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12/03/2017 3:21 pm  #1


2d or 3d Dungeons?

For years I've used ye olde Chessex battlemat and miniatures. It gets the job done but I want to upgrade my game. For a campaign with a focus on dungeon crawling, do you recommend 2d or 3d Dungeons? If so, which product do you recommend? 

I gamed with a group who used Dwarven Forge for years and while it looks great for photos I'm not sure it offers the best value (inflexible, hard to set up on the fly, everyone has to stand to see what's going on...), . I'd like to consider others options before plunking down $300-$500 for terrain that is surprisingly unwieldy. Also, their janky, ugly website irritates me more than it should.

Hirst Arts tiles can fit my needs better than DF but after I estimated the time involved it might me cost as much as Dwarven Forge. There's also a common issue with DIY dungeons in that the larger they get, the more stuff fails to line up correctly. Minor imperfections magnify until the entire thing looks crooked. Do a Google Image search or look at some blogs and you'll see what I mean. It might be better to plunk down the money for something that looks good right out of the box. 

2D dungeon tiles are inexpensive but come with their own issues. Better DMs than I swear by Pathfinder D&D Maps and Tiles. but they don't seem like much of an improvement over the Chessex mat. I admit I haven't gamed with them, maybe they look better at the table? 

There's another brand called Inked Adventures that has a dungeon style I like. I could print them on cardstock and mounting them on black foamcore easily enough. Unfortunately, they have same issue as other DYI dungeons- the larger they get, the more crooked and uneven they look. 

 

12/03/2017 10:50 pm  #2


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

I mostly use a combination of Paizo Flip Maps and Map Packs along with the WotC Dungeon Tiles.
It's pretty easy to get a collection of a wide variety of terrain types and locations, and it looks great on the table.
I add in some 3d elements like trees, rocks, tables, etc.


"But not all men seek rest and peace; some are born with the spirit of the storm in their blood" -REH
Rambling Conan Blog

 
 

12/04/2017 8:52 am  #3


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

There seems to be an inverse relationship with the cost of GM resources and there amount of use they see in a game.  I love DF but rarely get to use the product in a game situation. 

I use a product called noteboard (thenoteboard.com) for almost all of my con games and about half of my home games.  Sometimes I throw the minis on the table and estimate distance only using the props for reference.

The minis actually save time and eliminate confusion so I see a big benefit in using them.

For con games I typically have a drawn map for the final scene / battle. I use gaming paper for those!  If i use tiles its typically for one room not adjoining hallways and such.  

My life is very busy right now so most of my prep goes into other areas.

Morgan


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

12/04/2017 8:56 am  #4


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

Brock Savage wrote:

Better DMs than I swear by Pathfinder D&D Maps and Tiles. but they don't seem like much of an improvement over the Chessex mat. I admit I haven't gamed with them, maybe they look better at the table? 

There's another brand called Inked Adventures that has a dungeon style I like. I could print them on cardstock and mounting them on black foamcore easily enough. Unfortunately, they have same issue as other DYI dungeons- the larger they get, the more crooked and uneven they look. 

I have some pathfinder maps to add color in a pinch but they are often so specialized that they don't fit the situation. Inked adventure tiles!  I love the art on these. I often add them to drawn maps to spice them up, like trapdoors, and other prop type things.
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

12/04/2017 12:08 pm  #5


 

12/04/2017 12:58 pm  #6


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

I think if I was going to use 3d dungeon stuff Dragonlock would probably be it:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/166074/DRAGONLOCK-Ultimate-Dungeon-Starter-Set

Francisca noted that you could pre-assemble the rooms as needed and add them quickly as the dungeon was explored. You could build up a DF dungeon as you go but I think it would be much slower.

I have several boxed of DF stuff from I think their first KS that I haven't opened let alone used.

Dragonlock would require access to a 3d printer, but you can get the monoprice one for about $220. It's got tons of good reviews and I'm constantly yearning for one:

https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Select-Printer-Heated-Filament/dp/B01FL49VZE

They are coming out with a slightly less expensive one but I'm not sure the date on that.


What? Me worry?
 

12/04/2017 2:07 pm  #7


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

I always want to use miniatures (I have a ton of DF terrain and prepainted minis) but when push comes to shove I never do. They seem like they would be in the way and slow the game down too much.

What I actually use is a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of 1" grid paper, laminated. For combat situations I quickly drawn the walls, doors, PCs, monsters, furniture, etc. with a dry erase marker. It's easy to make new markings as characters and monsters move around, doors are opened, and so forth. The whole thing wipes clean in a second after each battle and is ready to go again.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

12/04/2017 10:19 pm  #8


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

Blackadder23 wrote:

What I actually use is a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of 1" grid paper, laminated. For combat situations I quickly drawn the walls, doors, PCs, monsters, furniture, etc. with a dry erase marker. It's easy to make new markings as characters and monsters move around, doors are opened, and so forth. The whole thing wipes clean in a second after each battle and is ready to go again.

This is a great idea.

I would recommend the home-spun route (much cheaper... I'd rather spend the $300-500 on comfortable chairs for my players). Print out rooms/corridors on ordinary paper or sticker sheets and adhere to foam board, then cut with a sharp craft knife.
 


"I, Satampra Zeiros of Uzuldaroum, shall write with my left hand, since I have no longer any other, the tale of everything that befell Tirouv Ompallios and myself in the shrine of the god Tsathoggua..."
 

12/05/2017 11:37 am  #9


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

Thanks for the advice, I'm now convinced that 2d + miniatures offers the most bang for the buck. I'd rather spend the prep and game time on things that offer more value to my players.

     Thread Starter
 

12/05/2017 10:10 pm  #10


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

I recently jumped in to Dwarven Forge. I absolutely adore them, but I have no plans to use them as my go-to mapping method, despite the big investment to get in DF. To me, they are for special occasions... major, final fights that wrap of story arcs, or just big and complex fights that have too many moving parts for theater of the mind. I use them to set up a single room (I would never build the whole dungeon) to give a clear picture of what is going on in the battle, and use miniatures and a tape measure to keep track of movement and ranges.

Most of the time, however, I just describe what is going on and we don't use miniatures. If questions do come up, I'll sketch a quick map with X's to represent enemy and player positions.

Last edited by Galadrin (Today 8:17 am)

 

12/10/2017 5:30 pm  #11


Re: 2d or 3d Dungeons?

We switched from battle mat and minis to "theater of the mind" some time ago and have been really much happier.

 

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