Gridless combats - How do you do it?
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    Gridless combats - How do you do it?

    Thinking about reverting to gridless combats in my new campaign. The goal here is not debating "To Grid or not to Grid", let's say I have my reasons, the main one being that there's no way my players can stay in-character when they are plotting their next move over squares and minis. I want them to start using their imagination again and force out the math, range calculation, area-of-effect optimization and such.

    So I'm calling you Gridless DMs : How do you do it efficiently? I remember the good ol' AD&D days when player A would picture a completely different battlefield than player B or the DM. Been thinking about keeping a map for myself and summarizing the whereabouts to the players only when the situation warrants it.

    Anyone wanna share their tips and tricks?

    -Marcon

  2. #2
    If you don't care about the grid and aren't going to show it to the players, get a metal clipboard (one that magnets will work on) and get some small magnets. Then draw your maps on paper, and attach the appropriate map to the clipboard, and use the magnets as references for the group and opponents. Easy to use, easy to swap out, easy to reference (and if you have to turn it over so players don't see, the pieces don't shift) - and best of all it doesn't take up too much space at the table.

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    I ran a campaign where we just used a whiteboard with no grid and I did all of the drawing. It was just to give general perceptions and the players were never subject to added dangers from not being precise. If you use a magnetc one, you can use cheap kitchen magnets with it.

  4. #4
    I've never played D&D on a grid, except for once with a group of munchkins who insisted.

    The best advice I can give is eyeball it, describe, fiddle if you need to, make maps for yourself but don't use a grid. Heck, make maps for the players but don't use a grid, just have arrows listing feet if need be. People should say 'I hide next to the door and wait for him to pass and then attack' if you want them to stay in character, and honestly isn't that good enough?

    Soon as the unaware guard passes by, the Rogue gets an aoo, and sneak attack damage.

  5. #5
    eyeball and tape measure (one of the small tailor type ones).

    We used gridless for years. We switched to grid (IMO) because we had a couple of rule lawyers join one of the games (played at the same place, multiple games) and no one had the stones to give them a boot...

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    The trick if you're playing with folks who are accustom to RPing with a grid is to get them out the mindframe that exact measurements matter. Because when you're not using the grid, they don't. That said, it's a hard concept for folks who have never (or not often) gamed without a grid, ruler, or other tabletop measuring device to grasp. As the GM, you should gloss over measurement dependent rules in favor of Awesome. This will help a lot. Basically, the rule is this:

    "If it's Awesome and the rules sans measurement issues allow it, it happens."

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by prospero63
    eyeball and tape measure (one of the small tailor type ones).

    We used gridless for years. We switched to grid (IMO) because we had a couple of rule lawyers join one of the games (played at the same place, multiple games) and no one had the stones to give them a boot...
    Oh, and it took a feat for players to be able to use a tape measure. Many a good plan was driven asunder by the mage that ran out of range on their spell...

  8. #8
    While I generally like to have some kind of map (even just one sketched on paper or on a dry-erase board), I've been playing online in a chat game for about two years now, and one of the tricks I can tell you is to clarify for players at the start of each of their turns what the battlefield looks like.

    "Okay, McStabby, you're up. Sir Swordsalot is in melee with four orcs about twenty feet away, and there's an orc riding a wolf who charged Father O'Healy last turn you can reach if you charge. Casty the Sorceress is took two orcs down with her magic missile last turn, and someone has been firing arrows from the foliage forty feet to your right for the last few turns. What are you going to do?"

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    Three things to remember: communication, communication, communication.

    Small maps are still important, it's easier to draw a map than explain where all the doors are in a wierdly-shaped room. With the small map and no minis, everyone can still eyeball ranges, movement and areas pretty well. Be sure to describe the furnishings as well as best you can and be sure everyone is paying attention.

    That just leaves monster placement, description and tactics. I like to keep things fairly loose. It's pretty easy to calculate movement, distances and area of effect. But the idea is to make sure everyone 'gets' what's going on. It requires alot more attention than minis play does but has other advantages. Be patient with people who get confused and, if someone asks for an update, give it to them. Or if you feel a 'state of the fight' address is needed, do it.

  10. #10
    Cover:

    or

    Flanking is an interesting issue, notably when larger creatures are involved. If the group want to keep that flanking vulnerability, here are some measurements...

    http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?...6&postcount=29

    Anyhoo, here is another example of ''grid flanking" represented without grid involving 25mm medium, 50mm large and 75mm huge minis.



    without a grid, here is how to give pushing the same amount of leway the grid gave it.

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