Monday, March 28, 2011

Tactile Maps

This post here on Tactile Maps at Telecanter's Receding Rules clued me in to the existence of tactile maps. It's an idea I was not aware of and a great way to provide "treasure maps" in dungeon settings that could be made by folks that don't require ( or simply don't want to be given away by ) light. One feels a series of bumps, notches and symbols carved into a device to find their way.

Here's a sample Tactile Map Key and a Tactile Map created according to the key:

Such a Tactile Map could be left hanging on a peg or inserted into a cavity carved to hold the tactile map if it were a mobile device. Such a map could also be incorporated into a larger mostly immobile sculpture, hidden in decorative carvings or etched on an another item.

The sample map describes this route:
From starting point take first left turn.
Travel about 120 feet then take the right turn.
Move 60 feet, beware of trap and pass through door.
Turn left and pass through portal to descend.
Take 1st left and travel about 300 feet
Enter the portal and you are there.


  1. Great thing, but I'm afraid that my players will never decipher it... Too bad for them :D

  2. You are awesome! With that short a turn around you came up with something that would really work. I like the turns being slopes, I would easily be able to discern those by touch.

    For gaming you could have players find a broken one, like a piece of a treasure map.

  3. the map looks like it also could work as the key to whatever is at the destination...

  4. Quick! You still have time for the One page Dungeon contest!

  5. Really, pretty brilliant.
    --Right on. :)

  6. I love the idea! This would make "treasure map" discoveries more interesting - once they figure it out (it at all!).

    Shaping the hole into an icon, tied to a landmark, would allow the players to find the starting point - or else, they would start from were they found it.

  7. Yes, brilliant indeed, thanks for the idea.

  8. Cool stuff. I wish I could find a way to actually work it into play.

    Though unless I'm mistaken, you've made a mistake. "Turn left and pass through portal to descend." seems to be marked as "Turn left and beware of trap."

    I also worry that the pits (Beware of Trap, Beware of Monster, Descend, Ascend) might be hard to distinguish by touch. Especially Beware of Trap and Descend.

    But definitely cool stuff.

  9. A mistake? You always trust maps and keys you find in dungeons?

  10. brink totally beat me too it. I LOVE this... Where is my wife's Fimo?

    Thanks to Telecanter for directing me here.