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Should I use a map when playing Mines of Madness in the D&D Next playtest?

I can't tell if it's suppose to be run with the map or not. This will be our first time playing D&D.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, the Mines of Madness crawl does not require a map, but it will help a lot. Without a map, imagination is all there is to see the field and not all people will see a description the same. Maps keep everyone on the same pace and help things flow smoothly. I recommend using a map as first time role players, unless you want more of a challenge. Make sure you know the rules inside and out before attempting to play with out a map as distractions will lessen the enjoyment of the adventure due to a loss of detail (in know from personal experience).

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While D&D Next tells you a map is not necessary at all, most combat options involve distances, from the character having different speeds to the range of weapons to the area of spells.

I strongly advice you against not using the gridded map, it makes fictional positioning obvious and the rules support it.

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Distances being present doesn't mean a grid is necessarily better. (D&D had distances from the beginning and worked fine without a grid for over three decades.) There are advantages and disadvantages to both; but often the most significant deciding factor is simply which way the group is used to. – SevenSidedDie Jul 11 '13 at 14:41
I would reword your advice to "I strongly advise you to use the gridded map". Double negatives can be tough to parse. – cr0m Jul 14 '13 at 6:17

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