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I'm running a West Marches style game and I'd like for players to have a shared map they can edit. What's a good way to handle this in a way that can be shared with all the potential players between sessions?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this for any particular RPG system? Or is it independent of system? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 5 '18 at 4:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm using Into the Odd but I neither need nor want system support in the player map. It just needs to be a map - I'm not worried about travel rules etc. \$\endgroup\$ – polm23 Oct 5 '18 at 5:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you running the game online? \$\endgroup\$ – Thanuir Oct 5 '18 at 7:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ The game is played in person but we have a chat group and shared Google Drive. \$\endgroup\$ – polm23 Oct 5 '18 at 10:53
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Google Slides

I'm also running a West Marches style campaign for a large (25+) group and we've found that Google Slides works really well for this. You can create a map using some other cartography software and set it as the background for the slide (or break it up into multiple slides to zoom in better) and then add sites / routes as textboxes on top. You can either allow the players to edit the slides directly (they can add more text to overlay the map, or they can add more slides of notes which they can link to from the map) or you can give them 'Comment Only' access if you're worried about them moving / deleting things.

The map is accessible really easily (via a url) and can be viewed / edited by multiple people at once no problem.

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A friend of mine made a tool after wondering the same question. We now use on a regular basis: Hextml site here and it is free.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I love this programme, but I can't make the share function work, the link I give my players leads them to the generic tutorial map, do you know how it works ? \$\endgroup\$ – Boulash Oct 5 '18 at 18:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Boulash The question mark by "Saves" at the top of the page links to this 1-question FAQ, which says: "Why does Hextml displays "Save on server: never" in the status bar? You have to connect with your google account and get a premium account. If you can't (or don't want to) you can still use everything normally but you'll have to regulary save your maps on your own computer." I'm guessing that's the issue - the shared link only updates when you save the map online, and you can only save when signed in via Google with a premium Hextml account. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 6 '18 at 0:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot, that really wasn't clear but it makes sense that such a useful feature comes with a price. 5$ a month doesn't sound to bad. \$\endgroup\$ – Boulash Oct 6 '18 at 8:33
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Players manage the player map

Give responsibility for the map to the players. Let them figure out a way of sharing it. Offer to send/share a link or a file if they provide you with one.

If the players do not share the map, then new players start without and should probably produce their own. The situation should be fixed without a couple of sessions, as recurrent players are likely to have access to a map through some means.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a totally fair response, and I have no intention of touching the map itself, but it'd be great if I could at least tell them "use this". \$\endgroup\$ – polm23 Oct 5 '18 at 10:54
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A quick and dirty (though highly effective) way to handle this would be to setup a Roll20 account, create a map and then share the link to the map with your fellow players (make sure they also have accounts!). This enables easy collaboration and the map is persistent so any changes each player makes will show up for every other player too!

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