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3D Virtual Tabletop

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So here’s the thing for me — SWRPG is a narrative game. The moment you bring out 3D graphics, it starts looking very MMO-like.

 

Brad I completely understand where you are coming from, but please consider what this is being used for. Take a look at the screenshot above (I will be using it without the grid). It's a very simple program. The ONLY thing it does is allow you to import a background map and move imported tokens around on it. That's it. Think of it as much better looking version of a piece of paper with coins on it to show where everything is. Or, exactly what we get with the Beginner boxes but in digital form allowing us to create endless tokens and maps.

 

I agree we should never be using large tactical maps with grids to count out exact locations like d20. That is not what this would be used for at all. It's simply a helper to the GM and Players to more quickly figure out and recall where everything is when coming up with their narrative descriptions and actions.

 

GM: You enter the dimly lit cantina after passing through the kitchen via a back door. Customers and a bartender surrounding an oval center bar glance up at you briefly, perplexed at your appearance from the kitchen, but their attention quickly returns to their drinks. A few tables are in nooks in the walls across the bar from the kitchen. You see the main exit to the right of the center bar, sunlight brightly lighting the steps up to the front street. Muffled voices from behind suggests your pursuers have followed you in through the kitchen.

 

Descriptive enough I think? But this is what commonly happens in my experience:

 

Player1: I go take a seat at the bar.  GM: Which side? Player: Kitchen side, but I swivel around facing the kitchen.

 

Player2: I quickly jump into one of the nooks and prepare to ambush them with my vibroaxe as they come out of the kitchen door. GM: The nooks, as I described, are across the room floor from the kitchen. Player2: Oh, I just stand by the kitchen door then.

 

Player3: I jump over the bar into the center and wink at the bartender while using the bar as cover towards the kitchen door. GM: I meant it is just an oval bar, no center area. The bartender is only in a small nook cut into one side. It doesn't have a big center area for the bartender. Player3: Ok I run around to the other side of the bar from the kitchen so I have cover. GM: Ok.

 

GM: The mob of rabid zombie Ewoks bust out of the kitchen door (noting Initiative). One immediately leaps at Player2 sitting on the barstool across from the kitchen. Player2: Wait, I was by the door ready to ambush! Player1: That was me on the barstool......

 

Or, while using the same verbal description, I also slap down a pre-printed map of the bar down on the table, or use pencil & paper to quickly note the layout as I describe it, or touch my ipad to show the map on the TV nearby, etc.  It's not replacing the narrative description of what everyone is doing, just assisting with spatial layout of what you described. Not every player is going to have a great memory of what you described. Not every GM is going to be good with concise descriptions.

 

I plan on displaying any images using this app on a large TV nearby, NOT in the center of my table. The center of attention will still be at the table with my players facing each other and me. On the TV on the wall nearby will just be a graphical reference someone can glance at when they are not sure where something was supposed to be.

Edited by Sturn

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One of the cool things to using pre-made maps is that the have visual elements to add to the narrative that might not be evident. 

 

Player: "Is that tractor beam emitter real?"

GM: "Sure"

Player: "I go into the control room, guns drawn, and lock down <escaping badguy's> ship, then jam the controls.<rolls dice>"

GM: "To the horror of the spaceport workers you succeed in overpowering the tractor beam and break off the control bar.  Alarms go off, but that ship is going nowhere.  Wheel security is en route."

 

We used a Star Wars minis map I had in my collection that had this element called out and it worked out better than any plan I could have made. I like to let visuals accent and inform the narrative, not replace it.  

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I like to let visuals accent and inform the narrative, not replace it.

IMO, that’s the essential key.

So long as you’re doing that, I don’t think it matters so much what the exact form is or what it looks like.

I’m just in a line of work where people tend to focus on tools first, when in fact they need to focus on people and procedures first and then choose the right tools that best fit with those people and procedures.

So, I guess I’m a little sensitive when I see something that looks like it might be the same kind of inappropriate tools-first approach.

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I’m just in a line of work where people tend to focus on tools first, when in fact they need to focus on people and procedures first and then choose the right tools that best fit with those people and procedures.

So, I guess I’m a little sensitive when I see something that looks like it might be the same kind of inappropriate tools-first approach.

 

 

I won't get started on the epic-tier BS I have to deal with at work, but I do agree with where you're coming from.  Tools do not make the story, and tool paralysis is a real thing.  Every group will have a different balance, even playing the same game with the same people.  

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For me, the distinction is the grid.  I use printed (or, soon, projected) non-grid maps and tokens (ala beginner box) all the time, but just as a quick visual reference, not as a tactical "I can move X number of squares" kind of thing.  I have nothing against a gridded-map combat system (like Pathfinder), but to me they play more like board-games.  (Which is fine.  I love board-games.  It's just not the experience I'm looking for in an RPG)

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Some sessions we'll use 2-3 maps, some sessions not a one.  I refuse to limit the fun of the group so I utilize all the tools available to me, including minis, printouts, props, music, voice acting, themed foods, yadda yadda.  

 

I gotta ask... what are "themed foods"?  Lightsaber yogurt pops?  Princess Leia cinnamon rolls?  What?  :)

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Some sessions we'll use 2-3 maps, some sessions not a one.  I refuse to limit the fun of the group so I utilize all the tools available to me, including minis, printouts, props, music, voice acting, themed foods, yadda yadda.  

 

I gotta ask... what are "themed foods"?  Lightsaber yogurt pops?  Princess Leia cinnamon rolls?  What?   :)

 

 

Actually, having a 4 year old Star Wars fan daughter I've been amazed at how many Star Wars themed foods (especially if you include candy) she can find. Disney has continued to keep the Star Wars label on nearly anything you can imagine.

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Some sessions we'll use 2-3 maps, some sessions not a one.  I refuse to limit the fun of the group so I utilize all the tools available to me, including minis, printouts, props, music, voice acting, themed foods, yadda yadda.  

 

I gotta ask... what are "themed foods"?  Lightsaber yogurt pops?  Princess Leia cinnamon rolls?  What?   :)

 

Blue milk!

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I gotta ask... what are "themed foods"?  Lightsaber yogurt pops?  Princess Leia cinnamon rolls?  What?   :)

 

I am so happy you asked!  Thus far it's only been little things like gummy treats my wife found, or Han-in-Carbonite chocolates the wife and I made.  I was secretly making a list from everyone else's good ideas.  I don't have any of the cookbooks....

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I started using 3DVT a few sessions back and it works great for my group. Everyone likes the visuals and getting a better idea of the area has also been helpful. It has been particularly helpful because we often play in a living room, sitting on couches/chairs/loveseats and the group ends up a little bit more spread apart and also distant from the tabletop. My tablet has an HDMI port so I plug it into a TV and pull up the map for everyone to see.

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I gotta ask... what are "themed foods"?  Lightsaber yogurt pops?  Princess Leia cinnamon rolls?  What?   :)

 

I am so happy you asked!  Thus far it's only been little things like gummy treats my wife found, or Han-in-Carbonite chocolates the wife and I made.  I was secretly making a list from everyone else's good ideas.  I don't have any of the cookbooks....

 

 

We picked up a Star Wars cookbook and it has some really good recipes including Wookie Cookies, Bossk Brownies, Yoda Soda and Oola-la French Toast. I think Tusken Raider Taters too. I will say the Wookie Cookies are amazing, as are the Bossk Brownies.

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Please pardon the formating, this was from Wookiepedia.

 

Beverages
•Hoth Chocolate
•Jawa Jive Milkshakes
•Skywalker Smoothies
•Yoda Soda
BreakfastsEdit•C-3PO Pancakes
•Mos Eisley Morsels
•Oola-la French Toast

Cantina Chili
•Galaxy Grilled Cheese
•Greedo's Burritos
•Han-burgers
•Obi-Wan Kebabs
•TIE Fighter Ties

Cantina Chili•Galaxy Grilled Cheese
•Greedo's Burritos
•Han-burgers
•Obi-Wan Kebabs
•TIE Fighter Ties
Snacks and SidesEdit•Dark Side Salsa
•Ewok Eats
•The Force Fruit Fun
•Jabba Jiggle
•Jedi Juice Pops
•Tusken Raider Taters
•Death Star popcorn balls
•Leia's buns

Edited by Lukey84

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