AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Kids on Bikes, Part II

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

I’ve made it through all of the main classes, so this week I thought I’d take a break from talking about subclasses and instead talk about battle maps.

I mostly play online over Roll20, but I’ve found that I really enjoy drawing out dungeon maps in the grid space that the site provides, especially because I can do it as far as ahead of time as I want.  For my birthday, my wife got me an Evergame game matgamematIt’s a double-sided, dry-erase mat, with a square grid on one side and a hex grid on the other.  I’ve only actually used it one time, for a one-on-one session with CleverGuy Jr, but it was nice to have the visual representation of the cave system he was in, even if it did slow the game down a bit while I drew out the map by hand.  Also, not having unlimited space to draw, I obviously couldn’t draw out the entire map, only the bit of it that was relevant to the encounter.

Another option for maps is to have the players draw their own map, based on the DM’s description.  It’s something I think I’d like to try one day, in the right circumstances.  For instance, our group recently had an adventure in a hedge maze, and Hayes made a really awesome map for it in Roll20. But even with the “fog of war” feature enabled so that Hayes could reveal only pieces of the map to us at a time, it was still sort of easy to figure out which paths might lead to dead ends, based on the overall dimensions of the page.  That’s the kind of situation where I think it’d be neat to let the players fill in the map themselves, to sort of simulate the possibility of getting lost.  The DM would have to resist the urge to correct what the players draw though.

So, do you use battle mats, and if so, how often?  Is a simple line drawing on a grid in the moment enough, or do you want to have a premade 3D map set up, with terrain pieces from Dwarven Forge or a similar source? Do you prefer the square gird, or the hexes?  Or do you find maps totally unnecessary and just run everything in the “theater of the mind”?

We’re taking a break from D&D to try a new game, Kids on BikesThe Wasp is acting as the GM, while the rest of us take on the roll of everyday teenagers living in Springfield, OR in the early 1990s:

Alice and Foot-Foot

We got to the Diner and ordered some food, then we started talking about what that thing in the Mystery Spot was.  It was about the same size as me, but a lot more furry.  Someone thought it might a gorilla escaped from a zoo or something.  But there aren’t any zoos near Springfield. Plus that wouldn’t explain why the logging chief was being so secretive.  bigfootbabyIt could only be one thing–a baby Bigfoot.

We needed to go back and set it free, but also make sure to take some good photos and send them off to the Weekly World News or National Enquirer.  We could be famous–the first people to have real proof of Bigfoot.  First we needed to get some supplies.  We all split up and agreed to meet up at the 7-11.  I grabbed all the weapons I could find, just in case the Baby Bigfoot attacked us–baseball bats, hockey sticks, old pads for protection.  By the time I arrived at the 7-11, the others had all ridden there bikes over.  Dino and Tiffany both had cameras, and Monica had brought a package of frozen hotdogs to try and lure the Bigfoot out.  She had them in her socks though–to thaw she said.

Everyone climbed back into my car, and I drove us back to the Mystery Spot.  When we got there, we saw this lady trying to get inside. The door was locked again.  Anyway, this lady, Alice, told us she’d just escaped from some kind of forestry science lab, where she’d been a prisoner for like 10 years because she can talk to animals.  Including Bigfoots.  She wanted us to help break out the baby that the loggers or scientists or whatever had captured and return him to his family in the woods.  That’s what I wanted to do anyway, so I busted open the door.

Inside, we found all kinds of high-tech equipment, and Baby Bigfoot tied to a chair.  He seemed afraid at first, but Alice was able to talk to him and calm him down.  She called him Foot-Foot.  Dino and Monica decided that they should smash some of the computers and stuff, too.  I’m not really sure why, but whatever, it’s not my stuff.  But after that, we all thought it was time to get out of there.  Only problem was, there was no way we could all fit in my car, especially with a Bigfoot.  And then, what if someone saw the Bigfoot through the window?  Mindy said her folks had a shed out back that they didn’t use very much, and we could probably stash Foot-Foot there for the time being.  I thought we could use my football pads to disguise him, too.  I’m not sure how good it looked, but hey, we didn’t get caught.

Mindy, Alice, and me drove Foot-Foot to Mindy’s house.  She went inside to distract her folks while I snuck Foot-Foot around back to the shed.  I sorta knocked over a trash can, but luckily no one came outside to look.  Mindy must have been pretty convincing with whatever she said to her folks.  We managed to get Foot-Foot set up in the shed without too much trouble.  It actually looked pretty comfy in there, like maybe her folks spent more time in that shed than Mindy thought.  She seemed really freaked out by that for some reason.

Anyway, with Foot-Foot safe for now, we met up with everyone else at Mancini’s Pizza, to talk to Alice and find out what exactly was going on.  Alice told us that the loggers and Bigfoots had been battling for years, probably because the loggers were cutting down the Bigfoots’ homes.  She had been kept captive to talk to the Bigfoots ever since he parents, who were scientists of some kind, discovered her ability.  But all she really wanted was to get Foot-Foot back to his family.  I think we all wanted to help, but we had to figure out a way to get him past the logging camp…