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Sunday, 7th October, 2012, 09:18 PM #1
Novice (Lvl 1)
Monster Card & Prepartion Discussion.
Anyone know of a good, free or otherwise set of Monster Cards? Essentially little cards with creature information you'd need if you were just plucking something random to fight, instead of flipping to a random page in the book. I feel it'd help me organize saying 'Okay, this card, this card and this card could appear in this area.' I know the hardest and best part for a good DM is to be flexible and I'm trying my best to prepare for just that.
For the DMs: Any suggestions as to how you prepare for randomness? I know you can't account for anything, and yes I know to learn the rules. What helps keep you organized so you're not scrambling? (This question is not for you guys who know every book in and out and can simply pull from your head. :P )
Addendum: As for actually playing the scenario's, do you guys have one of the dry-erase mats? Use graph paper? Something else? Do you pre-draw (As in literal the 1in square map), or draw on the fly?
At this moment I'm leaning towards one of the dry erase maps and just doing it sort of discovery style, draw as the characters reveal it.
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Sunday, 7th October, 2012, 10:21 PM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Monday, 8th October, 2012, 11:15 PM #3
Defender (Lvl 8)
I honestly can't say I've seen such a product. (I've seen blanks for items.)
And, as to mapping, while I've explored various options, I still tend to use graph paper and map as the characters go - as it tends to be much quicker than trying to explain things well enough for the players to map. Though, I have seen and read enough that I may try out doing all the mapping with a graphics tool like GIMP and using my laptop and an external monitor...
Oh, and for actual combats, I break out the battle mat and the minis (a combination of Lego and a variety of mini types) and drawn everything out with a dry/wet erase marker (can't recall which right now) so the players can figure out what's going on.
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 04:50 AM #4
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
My group loves to use the dry erase mats and the pawns that Paizo produces (mostly the beginner box, but our collection is expanding.) We usually draw actual maps, but recently the other GM has taken to drawing on the fly as needed. For this campaign it appears to work. But our group is heavy on mechanics and optimizers.
As for randomness, both myself and the other GM for the group make tables in advance of the session as part of prep. I use ultimate equipment to roll treasure, he has an NPC that pulls a random wand and casts it on you if you ask him to.. and he rolls for the those casts each time.
I really enjoy drawing the map as the PCs discover it.. however it can be slow.. particularly if you allow them to move freely and out of turn if they are out of combat. We went to "move freely with no map till combat comes" then everything is turns and initiative. Works great.
Tuesday, 9th October, 2012, 03:43 PM #5
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
I haven't seen a monster card product like that for Pathfinder, no. I've considered doing something like that myself, but always hit a bump in deciding how much information from the stat block to include.
As far as mapping, I swear by Gaming Paper. It's basically wrapping paper with a 1" grid or hexes on it. You can unroll it as you go and don't need to worry about erasing afterwards.
Unlike erasable solutions, it lets you predraw things. A few quick outdoors maps can make random encounters go quickly and it's amazing if you're using a pre-made dungeon.
As far as pulling out random things to fight, I usually package them together first. So, instead of individual cards, I'll pick out a couple appropriate encounters and set them out first. Build up a couple "random" encounters beforehand and bring them in when the players wander off track.
For example, my group is in a forested area with a lot of goblins right now, so I have a basic goblin warparty, a neat giant spider encounter, and a boar attack in case they end up wandering in the woods.
So my suggestion on that is making your "encounter cards" with quick enemy stats (AC, HP, Saves, CMD, Attacks) rather than cards for individual monsters.