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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Minis+measurements - player looks at the battlefield and chooses to launch a fireball where it looks like it will catch the most bad guys - if the choice is well made, with the right timing and set-up, it will catch more enemies.
    And is is what 'breaks' immersion for me.

    When you bust out a grid, everyone is suddenly a master of seeing everything on the battlefield at a glance, judging distances and areas of affect, and tactical movement.

    Edit: as I said earlier, the other thing that breaks immersion for me is the 'combat swoosh' that results from the time required to set it all up.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-08-11 at 04:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    (Note: I pre-wrote this earlier today, but couldn't post it until now; a lot of the recent replies covered the same ground, so sorry if it sounds like repetition of what others already stated)

    Thurdd perfectly explained earlier what I do enjoy about grid-based combat and why I don't much like theater of the mind.

    Someone mentionned earlier that some systems can be more easily geared toward theater of the mind, with less specific "measurements" included in the rules. But D&D is clearly geared toward grid-based combat, even if the people in charge of 5th edition are trying real hard to make it appear as if that isn't the case (maybe they are just overcompensating for 4th edition's mandatory gris and minis stance).

    (By the way, using a map with exact measurement but no grid is pretty much the same as using a grid in my view, at least for the purpose of comparing it to theater of the mind).

    As an exemple, in my current campaign, I play a dwarf with 25' of movement. We have a wood elf and a satyr in our group (both with 35' of movement). That extra 10' makes a world of difference in tactical combat, especially in the first round where positioning is critical, when you are looking at retreat options, or when subsequent waves of opponents join the fray. Yesterday, we went through 5 waves of enemies within a temple, with movement from room to room between waves (no break in combat, we kept going with the initiative order since the alarm was given and, even if we were not seeing them, opponents were moving/acting). There was at least one instance where I was forced to use a ranged attack (weaker than my melee options), and another where I had to use dash just to go "block" an opponent and cover one of my allies - both these situations would have been avoided if I had had the same speed as my allies. This kind of nuance gets easily lost when using theater of the mind (if I refer to my previous campaign where I played a halfling - again 25' of movement - there were never any instances where I was told I could not reach an opponent for melee, and we were using the concept of close/far to indicate distances).

    It is true that the tactical combat is reminiscent of chess in some aspects, or a board game. In our current setup, our DM sits far from the table (he has a side table where he keeps his stuff), so only the players (PCs) are around the main table where the map is. We huddle around it, we discuss movement options (still level 1, so avoiding attacks of opportunity is crucial since any single hit can drop us), the spellcasters try to optimize where to put their spells using area of effect templates, etc. I think it creates a fun dynamic between the group. Sure, it may not be as interesting from a storytelling perspective (it has less of a narrative feel, and more of a boardgame feel - what with the assistant DM calling player turns and such), but the storytelling works just as well for me after the fact (basically, once the fight is over, I can deconstruct what happened and just make a quick story of it in my mind, including some cool moves/turns as highlights of the encounter - which usually gets included in our session summary afterward).

    If all effects and abilities in the game were defined more loosely (ex: instead of having specific X feet of radius for an area of effect spell, you would have small, medium, and large radius), I would be much less inclined to use a grid. I don't know if I would enjoy the game as much, however.

    Another advantage of using a map (gridded or not) versus just wordy descriptions is that it allows the DM to add features such as difficult terrain, obstacles to be used as cover, etc. That can also be done in theater of the mind, but unless there are constant reminders about these features every few turns, they will quickly be forgotten (both by players and the DM). For this to work with a map, however, you need a DM who gives thought to the encounter locations beforehand; if the DM starts making up a quick map once the encounter starts, it's quite possible that he won't think of adding those features anyway. Having these things identified on the map makes it so that they are constantly on everyone's mind (at least, everyone who looks at the map), and in that sense, I think it offers additional options to players rather than inhibit them. This point is much more DM-dependant than the first part of my post, but still factors in my personal appreciation of map/grid-based combat.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    ToTM:"How many targets can be hit by my fireball?" - "uh, let's say three."(because I don't want the fight to be over too fast).
    That's not how TotM works, any more than "I do 16 damage, how is it looking?" - "uh, let's say it's still fine." (because I don't want the fight to be over too fast) is how attacks work.

    In TotM, the DM doesn't just pluck the positions of the combatants out of thin air to suit their whims. The DM - and the players, if it's being done right - should all know which combatants are where. They should all be picturing the fight in their heads (in far better detail and in a far more "realistic" manner than looking at a bunch of figures on a grid).

    That's one of the whole reasons many of us don't like using grids - they spoil the image of the fight we have in our heads by replacing it with a mundane level of counting squares and moving bits of metal or plastic.

    If TotM is being done right, the DM and the players will have consistent images in their heads (that's what Theatre of the Mind means), and if there's any doubt, the players can get clarification from the DM.

    It certainly isn't just the DM making things up as they go along. That's not TotM - that's just fudging.
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blacky the Blackball View Post
    The DM - and the players, if it's being done right - should all know which combatants are where. They should all be picturing the fight in their heads (in far better detail and in a far more "realistic" manner than looking at a bunch of figures on a grid).
    IME, if the players can't see it, they don't know which combatants are where. Or, worse, they know which combatants are where, except they're wrong. If it's going to be RP or one side is grossly outmatched, then I don't draw it out. ("The four of you burst into the room. Inside, you find only two kobolds, who stare at you in horrified shock"). If it's any kind of interesting combat, then it goes on the map.
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Last comment before I drop off this thread.

    Play what you want.

    Different people think differently and no two people without a common reference are going to imagine something exactly the same in thier heads. Often it is moot but, for me, the more commonality in the frame of reference (miniatures, accurate mapping of physical relationships,) the less chance of confusion.

    Yes, the 200' general view is an issue but until we have individual POV holograms - I believe a map, with or without hexes, squares, or circles for movement, in real time - TotM simply doesn't cut it equally for players and DMs.

    Anyway let me repeat, play what you want.
    Last edited by ZorroGames; 2017-08-11 at 05:52 PM.
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsillas View Post
    I only play theater of the mind. Role playing games were originally designed to be played in this manner. You can see that in 1st and 2nd edition, as well as a large majority of the other original RPGs were played this way. It wasn't until D&D 3.0, for the most part, that you started to see the grid. As a counter to your points above:

    A) The grid stifles player imagination and creativity. A tree can be seen as an obstacle instead of something that can be climbed for example. Also, when you play TotM, players will ask the DM for things such as cover, obscured areas, terrain that the DM did not think of, but really adds to the combat. Such as the rogue asking for a dimly lit area to hide since he has the skulker feat. It also forces players to visualize the beholder they are fighting, not just see it as a miniature on a board, or at worst a poker chip. To me it's just more spontaneous and imaginative to eliminate the grid.

    B) Distance is the biggest challenge with TotM. For the most part you fake it till you make it. I keep track of the combat with a piece of graph paper where I know the exact position and distance in combat, but I only let the players see it briefly if they are completely confused. That way I can quickly answer questions related to distance.

    TotM is the only way to run combat in my opinion, but I know there are those who like to make an RPG half board game. I do not.
    I'm not saying anyone is wrong for liking to play D&D without minis, but you are wrong about the original game: tabletop miniatures was absolutely how RPGs were originally designed. D&D (the first/original RPG) was literally designed as an expansion/supplement to a tabletop miniature war game (called Chainmail). You may note that tthings in the 1e AD&D rules are listed in inches, because you were meant to be measuring how far your characters could move across the table and the range of spells, AoE, missiles, etc. The DMG specifically references the scale of miniatures generally used, has rules for facing on both sorts of grid, and splash patterns for grenade-like attacks (so you can tell when a shield or dex bonus counts on AC and how many opponents can attack at once).

    So yes, D&D was originally designed to be played with minis on a tabletop and potentially a grid from its inception. Did lots of people play without those things? Yes, and I did, too, many times. But doing so does take away a chunk of what was intended to be the game.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blacky the Blackball View Post
    That's not how TotM works, any more than "I do 16 damage, how is it looking?" - "uh, let's say it's still fine." (because I don't want the fight to be over too fast) is how attacks work.

    In TotM, the DM doesn't just pluck the positions of the combatants out of thin air to suit their whims. The DM - and the players, if it's being done right - should all know which combatants are where. They should all be picturing the fight in their heads (in far better detail and in a far more "realistic" manner than looking at a bunch of figures on a grid).

    That's one of the whole reasons many of us don't like using grids - they spoil the image of the fight we have in our heads by replacing it with a mundane level of counting squares and moving bits of metal or plastic.

    If TotM is being done right, the DM and the players will have consistent images in their heads (that's what Theatre of the Mind means), and if there's any doubt, the players can get clarification from the DM.

    It certainly isn't just the DM making things up as they go along. That's not TotM - that's just fudging.
    I get what you're saying, but based on my experiences playing D&D (and many other games) in TotM style, what you describe as "done right" is rare and unrealistic. There are always constant questions about where everyone is, what sort of terrain is there, how far away they are, etc. Nobody reliably and consistently holds the battlefield in their mind all that accurately, especially as everything is moving constantly, and it only gets harder the more elements you add to the field. And while it doesn't require the DM fudging things, it is extremely easy to do, in opposition to using minis. Sometimes the DM may not even be fudging on purpose, it just gets hard to keep track of all those moving parts and you forget about the guy behind the tree that hadn't done anything yet or that half the enemies you mentioned haven't taken an action in two turns.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    And is is what 'breaks' immersion for me.

    When you bust out a grid, everyone is suddenly a master of seeing everything on the battlefield at a glance, judging distances and areas of affect, and tactical movement.

    Edit: as I said earlier, the other thing that breaks immersion for me is the 'combat swoosh' that results from the time required to set it all up.
    I get that. But to me, that is immersion. If I was on the battlefield, I would see where the enemies were and use that information to make my choices. I would see where things were and not be confused or need to ask anyone if a monster was near me or how many of them I can see or if there is anything I can hide behind nearby. That is what breaks immersion for me, worse than spending a minute to put minis on the table.
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2017-08-11 at 06:19 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    If I was on the battlefield, I would see where the enemies were and use that information to make my choices. I would see where things were and not be confused or need to ask anyone if a monster was near me or how many of them I can see or if there is anything I can hide behind nearby.
    Not that I've been on a battlefield, but clearly you and I have completely different assumptions about what it'd be like. I would assume if I was on a battlefield I'd get tunnel vision to what's going on in front of me and in my immediate vicinity. That's perfectly represented by listen to the description of the DM, and occasionally 'looking around' (asking the DM 'is there any cover nearby?')

    To effect what you're asking for with a battlemat, but still maintain anything like verisimilitude as far as the fog of war goes, would require each player only being able to look at the table on their turn, and covering everything more than 20ft from their character with a tablecloth. Unless they were not in any immediate danger and spent their action serving the battle.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Not that I've been on a battlefield, but clearly you and I have completely different assumptions about what it'd be like. I would assume if I was on a battlefield I'd get tunnel vision to what's going on in front of me and in my immediate vicinity. That's perfectly represented by listen to the description of the DM, and occasionally 'looking around' (asking the DM 'is there any cover nearby?')
    Situational awareness is key in battle (or so I've heard). If you tunnel vision, you die. Quickly. Also, if you're actually there you would know extremely well how the terrain is around you. Verbal descriptions are very lossy--you can only convey a tiny fraction of what someone actually there would see and feel in any reasonable amount of time.

    I've never played with people who could do TotM right. Too many questions about what's there. It requires everyone to be paying absolute attention and for the DM to describe things perfectly, otherwise different interpretations of the same words leads to "wait, what?" moments and retconning (or hurt feelings/feeling like the DM is playing gotcha games). This is my experience, anyway. Some kind of map is important to have a shared understanding of the battle-space.
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    The closest I've come is paintball. And I can tell you, as soon as the game starts, situational awareness goes right out the window. Sure, I can believe it's key. Tht makes perfect sense, if 'normal' is a complete lack of it.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    The closest I've come is paintball. And I can tell you, as soon as the game starts, situational awareness goes right out the window. Sure, I can believe it's key. Tht makes perfect sense, if 'normal' is a complete lack of it.
    But trained fighters do much better, almost at the instinctive level. I'm always wary of assuming that our characters are just like us. They're (mostly, if they survive level 1) experienced combatants and professional adventurers. They're supposed to be aware of everything happening around them (this is extrapolated from the surprise rules and the opportunity attack rules, etc). From talking to my friends that have served in combat (I used to live next to a major military base, so I had quite a few of them), what you lose is awareness of things out of sight. People can duck behind walls and it's easy to lose track of them if there are other threats active. This is one of the reasons urban combat is so risky. A professional should be aware of anything within sensory range and not concealed.

    It's a (much weaker) variant of the "Guy at the Gym" issue (at least in my mind).
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But trained fighters do much better, almost at the instinctive level.
    Whats that got to do with the price of milk?

    Do all your PCs always have the Soldier background?

    It's a (much weaker) variant of the "Guy at the Gym" issue (at least in my mind).
    You're right. Because avoiding "Guy at the Gym" is the excuse people who want to play anime or a video game instead of fantasy trpgs use to break verisimilitude.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Whats that got to do with the price of milk?

    Do all your PCs always have the Soldier background?

    You're right. Because avoiding "Guy at the Gym" is the excuse people who want to play anime or a video game instead of fantasy trpgs use to break verisimilitude.
    No, but they have something better (beyond level 1, at least). Experience. Otherwise they aren't above level 1, by definition.

    So you can shoot fire from your fingertips? The guy at the gym can carry 300 pounds without slowing down, while making 4 real attacks per 6 seconds and moving 30 feet? Or maybe 8 attacks in 6 seconds and moving 30 feet? Or running along walls 60 feet in 6 seconds and making 4 attacks? Or surviving hits from dragons 3x their size? These are all things that level 20 characters can do stock. If you want to constrain yourself by what the "Guy at the Gym" can do, don't play D&D. Or any non-real-world TTRPG for that matter, as all of them involve people doing "unrealistic" things.

    Verisimilitude should be about what's plausible in-universe. Not what's true of our universe.
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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsillas View Post
    I only play theater of the mind. Role playing games were originally designed to be played in this manner. You can see that in 1st and 2nd edition, as well as a large majority of the other original RPGs were played this way. It wasn't until D&D 3.0, for the most part, that you started to see the grid.

    2nd edition had 1 minute rounds....so having grids to represent movement didn't matter but maps...yes we did use battlemaps. Battlemaps have been used in variety of systems and when I started playing 30 years ago they were used and have been used since the roleplaying games inception. Arneson's Blackmoor setting started as a miniture wargame that evolved into a rpg (I personally give Arneson more credit for the roleplaying part in RPG). Roleplaying games evolved from wargames and were made by wargamers so you can bet your hiney that they used battlemaps and miniatures.


    As for the OP post. I find it much more interesting the rest of the article rather than if to use maps or not (I do both). I occasionally throw in meaningless combat into my games just to sate the lust of the combat oriented players. I'd rather have less combat and more meaning to it or use it to pose a question, as Clausewitz said "war is just continuation of diplomacy through other means". Murdering your way through dungeons is not what I run. Combat is rather rare in my games, maybe 1 hour of 6 hour session so I can well afford the time to draw up a sketch at least.

    One thing I've noticed while using a detailed battlemap is that the players make much better use of their surroundings like

    Jump on a table or a rock for height advantage
    Grab a lantern and throw at their foe
    Kick a stool at a charging foe to trip him
    Better use of cover
    charge foes in the back
    Swing on a chandelier (yes the swashbuckler did it)
    Throw a knife in the behind of an ox that was drawing a cart to make him charge a group of ruffians in a tight street.
    Push a foe off a cliff or down a flight of stairs.

    Edit: I realize that many of those "stunts" have very little relevance to D&D other than maybe at lower levels before your foes get scratched when hit by a truck, but I mostly don't run D&D and this is more relevant to other systems.
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2017-08-11 at 08:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Not that I've been on a battlefield, but clearly you and I have completely different assumptions about what it'd be like. I would assume if I was on a battlefield I'd get tunnel vision to what's going on in front of me and in my immediate vicinity. That's perfectly represented by listen to the description of the DM, and occasionally 'looking around' (asking the DM 'is there any cover nearby?')

    To effect what you're asking for with a battlemat, but still maintain anything like verisimilitude as far as the fog of war goes, would require each player only being able to look at the table on their turn, and covering everything more than 20ft from their character with a tablecloth. Unless they were not in any immediate danger and spent their action serving the battle.
    I disagree with your take on how severe "fog of war" would be for people, especially professional adventurers and warriors (which is every D&D character). I also think it is a pretty lame excuse for something that is clearly an unintentional consequence of the disconnect that inevitably happens between what a DM is imagining, what comes out of their mouth, what the players hear, and what they remember when they take their turns. Nowhere in any D&D rulebook has it claimed or made any such connection between TotM and purposefully maintaining confusion about the characters' surroundings, nor encouraged DMs to create a "fog of war" for their players by denying them information about the battlefield. It isn't a thing D&D does.

    When using minis, it is on the DM not to place anything on the table that the characters shouldn't be able to see. That's how you do "fog of war". If there is darkness everywhere except a 60 foot radius around the lantern, then don't put down any minis further away than that until the players see it.

    Even if I agreed that there should realistically be some degree of combat confusion due to adrenaline or whatever, trying to model that is a lower priority than having an engaging game where the players can use strategy and tactics to overcome challenges. The visual aid of having minis and terrain displayed on the tabletop makes more use of the actual game system and is more fair for the players. I want verisimilitude and in-world immersion to be maximized as well, but not at the expense of an engaging and fair game experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    The closest I've come is paintball. And I can tell you, as soon as the game starts, situational awareness goes right out the window. Sure, I can believe it's key. That makes perfect sense, if 'normal' is a complete lack of it.
    People who play paintball a lot, or who practice war games or other sorts of combat, would gradually lose that tunnel vision and lack of awareness. That's why you practice and drill and do exercises constantly in the military, so you have a better shot at keeping your wits about you in such situations. You have to if you want to survive. "Normal" is relative. I would err on the side of letting my D&D characters be on the more competent side in this regard. It's hard enough for the players to succeed and make good decisions even when they can see the whole battlefield on the table, they don't need more handicaps by regularly being given incomplete information about their character's surroundings.
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2017-08-11 at 11:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    When I DM, i do both. Because there is a place for each, they are both fun when done well and the party is familiar with eachother and the DM. Mini's and grid for combat, some.dungeon rooms, and certain social areas like a bar or plaza where I want to just let the players be free to interact with NPC's and groups they can see.

    While individual interpretations and mental visions are great for everyone to see it in their own mind, sometimes "the bar is crowded, some ppl are rowdy" doesn't quite illustrate an interactive envoronment well enough; whereas a drawn out bar loaded with mini's in goups doing bar sh't sometimes can get the players and myself into some really fun role-playing and improv.

    Tldr: in short-why not have the best of both worlds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    These are all things that level 20 characters can do stock. If you want to constrain yourself by what the "Guy at the Gym" can do, don't play D&D. Or any non-real-world TTRPG for that matter, as all of them involve people doing "unrealistic" things.

    Verisimilitude should be about what's plausible in-universe. Not what's true of our universe.
    [/quote]Yeah okay, my objection to the concept wasn't really justified. I got too invested in my argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yeah okay, my objection to the concept wasn't really justified. I got too invested in my argument.
    I hear you. I've had several recently where I just had to put the keyboard down and walk away (despite people being wrong on the internet). No worries. We're cool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBobShorton View Post
    When I DM, i do both. Because there is a place for each, they are both fun when done well and the party is familiar with eachother and the DM. Mini's and grid for combat, some.dungeon rooms, and certain social areas like a bar or plaza where I want to just let the players be free to interact with NPC's and groups they can see.

    While individual interpretations and mental visions are great for everyone to see it in their own mind, sometimes "the bar is crowded, some ppl are rowdy" doesn't quite illustrate an interactive envoronment well enough; whereas a drawn out bar loaded with mini's in goups doing bar sh't sometimes can get the players and myself into some really fun role-playing and improv.

    Tldr: in short-why not have the best of both worlds.
    This is actually the first time I've heard of anyone using a grid and minis for non-combat situations. Very interesting idea.

    It's been a fascinating discussion. I'm especially interested by all those who see the grid as something that opens up possibilities rather than shuts them down. I think this may be my way forward - try to remember that the grid is a convenient representation of the scene, not the scene itself. I actually have a friend who's very good at this, who plays a barbarian in our games and where many people would say "rage, attack" on every turn he is constantly finding ways to interact with even the relatively few environmental features I draw on the grid (usually on the spur of the moment right there at the table).

    If you're interested in this whole subject you really should read the Reddit post I linked to in my opening post. TotM vs Grid wasn't the point of that, it was really all about integrating combat into the larger game and stopping combat from eating up so much time. I just thought TotM might be more conducive to those goals than the grid.

    I am going to continue using the grid for now, and just try to lead by example with monsters that behave the way they should in terms of the larger narrative, as opposed to "my job is to hack at these adventurers until they kill me".

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I'm not saying anyone is wrong for liking to play D&D without minis, but you are wrong about the original game: tabletop miniatures was absolutely how RPGs were originally designed. D&D (the first/original RPG) was literally designed as an expansion/supplement to a tabletop miniature war game (called Chainmail). You may note that tthings in the 1e AD&D rules are listed in inches, because you were meant to be measuring how far your characters could move across the table and the range of spells, AoE, missiles, etc. The DMG specifically references the scale of miniatures generally used, has rules for facing on both sorts of grid, and splash patterns for grenade-like attacks (so you can tell when a shield or dex bonus counts on AC and how many opponents can attack at once).

    So yes, D&D was originally designed to be played with minis on a tabletop and potentially a grid from its inception. Did lots of people play without those things? Yes, and I did, too, many times. But doing so does take away a chunk of what was intended to be the game.
    You're correct - 1st edition was based on Chainmail; however, 2nd edition was not. 3rd is where the grid was reintroduced to D&D. What brought me back to D&D was that 5th has moved back to the 2nd edition style of play that facilitates TotM, while also allowing for the variant play of using a grid PH Pg 192.

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I hear you. I've had several recently where I just had to put the keyboard down and walk away (despite people being wrong on the internet). No worries. We're cool.
    Yeah I have to do that a lot. If if keep responding I end up doing all the cliche internet argument things because I get tunnel vision. If I leave off, sometimes I can see the other point of view. For example ...

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBobShorton View Post
    Tldr: in short-why not have the best of both worlds.
    Not gonna go that far, but this thread has convinced me to trial run a white board for general positioning (playbook style) with one of my groups, and see if they prefer it for additional clarity.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yeah I have to do that a lot. If if keep responding I end up doing all the cliche internet argument things because I get tunnel vision. If I leave off, sometimes I can see the other point of view. For example ...


    Not gonna go that far, but this thread has convinced me to trial run a white board for general positioning (playbook style) with one of my groups, and see if they prefer it for additional clarity.
    Good job, GitP, we are doing Internet forum discussions right. Bonus points for all of us because no one used the word "fallacy" once!

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    Good job, GitP, we are doing Internet forum discussions right. Bonus points for all of us because no one used the word "fallacy" once!
    I've been making a major effort to walk away from discussions when I'm getting heated. Boy I love being right (or sometimes, with some posters, them being wrong), but I hate how I feel when I'm mad (especially about silly things). I once had a 30-minute, knock-down, drag-out argument over whether we should pasteurize milk. That was pointless.

    I personally detest the habit of using claimed fallacies as a weapon to shut down conversations. I like the ideas behind a lot of the GitP fallacies/laws, but they're ideas and heuristics that inform or caution--they can't be used to "prove" the other person wrong (especially just by claiming that they've committed such fallacies). Often I find them deployed by those who can't (or won't) argue substance.

    More on topic, I think that this is something DMs should experiment with. The answer isn't gonna be the same for every group (or even every situation in every group). Find something that works for you and yours, taking into account the pros and cons that have been discussed.
    The Council Lands: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    The only time I don't like minis is when it takes a while for the DM to draw out the map, and then the tomcat jumps on the table and lies down in the middle of the minis, and then I'm not entirely clear on where my gobber was and I feel bad about moving him to a slightly more advantageous position. His sister, no, she just walks through them without disturbing anything, but he just thwumps through them even if he is just walking across the table.

    Worse, he won't cooperate as a mini in the game to be a colossal black dragon, no matter how nicely we ask him.


    But yeah, I generally prefer minis over TotM in D&D. It's not that TotM doesn't work, it's just that it's very easy for players to get wildly different views of the battlefield, and as a DM you keep having to constantly remind people of where everyone is, and I feel I can better spend that mental effort on trying to kill the PCs er, creating an engaging fight for them.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telwar View Post
    The only time I don't like minis is when it takes a while for the DM to draw out the map, and then the tomcat jumps on the table and lies down in the middle of the minis, and then I'm not entirely clear on where my gobber was and I feel bad about moving him to a slightly more advantageous position. His sister, no, she just walks through them without disturbing anything, but he just thwumps through them even if he is just walking across the table.

    Worse, he won't cooperate as a mini in the game to be a colossal black dragon, no matter how nicely we ask him.


    But yeah, I generally prefer minis over TotM in D&D. It's not that TotM doesn't work, it's just that it's very easy for players to get wildly different views of the battlefield, and as a DM you keep having to constantly remind people of where everyone is, and I feel I can better spend that mental effort on trying to kill the PCs er, creating an engaging fight for them.
    When I had a cat I was ten and was playing The Sorcerer's Cave rather than D&D but I had the same issue 😆

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsillas View Post
    You're correct - 1st edition was based on Chainmail; however, 2nd edition was not. 3rd is where the grid was reintroduced to D&D. What brought me back to D&D was that 5th has moved back to the 2nd edition style of play that facilitates TotM, while also allowing for the variant play of using a grid PH Pg 192.
    5e doesn't so much "facilitate" TotM, it's more that it suggests that it's ok to ignore stuff about movement and distance if you feel like it. If they wanted to actually make TotM "the way" D&D was supposed to be played, they would introduce rules that abstracted speed and distances and positioning and word abilities and spells in such a way to interact with the abstract TotM rules rather than listing everything in feet. That has never yet been done in a D&D edition.

    And it was definitely inaccurate to say that using minis and grids/measurements and tactical combat wasn't a thing until 3e, which is what your original argument was. It was assumed from the very first inception of D&D. It's true that 2e DMG didn't actually say anything about using grids or miniatures (for the first and last time), but still had everything listed in feet and yards and didn't introduce any rules for abstraction. It talks about facing, determining the range of missiles etc., implying that you're doing something to track the character's relative positions and distances in a non-abstract way. There were companies making miniatures specifically for 2e AD&D from the beginning (not just after Combat and Tactics came out).

    So TotM is sure a valid and easy way to play, requires less space and more convenient in some situations. But it isn't the default way inferred by the rules, nor strongly supported mechanically in any edition.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    My whole problem with the "fog of war" analogies is that's not how it measures up in play. Invariably you finally catch a detail no one thought to ask about but would be clear as day if you were in the situation (sometimes revealing why your tactics for the last three rounds were fundamentally flawed).

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post

    So TotM is sure a valid and easy way to play, requires less space and more convenient in some situations. But it isn't the default way inferred by the rules, nor strongly supported mechanically in any edition.
    Wrong, and you can keep trying to beat this point to a pulp, but your statement is not correct. Try the DMG Pg 250, "Using Miniatures". It is very clear that the grid is not the default way to conduct combat. The grid is to be used as a tool in complex combat situations. If you choose to use the grid in every combat situation you face, fine, and it appears that many do, but trying to tell me that the grid is the standard way to run combat and that TotM is not strongly supported mechanically is nonsensical. Look at how cover is handled in the PH 196: it doesn't reference a grid at all, only that a target can benefit from cover when an attack originates from the opposite side - TotM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by mcsillas View Post
    I only play theater of the mind. Role playing games were originally designed to be played in this manner. You can see that in 1st and 2nd edition, as well as a large majority of the other original RPGs were played this way. It wasn't until D&D 3.0, for the most part, that you started to see the grid.
    I have been playing since Original AD&D and grids, hexes, and miniatures have always been a part of the game. Remember that the original system grew out of the Chainmail miniature war game rules. So even the earliest version was aimed at movement and tactics, not just what the dm saw in their mind.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Theatre of the Mind: yay or nay?

    Quote Originally Posted by napoleon_in_rag View Post
    I have been playing since Original AD&D and grids, hexes, and miniatures have always been a part of the game. Remember that the original system grew out of the Chainmail miniature war game rules. So even the earliest version was aimed at movement and tactics, not just what the dm saw in their mind.
    Yes, that has been pointed out and I edited my comment to that effect. However, this doesn't have any bearing on the fact that 5th has reverted back to a 2nd edition style of play that does not require the use of a grid for effective combat.

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