text-based type of game wherein players experience the world via written description, and then interface with said world using command. The interesting and relevant part of this is that MUD worlds usually exist as a series of rooms that players traverse through.

A map of Aetolia, a MUD I tried about 10 years ago

MUDMap, then is a software designed for players of such a MUD to connect rooms and make notes as they undertake their journey. At this point, I suspect you can see where I'm going: what is a pointcrawl other than a series of connected nodes, much like a MUD? Obviously a tabletop/online tabletop RPG is going to be a little less rigid on forcing the players to stay on the paths but the parallels are pretty clear.

I spoke to moemneop, the creator of the software, who informed me that the software is no longer being actively developed (though he does commit the occasional bugfix), but even in its current state it does have quite a few features, such as connecting nodes (you can select which side of each node is connected, even), nested maps that you can connect via nodes in each map, info rings that let you change the ring color around a node to correspond to different categories (say, civilized, wilderness, dungeon, etc), and place groups which seem like they'd be perfect for regions and the like.

A few things that I've either yet to discover or aren't available: being able to indicate different TYPES of paths would be helpful, as well as a way to lay paths that aren't necessarily between nodes, such as a path that might connect two other paths. Being able to indicate terrain on the map would also be pretty cool. Meomneop did ask what features I was missing for my use-case, which indicates to me that he's maybe willing to push some updates, but it's not something I'd ask him to do for just myself. If the OSR/wider RPG community thought this could be useful, though...

So what do you guys think? Does this seem like something that might be useful for your pointcrawl mapping needs?