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MNBlockHead
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Twin Cities Area, MN, USA
Posts: 1,321

Old December 23rd, 2018, 09:16 PM
Thanks for the link DLG. It was helpful. I'll let you all know what I go with.

As for immersion, that is not really what a digital map is for. Actually, I generally prefer highly stylized (like those by Jared Blando), even plain black and white (like those by Dyson Logos) than those that attempt to be "realistic."

The digital maps are mostly a time, space, and money saving tool. We do use a lot of theater of the mind, but we also enjoy highly tactical battles and will mix both styles of play in our sessions. The battlemap allows me to have a lot of maps at the ready. I can run a sandbox style campaign and not have to have a huge number of large scale maps printed out (as I did with Curse of Strahd) or worry about breaks in the action as I draw out the battlemap on my Chessex mat or setting up terrain.

Even when not running battles with miniatures, I still use RealmWorks to reveal areas explored--as long as one member of the party has cartographer tools and proficiency with those tools. My players don't enjoy old-school mapping and my graph paper goes unused. But it does make cartographer tools one of the more useful skills to have in my campaigns. :-)

Also, I occasionally play with sound in my games. I've evolved into simplicity here. I used to use Syrinscape but that became just another thankless DM task. Also, I find that putting in sound effects for magic, and background talking for street scenes and taverns, to take AWAY from immersion. But, playing thematic music in the background can set the mood. Being able to use the TV speakers will mean one less device in the game room (I currently use a bluetooth speaker connected to my iPhone).

For handouts, I still print out any letters or other written materials as that is the most convenient way for players to examine them. But for, say, a symbol they find on a wall, I'll just pull up an image on the display.

For other visual aids like location and NPC pics, I generally find that they take away from immersion. But often an image is helpful. Say you are planning to break into a building, it can be helpful to see an image of the building.

Sometimes it is easier to get across the look of an NPC or monster by showing a picture, though it is rare for me to do so. I try my best to relay on verbal descriptions.

RW Project: Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition homebrew world
Other Tools: CampaignCartographer, Cityographer, Dungeonographer, Evernote
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