Ripper DMing: Temple of Elemental Evil VIII

We didn't get very far, but then again we haven't seen each other for almost a month, so the mouths were flapping! It was also that stupid daylights savings-time, so we had to quit early, however the main part of the game was to test out miniature play, so we did accomplish this goal.

We didn't get very far at all, only 2 rooms, and nobody moved more then a couple of yards. They had decided to set up a base camp within the dungeon itself, but before they could rest and reclaim spells, they first had to take over that section of the dungeon.

They had a skeletal gnoll which one of the clerics had stolen, they had him guard the main door; which kept all of the badies the heck away from that door, but it did stir up some curiosity on the part of the Ogre chief across the hall. He was too much of a coward to investigate it himself, or even send his own people over to see what was going on, so he sent a hobgoblin thief to sneak around back, and pop out of the secret door in the room the PCs were camped out in.

The hobgoblin wasn't a good thief, he got caught and got everybody in the secret chamber killed. Kim's character had heard the door opening, and Shannon ran both of his fighters over to defend the door. That poor thief didn't know what hit him! A huge battle ensued and we spent all of our gametime trying to figure out mini rules and deciding if we liked playing with them or not.

Here is the board that we used. I put a large piece of vinyl over the grid that I had made. Now it isn't perfect, but it worked better then if I had laminated the board. I marked out the rooms with colored dry erase markers, and instead of erasing and redrawing the rooms again, when the Players were ready to move. We just had to slide the vinyl over to the center of the map, or higher if we knew that we wanted to head in a specific direction.

Now, I don't have any monsters, but my wife picked me up a bunch of little cowboys and indians. They represent the monsters, but I'm going to have to glue pennies on the bottoms of all of them because they don't weigh enough, and the vinyl doesn't sit perfectly flat so they tend to fall over.

Prep took a lot longer, and we all were struggling with the rules; I myself have never played with miniatures. I also screwed up with my handout count, I forgot to print off a quick cheat list form myself and only had the bulky mini-handbook which I had posted to this blog to work off of. I assume that the more we use them, then the faster that we'll become at taking our turns.

Everybody was pleased with them! They had an easier time seeing what was around them, and for me, it just seemed more fair because I didn't have to pick who what getting attacked at random, which one has to do when playing with just one's imagination. It also aided in strategy.

While the game was very short, and we didn't get much done, I think that we all had a good time (which is most important to me), and everybody seems to be pleased with the new way of playing.


Norman J. Harman Jr. said...

"instead of erasing and redrawing the rooms again, when the Players were ready to move. We just had to slide the vinyl over to the center of the map, or higher if we knew that we wanted to head in a specific direction"

That is such a great idea. Man, why the hell hasn't everyone else (me) thought of that before.

DMWieg said...

I know you said you don't have any monsters, but what types of plastic mans do you use for your PCs?

Tala said...

Hey Ryan,

We don't use plastic pieces for PC's. Unfortunately, trying to photograph the little boogers is a trick and they didn't come out as clear as I'd hoped. The pieces in the pics are from my collection of good old fashioned hand painted lead figures. This pictures don't do them justice.

My folks had started playing D&D around 1980, and I started playing the year after that. The DM that we played with, used minis, and we got into the hobby of painting them ourselves. I have right around 300 minis that have all been painted by either myself or my folks. So some of these figures are around 30 years old. The ones in the pics are some of the oldest in the bunch and they've held up remarkably.

Here recently, I've started getting back into painting, and have a werewolf that turned out amazing, and a female lich that I have yet to start on.

Now for NPC's and monsters, because of cost obviously, we have had to resort to using those little plastic cowboys and indians that you see little kids play with. They're cheap (only a dollar or two for 25 of them) and if they get knocked around too much it's not a big deal. We had looked into a couple of other options, like Hero Clicks, but at the local comic book shop, they still run around a buck a piece. That would cost us a mint after a while. The only issue we've really run into when using them, is they're so light, that sometimes they tip over. Super Glue and some pennies will solve that problem. Otherwise it's a quick cheap fix that will work for now :)

Tala (Rip's wife)

Anonymous said...

Buying monster figures is kind of a losing proposition. You just never have enough of the right ones, unless you buy literally everything in multiples and paint them all up.

And then where do you store them?

I travel to my game, at a gaming shop, and bringing painted monster figures with me is an impossibility. So we just use plastic figures for the players, and dice for the monsters. I picked up a bunch of white d6s from the dollar store, you get 10 to a pack so it ends up being 10 cents each. This is close to what you'd pay if you bought good dice in bulk, which I've seen going for 13 cents each.

The benefit with the dice is that I can say a given monster is asleep if it has a "1" up, or entangled with a "6" on it. Keeping track is pretty easy then.

For battles with less than 7 monsters you can number the dice instead, to keep track of monster HP and status very easily.

For huge battles with lots of 1HD monsters, you can put the HP right on the die. Assuming, of course, that you use d6 HP dice.

RipperX said...

How can you tell which way the monsters are facing?

The cowboys and indians are working fine. I've glued pennies to the bottoms to make them more sturdy, they were so light that they kept falling over, but now they aren't drunk. They are slightly too big, but that is a trade-off that I'm willing to except.

joe said...

I'm currently running my players through ToEE. The players are almost done with the first dungeon level, and I could sense that they were getting weary of the crawl. To spice things up, I had the remaining earth temple devotees attack the party during the night. It was a big surprise and went over quite well. I added an NPC cleric who escaped, I expect that I'll make him a recurring villain!

Anonymous said...

What's that figure with the Cleopatra hairdo and the sling?

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