View Full Version : DM Help Battle grid Help

2014-10-06, 08:09 PM
I've DM'd and played in multiple campaigns, but I've never done even a single encounter using a proper D&D battle grid. In fact, I'm not even sure what one is. I've always used a chess board, giving each player a piece as a miniature, usually using one that semi-represents their class. (paladin is a knight, barbarian is rook, mage is bishop, etc.) I don't think anybody in the group wants to shell out the often-ridiculous amounts of money for miniatures ($40 for a bit of plastic? no thanks!). So i had two questions: a) Is there a lower-cost alternative to get a proper battle grid set up w/ some sort of decent-looking tokens, or is there a computer program I can put on the laptop I bring to sessions that the players can use to explore a dungeon I've made, giving an almost dungeon-crawelery feeling?

2014-10-06, 08:24 PM
There are lower-cost alternatives EVERYWHERE. Lego figurines are cheap and easily customizable, and are about on the same scale as figurines. Chess pieces, like you've already done, are useful. I've seen advertisements for cardboard pictures on plastic stands; you could approximate those with binder clips and some greyboard.

2014-10-06, 08:25 PM
I've used 4 pieces of grid paper taped together. You draw darker lines every 4 squares or so to fit minis on.

2014-10-06, 09:31 PM
Thanks, Guys. These are all great ideas.

Steel Mirror
2014-10-06, 09:59 PM
Bones plastic miniatures by the company Reaper are more in the 3$ to 5$ range, and I've gotten lots of good use out of them.

Roll20 (http://roll20.net/) is a pretty great dungeon crawling program, and you can download maps online that save on prep time as well. Some people find that having computers at the table can be distracting, but it's a good program that works even better if you have a tablet or two to put in the middle of the table as a communal map.

Back in high school, we used to use lego figures for the good guys and go pieces for the baddies, and one of my DMs used to print out little (1 inch circle) pictures of enemies from the monster manual, paste them on circular cutouts from a cereal box, and use those for enemy tokens.

2014-10-06, 10:13 PM
I've always represented NPC enemies with coins. Players know it's serious business when I put a quarter on the mat.

2014-10-06, 10:26 PM
Peel off the rings from soda bottles, you can use those as markers.

Firest Kathon
2014-10-07, 06:15 AM
For a physical battle map, I use two things:

If I have time to prepare the map, I draw it on flip-chart paper, which already has a one-inch grid.
For more spontaneous maps, I have a few sheets of laminated paper on which I printed the grid (before laminating). I can easily draw on them with erasable markers, and combine them for a larger grid.

On the digital side, I have a small LED beamer, which I use to project down on the table (using a modified desk lamp as a stand). I run two instances of MapTool (http://www.rptools.net/?page=maptool), one as GM on my laptop screen and the second as player on the beamer, so I can use the fog of war of MapTool. For tokens, I bought the Pathfinder Pawns (http://paizo.com/pathfinder/miniatures/pawns) from Paizo, though you could just use minis or any other stuff as tokens or run it fully digital on MapTools. I prefer the physical tokens, so players can move their tokens themselves.

Killer Angel
2014-10-07, 06:21 AM
I don't think anybody in the group wants to shell out the often-ridiculous amounts of money for miniatures ($40 for a bit of plastic? no thanks!).

we have minis, but for large battles we use dices as minis (with different dices for different enemies: for example, d10 for mooks and d6 for sergeants)... so it's easier for the DM to keep track of the HP losses. "Are you damaging the mook n. 5? right"