5E Digital Gaming Tables
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  1. #1

    Digital Gaming Tables

    Warning - This post is heavy on images...

    After a couple of years of gaming with my current group in 5th Edition, dealing with miniatures (whether it was having the right ones or having enough of the right ones available) and sketching out horrible hand drawn maps on a grid board became a real hassle. We really wanted to take the game to the next level. For a while, we tried to use those printed D&D tile sets, but they were such a pain to deal with, and it didn't help with the miniatures situation.

    So, we decided to go fully digital:

    One of the guys in my group built a large table. At the center of the table is a 40" TV, which is supported on the inside by braces. There is a hollow space underneath the table (the table has hinges, and the entire top will open) that houses large fans that keep everything cool and space for a laptop or small computer. The table itself, as large as it is, has thick legs that can be folded (they lock in place when the table is in use, so it won't collapse), and the table can be stored along the wall in an upright position.

    As time went on, we added a large whiteboard to the table so that players didn't have to use scrap paper to track hit points or spell slots used. In addition, this helps me out as the DM because the players can write important information in front of them that I can access at any time (their armor class, their Passive Perception score, which order in initiative they have, etc). On my end, I also use the white board to track monster hit points behind the DM screen.

    I love to build maps. I tend to make maps I think I might need for a session in advance. I even make maps just for fun, so I have a ton of maps just sitting around in case the group decides to explore something I hadn't considered (my campaign is sandbox, so it helps to always be prepared). Even if they do something I haven't prepared for, I have tons of digital tiles that allow me to throw things together in less than a minute if I need a quick and dirty dungeon. I use MapTools, available for free, as the engine to run these maps.

    Here recently, I have taken to building my maps using the Neverwinter Nights toolset. I found that not only could I build a ton of maps really quickly, I could utilize the lighting and shadows in the engine to create a near 3D effect. My players have really grown to appreciate this and how it looks in play.

    And finally, I never want for miniatures now. Thanks to being able to make them digital, I have as many as I'll ever need, in whatever size I need and whatever quantity I choose to use on a single map. An army of creatures is always available.

    I'm posting all this for two reasons. 1) It's really cool. 2) I want to know if any other groups have done anything similar and would like to share about their digital tables. Or if they plan to do something similar in the future. I'm always looking for new ideas and I'm always interested to hear stories about how technology has been implemented into D&D games.

  2. #2
    Superhero (Lvl 15)

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  4. #4
    I have setup a new gaming table using Fantasy Grounds and a touch screen display on a Geekchic table. I am curious on how you move the neverwinter maps into maptool or if you run the game in Neverwinter?

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  5. #5
    I move the maps into MapTools by building the map in the Neverwinter Nights toolset, taking screenshots of it from above. If the map is extra large, I will take multiple screenshots and put them together in Photoshop. Essentially, it's just a picture.

    They start off looking like this:

    Then, if you manipulate the lighting, turn on the shadows and toss it in Photoshop (or any image program that lets you manipulate the image) and adjust the saturation, hue, brightness, contrast and sharpness, you end up with something like this:

    Maptools takes care of the grid. Fairly easy to do, and you can create a ton of maps for any occasion.

  6. #6
    Cool setup you got there.

    Maybe the NWN toolset has an ortographic camera, or some mod for it exists?

    Here is my F2F VTT experience, I had no screen-table like you, we just used a regular TV.


  7. #7
    Hydra (Lvl 25)

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  8. #8
    That is fantastic.

    And I love the idea of using a mod toolset from a game (NWN in this case) to create a map for digital play. Mind blown.

  9. #9
    This is legit, but the real question is are you willing to share these delicious maps you've created cause I want them.

  10. #10
    I can certainly share them. Many of them are specific to my campaign, and represent single battles instead of explorable areas. If you are okay with that, I can drop some of them in this thread.

    I might even take some requests if someone needs something in particular.

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