Pathfinder on the Tabletop

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Allyx, Oct 1, 2017.

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  1. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    For about the last 8 months or so, me and the family have been playing through the opening adventure path for Pathfinder, Rise of the Runelords, and have been having a blast with it.

    We had been playing the old fashioned way, with inch squared paper maps and figures which was working great through the first 2 chapters, we hit something of a snag when it came to Retaking Rannick - a full on assault by the PC's on a Fort occupied by Ogres. I drew the map on paper in pencil in 1 inch squares and it was truly massive. Barely a quarter of the map would occupy our entire table which would not do at all, neither would setting it up on the floor as we have pets and arthritic knees to consider these days.

    Spurred into the idea of an alternative method of portraying the map I mounted my projector above our table and ran the cables around the ceiling and down the wall to an eager laptop.

    Next came the mission of finding a way to get the map displayed in a way that I could limit what the players could see, which led me to Maptool from RPTools. A few hours of tutorials and playing around with it and my maps were ready.

    We had some teething trouble with the tech to start with, accompanied by a less than perfect battle strategy by the PC's but finally got to the combat which ran a lot smoother from that point onwards.

    Overall I'm rather impressed with what I managed to cobble together in about 2-3 days, and especially impressed with Maptool itself. Just thought I'd share the experience.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018 at 1:55 AM
  2. Daryk

    Daryk Established Member

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    Nice! I've seen that setup a few times on the internet, but never tried it myself.
     
  3. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    Some nice looking minnies. :)
     
  4. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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  5. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Ok, time for a little update on how our game is going.

    After being initially impressed by Maptool, I figured I'd try out Fantasy Grounds... reason being, even though Maptool is funtionally pretty good, the UI is an ugly brute, so my thinking was if I splash a little cash, perhaps I can get a Virtual Table Top program that does what I want it to, and looks good too.

    The ability to purchase preconfigured adventure paths from Fantasy Grounds and/or get discounts on preconfigured adventures already purchased from Paizo was a nice touch, and for an added bonus, Fantasy Grounds is the only VTT (other than Maptool) that I found that doesn't require a monthly subscription fee. A one off payment for a players licence isn't too steep, and there is the option of upgrading to the DM's package which allows you to connect remotely to any Fantasy Grounds player even if they only have a free account.

    Fantasy Grounds currently doesn't support a fog of war effect that uncovers the map as the players progress around the map, instead the map is uncovered manually by the DM, there are plans to include fig of war in the future, once Fantasy Grounds gets ported to the Unity engine. Maptool however does have this feature, and I can move the PC and NPC tokens around and show what is visible to players from wherever they stand.

    This past month or so however Fantasy Grounds has been giving me some issues, whereas before it was working just fine, recently it has become laggy when connecting the DM's server instance of Fantasy Grounds to the Players instance of the program as a LAN game (my DM's screen is effectively the back of the laptop screen with a DM screen around it to help shield dice rolls from players) and the players use the projected map images on the table for the figures and monsters etc... I think perhaps it has something to do with some huge custom maps I've added recently.

    I added the maps of Turtleback Ferry and Sandpoint blown up to the point that players can use these town maps as battle maps of extremely low resolution (which looks ugly, but the functionality of being able to scroll in/out with the wheel mouse on battles straddling multiple locations a large distance apart is awesome).

    We have perhaps one more session before taking on the Stones over Sandpoint part of Chapter 4, Stone Giants attacking the small town where the adventure began, I've been looking forward to this bit for months, but since FG is unreliable currently, I'm reverting back to using Maptools which seems to run these huge maps just fine.
     
  6. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    I've been playing in a campaign on Fantasy Grounds for a few years now and when I see a lag issue it usually has to do with the size of the maps being used.

    Fantasy Grounds just recently did a major update, next time you log in via the client check the box in the lower left corner marked "updates" and see if it's red. Red means an update is ready for you.
     
  7. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    It probably is to do with the size of some of the maps I've added, which is both avoidable and reversible, but not in line with how I want to run these large scale battles.

    I did click the update button after the last patch, thanks for the suggestion though. I think I read also that sharing many resources with the players uses a lot of memory, which is probably another contributing factor.

    Incidentally, our game has been running for 1 year exactly, and we're only half way through this first adventure path. I don't think I've had a group of players advance higher than 13th level so far and I have never had a PC die in any of my games... these are statistics that are going to change. Mwahahaha.
     
  8. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    I've used Maptool many years ago and also found its UI clunky, but this was for online play.

    More recently, our online group has used Roll20 which allows for Colossal++ maps with dynamic or manual GM lighting depending on purchase price. The more stuff on the map, the more RAM the machine needs to load and display it well.
     
  9. Dhoom

    Dhoom BIG Troll Berserker

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    Hey, Allyx! Long time, brother. :)

    We started that AP (Runelords) last year, when I finally talked the GF and her kids (and two of mine) into letting me DM a TT RPG for everyone. Thanks, "Stranger Things"! :D We've got 6 players and they are just about finished with Chapter 3 (Hook Mountain Horror), but we're going to take a slight break from the AP and run some custom stuff as a 3.5 chapter before tackling Chapter 4. The players "bought" Choppers Isle, and want to explore/play building a base of operations out, and do some backstory stuff.

    I started out w/ mini's and hand drawn maps on 1" grid paper, then went to wet/dry erase Chessex mats, and then I started printing out maps people use for digital tabletops (Roll20, etc) and using an app called PostRazr to chop them down to printer paper size and taping them together. Looked great, time consuming (and ink consuming).

    After a couple of months of that, I just decided to bite the bullet and go Roll20 completely, and haven't looked back.

    I originally looked into projecting Roll20 maps onto a surface to use w/ Minis, as well as building a "table" with a 42" TV to use for Roll20 Maps and Minis. Eventually, I just decided to go full Roll20 (I have dozens of laptops at my house in various stages of [dis]repair... don't ask).

    I have two laptops that I use, my "DM" Laptop, and the "DM Eyeball" laptop that's hooked up to a 60" TV in the living room, that I use to display the "main party view" with a small eyeball token I keep near the main group of players. Each player logs into their own laptop, and has their own view and control of their PC token (when it's their turn, and/or token movement isn't locked).

    For the players, it's like a video game, and has opened up a ton of new stuff that just doesn't/can't exist in normal tabletop gaming... "Accurate" line of sight, lighting and darkness, individual simultaneous map exploration, etc.

    It's great, but different. I still like mini play, and I've been buying Dwarven Forge landscape tiles for about a year now.... Will be switching back to Mini's, when I have a few more sets, and we're done w/ pre-made adventures. Shits expensive, y0. :D

    I suggest looking at Roll20.... but, even if you have no interest in Roll20, I have a TON of assets for running a RotRL campaign. Maps, handouts, etc. I can share my Google Drive folder, if you want.

    -Dhoom
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  10. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    I would LOVE Dwarven Forge, unfortunately it's prohibitively pricey for someone on my income, so for now I'm blowing what little spare cash I have buying up monster miniatures for my tabletop game.

    I was pricing up all the mini's I need for the last 3 books of RotRL on the Reaper website... £367 - and most of that was the cheaper Bones mini's. I opted to just grab under a 3rd of that to tide me over for now.

    I did buy the AP on Fantasy Grounds, so the whole thing is pre-configured, they will soon be releasing Fantasy Grounds Unity (hopefully) which does have the dynamic lighting and fog of war options, so I'll probably hold out for that release, but if it ends up being awful I'll look into Roll20.
     
  11. Dhoom

    Dhoom BIG Troll Berserker

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    Yeah... It's pretty pricey. I've got 7 kids, so my collecting is slow. :D

    I, too, bought quite few Bones mini's from Reaper. They're close to where I live, so shipping is cheap and fast.

    I haven't checked out Fantasy Grounds all that much, mostly because I own a boatload of PF stuff already, and didn't feel like buying it again in FG format.

    -D
     
  12. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    I believe FG will honor your proof of purchase, I know they do on DnD books.

    I've been playing on FG for years and it seems to work out fine, each update seems to make it a weeeee bit more user friendly.

    I particularly like the level up process of just dragging a class from the library and it fills in all the blanks. :)
     
  13. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Fantasy Grounds do offer reduced price products if you already bought the PDF files from the Paizo website and link your FG and Paizo accounts, they basically reimburse the cost of the PDF if you already own it. At least it works that way for the Adventure Path modules.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
  14. Dhoom

    Dhoom BIG Troll Berserker

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    Yeah, now I'm going to have to check it out.

    -D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2018
  15. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Just in case some of you are unaware, the Pathfinder 2 Playtest pdf files are available to download for free now from the Paizo website. Syrinscape are also giving away free sound sets to accompany the free 7 part playtest adventure.
     
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