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    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2017
    A question to the forum: what is your personal preference for labeling maps? Putting the names of sites and items on the map, or numbers with a nearby corresponding list? I've seen it done both ways, and I've seen both ways done well and done poorly. On one hand, if you label areas that avoids hunting and pecking for numbers (more for the reverse when you know what you want and then have to find the number on the map). On the other hand, maps get crowded pretty quickly with text, so numbers at sites avoids that and keeps the map pretty clear and uncluttered. I find good and bad in both methods, but being the indecisive Libra that I am, I'm struggling to decide which way to go....

    What's everyone's opinions? Designers, players, and GMs, alike?
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2017
    Generally names, as long as they are just a name, and not a more lengthy description.
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2017
    Names for major items, numbers for minor items - not that I always comply with this😁
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2017 edited
    I kept looking at the legend, as I couldn't remember what the numbers stood for. So I just use names now, mostly.
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2017
    Thanks for the thoughts. Quenten, I was thinking about perhaps labeling large natural things like rivers and mountain ranges and then assigning numbers to cities.... JimP that's the drawback to the numbering style, and I find it really annoying. I'll likely stick with names for larger maps and maybe use numbers for city maps where things tend to be crowded closer together.
    I would say it depends on the size of the map, and how many labels you have, OR - how much information you want your players to have up front. Or what you are using your map for...

    I have used both options. For example, on the commission map I'm working on, I'm labeling with the names of places, directly on the map. But it's an overland regional map being used for a novel.
    In my Ardenvale map, shown here: I used a map legend with numbers, because to me, it was extremely busy, and I thought directly labeling the map would make it too busy.

    So I would say, ask yourself whether the labels will enhance your map, or detract from it. If your map is already busy enough, then use a map legend. If not, it's okay to use direct labeling.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2017 edited
    Yep, I agree with LadieStorm in general.

    For a map intended to be used by other people, especially in a publication, name-labels are almost always preferable, because they avoid any chance of mistakes or misreading the key list (unless you've put the wrong names to the various sites, of course...). For personal use, or use by GMs, space considerations often trump such clarity, however, particularly where it's important to be able to see terrain features the labelling can obscure.

    Also, for myself, someone who was heavily influenced by the earliest published RPG maps of dungeons and cities, my first choice for such maps still tends to be numbers or letters keyed to a description separate from the map entirely. Then again, I still find it less easy to map settlements where the buildings have roofs than plan-view walls, windows and doorways, because of those same earliest maps (e.g. Judges Guild)!
    • CommentAuthorHadrianVI
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2017
    ... What's your name, what's your number, I would like to get to know you ... Aaaaah. Thank you for that one, Scott!

    I prefer numbers for city maps and names for overland maps:)