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Do you use miniatures in your RPGs?

 Post subject: Do you use miniatures in your RPGs?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 2:39 pm 
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Unctuous Toady
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Do you use miniatures when you play role-playing games?

I was recently talking to another gamer about a free RPG that they had downloaded off the web. Apparently the creators of the game suggested that you don't use miniatures for playing their game. Meanwhile games like DnD are moving to make miniatures almost mandatory for playing that game that was traditionally (for many anyway) a strictly imagination driven system.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:49 pm 
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My gaming group did embrace the mapped-out tactical combat system when D&D3e came out but has stopped using it. In part, this is because we play other games that do not have such rigid combat systems. And partially because mapping everything out can make even small and trivial fights take a long time to prepare and play out. My RPG group is not composed entirely of wargamers either, and some people do not relish the tactical aspects of it.

Overall, I would say that detailed tactical combat in RPGs is not very popular with the average RPG gamer. D&D is designed specifically for highly tactical play and many people ignore it anyway. Even so, people who enjoy the tactical aspects of it will still use maps and miniatures, even if the game system doesn't lend itself to this kind of play.

I've been in Shadowrun games that were more like skirmish wargames than RPGs, and I've also been in games where combat was so rare we had to look up the rules to fight it. I think this depends more on the gamers than the game itself... though you do lose something in D&D if you don't map it out.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:43 pm 
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I have always preferred to keep the minis to the wargaming, and keep the RPGs in the realm of the mind. I find my imagination can paint a far better picture than a few chunks of plastic or metal.

Although, admittedly, a rough-sketched map can help, especially at the very beginning of a battle, to take in the big picture before the fur flies. You can even treat it in-character - the map is one made by the characters to plan the upcoming assault (I always downloaded the blueprints of the target building before a 'run).

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:52 pm 
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I have to use minis. I play more for the combat anyway. I find it easier to judge distances (ie weapons ranges, running) easier to keep track of when models are standing in squares representing 5 feet.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:48 am 
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I used minis but only for combat situations. Mainly to help guage ranges & LOS. It also helped my players get a better overall picture of the situation.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:21 am 
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I think that the new(er) DnD rules almost necessitate miniature use in games. I haven't done any role-playing in many years. But last time I did play we sometimes used one of those small matts and dry erase markers. This let us sketch out rooms, street scenes, space ports, etc. as we needed them. Naturally the miniatures and matts were only used for combat. There is no reason to push them around a map unless a combat is eminent.

The advantage of the dry erase setup is that you can whip up anything that is needed. If the players go on a wild tangent and leave the normal adventure or if a chase across the city breaks out you can still sketch a map of anything you might need.

A friend of mine did DM a long running DnD adventure into deep earth a few years ago. He would paint miniatures and build terrain during the week for his group's regular Saturday night games. I was constantly surprised with his creative output. He built a huge cave complex out of styrofoam with a hot wire cutter. It had four inch high walls with natural rock patterns carved into them and also free standing foam columns to represent supports for the cavern. This guy definitely did the most with miniatures and RPGs that I have ever seen. But it was a tremendous labor of love on his part. Though I suppose if you love the hobby enough then it might come easy.


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Venator wrote:
The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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 Post subject: Re: Do you use miniatures in your RPGs?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:20 am 
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ive been playing DnD on and off for years now both with core and heavily modified rules.
i would NEVER consider miniature to be necassary. sure you can use them if you want, but to be the game is not about minis, its about imagination, creativity and most of all fun. i think minis make it slightly more restrictive as its harder to do some cool stuff that really up to the GM but they can be usefull in combat situations.

all the hilarious things that happen in DnD through absurd rolls, like 3 critical failures or 3 critical hits/successes in a row, are what make it so much fun.

i remeber one time i was playing and our party was climbing a rope up a cliff. by the time the last guy was climbing the rope was frayed and the GM got him to roll to see if it breaks. typically he rolled a 1 and it snapped, he the proceded to roll another 1 to see if he managed to grab a hand hold on the cliff and then something like a 2 to see if he could grab on later on. at this point it became obvious that the cliff wasnt going to save him so he looked down and decided to try to hit a clump of trees to break his fall. he decided it definately wasnt his day when he again rolled terribaly low and missed. at this point he is starting to panic as he liked this character and falling off a cliff isnt really the best way for a fighter to die. as a last resort he decides to try and hit another party member's donkey, which was left at the bottom of the cliff, to break his fall. the GM decided to alow this but he wound need a confirmed crtitical succes to make it. the guy gets out his dice, sais no problem, and promptly procedes to roll 2 natural 20's. at this point the donkey looks up, thinks 'oh bother' and procedes to explode as a dwarf fighter lands on him after a 150 odd foot drop.
the guy then gets up, rolls all damage saves required of him successfully and walks away scratch free. i think the GM even awarded him some bonus exp as we very all very impressed impressed.

till this day this event is know among my DnD group as the 'donkey nova'

its stuff like that, that make DnD fun :)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:28 am 
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Modern D&D includes a lot of options for combat tactics and unusual fighting styles, allowing melee characters to be much more than just a blob of stats and dice rolls. Abilities like reach, flanking, attacks of opportunity and many of the feats that modify attacks or movement allow a Fighter (for example) to be a master of tactics instead of the party's dim-witted muscle. However, using all these things to the best effect really requires the use of miniatures and a map.

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 Post subject: Re: Do you use miniatures in your RPGs?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:09 am 
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Danger Mouse wrote:
till this day this event is know among my DnD group as the 'donkey nova'

its stuff like that, that make DnD fun :)


Amen brother! :P
That is where its at.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:11 pm 
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:chaos i keep my role playing in mind and wargames for the mini aspect of it all IMO


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:03 am 
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I don't use mini's for D&D I like to leave it up to the imagination.

I have played using them in the past with other DM's and have also played with everthing being mapped out.

But some of the people in the group need to see it mapped out. So I have started using an white marker board to lay out the combat for them.

So far it is working out well. I just have to remember to recap the erasable markers. Doh!

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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:44 pm 
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I do. I GM a cyberpunk campaign (yep, the dinosaur itself) - not cybergeneration or v3, but the 2020 edition. The minis and maps are more a combat thing, aids to assist the visualisation-impaired, than necessities, though.

As I have a large collection of 'futuristic' figures (suitable for necromunda or Urban War/Void) it makes sense for me to get more use out of them and my players don't seem to object. I'll spend a few hours drawing out the 'battle zone' , then writing up descriptions (atmospherically), and it'll get used for maybe 20 mins in a 3-4 hour session.

I've also got the Shadowrun skirmish game (DMZ). I picked it up for the mapsheets, mainly, as I didn't play SR at the time.


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 9:07 am 
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I use these giant sheets of paper with 1" grid printed on them:

http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?lev ... &An=browse

I draw out the dungeon on the paper in colored marker and cut it into sections to bring with me on game night. They fold up so I could put them with my regular papers (I'm notorious for player handouts) and bring them out as needed.

I actually design the adventure right on the pad so it is not harder than using notes. Plus it gives me extra time to add bushes, tree stumps, puddles, rocks and all sorts of things to make the combat environment feel like a real place instead of a flat featureless plane.

Its weird, my D&D world has a "spirit plane" that the characters can venture to in their dreams (kinda like CoC's Dreamlands). When the characters enter the spirit world, I don't use miniatures since I want to emphasise the fact that the individual character aren't all seeing the events in the same way. What I've found is that the exact same players with the exact same characters will act completely differently depending on whether miniatures are being used. The dwarf cleric is always extremely cautious when using miniatures but almost suicidal without them. The fighter is crafty at maneuvering around the battlefield with minis but simply charges straight ahead without them.

What's funny is that I've always used miniatures since I first bought the blue box version of Basic D&D. I've used them for Champions, Runequest, Stormbringer, CoC, Bushido... Everything. It was just how it was. It wasn't until the 90s when I moved to Dallas and had to change my gaming group that I ever met a gamer who had never used minis. It was like they were a different species. I asked "how is that possible?". The stats in D&D, from movement to spell effects, were only presented in inches. I still find it odd when people say that 3e requires miniatures when D&D always has.

I'm still uncomfortable around non-mini using RPGers.


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 11:40 am 
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I'm still uncomfortable around non-mini using RPGers.


Ever since I started playing D&D in the late 70's I have never used miniatures. Different groups at times have used them for facing, distances, etc...

But for the most part they seem to slow our games down. I know players and DM's who like you use them and I have played with DM's who use them. It has never bothered me one way or the other.

I also play other RPG's without miniatures.

I will either use graph paper or an eraser board to map out the area for the party.

I guess it all comess down to waht you are use to.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2007 7:26 pm 
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id probably just use a little cardboard mini

id just make it it would be one of those trianular cardboard ones that stand up and id just draw a little picture of my character on it

(&#$@!) if im converting marauder and various other bits to make caraigh o shenacht

it would be too hard and wouldnt look like him anyway

although i would convert one of those warhammer historical celt minis to looke like him and it might work too

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