Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Question of the Day: The Caller!

So, I've decided to start tapping more often into the gaming community we got going on here (the kids call that "crowdsourcing" these days, right?)!

Here's the question of the day (just regarding playing D&D): Does anyone currently use, or ever used, a caller for their game sessions? And by extension, do you designate a mapper? I've been reading Molday, Cook/Marsh, and Mentzer again, and in reading about the caller and mapper once more, it made me wonder how often this is actually used.

Personally, I've never seen this done. When I've run games and played in them, each player was asked on an individual basis by the DM regarding what the players were doing at any given time.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

EDIT: Oh, and I guess the logical extension to my question is "If you use a caller, tell me why."


  1. I just ask the players. We did, however, has a spokesperson in-character in-game, which we voted for at the start of every adventure (with lots of politic stuff, cheating and so forth too). Ii thin it depends on the size of the group and how rowdy they are.

  2. Callers are very useful with larger groups of players. Often in my games the most motivated player in the party will fall into the roll naturally. If no one else cares whether the party turns right or left, why not look to the one guy who seems to have his act together?

    Most games I run nowadays have at least one mapper. Sometimes two.

  3. In my experience, I've never seen a caller officially designated by a group. But, as Jeff notes, in practice a player often unofficially steps up to speak for the group to the GM. Mapping is something my groups haven't done in years (since the 80s, really), but when we did map, that job usually went to the person who was best at translating the DM's descriptions into cartography.

  4. A caller is for the direction moved. Do you really ask each player where they move during the exploration phase? Do players randomly wander around seperately in a dungeon?

    No one ever had a caller for combat

  5. Did a article on this at my blog...I demand it at my table!


  6. We've never used "callers" to describe everyone's actions, but usually the more vocal or assertive players tend to lead the way in describing what direction the party travels.

    As for mapping, we have a big pad of 11x17 graph paper and it's community mapping. Whoever feels like drawing a particular room just does it. And one of our players (Adam) always draws the monsters onto the map. Another guy shades the map and adds borders and doo-dads. It's actually kind of fun.

  7. I've only gamed with small groups (GM plus 2-4 players), and we never had a caller, mostly because we never felt we needed one. My impression always was that the caller was for larger groups where it might get impossible for the GM to follow with everybody speaking at the same time.

    For mapping we always had only one person doing it, but it could change off between sessions or even over the course of a single session.

  8. Never. I do think it would be helpful for organizing a group - I've seen important things like making sure a room is searched or a door is guarded or whatever slide because no one was in charge.

    But we've never played with one, and I think a party leader could easily do what I mentioned above. The caller was always one of those things we just ignored . . .

  9. In my 1st Edition game I use a caller, a mapper, and a timekeeper. Each player has 2 characters, plus party has 2 retainers and the usual assortment of shield bearers and torch bearers. At any given time I am dealing with at least 14 characters on the party's end alone.

    The game is set in Stonehell so a maker is pretty much required.

    The timekeeper has become less necessary as they have gained levels and consumables become less of an issue.

  10. Thanks all for checking in with your comments!