As soon as my group finally gets through the castle I designed (with the Paizo "Wizard's Tower" tile set) I will be running my first "official" gridless dungeon. I do run a very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants game and it might as well be gridless, as I let the players move about quite freely as if there are no grids. Now I won't let them just run amuck, mind you, but the grids are mostly used for spell effects and such, so I think they will transition to it smoothly. I run a combo of 1st and 2nd edition and sprinkled here & there with more recent edition bits if I feel it will help the campaign move along or make gameplay more fun. For instance I incorporated action points and (sometimes) let the players use them as bargaining chips or whatever but I always give them a chance to convince me to let them use them to perform something. It turned out to be a good thing because this group rolls more 1's than any group I've ever played with. At our last campaign the group of five characters rolled a total of 15 ones (we won't tell anybody that the DM rolled 4 himself). We also play critical fumble which makes it very interesting.
I didn't read through the thread, so this may have been covered, but, I would like to mention that grids are a new phenomenon. D&D comes from Chainmail, and the miniature wargames tradition more than the board game traditions. The US war board game traditions presented Gygax with the network to popularize it, but at its heart it was a one to one scale gridless, measured movement european style wargame. The first iterations of Role playing were actually in a Napoleonics game, though the term hadn't been created yet. The addition of a grid is just to simplify it for a mass market appeal. It is an attempt to remove it from its wargame roots to make it less niche.
I am kinda 'new' to DnD, having grown up with all the books but hating the pigeon hole idea of character classes and the Harry Potter feel of the setting - wizards, and elves, and magical pixies feel of the DnD setting. I always preferred grittier games with more open feel, I was a 1st edition Runequest fanatic for a long time. Runequest 3rd edition, Shadowrun, cyberpunk, GURPS sci/fi horror, Stormbringer, Harnmaster were the games I cut my teeth on in the 80's and early 90's. I got to play a few games in my friend's DnD campaign, but otherwise almost all games I played I ran as a DM in home-brew worlds. We almost never played with minis and sometimes we didn't even play with rules.... The best horror adventure I ever ran was a Sci Fi horror scenario, rule-less and grid-less. All that rules clunk gets in the way of dramatic tension, heroics, and surprise developments.
Couple years ago I got back into RPGs and got to play a sorcerer in a 3.5 Rise of the Runelords game, I liked that the new DnD gave characters ridiculous amounts of options, no longer do the classes feel as restrictive. But frankly, other than character generation and the neat combos and possibilities, 3.5 is bad... like really bad. The game became a pseudo-tactical combat game with so many rules and so many rules exceptions that nearly every core mechanic is broken by core other material. DnD frankly sucks donkey popsicle as a tactical combat game. If your group wants a tactical combat game with RPG elements, you can create a much better experience by house ruling RPG elements onto existing tabletop tactical combat rules rather than trying to house-rule the DnD tactical combat rules into something functional.
I struggle with this fundamental change in DnD all the time, most of my group is fairly new to RPGs and cut their teeth in the computer game / 3.5 era. When I talk to them about the differences between tactical combat games and RPGs and how 3.5 sucks as a tactical combat game, they don't really understand what I am talking about. I have begun to realize they don't really understand the difference. All of their RPG experience has been either in a PC game or as a pseudo-tactical combat game (3.5) - they don't really know what an RPG is!
I have had a terrible time overcoming what I see as the shortcomings of DnD3.5, everything I have tried back-fired on me in one way or another. But the solution was right in front of my face, so simple, so elegant. Get off the grid ---> leads to liberal interpretations of the combat rules ----> leads to a down play of the importance of rules at the table ----> up plays importance of imagination and creativity ----> "Can my guy do this?" turns into "My guy does this...." -----> the game becomes an RPG again instead of a really shitty tactical combat game.
Well you might be in the perfect position to deal with the shortcomings of 3.5. I find the rules for 3.5 extremely flexible, not everyone does, but the biggest flavor factor or game feel controller is the DM. If your team is new that means they do not have the enormous collection of 3.5 material to really run amok with. You can define the setting, control the flow of info and so on. My first DM who taught me 2e still has huge amounts of influence on how I play Pathfinder (3.75).
Yar that's a good point. A better DM could deal with these fundamental issues more gracefully.
On the other hand, I think the rules have a major effect on 'flavor and feel' unless you start culling core rules and/or adding large chunks of home-brew mechanics. The magic system is usually where the rules and flavor overlap significantly - physics, theme and lore are all reflected in the magic system.
I would have agreed with you gnomez until my last campaign where I tried to do 3.5 in the classic runequest setting of the Pavis and the Big Rubble and it simply broke the game. Without recreating the magic system from the ground up, I was unable to find a comfortable blend between the DnD / Harry Potter magic system and the Gloranthan magic system. Whenever TSR or Wizards does such a thing, they publish variant magic rules with their campaign settings book so that the rules reflect the flavor of the setting.
Personally, I see the high fantasy, cinematic feel of DnD in nearly every core design element of the game. Also the core design, that good heroes fight bad monsters. The combat system really isn't suited for hero vs hero battles or even PC vs NPC battles on mechanics alone. In DnD the NPC almost always needs a gimick to make the fight interesting
Agreed: your Players are a clean sheet of paper for you to create your opus on. Have at it, with whatever rules system you want to share with them. It could be D&D version X.XX, or Pathfinder, or...
With regards to magic and the world setting, create your own world of adventure. I created mine back in 1983, and I am still using it today, with very different players -- all of whom helped shape it into what it is today. It's a lot of work, but you don't have publishers ruining your work when they produce a new book which contradicts rulings you've made previously on a topic/area they left gray, or blank. You control everything. Good luck! Cheers!
I am currently making one of the dungeons in my Campaign that I am creating and have struggled with grid or gridless after watching DM Scotty's vids. My Brother is a Grid freak and automatically dismissed the idea for his stuff, but I kinda like the idea. I would like for him to be able to utilize my tiles too, so I will probably use DMG's technique. I imagine you can use gridless in 3.5...correct? Besides speeding up the battles (Which I understand are really slowed down in 4.0) and the better visual effect...are there any other advantages to gridless?
No concrete advantages but I talk about the "feel" of the game. To me a gridded game feels more like a board game than an RPG as the players are more occupied counting squares and mentally positioning themselves on a tactical grid than looking down on a miniature world and enjoying it. As I say if I am DMing I don't give the players a choice....they are going gridless. Those players who are addicted to a grid may whine a bit but will soon come around after they see your kick ass stuff and they can position their character anywhere they want. In fact I hardly even measure now and let the players move wherever they want as long as they are willing to take the consequences.
Scotty, what do you mean PF gets more and more broken? You mean as characters level up?
My RPG renaissance has included 3.5, Pathfinder and Mongoose Publishing's take on Runequest. I'm currently running a Pathfinder game, but we are still level 1. To me Pathfinder fixes a number of glaring mechanics issues from 3.5 and then strangely completely ignores other issues that were just as, if not more, problematic. So all in all, I think its a dramatic improvement over 3.5 if not a perfect re-hash. Mostly, I like that I have found very few class options or feat options which are simply so superior to all other options that they become mandatory.
I haven't tried 4E, but it seemed to me the 4th edition rules went the way of the panda, and really slimmed down the classes to more easily balance the game. The problem with that is just about every fighter or every wizard are pretty much carbon copies of themselves. Therefore bringing me full circle back to the original reason why I never liked DnD during the TSR era. That was just my impression from looking over the rules, I haven't actually played it. Do you or others find that to be the case?
Also, just because 3.5 is bad and completely broken in a number of key areas, doesn't mean the game isn't fun. I'm aware of its broken elements and we just play around them, without letting it get in the way too much. RQ1 was a horribly broken game, but I still had years of good times with it. I guess that's what my original point was... that there was something subtle that I think spoiled the game. I couldn't put my finger on it. When I took the reigns and started DMing 3.5, I targeted a number of glaring mechanics issues to deal with spoiled 'feel' of the game. I tried a few different things, and it simply didn't work. What I have slowly come to realize, I was looking in the wrong spot. The broken 3.5 elements weren't really spoiling the game, it was the subtle psychological effects of the grid.
I only can go with my brothers knowledge of things. He is not a fan of 4.0 because the battles are slowed down so much due to tracking so many different things. This may be a lot of fun to me if I were to try it, but it is not his thing. I've watched your first four table top vids (DM Scotty) and they are each 30 min. long and all consist of one battle so I see what my brother means...still, as a player, I have the most fun in battles when the dice are continually rolling...and I really like the idea of a player receiving the chip...what ever it is called, I forget, the reward chip that allows them to use for an extra turn or what not...Having something to reward other than just experience and treasure is pretty cool
I don’t mean to bash any systems as I always say play what works for your group. Battles do take a long time in 4E but I found they took almost as long in pathfinder as my groups are casual players and not hard core gamers so they can take a bit of time on their turn. When we get together we play all day so I give them as much time as they need. I found that in Pathfinder as the PCs leveled up they quickly outclassed the monsters and the myriad of spells make it easy for groups to solve almost any problem with magic. Just my 2 cents and I am not knocking anyone who plays the system. It was just not my flavor.
I have looked at a few tweaks for 3.5 (rather extensive ones) that address the outclassing/overpowering that eventually happens. One way suggested is to determine your playstyle preference, and then cut the level cap off at levels 6, 12, and 18 (give or take).
Similarly, if your play style calls for more power, then you should start players at higher levels.
The effect is to essentially tailor the game to grittier play, where dragons are a death sentence and fearful and lesser foes of any stripe, even down to lowly orcs, can be a challenge (level capped at 6), OR the players become more like heroic characters we read about in books (capped at 12), OR characters are superhumans, ala comic book (capped at 18).
While I hesitate to be so drastic, I do agree. Generally people I play with usually lose interest in a characters at between level 8 and 12, using D&D. Other systems are different in my experience.
What it all *really* boils down to is, if you need to change the rules, do so. Any system can do it. removing Magic from D&D isn't impossible, and if that can be accomplished, you can easily replace your own magic system.
Same goes for grids/gridless. Easy enough to accomplish a rules set up that works for your group.
Play-by-Post onling gaming requires alot more patience and a little more know-how in regards to understanding procedure, and has its own frustrations to deal with. I much prefer tabletop to online play by post, as its generally more fun.
But beggars can't be choosers, and if you want to simply get your feet wet, then thar you go.
Also, most large cities have gaming shops of some sort. You can google it, look in the phonebook, but you may be able to find a live group near your home. Also, colleges also sometimes have gaming groups among students. You may get lucky posting up a notice of interest in a place at a nearby college.
...or you can try getting friends and family interested. Worth a shot. Hope it helps
The thing with me is that I've never actually played D&D at all. I'm going pick up the 4e red box shortly after this month and begin a solo campaign to familiarize myself with the game. (I'm also an unemployed bartender and I don't yet own a car, so I don't know how long it'll take me to find a group to start playing with)
I feel like my problem with gridless will be that I'm going to initially learn on a grid, but that remains to be seen.
I've played with hexes, grids, gridless and hell even mapless. Each has merits and works for different things depends on the feel your invoking as a DM grids and hexes do tend to allow power gamers to game the system. Mapless or theater of the mind is best for worlds like ravenloft where mystery and the general feeling of telling a ghost story is needed. Gridless to me is a happy medium it's more immersive than having a board game looking field in front of you. It seems to make combat a bit more theatrical meaning the players choose to do things that look cool not what will give them AoO's in otherwords they think less in terms of gameplay and more in storytelling.
i"ve found that alot of players i see now playing an rpg don't play with anything which urks me to no end. alot of them r video game players. when i brought my stuff in to the game shop and set some stuff up, both grid and gridless peoples heads snapped up and payed more attention to my game then the one they were in. the other dm's were pretty pissed, but that is not my fault. I had brought the stuff in to show the store owner what i put together recently. players from numerous games got up after their session was over with and admired my handiwork and asked if I was going to be running a game here soon? I told them i was going to start a home game because i have to much stuff to drag back and forth but we could see(I'M a big supporter and purchaser at this game shop and more people in the shop the better). Honestly I think players don"t care either way about what grid system is used as long as the eye candy on the board unfolds to thier imagination.
erho: I will once again rise above Lurker status if I ever get back to painting, Real life work transitions... Adulting
Jan 31, 2020 16:23:29 GMT
factoriatabletop: sgtslag...oh man! you are right about it...
Mar 3, 2020 10:13:15 GMT
Draklith: Hey everyone just a quick stop by to see if anyone is still here, hope everyone is doing ok
May 26, 2020 18:27:20 GMT
sgtslag: This forum seems to be slowing down. I hope everyone is still crafting, safely! I will be here until they turn off the power... Cheers!
May 27, 2020 13:46:43 GMT
factoriatabletop: maybe we should try to make a contest here, between us
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:08 GMT
factoriatabletop: no prizes, just proud....dont know, anyone else?
Jun 2, 2020 8:40:40 GMT
sgtslag: Still unpacking after moving in October... Too much stuff, crafting materials are mostly still in boxes. Weekends are busy with life, so little progress made. Getting the urge to push through, though, soon. I have several projects waiting...
Jun 2, 2020 20:14:39 GMT
erho: Yeah I'm down for a painting contect
Jun 8, 2020 14:28:59 GMT
sgtslag: Started working on making hills, which match my Tee-Time carpet I use for my "grass mat," on my gaming table, for big battles. Got two long chunks of open-cell foam, from a friend. Used my Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter to make terrain hills out of them.
Jul 26, 2020 20:12:40 GMT
sgtslag: Came up with around 80 hills. Covering them with the same carpet, from scraps. They will match the tabletop, perfectly. Contact Cement, is my friend. Will post on it, when I get the pictures uploaded. Some prototypes done, as proof-of-concept...
Jul 26, 2020 20:14:06 GMT
randywest: does anyone know more manufacturers for 1/72 fantasy minis besides Dark Alliance, Caesar and Elhiem?
Sept 14, 2020 14:16:19 GMT
sgtslag: 50 Hills completed, 24 left to cover the sides on. Hoping to finish this project within the week. Then I'll post a build description. For war gaming, but it can cross over to RPG sessions... They match the ground 'cloth', perfectly.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:09 GMT
sgtslag: Sorry, randywest, the listed makers are the only ones I know.
Sept 19, 2020 19:03:34 GMT
sgtslag: Ran out of Hot Glue, with only five hills left to add a skirt to the sides of. Wal-Mart closes at 8:00 PM, thanks to COVID. GRRRrrr! Another 30 minutes of work, and I would have been done: ~77 hills, modular, perfectly matching my table's ground cloth!
Sept 23, 2020 2:50:39 GMT
sgtslag: Will post a write-up soon, or after next week's vacation. Cheers!
Sept 23, 2020 2:51:57 GMT
sgtslag: Hoping to acquire a Chop Saw within the next two weeks. Then I will cut up MDF into triangles, to form the skeleton of my d20 fantasy world globe... Posting will follow, with how-to guide. Cheers!
May 11, 2021 22:57:40 GMT
erho: I have a confession: I havnt painted a thing in months because I got a new guitar(#8!) but now that May "Megadeth month" is over I have a repaired airbrush and a early 90's Ral Partha Amethyst dragon on the table... pics to come soon!
Jun 11, 2021 17:49:58 GMT
margaret: too bad you can't post your music here =). Hadn't seen that dragon - looks like it came out when all my cash was going to raising kids. Looking forward to seeing your paint choices!
Jun 12, 2021 2:41:42 GMT