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Easiest way to make "fog of war"?

Easiest way to make "fog of war"?

I'm trying to create a map that shows what my players can see, but is easily expandable as they explore further, very similar to the "fog of war" effect when exploring in many computer games.

The only straightforward solution I've heard before is to use an opaque layer in photoshop over the actual map, and slowly erase it as they explore. I don't own photoshop, sadly, so that's not a great option. (Can anything similar be done in MS Paint or GIMP, perhaps?)

I don't need a technical solution, in fact - if there's a good physical way to solve the problem, that's fine too (I've used Sticky notes obscuring a hand-drawn map before, but it's kinda tedious and clunky).

I can always resort to having a personal hand-drawn copy, and drawing new chunks out on the battlemat as they find them, but something quicker would make my job a lot easier, since I'm always busy in the middle of a session.

Are you looking for an electronic solution or a pen-and-paper solution?

Electronic, some mapping software packages have this feature (MapTool comes to mind).

Pen-and-paper, I had a GM who would make up each corridor and room on a separate piece of paper (he went whole-hog and used cardboard backing, too) and lay them down as we explored; it worked reasonably well. If you have someone you can trust among the players, you can let them do the drawing for you.

Either electronic or pen-and-paper is fine, actually. It's a tabletop game, but if I have an electronic solution, I'll project the map onto the wall instead.

P&P - Sticky notes work exceptionally well. Cut them into the shapes you need and just pull them off when you need to. These work the best because if the table is bumped, they won't move around and reveal hidden areas like paper would.

Yeah, it worked okay last time, but the map was pretty small. And using them on a battlemat tends to take the maker off with the Sticky. :-/

GIMP works very well for making maps, complete with fog of war. I use it to make my maps for Apocrypha [EXAMPLE].

An extra gray layer set to Saturation turns visited but not currently visible areas grey, and an extra darkness layer can be used for completely unexplored areas.

Yeah, I've actually spent the last two hours playing with GIMP and I've been quite pleased. Did you make that from scratch, or did you use elements/icons/map pieces from elsewhere?

Edit: Actually, how do you do the saturation layer?

Made if from scratch using a real floorplan as a guide and downloaded some textures. The icons are cropped and tokenized pictures.

In the layer window the layers have a Mode option. Set that to Saturation.

GIMP has a friendly community so if you're wondering about something, just google it. You'll find an answer and maybe even a plugin for whatever you need.

Yeah, I usually groan when I HAVE to use PS, it is rather cumbersome and non-user friendly. Gimp is quite a fun program, with only a few holes that someone of my user level will find lacking.

I second Mordae's suggestion on Maptool. It has built in fog of war and it's toggleable per player so it's easy to see who sees what with a click or two. It also comes with a reasonable tileset from the community and has a number of other rpg nifty features.


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