Relationship Map

  • 17 Replies
Relationship Map
« on: November 08, 2010, 01:21:59 PM »

Using Staples-brand post-it strips in 5 colors and Staples-brand page flags (which are semi-transparent) in 5 colors gives me masses of mobility in my PC and NPC relationship map. PCs have black stars on them, and NPCs closely connected to them have a color-coded connection to them. This also allows for NPCs to very easily shift alliance or move into a different area of the map just by changing the flag over-lay. NPCs with multiple connections have little strips of pertinent color. Now I can start making notes about interesting triangles. And since everything is sticky-notes, I can reposition for maximum non-boringness. Heeheeeheeee.

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 04:57:25 PM »
This. Is great.



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Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 05:31:17 PM »
Oh, I'm totally stealing this! Then adding the technology to the 'world' map. Last known location and what not. Excellent my dear.

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 12:44:21 AM »
Why thank you, gents. I do love me some sticky-notes.

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 09:43:43 AM »
Do you use this while playing or between sessions?

Answer found in another thread right after I asked:

"I have it open on my lap during play, and move PCs and NPCs around as the scenes shift, so I always know who is where, and I can always be watching for interesting angles."

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 09:23:16 AM »
I do also take a look at it when I'm preparing for a session, and see if anything shifts. And if there's a love letter involved, I reposition tags accordingly as well. I think it's my favorite GM 'tool'.

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 09:29:31 AM »
I like this. I am a pictures person myself so this works for me.

For those of you familiar with D&D (will anyone admit to that on this forum ! ) you may know about Masterplan, the campaign management tool.

The guy who wrote Masterplan also wrote this story management tool. It would avoid the risk that your stickies fall out of your book, and is another option for those who like technology. It works for plots and people and I see a lot of use in it for AW and other story games:

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2011, 11:16:11 PM »
Urge rules do instruct to make maps like crazy!

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2011, 10:16:52 AM »
Hey Meg, would you mind going into more detail on how your system works? Any details on the organizational technique and how you utilize your map both between sessions and during sessions would be great to hear about.
Chris McNeilly

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 02:18:51 PM »
Sure, I'd be happy to. As I said up top, each character, PC or NPC, gets a little sticky. PCs have stars on them. This first picture is at the end of our last session. All the purple strips on the top right are new folks that Hooch convinced to come back with him instead of dying. The collection around October is hir new following - the arts&culture contingent. The rest is a bit of a mess, but it's worth noting that Barbecue is right near Marlena and Nash, with Hammer under Nash, because they are in the middle of a thing.

This is a remnant of our last session. I made tags for all the NPCs who jumped Hooch and his gang when they were on the trail home. I should have taken a picture of the map I made with giant graph paper and some wooden blocks, where we used these tags and the relevant PC tags to show who was where during the fight. Worth noting here is that Two-bit, who was in on the fight, is solidly still in the thick of things with Enough-to-eat's holding.

This is a remnant of our last session as well. This is the line-up that survived the battle, before I put everyone back on the first page.

Ok, now I've got everyone back home, nice and tidy. I've written over the purple NPCs onto green tags, to show they were from the Warrens, and put them in close to the PC who has the most connection with them, so West is over with October's followers, Always Flowers is with Burroughs, and Clearasil and Two-bit are in Hooch's gang. Technically, all four might be in Hooch's gang, but we'll have to see. A thing to notice here is that I've added in a little green tag for the landscapes: Windmill, Pit, Edge, and Old One-eye. I'm not sure which goes where yet, but I think it's a good idea to have them on there.

The problem with tidy is it's also boring and status-quoish. Since I know I'm going to write a love-letter about illness, I make some little green squares and decide who gets sick. I think a bit about disease vectors and infection clusters and natural immunity. I also write a little note on each of the NPCs, to help me see what their motives are, what parts they follow around. Each one gets w:[thing they want] under their name. I go with the first obvious thing I think of. These are simple and straightforward folks. One of the kids w:a pet, some of the adults w:sex, a couple get weird things like w:layers to hide under. Wonder what's up with that NPC? Maybe I'll follow that up sometime.

This is where I start looking hard at how to make my PCs lives not boring. What's the natural trajectory of the NPCs wants, and where/when/how do they intersect with the PCs? Here's what is now clear to me that wasn't before:
-9 year old orphan girl Trout is w:a dad who will protect her, and heck, who better than Barbecue! 
-Waters, who has written on his tag that he hates brainers, is moving fast towards confrontation with Burroughs, which is especially interesting since Burroughs just switched splats and is now an Angel! What is that about?
-Marlena is sleeping with Ribbons! Who knew? She's angling for him to take over the Trailjacks, and she's getting him in on poisoning Hammer.
-Nash/Hammer/Hooch = huh. We'll see.
-Spot and Crille both w:Blues for their girl. Who will win?
-Boy howdy Tinker and Spice and T-bone sure look tight.

I notice that the grouping around October is still stubbornly static. Time to change that.
-I'll bring Baby (w:the next fix) back in as a an avenue for some of the Trailjack's good stuff going to October.
-Stinky (w: an inner berth in the garage) and Shithead (w:avoid blame) are messing with Sun (w:status) about being all fancified and putting on airs.
-Frog's got connections to Harrow down the hill, and he's marked as sick - Harrow is w:medicine
-Nightingale (w:parts to make stuff) is cozying up to T-Bone for some crazy reason
-Two-bit (w:get back to Warrens) is slinking off the page at the bottom

And now I weigh out what's happening and decide who's most likely to die next, and mark them with X? on little pink squares. Hammer, Jennette, Tinker, Crille, a couple others. I look first at what's obvious (Hammer), then what's not boring (Jennette, Tinker), then who's not pulling their weight as an NPC (Crille).

But that still doesn't quite hit the PCs where I need it to hit, so what about killing off T-Bone, who is the Trailjacks mechanic? That would leave Waters, who hates Hooch's buddy Burroughs, and Nightingale, who's not as good and is Water's sister, as possible options for keeping the bikes in decent running shape. Now that is not boring!

So, at the end of this less than 30 mins of moving things around and marking them and so on, I have these solid triangles:

Solid red lines are PC-NPC-PC triangles, dashed red lines are ones I think are rising but I'm not ready to count on. Black lines are NPC-PC-NPC triangles, and therefore less urgent. Yellow are just NPCs, but still worth noting for future development. I know who is where, what their motivations are (NPCs at least), and how that's going to intersect with other characters. There's plenty of room for things to shift and develop in play, and the relationships between the various characters is pretty clear.

Ok, questions?

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 02:51:44 PM »
(weird, I'm not seeing my picture-full post at all Maybe you can?)

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 04:47:47 PM »
(weird, I'm not seeing my picture-full post at all Maybe you can?)
Nope. Nothing here.
Chris McNeilly

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 04:49:24 PM »
Oh weird...I don't see it just browsing the thread but when I go to reply I can see it in the listing below the reply text box.
Chris McNeilly

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 05:56:21 PM »
Me too! Ok, maelstrom, get out of my thread!! I'll see if I can get Vincent to fix it when he gets home.

Meanwhile, any questions?

Re: Relationship Map
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 06:04:20 PM »
Haven't even had a chance to read it yet, Im in and out. I'll be looking through it and get back to you as soon as I've digested a bit. Thanks for putting all this up!
Chris McNeilly