Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 66
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imbalance's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    d20 Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    It perplexes me. Even as one of the most active gaming forums around, it seems the vast majority of forum topics on GitP are all rules, rules, rules, OotS comics discussions, build ideas, gripes, recruiting, and some lore (not in order). That's fine, but also weird to me that the only hits I get when I search for topics about minis are some mentions in a WH40K thread and very rarely an arts & crafts custom. Apart from Kevin Cook, nobody really says much about dice, either. I checked the forum rules a bunch just to make sure the subject isn't outright banned, but it doesn't look like it is. Guess I'll find out.

    Is this entire message board populated exclusively by theatre-of-the-mind folks? Does everyone talk toys elsewhere?

    I mean, we could.

    Talk about it. Y'know...

    Hey fellow nerd people, how do you like those little figurines?
    Whaddya like? 2d, 3d? Painted/unpainted? Metal/plastic/meeples carved out of soap?
    Do you rock the resin tiles, plaster casts, DIY? Fly in a pre-built scene or assemble on the fly? Dry-erase on a gridded mat?
    Do your click-clacks sparkle? Do you annually recolor the numbers with a 40-year-old crayon? Use a tower or a tray or just toss them willy-nilly?
    Does your DM hand you a map? Are you allowed to write on it?
    I know a lot of games moved online, but the plague won't be around forever. What did you do before quarantine? What do you want to do once face-to-face gaming is a thing again?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Terrain: We vary by DM. I use 4E flat terrain tiles (I have a double complete set) and some stuff I make to go on top. Plus aquarium stuff.

    My current DM now that I finally get to play uses a dry erase board and a pen.

    Models: I use a mix of pogs and fantasy risk/chess figures because they are cheap and get the job done. Current DM has a lot of models and one of the other players specializes in modeling so we have mts of them, lots of hero quest style stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Vacation in Nyalotha

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Being forced by geography into running virtual I can’t make use of my mini collection and it has admittedly stifled my desire to add to the arsenal. Was doing 3D print and paint for a while but with that not contributing to shared enjoyment of the hobby I’ve focused more on other prep I can share.

    Speaking of which I should load up that Azgaar’s map and do some updates.
    By the metric of being wholly dependent on the GM for noncombat interaction Fighter is an NPC class.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2014

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    When I first started really playing TTRPG's, I quickly assembled dozens of miniatures and reusable maps to play them with. These became the standard for a long time, with the occasional high quality printed map and a never ending influx of new minis to add to everything. Then I went through a stint where I got tired of it and only did theater of the mind. Now I go back and forth, all depending on whether I believe the players are going to stick to a single area long enough to warrant maps and minis and if I have the spare time/desire to prepare them. On the extreme end I sometimes add in 3D terrain now, but this is even more exceptional.

    The reason for all this is how difficult it has gotten to judge my players' desires accurately enough to warrant all the extra time and energy to use maps, especially with all the newbies we've been getting in the last few years. I can't always guess if they're going to spend five hours or five minutes in any given location, so preparing things ahead of time becomes futile and meaningless. I'll only do it if I'm 100% certain the players are going to spend at least an entire session in a place.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Somewhere over th rainbow

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Simple answer for me. Things like tabletop terrain and minis are expensive. Also in NZ, there is sparse stuff available and shipping costs.. a lot. I would love to be able to have minis and things but honestly I make do with a piece of pad paper and a pencil.
    We're all just humans who like other humans... or we don't...
    What am I?
    I am me, and will continue to be me, as hard as I can.
    Professional Ancient Relic
    Beware, Monologues
    Ambassador from Gen Z
    NBITP

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedKnightGirl

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    California
    Gender
    Male

    d6 Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I like a flat surface to move the mini figure around accurately counting distance. I do not have to worry about up hill down hill. No inside spaces of buildings. Although 2nd story is fun with destroyed buildings. Becomes a problem sometimes.
    9 wisdom true neutral cleric you know you want me in your adventuring party


  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    GMT +1

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I didn't start with Dnd.
    The game I started with was completely theatre of mind, with some very basic maps. (black and white, no grid)
    Later I started playing GW games and didn't even occur to me, that I could use those minis for my rpg.
    Even later I played SR and VtM and still no minis.
    I came to DnD late, I think I was about 27 yrs old and it was late 3.5 and it was honestly the first time I experienced a grid and minis in a rpg.

    So, yes, I use them now, but still very basic stuff.
    Quickly scribbled battle Maps and the minis, that are on hand (atm mostly Zombicide and Mouse & Mystic).
    It's just not important to me.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I've been playing for almost 17 years and this year- this month is the first time I've bought a pair of miniatures. Actually like how the painting turned out.

    I've made a lot of portraits of characters before though. But that's as far as it goes, I've never been in a group where people used minis and props, well except this year the DM is really stepping up his game.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Lord Torath's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Sharangar's Revenge
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I've always used minis, but never a grid or ruler. More for a general sense of what and where rather than anything precise. Minis are expensive, and I didn't have money to spend on them. I used lego minifigs and battle beasts for decades. The lego minfigs have become much more interesting over the years.
    Warhammer 40,000 Campaign Skirmish Game: Warpstrike
    My Spelljammer stuff (including an orbit tracker), 2E AD&D spreadsheet, and Vault of the Drow maps are available in my Dropbox. Feel free to use or not use it as you see fit!
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Imagination Land
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I think the reason minis aren't much of a topic here is that they aren't necessary to play the game, and there is no basis to assume everyone has them or uses them in the same manner. Whereas the rules of the game are well established and can be followed by everyone if they have access to the relevant books.

    In other words, miniatures and terrain models, while certainly fun and interesting, are props. The game rules are information, and information is much easier to spread and discuss online.



    As for my group, at least back when we were meeting in person, we did amass a fair collection of official minis which we liked to use and had some homemade terrain props as well, but most of our combat mapping was done on a large vinyl mat with a printed grid and drawn on with wet-erase markers.
    "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." - Will Rogers

    Watch me draw and swear at video games.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    In other words, miniatures and terrain models, while certainly fun and interesting, are props. The game rules are information, and information is much easier to spread and discuss online.
    And any differences between the use of such props is mostly a purely aesthetic consideration. For the purposes of actual efficacy in tactical representation the difference between a GM who puts down an extremely well made, elaborately painted, and overall gorgeous troll miniature on a play mat and a GM who puts down a red d12 twelve and says 'that's the troll' is roughly zero. Beyond the basic ability of the participants to recognize which miniature is which and to physically map out the in-game motions, everything else is pretty much pure gloss. And since this is a primarily text-based forum, discussion of visual elements tends to be rather lackluster.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I started with D&D (playing other games now, current groups are Degenesis, Fate (Dresden Files) and Unknown Armies), but we never used minis.

    Which is interesting, because we were all also Warhammer Players and definitely had enough minis. But we all came to the conclusion that we never really liked the miniature pushing aspect of RPGs. Too much of a break in the action to take out the minis and maps and set up, we always theatre-of-the-mind-ed it.
    "Après la vie - le mort, après le mort, la vie de noveau.
    Après le monde - le gris; après le gris - le monde de nouveau.
    "

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I was an avid Warhammer (and 40k) fan before I got into RPG's (its why WFRP is my favourite return-to game) so I have a quite sizeable collection. I haven't played any of the battle games for 20 years now (except Blood Bowl, but even the PC version has moved me off the tabletop there too), and long ago broke my armies down and kept only the bare minimum needed for rpg games (I am probably underestimating that, but it feels like a bare minimum when you only have 40 goblins instead of several hundred!). I still paint, but nowhere near as much as I did, and every new campaign usually provokes a sudden spending and painting spree to get a just-perfect painted party together (even if we are explicitly not using models for the campaign, its still cool to have the party models in the centre of the table).
    Last edited by Glorthindel; 2020-11-11 at 04:29 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Unsurprisingly, we've been playing a lot on roll 20 lately and I really dislike the way having all these maps and tokens has pushed the game much in a boardgaming direction rather than encourage players and DMs to describe their actions.

    We've got a few physical models, but tend to only use them for marking it rough positions in a map.
    Last edited by Aliess; 2020-11-11 at 04:51 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I think the main problem here is preparation time vs uncertainty. Especially given how strongly this community feels avout railroading.
    If you don't railroad your players, you have no certainty of any given encounter, so spending hours to prepare a climatic scene that may not happen is not exactly rewarding
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Miniatures and toy castles are distractions that get in the way of visualizing interesting environments and creatures as living things instead of levitating statues. They are a crutch that limits the imaginative potential of roleplaying games. They make sense for tactical wargames like Warhammer, but don't have any place in narratively focused games.

    And what's there to say about dice? They have equal sides and numbers on them.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Miniatures and toy castles are distractions that get in the way of visualizing interesting environments and creatures as living things instead of levitating statues. They are a crutch that limits the imaginative potential of roleplaying games. They make sense for tactical wargames like Warhammer, but don't have any place in narratively focused games.

    And what's there to say about dice? They have equal sides and numbers on them.
    The interest is if the battles gets too crowded and that different people are imagining different scenes and that it results in a lot of communication complexity then using miniatures helps agree on the positions of the things.
    If the battles are not too complicated miniatures can just be a loss of time due to needing to set up all the things.
    ex: In a boss fight a theatre of the mind setup works perfectly since it does not matters that people imagine things a bit differently from each other due to the low complexity of the armies involved.
    Last edited by noob; 2020-11-11 at 06:09 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I got into D&D through the minis game back in the mid-00s. I have literally hundreds if not thousands of plastic minis in a dozen or so drawer units, including a TON of the old vinyl minis and the newer WizKids produced hard plastic (especially the Eberron stuff). I've also gotten into buying some to-scale dinosaur toys for expanded selection, though at some point I want to get them on proper bases.

    And then COVID hit, and I can't do anything with it all. My gaming table is overgrown with old Amazon boxes we need to break down, because we haven't had gamers over since February. We do all our gaming currently over Discord, though next time I run (Werewolf the Forsaken) I'm going to do screen-share on a Photoshop document and draw a map and maybe some scene-setting illustrations myself.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    I think the main problem here is preparation time vs uncertainty. Especially given how strongly this community feels avout railroading.
    I must admit, I have had a bit of 'fun' with my players on the preparation side.

    As all my models are now boxed away, I have to dig out the ones I need prior to the session, which means (in order to avoid it being abundantly obvious what they will be facing during the session) I usually dig out 2-3 times the models I actually need, in order to obfuscate the ones on my shelf that I do need, with the the ones I have taken out which I don't. I usually make a point of getting out one or two ludicrously big and unpleasant models to put with the rest in order to freak them out (I have a Dragon, Wyvern, Griffon, couple of big Daemon Princes, a Bloodthirster (basically a Balor for the uninitiated), and occasionally I throw in the Tyranid Carnifex for good measure (if you don't know it, Google it, its a terrifying beast!))

    My players used to find that little game hilarious, until the session of Dark Heresy where they actually faced the Carnifex

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    My guess is that peoples more interested into talking about those tend to gravitate toward media that are more adapted to share images than forums. For comparison, I've just opened the DnD subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/) and 3/4 of the posts have the tag [Art] and are peoples sharing what their character look like, and in the middle of that some posts like this one:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comment...rge_cabochons/
    => The guy is creating tokens for D&D from MtG cards, since this game has a lot of cards with very good illustrations but crappy effects so you can buy them in big numbers for nothing.
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2020-11-11 at 07:07 AM.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Jersey
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Back in college, when my group all lived in walking distance from each other, we used a dry erase mat, pieces of paper for terrain features, and random objects/dice for characters/NPCs. We didn't have money or storage space for making minis. Nowadays, we're all in separate states, so we use Roll20 to play.

    My wife actually started a D&D club at the library she works at, and I made a bunch of mini terrain and props for it. She was using the Monster For Every Season minis for the players and monsters, she used Lego pieces for walls and buildings, and the little props I made out of foam board, glue and paint. It was working really well, but then that too had to transition to online. She just got a 3D printer at the library, and had the teens design characters in heroforge, so I think she plans to print them out herself and use those when the game goes back to being in person.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imbalance's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    wink Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Terrain: We vary by DM. I use 4E flat terrain tiles (I have a double complete set) and some stuff I make to go on top. Plus aquarium stuff.

    My current DM now that I finally get to play uses a dry erase board and a pen.

    Models: I use a mix of pogs and fantasy risk/chess figures because they are cheap and get the job done. Current DM has a lot of models and one of the other players specializes in modeling so we have mts of them, lots of hero quest style stuff.
    Mixed is where it's at for me. Super detailed props are great, but for the purposes of getting the scene rolling a loose approximation is fine. It's just that what I had on hand from numerous games prior to rpg's was more accessible than the chess pieces and already 3d.

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    I think the reason minis aren't much of a topic here is that they aren't necessary to play the game, and there is no basis to assume everyone has them or uses them in the same manner. Whereas the rules of the game are well established and can be followed by everyone if they have access to the relevant books.

    In other words, miniatures and terrain models, while certainly fun and interesting, are props. The game rules are information, and information is much easier to spread and discuss online.



    As for my group, at least back when we were meeting in person, we did amass a fair collection of official minis which we liked to use and had some homemade terrain props as well, but most of our combat mapping was done on a large vinyl mat with a printed grid and drawn on with wet-erase markers.
    Ease of use is king, and I've also certainly had interesting experiences with text-only pbp games. For that matter, nothing beyond the SRD is necessary to start D&D (I am ignorant of whether other games have such documents). But did you prefer having those tangible scene-setting elements in front of you, or would you say it was more enjoyable without them?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    I think the main problem here is preparation time vs uncertainty. Especially given how strongly this community feels avout railroading.
    If you don't railroad your players, you have no certainty of any given encounter, so spending hours to prepare a climatic scene that may not happen is not exactly rewarding
    I have definitely found this true. I'm still learning, but I think the general preference is to have some props for spacial representation, as I'm not the best at describing things in relation to one-another in a way that gets everyone on the same page. As this effort evolves, my plan is to prepare certain scenes that are useful in a larger variety of settings and keep them set but for a few details that can be rearranged as needed. If they're likely to be in the desert for the next few sessions, that's a pretty easy battle map to set up ahead of time, with the expected variety of encounters likely to take place there. In town affairs are less likely to require battle maps, but a simple street and some boxes for buildings can get the point across. Where I misused my prep time the most was in the dungeon crawl, when I made the entire Phandelver mine only for my players to avoid nearly half of it. Going forward, I may preset a few of the key rooms with 3d components, and just use a few sections of 2d cardstock tunnels in between if that would even be necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedWarlock View Post
    I got into D&D through the minis game back in the mid-00s. I have literally hundreds if not thousands of plastic minis in a dozen or so drawer units, including a TON of the old vinyl minis and the newer WizKids produced hard plastic (especially the Eberron stuff). I've also gotten into buying some to-scale dinosaur toys for expanded selection, though at some point I want to get them on proper bases.

    And then COVID hit, and I can't do anything with it all. My gaming table is overgrown with old Amazon boxes we need to break down, because we haven't had gamers over since February. We do all our gaming currently over Discord, though next time I run (Werewolf the Forsaken) I'm going to do screen-share on a Photoshop document and draw a map and maybe some scene-setting illustrations myself.
    Similarly, I arrived at D&D after a decade and a half of HeroClix and Mage Knight. When the first group I joined was already using those as stand-ins, we started pooling some more specific resources for the table, eventually sharing a collection of "boss" monsters. We were using HeroClix maps, too. After that game went on hiatus, I started my home game, and with that started building my own collection. To me, that's also one of the more enjoyable aspects of tabletop gaming - not just buying the exact licensed representation of some classic monster or villian, but finding ways to set the scene in a visually appealing way while making creative use of what is already on hand.

    I tried to go the illustration route, but I found that I wasted a lot more time trying to find the perfect image than just creating the scene myself. Though, I keep kicking myself for not drawing more. I applaud you for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glorthindel View Post
    I must admit, I have had a bit of 'fun' with my players on the preparation side.

    As all my models are now boxed away, I have to dig out the ones I need prior to the session, which means (in order to avoid it being abundantly obvious what they will be facing during the session) I usually dig out 2-3 times the models I actually need, in order to obfuscate the ones on my shelf that I do need, with the the ones I have taken out which I don't. I usually make a point of getting out one or two ludicrously big and unpleasant models to put with the rest in order to freak them out (I have a Dragon, Wyvern, Griffon, couple of big Daemon Princes, a Bloodthirster (basically a Balor for the uninitiated), and occasionally I throw in the Tyranid Carnifex for good measure (if you don't know it, Google it, its a terrifying beast!))

    My players used to find that little game hilarious, until the session of Dark Heresy where they actually faced the Carnifex
    Once I got my hands on some scarier models, I started doing this myself. During quarantine, I got back into painting miniatures for the first time in over a decade. I had picked up the Wrath of Ashardalon board game a while back for dirt cheap, so I started relearning my skills on those figures. The otyugh was one of my first finished jobs, and he sat menacingly next to my screen for the first few sessions back before they finally encountered him.

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    My guess is that peoples more interested into talking about those tend to gravitate toward media that are more adapted to share images than forums. For comparison, I've just opened the DnD subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/) and 3/4 of the posts have the tag [Art] and are peoples sharing what their character look like, and in the middle of that some posts like this one:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comment...rge_cabochons/
    => The guy is creating tokens for D&D from MtG cards, since this game has a lot of cards with very good illustrations but crappy effects so you can buy them in big numbers for nothing.
    I actively avoid reddit most of the time due to it being a data hog. It is possible to share images here, though not as easy. I had considered whether that was part of the reason and would have to agree. To get the following uploaded was as much a chore as typing this series of responses, but maybe worth getting some examples up. Maybe not.



    So, these are some of the materials I've employed at home. Prior to ever introducing the game to my household, I recreated every map in LMoP via AutoCAD, plus one or two others. Don't be impressed by that as it's very close to what I do for a living, took maybe an hour or two to complete over the course of some weeks, and was actually more productive than the coordination calls I was on at the time. I printed the maps on the backs of used drawing sheets and either taped them together (like Thundertree, seen here) or glued them to cereal boxes and cut them up (like the mine). Additionally, I printed one or two scaled down to letter size for handout maps with limited info shown (I think I'll hand draw these from now on). Cragmaw castle and the hideout fit neatly onto a single sheet of scrap paper each, so I simply covered the rooms that hadn't been revealed yet. Those served as the underlay to everything else.

    Spoiler: pics
    Show






    On top, I first used a mix of the stuff I already had from other games: figures from some board games, Attack Wing, Mage Knight and HeroClix, various scatter elements, old MK walls and a tower, rubber spiders from the toy box, etc. I've got my McFarlane Dragons waiting in the wings. As we went along, I looked for singles to represent some of the specific monsters, but found those prices outrageous and ended up making a few of my own. When things spread out, I looked for more affordable options, and discovered some other products that I really liked. I bought most things second hand, though, and have yet to regret it. In a short time I cobbled a lot of useful options together without blowing a wad of cash, and I'm pretty content with it.

    I do understand why folks feel these elements are superfluous to their enjoyment of these games. I get the simplicity of the pencil and notepad alone accompanying the mind's eye. But I also knew there had to be more toy nerds among us, and I'm glad to read all of the different opinions on the subject. Feel free to drop some pics of your props if you are so inclined.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Also D&D, like most fantasy, looks very silly. Beholders mechanically extremely dangerous in all editions, they look like someone glued some widgets together as a model. Even Diablo and Doom struggle not to look silly half the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I'm kinda looking forward to getting my HeroQuest kickstarter material, since it has a bunch of minis and a customizable indoor map.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2014

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Unless you have Critical Role's production team and budget, one's ability to represent terrain in miniature is vastly outstripped by one's ability to envision it.

    Also, my current D&D character (in a campaign on hiatus until we finish Masks of Nyarlathotep) is an illusionist with mirage arcane and the Malleable Illusions subclass feature, and so if my DM tried to break out the terrain pieces, he'd quickly end up tearing his hair out when my character snapped her fingers and changed the whole battlefield. That's sort of an extreme example, but other large-scale terrain-shaping effects are common in the game and belong to the players; the DM has to not only possess all the terrain bits and models to model his own invented worlds, but also preempt the ways the players will change the environment according to their own will.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Greece
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I love 3d miniatures on 2d terrain.
    Or even 2d tokens on 2d terrain.
    But the best is 3d miniatures on 3d terrain.
    I wish I had more of them...
    Post if you wish to ask about Ruins & Raiders. I do not answer to PMs anymore.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imbalance's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralCheez View Post
    Back in college, when my group all lived in walking distance from each other, we used a dry erase mat, pieces of paper for terrain features, and random objects/dice for characters/NPCs. We didn't have money or storage space for making minis. Nowadays, we're all in separate states, so we use Roll20 to play.

    My wife actually started a D&D club at the library she works at, and I made a bunch of mini terrain and props for it. She was using the Monster For Every Season minis for the players and monsters, she used Lego pieces for walls and buildings, and the little props I made out of foam board, glue and paint. It was working really well, but then that too had to transition to online. She just got a 3D printer at the library, and had the teens design characters in heroforge, so I think she plans to print them out herself and use those when the game goes back to being in person.
    That's pretty cool of your wife and the library.

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Unless you have Critical Role's production team and budget, one's ability to represent terrain in miniature is vastly outstripped by one's ability to envision it.

    Also, my current D&D character (in a campaign on hiatus until we finish Masks of Nyarlathotep) is an illusionist with mirage arcane and the Malleable Illusions subclass feature, and so if my DM tried to break out the terrain pieces, he'd quickly end up tearing his hair out when my character snapped her fingers and changed the whole battlefield. That's sort of an extreme example, but other large-scale terrain-shaping effects are common in the game and belong to the players; the DM has to not only possess all the terrain bits and models to model his own invented worlds, but also preempt the ways the players will change the environment according to their own will.
    Honestly, this is the point where we'd switch to the dry-erase board completely, hand you the markers, and say, "you draw the map." I'd hate to think that anybody is that married to using terrain bits 100% of the time outside of Dwarven Forge's headquarters or so adversarial that they'd shoot down the pc concept because their precious landscape is set in polystone. In my case, if the barbarian wants to charge through the wall like Kool-Aid Man, I see no reason not to consult the object hp chart and let him try. Those pieces can just as easily come off of the map.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

    Join Date
    Nov 2019

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    One GM I played with bought a tub of Lego along, and used that to construct dungeon walls. Personally, I used pre-printed 2d terrain pieces that I can use to mock up a battlefield quickly.

    For miniatures, Reaper Miniatures has always been an excellent source for me--they're cheap, and there's a miniature for nearly everything.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    In my (experience-based) opinion, going fancy with visual aids is never worth it. Not just are there diminishing returns, it's easy to start actively harming the game.
    • Theater of the mind is great when it works, and frustrating when it doesn't. Getting it right requires the right group and system. You have to have players who are into narrating their actions, a GM who enjoys letting players add bits and pieces to the scene for the purposes of interactions, and a system that doesn't care too much about range and positioning. I hate theater of the mind D&D because fights quickly bog down into trying to work out the details of how you can avoid opportunity attacks, how many orcs you can catch in a fireball, and all the other tactical minutia. On the other hand, I absolutely could not run Mutants and Masterminds with a battle map, because ranges and movement speeds can easily outpace anything you try to draw.
    • Crude mapping--a quick sketch on a piece of paper, some quarters on a dry erase board, whatever-- is great. It lets you have clear and precise tactical positioning while not really usurping the mind's eye.

    But the farther you go beyond that, the worse things start to get. Lego is distracting. Saying "This mini is me, except I'm a gnome, not a dwarf, and I've got a staff instead of a sword and shield" is frustrating, and too easy for everyone else to forget. "Okay, this minotaur mini represents the ogre, and these skeletons are the goblins" adds an entire extra mental leap--not only do you have to visualize an ogre and goblins, you've got to actively ignore your eyes showing you a minotaur and skeletons. It's easy to look at a quick oval with some circles in it and remember that it's supposed to represent a cave; it's harder when the GM has a map of a forest clearing where "the trees are stalagmites."

    Eventually, I guess, you can wind your way back around to using customized minis and handmade terrain and all, but that represents a huge amount of work. And it's not like making a fancy battle map for Warhammer, where you can fight multiple battles on the same field. Not only will it not be the same castle next time, it might not even be a castle this time--if you spend ten hours setting up a custom model and the game winds up going in a different direction, then what?

    Recently I'm starting to feel like I'm having this problem with virtual gaming--I've been hunting down battle maps and monster images and adapting them to what I need, but the nicer the art is, the more obvious it becomes when I need to change something. I really should go back to just drawing outlines directly on roll20, but that would be jarring in its own right. (Actually, I'm running Exalted and distances are a crap shoot anyway; I should stop using maps altogether and keep track of various combat values on a spreadsheet or something...)

    STaRS (and STaRS Lite)
    A non-narrativeist, generic rules-light system, by me. Now officially released!

    Grod's Guide to Greatness
    A big book of player options for 5e, by me

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 class fixes and more.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Malsheem, Nessus
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Nobody here talks about the tabletop: miniatures, terrain, etc. Why is that?

    I don't do theater of the mind, but I don't do full-on miniatures and terrain either. I generally use a battlemat (for character-scale maps) or a whiteboard (for city layouts, wilderness areas, and other bird's-eye sketches) to depict the environment and dice to represent creatures, with dice of different sizes and colors representing different creature groups (mooks get d4s and d6s while BBEGs get d20s or d30s, special creatures within a group like a badly-wounded one or a buffed one get a different die color, and so on). I do this for four reasons:

    1) It makes things a lot clearer and easier in big battles, and I run fairly large battles a lot, given that there's always at least one person playing a minion-master in my current party and my games tend to involve lots of not-quite-mass-combat scenarios. It's easier to put a lot of different dice in close proximity than it would be to have dozens of miniatures in one big clump (not to mention much cheaper than buying all of said minis). Plus, "I attack #4" is much clearer than the "I attack the kobold over there behind the wall. No, the one next to him. No, on the other side," you get with lots of identical minis, and die numbers are easier to use (and see from across the table) than paper labels or the like.

    2) Dice and sketches are much easier with improv, as King of Nowhere noted. Prepping set-piece battles that may not take place, scrounging miniatures to represent last-minute allies brought to a battle, and so forth just isn't worth the effort, at least for me--and if you normally prep a lot more it becomes very obvious when you're improvising, which isn't always a good thing.

    3) Terrain just isn't available for a lot of scenarios beyond the basic dungeon or wilderness setup. Flyer-heavy battles, battles around large multi-leveled towers, and such require a lot of custom work even with plenty of terrain models, and stuff like battles on other planes with weird landscapes are much more easily drawn and narrated than built into physical terrain you might never use again.

    4) I use enough custom monsters that miniatures simply aren't available for to make pulling out miniatures 1/4 of the time or less not worth it. And on the flip side, it can be easier to conceal the identity of a by-the-book monster without a specific miniature--"That X is where the tentacles are coming from" is vaguer and possibly more scary than plopping an aboleth miniature onto the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azuresun View Post
    One GM I played with bought a tub of Lego along, and used that to construct dungeon walls
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Lego is distracting. Saying "This mini is me, except I'm a gnome, not a dwarf, and I've got a staff instead of a sword and shield" is frustrating, and too easy for everyone else to forget. "Okay, this minotaur mini represents the ogre, and these skeletons are the goblins" adds an entire extra mental leap--not only do you have to visualize an ogre and goblins, you've got to actively ignore your eyes showing you a minotaur and skeletons.
    Speaking as someone who used Lego extensively in his younger days, both to represent PCs and to construct modular dungeon architecture...

    Spoiler: Pardon the image quality, these are 10+ years old
    Show

    Spoiler: The PCs, posing dramatically before their trek into the dungeon!
    Show

    Spoiler: The dungeon entrance (with full-height walls removed)!
    Show

    Spoiler: A closeup of how the dungeon snaps together!
    Show

    Spoiler: A combat in the dungeon!
    Show

    Spoiler: The same combat from another angle!
    Show


    ...one of the major benefits with using Lego minifigs is that you don't have to say "Pretend this staff is a sword," you can just give your character a staff. Especially if you pick up various custom Lego stuff from Bricklink and other fan sites, there's tons of fantasy pieces out there for all your minifig customization needs. Representing monsters can definitely be more difficult, but these days (unlike when I was doing this a decade ago) there are actual goblins and other monsters from Harry Potter sets, Halloween sets, and similar, and it's not too difficult to build a blocky ogre figure instead of trying to use a minifig for that.

    Not to say that Lego is the best solution for all cases, of course, but if I were to go back to using terrain and minis I'd definitely go the Lego route again instead of trying for something fancier.

    Recently I'm starting to feel like I'm having this problem with virtual gaming--I've been hunting down battle maps and monster images and adapting them to what I need, but the nicer the art is, the more obvious it becomes when I need to change something. I really should go back to just drawing outlines directly on roll20, but that would be jarring in its own right. (Actually, I'm running Exalted and distances are a crap shoot anyway; I should stop using maps altogether and keep track of various combat values on a spreadsheet or something...)
    I'm in the same position, Roll20's fancy features really aren't friendly to low-prep and improv-heavy DMs and it's gotten to the point that I'm doing the outlines-and-text thing myself. It's working...okay-ish, but my group definitely isn't going to keep using a virtual tabletop once gaming in person is an option again.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiDuRaritry View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'DiceLost View Post
    <Snip>
    Where are my Like, Love, and Want to Have Your Manchildren (Totally Homo) buttons for this post?
    Won a cookie for this, won everything for this

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •