Thursday, March 30, 2023

Getting Too Fancy

 There's been a lot of engaging conversation between some of my favorite osr YouTubers and Twitterers over the last few days. Especially after WotC released hey preview of their new virtual tabletop recently. And, I wanted to relate an experience I had this week that seems relevant.

(I am including some of the most poignant tweets and videos I've seen in the article.)

In my Silver Gull campaign, my players have recently been exploring a Fae manor-house infested with some of my custom monsters.

This was the same dungeon that last month I ran a live dungeon design experiment on.

I built the map for the dungeon in Dungeon Alchemist, a favorite toy of mine for fiddling with maps. Ultimately, I am just as happy drawing my maps on pencil and paper, but there is something very satisfying about how pretty a map looks made in Dungeon Alchemist and then run through a few Photoshop filters.

I decided while running this dungeon to give the players a multimedia experience. I used discord streaming function too show them the map I was looking at, and then moved it into a first person mode so that as they move through the dungeon, they could see what their characters would see passing through the doors, etc. Minus the monsters.

I am not immune to the desire to wow my players, and it's so happened that I had this map rendered in pretty 3D graphics.

While my players enjoyed the experience, I made sure it didn't dominate the game. I use no minis for monsters or anything like that. Leaving the game still 80% theater of the mind

I did get some appreciative comments. My players discussed how cool the tool was to watch in use.

Once they had fled the dungeon, however, they said that well it was fun, they didn't want me to feel obliged to do it all the time. They enjoyed playing things theater of the mind just fine. They didn't need the fancy presentations. Except "as an occasional treat."

And they noted that the presentation led to pauses in the flow.

Which was a good reminder to me, My players like their old-school TotM experience just fine. And even prefer to have the freedom to visualize the dungeon for themselves. Getting "too fancy" isn't giving them what they want.

And it bears saying, players who see the game as a joy and things like 3D maps as a treat make me a very lucky DM.

Keeping it Lo-fi remains for me amd mine the best way to play. It's the closest I can get to being around the table with players in California, Michigan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.More than any technology can.

With tips of the hat to Crossface, Low Matteus, Meliora, and TBE... Keep making my feed awesome!

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