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SirDibblet

RPG Gaming with Minis

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As I have been painting mins, I have been more and more drawn to the idea of playing tabletop games with them.  I have never actually played a D&D or Pathfinder Campaign with minis and I was just wondering if anyone around here can give me some advice on how to do this.  Believe it or not, there are not many YouTube vids on the topic that are useful. 

 

The thing I am having the most issue with is the idea of using minis for every single encounter. Most of the games I have played and the few I have DM'd have been action oriented and I can't imagine having a mini for EVERY SINGLE encounter.  Especially if there are multiple monsters. So as I develop a new campaign I am thinking that I might have minis for some of the more challenging encounters and kind just leave the lesser ones to the players imagination.  I would still probably want to do as many as I could though but is seems somewhat silly to have to worry about setting up for a couple of level one skeletons. 

 

So what's your take? Do you find it better to use minis when gaming? If so, do you use them for every encounter?

 

On a side note can anyone direct me to a good set of minis to represent human thugs/ruffians/brigands

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Well, I can only speak for my own experiences dating back to the white box edition of D&D. I have always used miniatures for my RPG gaming although only for action encounters. We typically don't use them for encounters with NPCs that we are just have a dialogue with. Although that can change depending on where that conversation is taking place.

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I frequently use miniatures in my games but just for combat and other situation where we need to track people's locations. In terms of having the exact miniature for each monster in the encounter, I usually just use what I have that is close enough. So a miniature that is a giant has been used as a giant, ettin, and troll. As long as you and your players know what it represents, you should be fine. For encounters with many monsters of the same time like minions in D&D, I use glass flat bottomed marbles (forgot the name for them). They are great as you can use a wet or dry erase marker on them to keep track of what they are.

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Red Box Games recently made a great set of thug-ruffian-brigands.

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On a side note can anyone direct me to a good set of minis to represent human thugs/ruffians/brigands

 

Did you happen to get the Stoneskull expansion for Bones 3?  There were some pretty good ones in there.  As for how to use minis in a game, I think everyone does it a little differently.  I am still trying to build up my CR 0-5 miniatures so I can have enough to display a mini for each monster.  Some use paper minis, tokens, draw on an appropriate(hopefully) surface, etc.

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I frequently use miniatures in my games but just for combat and other situation where we need to track people's locations. In terms of having the exact miniature for each monster in the encounter, I usually just use what I have that is close enough. So a miniature that is a giant has been used as a giant, ettin, and troll. As long as you and your players know what it represents, you should be fine. For encounters with many monsters of the same time like minions in D&D, I use glass flat bottomed marbles (forgot the name for them). They are great as you can use a wet or dry erase marker on them to keep track of what they are.

You can get a fairly hefty bag of the flat-bottomed glass marbles at Michaels in assorted colors for a few dollars. They sell them as vase filler.

 

We've used them to indicate the corners of buildings and door placement on terrain maps.

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Wet-erase mats are going to be your friend for setting up quick terrain.  I personally like Chessex's line.

I do aim to try to have a fitting miniature for most encounters, and often will put in, if appropriate, an encounter with a newly acquired and painted piece. I do, however, have a rather insane collection at this point, as I always aimed to collect pieces I liked rather than just for a specific wargame (though I did plenty of those, it's mostly RPGs these days)

 

Almost all combats in my campaigns have miniatures set up.  We're currently playing 5E.  The only combats I do not are those involving multiple flyers, as it can get confusing...I am, however, building bases with a dry-erase section to determine height of flyers.

Edited by Lidless Eye
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I've used minis in RPG's since the olden days and have never had the exact minis for every encounter. Substitute mins have always been used. As previous folks have mentioned so long as it's made clear to the players what the minis are meant to represent I've never had a problem.

 

As to how to actually use them in a game, that's up to you and the players. We always used them to indicate marching order down corridors or riding order and camp setup when traveling outside and the distance being kept between characters should a trap be sprung or the party ambushed.

The games we played were never as mini centric as 4th ed D&D made them, but we used minis to indicate placement when a door was being opened, where the characters were going upon entering a room, what aspects of the room were each character exploring etc, and of course to indicate location for combat and spell effects.

 

A lot of mini use in our games was also just for the visual appeal, but it also helped with excitable players who wanted to be every where at once.

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...but it also helped with excitable players who wanted to be every where at once.

If you have one of these players in your group, using minis for encounters can be a godsend.

 

It can also lead to arguments, and those sorts of players storming off, which happened to me once. Not that I regret it at all, the group got better after that.

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I'm another one that uses minus regularly. I also subscribe to the close enough model. I starting to paint up enough generic models for most encounters as well as looking ahead for anything unusual. If it's not painted...on well, I'll use it anyways.

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I use minis for gaming, but only so far as to remember how many mooks are on a particular PC.  Marching order, relative distances, "10000 ft view" stuff, but never for the detailed application necessary during combat.

 

I also don't worry about whether I have a miniature for a particular critter or not.  Paper miniatures are a far better option in that regard, because they're easy to transport, and way easier to store.  Dice and other objects suffice most of the time, and I have wet-erase Chesses mats for when I need to draw out something.

 

Most times, if you provide them a picture (or a miniature), players will know what the monster is.  If you describe it, their imaginations will take over, and you'll have a group of mid-level PCs running from a ghoul.  Fun times for everyone!

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...but it also helped with excitable players who wanted to be every where at once.

If you have one of these players in your group, using minis for encounters can be a godsend.It can also lead to arguments, and those sorts of players storming off, which happened to me once. Not that I regret it at all, the group got better after that.
Yep. Over the years I've come across a player or two like that.

I'll admit that "excitable" was not the first word that came to mind to describe them, but it was the most diplomatic.

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Wow that was a lot of feedback very quickly.  I am glad to hear that so many of you just kinda wing it and use what is handy.  I have this terrible habit of trying to have "the best" or "the perfect" of something when I start a new venture.  To that end I often spend way more money than I should on things that probably won't be used for a while.    Ideally I think I will be utilizing a mixture of minis, tokens and other proxies while I start this new campaign.  I was checking out the cardboard pop outs that are available from Paizo and might invest in a set of those for a bit.  I would ideally like to have minis for everything but I paint at a glacially slow pace and frankly I am too neurotic to do quick paint jobs on anything except maybe skeletons or other one tone minis.  I definitely like the white board idea and the glass bead idea as well.  This is some good info!

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We tend to use minis which represent our characters, and a dry erase map or a preprinted version of similiar. And Legos or whatever terrain I happen to have handy that fits well enough. If we have monsters done, I'll use those. If not, and I have some of the card type from Pathfinder, I'll use those. Or worse case scenario, the monster is a squiggle on the map lol.

 

If you want to look up cheap and easy terrain, look up DM Scotty on youtube! It's a lot of fun, but it isn't something I'd wait til you had enough of to run an encounter, you'd likely never actually get to the encounters unless you have tons of time on your hands. Best just to build up slowly imo.

Anyway do whatever you like and works for you and your group :D Good luck!

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