A map is a type of game aid, usually on a flat surface, that visually represents the relative positions or relationships of the various parts of something in a role-playing game (often in the game world).
Maps may be fixed or changed during play. When maps need to be drawn or changed during a game, responsibility for doing so may fall either on the GM or players, depending on the game. Some games, such as The Quiet Year, use maps and the act of drawing them as a key part of the gameplay.
Common types of maps used in role-playing games include:
- Geographical map - Represents locations in the game's setting. These can exist on various scales, e.g. a world map or city map.
- Combat map - Represents an area in which the player characters are engaged in combat, and the relative positions of the combatants. Miniatures or other tokens may be used on the map to represent characters. The map may be marked to help show distances, e.g. using a square or hexagonal grid. Combat maps may be drawn on surfaces such as graph paper or a game mat, or built from official products such as Dungeon Tiles.
- Relationship map - A representation of the different characters in a setting and how they are connected to each other.