Friday, 23 August 2013

Don't have enough fimir you say? It's cool, man.


Some responses to that post really deserve follow up, like the fact that miniatures in D&D always establish some additional minigame, which is true.

But the most common G+ response to my question about using miniatures is that it's too hard to use them consistently; like how do the players fight the vampires if all you have painted are ice-toads and astronauts? Bringing to hand the variety and volume of lead or plastic one might need for the average game is impossible. That response was followed closely by, “Why not just imagine it?”

So, yes and yes.

But there's also this - the inevitable scarcity of available miniatures is a usable piece of metagame player knowledge, and one that can maybe help tackle what is IMHO the bigger, more pervasive challenge with fantasy games: maintaining a sense of the fantastical, that is, keeping between the ditches of the mundane and the kaleidoscopic.


Some old Citadel Chaos Thugs: basically all I need to say about your "home village", okay?


A limited palette is the quickest way to establish whatever your normal is. And it's only when you've got a normal that shit can get weird.

When players see the same old chaos warriors sitting in front of your mug of gin it tells them something about the world: whatever those things stand in for is on the map, even if you trot out these same dudes every time the players try to rob and kill some innocent. To this, adding just the occasional new element can actually evoke a sense of fearful wonder even in the most jaded of murderhobos, and make them really unsure in game terms of what they're up against. Changing the set dressing is efficient and you don't need to say anything.

Pulling it off requires a bit of thought maybe but it doesn't require you to have, for example, your own collection of John Blanche miniatures. A couple pieces is just fine. And abstracted representations can provide just as much consistency and immersive detail (if that's your thing) as miles of Hirst Arts corridors. 

After having grown inured to the terrors of the drug-crazed goblins in Kaligvar's abandoned mine (like the same five goblins in mini-terms) the adventurers were actually aghast when they stumbled into the lair of Skachira the ruby spider. (I'd kept the mini hidden under the olive bowl.) 

More actual miniatures next time. 

Thanks for reading! 

PS. This post should not suggest that I don't want your fimir. Please go ahead and send them to me.