Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday's Question: Secret Doors

Friday!  What a wonderful word.  Work has been tearing me down this week and the reason for lack of posting.  But!  that is no excuse not to do a Friday Question.

I've been doodling a handful of maps recently.  One of the things I keep in mind is I rarely play at the table any longer.  Most of our games are on-line.  What is the difference?  Fog of war can be tricky in revealing sections.  The on-line programs handle it pretty well, but some have devastating quirks.

One of the big issues is secret doors.  You can't note a secret door with a big S.  Everyone will see it.  There were a few times when we all got a good laugh when a GM would do the reveal and we'd see the tail end of an S sticking out.  "I'm checking for secret doors by that S in the corner." 

Question all you brilliant folks is, how do you depict your secret door or just hidden stuff when using on-line maps?  I know many just do rough drawings and just sketch as the party goes, but I'm interested in when you have a pre-made map, what do you do to keep it secret from the prying eyeballs of the players?


  1. I brought this up what, last fall? I polled the net and I changed the way I draw secret doors specifically for this reason. You can see an example here:

    While not perfect, it allows a GM to fog of war an area without showing a huge S and giving away the doorway. It isnt perfect however, Sherlockian players would notice the GM has pushed the Fog directly up to the wall and that no hatching is available.

  2. I just add it afterwards on the map I print out for myself. This assumes that I remember that the secret door is there.

  3. Most secret doors are only secret from one side, so ... Just draw the S on the other side of the door and not touching it.

  4. Since I make my own maps, I do one GM map and one player map. So the secret doors don't appear on the player map that gets posted unless the PCs actually find them.

  5. I'm with Bard. It never occurred to me to use the same map for my DM notes and for my players.

    It helps that I use MapTools, which explicitly has a "hidden" layer that the GM can see but the players can't see. So stuff like room numbers, trap triggers, or the like can go on the hidden layer. I guess that would include secret doors if I were the kind to label one as a door with an S through it.