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Thread: How does one use a Battlemap?

  1. #11
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    It hasn't been a problem for me in a few years, but I did used to have one player who would pull out the Playstation prior to session start while everyone else was getting organized. He was a good player, but it sometimes took a half hour to get him to shut it down and come to the table. Now, I avoid the problem by appropriating the TV and throwing up my campaign title screen. Nobody even seems to remember that it's a TV, and the games get running quite quickly.

    I wouldn't want to try to run a flat panel TV face up. You could put a sheet of plexi across it to protect the screen, but even so they're not designed to be used in that fashion, and I have no idea if it would cause problems. I've heard that the screens of some plasmas can actually break under the strain of their own weight if tipped over.

    Also, you'd need a very large screen to get a decent section of your map displayed at the proper scale for mini use.
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  2. #12
      NeonKnight is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilt View Post
    never allow tv while playing, thought about banning iphones as well, but the novelty has worn off now ... that doesn't mean that people don't talk about computer games, but that mostly stops when we begin playing. I do however love playing with a physical battlemap, we don't use miniatures but just 1x1 inch counters, that gives us the advantage of being able to print all monsters with the right look, whereas when we used miniatures it was,.. ok.. these orcs are now drows .. next encounter, now these orcs are trolls.. so they take up more squares.. with printed counters we get the size right and the players can see what they are up against
    I'd love a digital map, but it should be lighted from below (like that Micro$oft table), so we still could use our counters. And dice rolling is a must too - physical ones!
    Funny thing, I make ALL these awesome official D&D Module battlemaps, and never use them I still use a vinyl mat (have 3).

    As to minis, we always use the minis, and between me an my buds, we have ALL the WotC D&D miniatures in spades, so when we play and I say "OK you enter the room and THIS comes at you (plopping a mini on the table)!" And when the players invariably ask "what is it?" 99% of the time I can reply, "Exactly what you see."
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  3. #13
      tilt is offline
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    @jax - cool clips ... I especially like the maptools table where you got functionality to go along with it. Now if Wizards could only make their online dungeon program that they promised 2 years ago - but I'm guessing that employees that even mentions that are just thrown in a dungeon *lol*.

    @Neonknight - cool ... I have a little handfull of minis (lead ones) never bought the wotc ones as I wanna know what I buy - I don't want random minis. But since we started with simple paper tokens we haven't bought any more minis.. and having an illustrator as one of the players, we can always fix a quick token if needed
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      Meridius is offline
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    I love reading about all those amazing digital solutions, but I reckon that for a more analogue approach, basically the only way is to either make the entire dungeon on a (one inch) 2,5 cm square scale, or to make a big version of an area (the battlemat) complemented by a smaller sized, let's say 1 cm (2/5 of an inch), version for dungeon-exploration.

    Are there a lot of people with the entire dungeon on a scale which allows 1 inch squares?

  5. #15
      tilt is offline
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    when you play 4e it might be prudent to map most of the dungeon, or at least the adjacent rooms to the combat, in 1 inch scale since there is a lot of sliding and pushing in those games so you never know where you'll end up
    regs tilt
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  6. #16
      Meridius is offline
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    I play D&D 3.5... Fair amounts of sliding and pushing are possible, though my players have a bit of a terminator mentality... So they won't retreat too often

  7. #17
      eRaz0r is offline
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    Well for years we used mini's and a hand-drawn map on a dry-erase mat. That was great for 2 reasons : Minis can be fun., and it was pretty quick if you had to improvise. However, perversely enough, it was quite hard to get the dimensions right when I was copying an existing map to the table.
    Also, as soon as the GM went for the markers people would know there was a combat coming up

    Over the last few months, we've moved to Maptools.
    The advantages of MapTools are many : We can jump to a new encounter nearly instantly, provided I've made the map ahead of time. And if you've got a stock of pre-drawn maps from, say, Wizards' Dungeon-a-Week, it's not too hard to come up with a map pretty quickly, even if you weren't prepared for it. The drawing tools are decent as well, even for quick stuff.
    Also, I have some friends who live quite a distance away. Now they can join in over the internet much more easily than before.
    Maptools also supports a fairly powerful macro toolkit - it has it's issues, but there are a lot of people who write frameworks that run inside Maptools to help automate the GM's job. It's pretty cool.

    The downside? I bought a lot of mini's and I don't get to use them any more...

  8. #18
      Xorne is offline
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    I don't run many face to face games anymore (wish I had the time) so the maps I make are used in Fantasy Grounds II. However I do love a good F2F game the one time a year or so that I get to run them. I print off my maps from CC3 then and I frequently use battlemats for encounter scale (I use a much smaller scale for exploration on a vinyl mat). The last time I did a face-to-face was running Kobold Hall, and I printed off the whole dungeon in scale, then cut it into the battlemap pieces, slid it into a plastic poster sleeve, and we doodle away on it with dry-erase markers (pretty handy, actually).

    Anyway, this means that I run non-VTT games so seldom, I just can't justify buying minis. So when I ran Kobold Hall last time, I went out to the WotC website, copied pics of the minis I needed from the gallery, dropped them into Paintshop, duplicated/mirrored them, and printed off sheets of them on cardstock paper, folded them over, and put them in a board-game base. Instant minis!

    Oh, found a picture of the poster sleeve I was talking about--that's a shot from 4E release Game Day at my FLGS:
    http://www.eugee.info/dnd/poorman.dmscreen.jpg

    Incidentally, here is the RICH MAN's DM Screen:
    http://www.eugee.info/dnd/richman.dmscreen.jpg
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  9. #19
      Jaxilon is offline
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    Ok, I'm totally thinking about building myself one of those RICH MAN screens now. If I do I'll take some pictures.
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  10. #20
      Redrobes is offline
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    I would use a VTT and projector if I could but I also like rolling real dice and using minis. You can photo your minis and put them in as tokens in the VTT and then you get to use your minis in 2D but with the scale and shift advantage of a VTT. Thats also an option if your coming across a lot of goblins or orcs and you need to put more down than you have painted. Maybe someone should create a thread of mini photos top down & side view for use in VTT battle maps.

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