Maps, Mats, or Mind?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

1 to 50 of 56 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm curious as to which method of mapping people prefer, and why:

- Paizo's flip-mats and similar products
- Dry erase board or wet erase mat
- Theater of the mind

If you have some sort of clever innovation you've made at your table, I'd love to hear about it!

I personally use a giant wet-erase mat, because I find its reusability to be invaluable. Though it is rough when I have to draw out bigger areas!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I avoid theater of the mind with any system that allows you to take feats that increase your movement speed by some fractional amount. Even more so with systems that require flanking. I might go theater of the mind occasionally for simpler fights, but I think doing it all the time punishes those who want to make "faster" characters.

Generally, I don't like spending a ton of money on very specific dry-erase mats, so I end up drawing out most of my battle mats on dry erase board, or if the room's/area's features aren't specifically interesting, I go "theater of the mind" on a dry erase board without anything drawn on it.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I prefer theater of the mind. When combats start to get complex or the group isn't on the same page with how they imagine a fight, I draw a rough "insta-map" that shows where everybody is and where notable terrain features lie. I use a combat pad to track initiative, and it has a nice big space where I can scribble out a quick map.

I personally don't like maps and minis all that much because they lead to people counting squares and calculating ranges before they choose an action. However, I find they're preferable when playing with complete strangers (such as in Pathfinder/Starfinder Society), as theater of the mind requires a degree of trust between players and the GM that might not exist in a group where people don't know each other well. I've also gamed more with kids lately and have found that they much prefer the visual representation of a combat that maps and minis offer.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

With 1st ed and 3.0/3.5 we always used maps or dry/wet erase grid because it really needed. My group kept running in to issues when we tried not to because everything was so very specific on when it would or wouldn't work.

After watching the Everflame series I am impressed with how well PF2 can work theater of the mind style and would be more comfortable running that way than in previous versions.

As for other ways of running I have used an over head projector shined down on the table. It worked a treat for pre-made adventures (an adventure path in this case) as a lot of the maps were way to big to draw out at the table and could easily be panned to the next area as they explored.

I have also seen people do under table projection, and I rather liked someone else that I saw that made a small cabinet for an lcd tv so it could be put on and off the table with ease.


Theater of the mind for when terrain is dynamic / shifting or there are few foes.

Maps when it comes to detailed areas or larger combats.

I almost never let players see the whole map immediately, so flip mats are just not my thing.


So there's a whiteboard on the table, but I'll always start with theater of mind, being willing to adapt to the other two approaches if the situation requires that level of precision or just additional clarity, rarely needing to actually use the grid.

I just find I get the best results when "theater of the mind" is the "ground state" as it were.


Almost always on a dry erase board. I tend to reserve theater of the mind for trivial fights or cinematic style scenes only. I'm just not a fan of that style of play.

I have a collection of flip mats for generic encounters and one-offs. I don't grab flip mats for APs, but for 'random stretch of woods' or 'random house' (also cantina and asteroid base, but that's for SF.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My group uses a wet erase map most of the time.

For games that take place on roll20, the map image gets imported as the background and we align the grid as best we can.


I use all three depending on the situation. I default to theatre of the mind, but I play on Roll20 so I might have maps uploaded ahead of time or can quickly draw up a basic map (Roll20's drawing tools kinda suck, though).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My trusty wet-erase megamat has been my go to for the past ten years now.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For pre-planned, moderate sized dungeons I use "Dry Erase Dungeon Tiles" 5 and 10 inch.

For the majority of all battles, I use wet erase hex battle mat.

In rare cases, where the location happens to match, I use Paizo flip mats.

In the rarest of cases, when a brief, low-stakes tussle occurs, I use theater of the mind.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As said before, it depends on the situation. You can't take the time to set up every possible map configuration in advance, and some interactions don't develop into combat, so precise placement isn't important.

But the OP omited a further option: miniature figures and dungeon, city or wilderness terrain. Sure, it takes longer to prepare. Sure, it can become expensive (Dwarven Forge terrain is notoriously expensive!). But man, what wonderful tables we have!

Like Caizarlu's lair (slightly modified and expanded) during our RotRL campaign.

Or the dockside cityscape I put on the cover of episode one of Pirates and Plunder.

So I use theatre of the mind up to the point where initiative is rolled. Then it's figurines and terrain.


Depends on where I am playing/how I'm getting there.

I have a really nice moderately small vinyl wet erase map I prefer to use, but I can't get it to fit satisfyingly in my backpack. So if I can park right in front of the location I'll take that, but if I have to walk 10-20 minutes to get there it becomes cumbersome.

I also have a blank wet erase flip mat that I like less, because flattening the creases is harder than weighing down the corners and generally minis don't balance as well (because of aforementioned creases). But it fits flat in my bag between the CRB and Bestiary, so when I park far away from the game I can carry it easily.

I don't do much tactical combat in theater of the mind because I know I lack the focus to stay consistent, which means I'd be unfairly adjusicating combats too often.

I also don't tend to use specific premade maps because it runs into the issue of finding the same cave/hillside/forest path twelve times in a campaign.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lost in Limbo wrote:
My trusty wet-erase megamat has been my go to for the past ten years now.

Same here! It just seems like the best middle-ground between all the options people have been presenting (though they all certainly have their uses).

Wheldrake wrote:
But the OP omited a further option: miniature figures and dungeon, city or wilderness terrain. Sure, it takes longer to prepare. Sure, it can become expensive (Dwarven Forge terrain is notoriously expensive!). But man, what wonderful tables we have!

I hadn't considered that! That's the type of set-up I feel most GMs only dream of. But it looks like it's worth the expense and the effort if you have those to invest! Thanks for sharing, that's super cool!

WatersLethe wrote:
For pre-planned, moderate sized dungeons I use "Dry Erase Dungeon Tiles" 5 and 10 inch.
Darksyde wrote:
As for other ways of running I have used an over head projector shined down on the table.
Draco18s wrote:
For games that take place on roll20, the map image gets imported as the background and we align the grid as best we can.
Charlie Brooks wrote:
I use a combat pad to track initiative, and it has a nice big space where I can scribble out a quick map.

Seems I should have expanded my list to include paper, terrain, modular tiles, projection, and virtual! Hadn't realized just how many options there were out there.


Maps/Mats.

Eventually theatre if there are zero chances of fighting.

Sovereign Court

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I pretty much never use theater of the mind, unless it's some thoroughly unconventional combat (a mindscape maybe..); for the trivial fights I probably dispense with dice entirely and just describe approaches and outcomes.

But most of the time, I wield a combination of:
- Flipmats. I have a lot of them now. One time the PCs were planning to ambush enemies and did well on scouting, so I showed the scout three flipmats and said "you can pick on which one you do the attack". At their best, they have fussy to draw stuff like forests and height differences on hills. When you've amassed a large library, running a scenario can become a "ah, I already own all those maps, that's nice!"
- Blank flipmats for simple stuff
- Flipover paper with 1 inch grid, especially if I expect to run the scenario more than once. Also allows for more colors and finer drawing than blank flipmats.
- Map packs/flip tiles: I enjoy that you can easily build up the map step by step as the players explore it. Seems particularly suitable for dungeons and sewers - or starships. Handy trick: prepare your dungeon, take some photos, and then take it off the table before your players arrive.
- Printed maps from scenarios, especially if the map is really pretty. If I'm doing the printing myself I'll consider laminating and taping together. But I also borrow a lot form the other GMs in the lodge.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
Flipmats. I have a lot of them now. One time the PCs were planning to ambush enemies and did well on scouting, so I showed the scout three flipmats and said "you can pick on which one you do the attack". At their best, they have fussy to draw stuff like forests and height differences on hills. When you've amassed a large library, running a scenario can become a "ah, I already own all those maps, that's nice!"

That's a neat way to use flipmats! It seems you get a lot of use out of yours. I was considering amassing a collection because they certainly seem useful. Sometimes, I'd almost rather transfer elements of an AP/Adventure to a flipmat just to avoid drawing it all out or finagling a way to print/tape them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Paradozen wrote:
I also don't tend to use specific premade maps because it runs into the issue of finding the same cave/hillside/forest path twelve times in a campaign.

I sometimes adjust a flip-mat by laying down flip tiles to alter the terrain. A bit of poster-mounting sticky-tac holds them in place nicely.

And if you don't like to reveal the whole map, then designing the map using map tiles but only laying down the tile when it comes into use, makes it easy to have alternatives.

The map tiles have an A and B side and a unique identifier on each tile. The tile id number is in the a lower right corner so orienting the tile to the map compass rose is quick. It's pretty easy to make notes about the layout, and then swiftly put them down at the right time.


I find a grid mat of some kind (whether a dry erase mat or tiles) to be absolutely essential. I find it just makes everything a lot easier. My first time playing d&d 5e was as a ranger in storm Kings thunder, and one of the combats that was fun theatre of the mind had only me and the GM understanding where all of the players and enemies where in relation to each other. People where extremely confused as to which goblins they could see and which they couldn't, and for me it felt like a lot of my characters ability to keep at range was compromised because of vague distances.

A grid helps everyone to be on the same page and to know avoid misunderstanding where things/people/etc are.

The few exceptions to this for me are;

Chase scenes (which are difficult to run on a map)
Single combat (if both characters are just going to stand next to each other hitting each other, there is nothing the grid would clarify)
Combat against gargantuan creatures (this is where I would switch to a larger map or totm, as it is tricky to work with such a large base size on a single map, though if the creature is unlikely to move much then a grid is still good)


I prefer theater of the mind, but my players prefer the mat so we compromise and use the mat.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Tender Tendrils wrote:

I find a grid mat of some kind (whether a dry erase mat or tiles) to be absolutely essential. I find it just makes everything a lot easier. My first time playing d&d 5e was as a ranger in storm Kings thunder, and one of the combats that was fun theatre of the mind had only me and the GM understanding where all of the players and enemies where in relation to each other. People where extremely confused as to which goblins they could see and which they couldn't, and for me it felt like a lot of my characters ability to keep at range was compromised because of vague distances.

A grid helps everyone to be on the same page and to know avoid misunderstanding where things/people/etc are.

We used to call this "teleporting bear syndrome": a bear approaches from afar and it seems like you could use ranged weapons to wear it down before it gets to you. But next round it's suddenly in your face because distance is so unclear.

Tender Tendrils wrote:

The few exceptions to this for me are;

Chase scenes (which are difficult to run on a map)
Single combat (if both characters are just going to stand next to each other hitting each other, there is nothing the grid would clarify)
Combat against gargantuan creatures (this is where I would switch to a larger map or totm, as it is tricky to work with such a large base size on a single map, though if the creature is unlikely to move much then a grid is still good)

These are all good reasons. I think no tool should be used fanatically, just for the things that it's actually good at.

---

Something that I've used flipmats for without caring about the grid is social scenes with multiple NPCs, like a murder mystery in a village. We can use pawns to show who's gone to talk to who, and what they've found out about each house.


I love painting miniatures, so my ideal set up is to use miniatures on top of a pre-rendered map of some sort (eventually, it'll be a TV/monitor in the table on which all the maps are displayed - but flip maps, vinyl battle maps, tiles, poster maps and the like work too).

Right now my gaming space is really limited, though, so we actually use Roll20 on a TV sitting at one of the table so all the players can see it.

I'm not against theater of the mind, though. I believe in using the right tool for the right job - and sometimes theater of the mind is that tool. Such as when an encounter wasn't foreseeable as to when and where it would happen and would not be easier to resolve as a result of setting up a map on the spot because of its simple and straightforward nature.


Our group uses a giant wet or dry erase magnetic 'mat', but I and one other DM also like to use flip mats and tiles. I alone of the 4 DMs in our group also, on occasion, make my own maps from 1" squared graph paper.

The magnetic 'mat' that we use is nice for quick and easy to draw locales, but some of the more prickly players get frustrated when the DM takes more than a few minutes to draw a map on it. Also, it repels the status/flight elevation magnets we use in an amusing but discombobulating manner.

One DM often uses theater of the mind with only very limited mapping, and players sometimes complain when the tactical situation that this creates disadvantages them.

I myself love good maps when I DM, and I dig playing on a flip mat. I am especially happy when I make a cool 1" squared map for an encounter.


I'm almost 100% in on theater of the mind. The tactical minis game is the part I'm least interested in. About the closest I get to using maps is something like Fate's zones.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

100% maps as all my games, be it Pf II, PF I or Starfinder are played in Roll20 these days.

Some situations is in the mind like if your going on the 100th shopping spree in the same shops and such but first time shopping I usually have the shop and NPC tokens as it adds a lot of flavor to the setting of where the party is.

Tom

Dark Archive

For most encounters I used flip-mats and flip-tiles, adding dungeon decor tiles and miniatures (altars, pillars, pools, statues etc.) if they're needed. Simple encounters may work well as 'theater of the mind', but I prefer using miniatures both as player and GM. We used to play 20+ years without any minis, just using rough sketches and theater of the mind, but 3E rules kind of assume you know your exact positioning to fully utilize your items, spells and feats. I also noticed many DMs and GMs using theater of the mind often to balance out encounters; for example, if you were going to eliminate an entire group of baddies with a single fireball or dominate monster, their positioning would subtly change ("Oh no, I didn't say they were all in a single cluster, I just forgot to mention they were spreading out last round... so you can get 1d6 of them in your spell!"). Or you thought you could use Whirlwind Attack on several monsters until the GM said there were actually only 3 of them in range.

So, it's minis + flip-mats and flip-tiles for me! :)


I'm 100% theater of the mind. Since I can't see, trying to run combats on a map means I effectively had to try and imagine precise placement of between six and sometimes upwards of twelve or fourteen figures on different terrains, and it became too much of a headache to eventually bother with. Like playing chess if your pieces could shoot fireballs and summon dinosaurs.

I like theater of the mind for the flexibility it lends you in being able to describe tactical movement and encounter layout. As others have mentioned it requires a degree of trust between the players and GM, but since that cooperative trust is one of the cornerstones of why I enjoy tabletop games it's never been an issue.

Most of my games are currently online, but if I ran for an IRL group again I may also supplement my descriptions with some minis to position on a table or what have you to show vague approximations of where they are ... and also because people love playing with minis.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I use a 40" TV laid flat on the table connected to my laptop. I create maps (or find suitable ones online) and open them in GIMP. A separate layer is created in GIMP for the fog of war (basically a solid black layer), which I erase as the party explores the map. I also have layers for things like secret doors, which remain hidden until the players find them. Other layers are created as I need them - one I created recently was for skeletons that were on the ground, when the skeletons rose up to attack the players I enabled the layer that removed the skeletons from the map as they were replaced by miniatures. A great thing about this method is that I can create maps of any size, from the smallest closet to the largest castle, and have them prepared before the game to enable combat to flow much more quickly.

If my players do something I do not expect and go somewhere I have not specifically prepared a map for, I have a large cache of generic maps I can use in a pinch if needed. If things are absolutely dire I can take the TV off the table and draw on the large Chessex mat I have laid underneath it for just such a contingency.

Another nice thing about this setup is that I can use video files for maps, making the environment the players are in more dynamic - animals move through the wilderness, campfires flicker, lighting in the area changes from the nearby magical portal, waves crash on the beach, seagulls chase their ship as it sails the ocean, etc.

The TV doubles as a speaker for sound effects and music I play through Syrinscape. I also display the initiative order on the TV to the side of the map using Combat Manager, and if I need to show the players any art I can display it right in front of them on the TV as well.

You can see some photos taken during my games here and here and here.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fumarole wrote:
I use a 40" TV laid flat on the table connected to my laptop. I create maps (or find suitable ones online) and open them in GIMP. A separate layer is created in GIMP for the fog of war (basically a solid black layer), which I erase as the party explores the map. I also have layers for things like secret doors, which remain hidden until the players find them … The TV doubles as a speaker for sound effects and music I play through Syrinscape. I also display the initiative order on the TV to the side of the map using Combat Manager, and if I need to show the players any art I can display it right in front of them on the TV as well.

This is absolutely genius! So much functionality and so many cool applications. I'm in the market for a cheap flatscreen to replace my current monitor, so this would be easy to implement at my own table.


Welp, might have to change my reply as Roll20 pulled another stupid and the update they did today makes playing and especially running games almost impossible with no scrolling bars and a mouse driven broken zoom.

Thats 3 PF II, 1 PF I game and 1 Starfinder game that won't be running til it gets fixed, IF it ever does, maybe someone at Paizo could have a word with them, never hurts to ask at least

Tom :(


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TRDG wrote:

Welp, might have to change my reply as Roll20 pulled another stupid and the update they did today makes playing and especially running games almost impossible with no scrolling bars and a mouse driven broken zoom.

Thats 3 PF II, 1 PF I game and 1 Starfinder game that won't be running til it gets fixed, IF it ever does, maybe someone at Paizo could have a word with them, never hurts to ask at least

Tom :(

You scared me... so I had to go check what the update had done.

I found it a lot less of a problem than you phrased it as because A) right click drag-panning was already how I got around the map - not scroll bars, and B) zoom now functions how I am used to it functioning in various other programs and no longer involves the Alt key so no longer randomly interprets me trying to zoom out as backing out of the game.

Dark Archive

Fumarole wrote:

Another nice thing about this setup is that I can use video files for maps, making the environment the players are in more dynamic - animals move through the wilderness, campfires flicker, lighting in the area changes from the nearby magical portal, waves crash on the beach, seagulls chase their ship as it sails the ocean, etc.

The TV doubles as a speaker for sound effects and music I play through Syrinscape. I also display the initiative order on the TV to the side of the map using Combat Manager, and if I need to show the players any art I can display it right in front of them on the TV as well.

You can see some photos taken during my games here and here and...

Okay, that is quite ingenious; I've seen quite a few static digital maps projected via all sorts of inbuilt screens, but I don't think I've ever seen such professionally produced and visual maps that have dynamic features and sound or music coming from the map screen and not from loudspeakers elsewhere in the room. Wow!

We are "old skool" kind of gamers, and I fear my players would constantly be distracted by such visual effects (some of them don't even want music playing in the background) going on around them, making them concentrate more on the screen than my descriptions. But that is an amazing setup nonetheless, and I tip my rusty dwarven helmet at you, Sir! :)


I'll usually play with a map if I have one provided by an AP,and I keep a variety of flip maps on hand for when I don't. But sometimes theater of the kind just works better, or even just a white board. Having a long distance battle, for example, generally works better if you just keep track of the distances creatures are from each other.

thenobledrake wrote:

I love painting miniatures, so my ideal set up is to use miniatures on top of a pre-rendered map of some sort (eventually, it'll be a TV/monitor in the table on which all the maps are displayed - but flip maps, vinyl battle maps, tiles, poster maps and the like work too).

Right now my gaming space is really limited, though, so we actually use Roll20 on a TV sitting at one of the table so all the players can see it.

I'm not against theater of the mind, though. I believe in using the right tool for the right job - and sometimes theater of the mind is that tool. Such as when an encounter wasn't foreseeable as to when and where it would happen and would not be easier to resolve as a result of setting up a map on the spot because of its simple and straightforward nature.

Have they started selling tables with screens built into them yet for such purposes? When I looked a few years ago no one had anything on the market yet, just a few years ago.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Have they started selling tables with screens built into them yet for such purposes? When I looked a few years ago no one had anything on the market yet, just a few years ago.

As far as I know there aren't any mass market kind of things yet. I'm sure someone somewhere is a carpenter willing to put together a screen-in table on commission - much like how I intend to build my own table once I'm in a long term living situation that allows for it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Google "surface table" or "touch table".
Microsoft came out with a "surface table" in 2008, and now several manufacturers offer similar devices. Expensive, but very, very cool.


Chessex mat. I have one I've been using for going on 20 years now. When I run games on Roll20 I use pre-generated map templates and lay the squares over them, or if I have a ready-built adventure like Fall of Plaguestone I'll of course use the provided maps


thenobledrake wrote:
TRDG wrote:

Welp, might have to change my reply as Roll20 pulled another stupid and the update they did today makes playing and especially running games almost impossible with no scrolling bars and a mouse driven broken zoom.

Thats 3 PF II, 1 PF I game and 1 Starfinder game that won't be running til it gets fixed, IF it ever does, maybe someone at Paizo could have a word with them, never hurts to ask at least

Tom :(

You scared me... so I had to go check what the update had done.

I found it a lot less of a problem than you phrased it as because A) right click drag-panning was already how I got around the map - not scroll bars, and B) zoom now functions how I am used to it functioning in various other programs and no longer involves the Alt key so no longer randomly interprets me trying to zoom out as backing out of the game.

Well have you tried prepping large maps and with dynamic lighting yet? Most of the Roll20 users are not to happy and it doubles my prep time. I'm glad someone is happy with it but most are not, so the way I posted above is pretty valid in my humble opinion, was'nt meaning to "scare" anyone but it is a Huge issue to a LOT of users over there, but enough of derailing this, sorry folks.

Tom


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TRDG wrote:
Well have you tried prepping large maps and with dynamic lighting yet?

How does it work for you if you don't use Dynamic Lighting? I've never bothered.


TRDG wrote:
Well have you tried prepping large maps and with dynamic lighting yet?

No, of course not. Roll20's free product is disappointing to me in so many ways (even after reducing those ways with this update) that I wouldn't consider paying them money for even more things I'd likely be disappointed by the way in which 'work'

I do wonder though.. what does changing the way zooming in and out works and removing the scroll bars have to do with dynamic lighting?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
superhorse wrote:
This is absolutely genius! So much functionality and so many cool applications. I'm in the market for a cheap flatscreen to replace my current monitor, so this would be easy to implement at my own table.

Thanks. If you do buy a TV make sure the rear is large enough to support the weight of the TV, as TVs are not designed to rest on their backs. Also it needs to have the cables coming out of the back parallel to the screen (and not straight back/down in your table). This is the TV I use, which I got on sale for $100 back in July.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I stick with roll20 since I don't live near my players anymore. I always use maps when I'm running and generally enjoy gaming less when someone tries to run theater of the mind. Making long nested conditional statements in order to get the desired effect isn't entirely fun for me. And explaining how there's no possible arrangement of features that could have allowed for some event to occur is time consuming and tedious.

"I approach them at an angle that puts them between me and the wall, but slightly to the left such that movement toward the corner will put them into my threatened area if they don't move all the way to the corner. Unless there's a position at which I can threaten them, have them between me and the wall, but with cover or difficult terrain between me and their allies with a preference toward cover."

hard pass.


Thanks for the replies and questions on the Roll20 Issue but I'll take this into the third party product discussion forum as to not disrupt this one :)

Tom


They just took the update back thank god

November 6, 2019
Yesterday, we released an update to the Zoom tool on Roll20. Our intention was to address user requests by simplifying the existing tool and more closely aligning with modern standards.

Unfortunately, the update missed the mark - and more critically, created usability issues for users. As a result, we’ve decided to roll back the update and revert to the previous version while we continue work on the new Zoom. The code released yesterday is still available on the Dev Server, including yesterday’s hot fixes, for your continued input.

We apologize for the inconvenience to our players and GMs, and are grateful to our community for the quality and volume of constructive and passionate feedback we received.

The rollback is effective now.

So no need for a thread on this, end of thread disruption, sorry gang

Tom


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Digital maps, even in person. They're relatively easy to make with some practice, you can create generic ones, and perhaps most importantly they interface with VTT software which can then further automate rolls to speed up the game and reduce errors. Just clicking a button and having things like bonuses already figured out helps tremendously, and visually it's pleasant and draws people in, even if the art isn't 1:1 with my verbal description. Plus I can have the notes for each area on my own screen, so it's just a s#!+laod less crossreferencing.

Dry erase meanwhile requires me to draw during play which eats up precious minutes during the 2-4 hours of play a week I might get. I'd much rather draw the map ahead of time, even if I'm using an obviously symbolic tileset since it's just faster and cleaner visually. Even if I do have to actually draw during play, the rectangle tools and ability to easily erase stuff and not worry about players mucking with it accidentally is just really helpful. No losing markers, no markers s!&!ting out, no need for miniatures which I can't really afford and which wouldn't even be as accurate to what my players want their characters to look like anyways 'cause they can just use art they drew or found online as their token.

It's just no contest for me. It takes more discipline at the table to keep folk from being distracted during the game doing other things, but I trust my players to be entertained by the game. Even someone that is distracted by the digital device is at least going to have their actions resolve faster by clicking or tapping a button, they're not going to spend as much time like a deer in headlights when it's their turn, which is a significant improvement over spending fifteen minutes trying to explain their own character sheet to them.


Fumarole wrote:
superhorse wrote:
This is absolutely genius! So much functionality and so many cool applications. I'm in the market for a cheap flatscreen to replace my current monitor, so this would be easy to implement at my own table.
Thanks. If you do buy a TV make sure the rear is large enough to support the weight of the TV, as TVs are not designed to rest on their backs. Also it needs to have the cables coming out of the back parallel to the screen (and not straight back/down in your table). This is the TV I use, which I got on sale for $100 back in July.

Neat. I hadn't seen a cheap TV that could be laid on its back like that. I'm a little surprised that works since the back won't be flush with the table?

Also, am I right to assume you don't have cats? I feel like a cat jumping on that would be really really bad.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
superhorse wrote:
This is absolutely genius! So much functionality and so many cool applications. I'm in the market for a cheap flatscreen to replace my current monitor, so this would be easy to implement at my own table.
Thanks. If you do buy a TV make sure the rear is large enough to support the weight of the TV, as TVs are not designed to rest on their backs. Also it needs to have the cables coming out of the back parallel to the screen (and not straight back/down in your table). This is the TV I use, which I got on sale for $100 back in July.

Neat. I hadn't seen a cheap TV that could be laid on its back like that. I'm a little surprised that works since the back won't be flush with the table?

Also, am I right to assume you don't have cats? I feel like a cat jumping on that would be really really bad.

The back of the TV is flush with the table because it is laying on the table. However, the screen is about 3-4 inches above the table as that is how thick the TV is. No, I do not have a cat, but it wouldn't matter if I did because I take the TV off the table when not gaming. I put the legs back on and it goes into the bedroom.


Fumarole wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
superhorse wrote:
This is absolutely genius! So much functionality and so many cool applications. I'm in the market for a cheap flatscreen to replace my current monitor, so this would be easy to implement at my own table.
Thanks. If you do buy a TV make sure the rear is large enough to support the weight of the TV, as TVs are not designed to rest on their backs. Also it needs to have the cables coming out of the back parallel to the screen (and not straight back/down in your table). This is the TV I use, which I got on sale for $100 back in July.

Neat. I hadn't seen a cheap TV that could be laid on its back like that. I'm a little surprised that works since the back won't be flush with the table?

Also, am I right to assume you don't have cats? I feel like a cat jumping on that would be really really bad.

The back of the TV is flush with the table because it is laying on the table. However, the screen is about 3-4 inches above the table as that is how thick the TV is. No, I do not have a cat, but it wouldn't matter if I did because I take the TV off the table when not gaming. I put the legs back on and it goes into the bedroom.

Pffft, spoken like someone without a cat. :p Unless you've got a dedicated gaming room, a cats gonna jump on that thing mid play and probably bat some minis or dice around or go for someones snacks. Or at least mine do, but they are jerks. Fuzzy, adorable jerks.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I use all of the methods..

But theater of the mind only for really simple/low threat encounters.

I usually have a blank flip mat that can be drawn on. I’ll use this method for very simple maps that can be drawn quickly.

I use flip tiles for things that are a pain to draw.. who wants to draw many trees, for example.

I often pre draw maps on transparency sheets so I can lay down new rooms of a dungeon as they go. I use this when I want specific and time consuming to draw locations.

I use a book of battle mats for more generic locations.

I’ll use specific battle maps rarely. Partly it’s a cost thing, partly I don’t like having the whole map visible (though you can cover parts of the map with paper or a cloth until it’s time for that area to be revealed).


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
jdripley wrote:
I use a book of battle mats for more generic locations.

Link to a description?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When running RotRL, I would often download player-prepared maps for specific locations, and print them out on a color printer at the right size and tape them together.

The Graul homestead was wickedly wonderful, for so many reasons.

Sure, I never used that map again, but all it cost me was a few sheets of paper, some ink and maybe 15 minutes for the cut & tape operation.

1 to 50 of 56 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Maps, Mats, or Mind? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.