Ever since I first tried DM’ing, I have jumped from one method to another of creating maps for my D&D games. Recently I was using a Google Doc spreadsheet for something and it occured to me that I could use these to make maps.
What it is
I basically set the spreadsheet to be a small squared grid and apply conditional formatting to the entire grid along with a key of what means what. So once it’s set up, if I type a letter ‘T’ in a square, that square turns dark green and now represents ‘Trees’, same as ‘M’ means mountains and turns grey, ‘V’ means village, ‘C’ means city and shows as orange, and so on.
On top of the basic auto-colour coding mentioned above, you can right click any of the squares and ‘insert notes’ which gives you a text box to include any notes you have about that map-space(like a town name and who lives there)
Why it’s awesome
Super simple, hassle free You can do it anywhere you like without needing any special software or apps (all browsers run google sheets i’m fairly sure). And it’s as easy as typing letters into a spreadsheet.
Can be shared easily You can share it with friends thanks to the great sharing functions of google, you could even work on it at the same time as someone else(if you’re brave enough to try co-DMing).
Customisable You can use the same method for world maps, town maps and dungeon maps. You could even make multiple pages of the documents for different levels of a dungeon.
I know not everyone is as into making spreadsheets as me, so below is a link to an example world map and city map (tabs down the bottom for different pages)
Wendy was just leaving her home for the morning as she stopped to pick a flower for herself. She loved spring, the tulips in particular were lovely right now. She was going to work for her apprenticeship and she was too busy smelling her tulip in enjoyment and unfortunately not looking to where she was going. She ran smack into someone and nearly fell, dirtying her gown.
“Oh pardon me! I’m so sorry!” She apologized to the towering man and blushed at him. “Please beg my pardon.”
Jade watched carefully as James kicked both sides of the Pegasus and it began to go into a steady trot, before the beast took for the skies and began to soar. “Wow…” Jade said, completely mesmerized by the riding, completely blanking out at what Sofia said to her.
Once he touched down, Jade cheered, clapping her hands. “That was incredible!” She said, throwing her hands up, and letting go of the reins, making her fall off her horse. She looked up. She began to laugh. “Whoops!”
Taemin is hot. But not hot enough. Jonghyun is slacking off. The pearly white dragon is curled up in the far back corner of the workshop, taking a nap when he should be keeping the forge from cooling. The lazy fuck had the audacity to be napping on the most important day of the young smith’s life. Jonghyun’s tail twitches in annoyance and a grumpy wisp of a voice in the back of Taemin’s head hisses Hey, I’m nocturnal.