Theater of the Mind vs The Grid?

(Moved this thread to this forum because it's not specifically related to a playtest)

Here's the deal.  A lot of people on this board are talking now about how "theater of the mind" style play is awesome and is the lost ideal we've all been looking for ... the thing that is missing from 4e.  Well, it IS awesome.  But here's what I say about gridless play in D&D Next.

1.  ToTM never left D&D.  Some people just forgot about it for some reason when they looked at those cool battle mats.  This was never the fault of any edition of D&D since every edition always encouraged and facilitated this style of play.  Maybe if we all just used blank, white grids with no pictures it would stimulate the imagination somewhat.  Or maybe those cool battle mats with altars, pillars, pools of acid, rubble ... maybe THOSE stimulate the imagination somewhat. 

2.  ToTM and a battle grid are not mutually exclusive.  And in my opinion, they should be mutually INCLUSIVE.  IOW, I prefer D&D to be played with both of these elements and I think it works best with both.  If you throw out one of the other I would not be very happy.

3.  What if I happen to like battle grids and HATE not having one?  What if I just want to bash monsters in a gamist, mechanical play style and I don't particularly care for ToTM visualization or heavy roleplay and improvisation or big doses of DM fiat?  THAT'S A VALID PLAYSTYLE TOO.  Does that put me in the minority?  If so, does that mean my favored playstyle shouldn't be supported?  Will D&D Next support my playstyle in a way that's JUST AS GOOD as 4e's grid-based combat?  If not, why would I take a step backwards?

Conclusion:  D&D Next needs to support both gridless and grid-style play.  I believe we WILL see a grid based module in future revisions of the game; it's just a matter of what they will be like.  Will it be just like 4e?  More like 3e?  Something we haven't thought of yet?

What say you?

P.S.:  For a neat implementation of gridless combat, check out the latest edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (I helped playtest that).

www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/w...

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

You're in luck then because the designers have repeatedly said the DDNext will support battle map style combat. This particular playtest packet doesn't have those rules included but that's probably because they haven't gotten them into a state ready for open playtesting yet.
Thank you. Personally if people like using the power of *imagination*, I say more power to em, but personally, I love having a grid. It allows a clean representation of what's going on, and provides rules for the crunch while leaving roleplaying to cover the fluff, which is my preferred style. I like having fiddly bits I can actually interact with and the visceral feel of actually seeing 7 enemies lined up in fireball formation as my turn starts.

Zammm = Batman.

It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.

The Pony Co. 

Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
I am fine for grids if people want them, just dont build the game around that as assumption (ie dont make core mechanics that only make sense if you use the grid). I personally dont like using miniatures except for large scale battles. With very comfortable with the 2E approach
You are correct, sir.  I would be very disappointed if the devs reneged on their statement about having grid based combat.  And personally, I hope it's more like 4e's style than 3e.  For those who don't know, 4e was essentially the same as 3e, but removed some of the less fun and still inaccurate elements like AoE templates and 1-2-1 diagonal movement in favor of faster but less accurate elements like square AoEs and 1-1-1 diagonal movement. 

Also, I was kind of hoping that if they did gridless combat, it would be something less like 2e or 3e and something more like WFRP - more abstracted and frankly ... more original.  But hey, there's only a certain amount of ideas you can take from someone else before it ceases to be "homage" and starts to be "plagiarism" and revolutionary mechanics that are still really fun are HARD to make for a reason.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I love all these comments about the lack of a grid in the play test.

There will be a grid folks. You can count on it. They just haven't started on that part of the rules yet. 
Really, the only thing you need, when you want to play the game using a grid, is, well, a grid and miniatures.

It's very easy to insert a grid into a gridless game and make it meaningful (really, just improvise and use common sense) and add something to the game. At least that's my experience from how our group does it. We regularly play rules-light games and with just a few rules such as "can't pass through other miniatures" and "you have to have line of sight when shooting arrows" etc., you have all you need. Smile

Only when you start including rules for pushing, pulling and shifting (and make them mandatory, instead of modular), you start to make TotM style of play more difficult. I'm sure though that they'll add such rules in modules, since they can be fun and, like you said, some people like them.
You're in luck then because the designers have repeatedly said the DDNext will support battle map style combat. This particular playtest packet doesn't have those rules included but that's probably because they haven't gotten them into a state ready for open playtesting yet.



Eh, the rules are all there it isn't hard converting feet to squares, and even the areas of spells are simple to map out on a grid.

Honestly, I don't understand how you could play without a grid.  Well I mean I get people can, I just mean it's hard for me to see how it doesn't end up in confusion.  Now when I say this let me make it clear, our group plays with plain mats, sometimes we have scenery ones from books, but generally they're just plain grid mats.  And we basically only use them in battle and exploring most dungeons.  Otherwise it isn't like we draw out towns on a mat so we know exactly how many squares we're moving as we go to buy groceries, all that stuff is by pure dialogue.

But for me and my group, it seems like trying to battle without a grid would be confusing.  Sure you can say the monster is 30 ft in front of the group.  But then everyone has to chime in how they are X ft from say the lead player, or more appropriate something like "Okay them I'm X ft away from the monster, but I'm X ft. to the right of Player A."  And everyone has to do that and keep track of where everyone is.  And then if they move they have to review and reference everyone's locations again so they know where they are in terms of keeping them out of spells casted, or if they're in range to heal, yada yada yada.

And then if there's hindering terrain like trees and such the DM has to describe exactly how many feet they all are from the players and each other so the players know that when they try and move up to the enemy they don't accidentally walk through or into a square occupied by a tree that they forgot about because they were trying to keep track of themselves, the enemy, their group, and a dozen or more trees.

To me grids during combat just make everything much easier and no one has to worry about keeping track of where everything is mentally so much.  That leaves them free to focus on combat and whatnot.  But I will admit I've never had a real battle in a game without a mat, and obviously people do it that way so maybe I'm making it more complicated.

But I'm glad Next isn't going to be solely for gridless gaming.  As these rules are now all you have to do is convert feet to squares and you're fine for playing on a grid so it's not a hassle for either side of the coin which is good.         
I am fine for grids if people want them, just dont build the game around that as assumption (ie dont make core mechanics that only make sense if you use the grid). I personally dont like using miniatures except for large scale battles. With very comfortable with the 2E approach

And on the contrary, I'm fine with gridless, but don't build the game around an assumption like core mechanics only making sense if you DON'T use a grid (the D&D Next Playtest we have now).  Please, do not relegate those who prefer a battle grid to second class status! 

But here's the thing - I don't see how you can have one system that accomodates BOTH.  I don't think it's mathmatically or logically possible.  You either have to have one system that is going to have some logical holes in it like cones that aren't cones or circles that aren't circles and getting shorted on diagonal movement (which is fine for some people I guess - it's just a game) like 3e/PF or have TWO seperate systems.  And two seperate systems is a LOT OF EXTRA WORK.

Or maybe I'm wrong and WoTC can show me how they can make both methods play together nicely.  That would be cool.

(And I really hope we don't have to go back to AoE templates and 1-2-1 diagonal movement to make things work.  If so, well, I won't like that much.)

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I am fine for grids if people want them, just dont build the game around that as assumption (ie dont make core mechanics that only make sense if you use the grid). I personally dont like using miniatures except for large scale battles. With very comfortable with the 2E approach


+1

Also I think that just reading the playtest packet we can say it's good for ToTM and grids alike. All is approached with a 5-feet unit, which is good to me because it helps the use of a grid if players want and also make the rules easier to remember.
How the movement is free but simple-ruled in this D&Dnext... Hope it will not change too much in the final version.
I especially like the fact that you can move before AND after your action. This will give players the freedom to have more dynamic combats.
I love all these comments about the lack of a grid in the play test.

There will be a grid folks. You can count on it. They just haven't started on that part of the rules yet. 

I bring it up because without a grid the game has serious playability issues if you're going to stick to the RAW.  You either have to have a heavy dose of DM fiat or be prepared to get out your ruler, compass and protractor.

And WoTC needs to know that and how important it is.  But yeah, I'm sure they're aware.  I just don't want them to throw in grid combat as a half-baked afterthought.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

How the movement is free but simple-ruled in this D&Dnext... Hope it will not change too much in the final version.
I especially like the fact that you can move before AND after your action. This will give players the freedom to have more dynamic combats.

Yes!  Though I never thought 4e's combats were static.  I was very surprised the first few times I played 4e how much the PCs moved around compared to older versions.  And in ToTM style play I DO believe PCs are more likely to "stand and swing" or "stand and shoot" when they are not certain whether moving will be bad or good.  On the other hand, in a game with no OAs ... who cares? 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Aren't the grid rules already in, but a bit hidden? I've seen a lot of rules and abilities referring to distances, areas, characters being within 5' of each other, and so on. How do you determine who is being hit by a cone spell without any form of grid or map? I'm pretty sure the "imagination" of the player casting the spell will be that it hits a lot of monsters, while the "imagination" of the DM might differ with that point of view if you only have a theater of the mind.
I am fine for grids if people want them, just dont build the game around that as assumption (ie dont make core mechanics that only make sense if you use the grid). I personally dont like using miniatures except for large scale battles. With very comfortable with the 2E approach


+1

Also I think that just reading the playtest packet we can say it's good for ToTM and grids alike. All is approached with a 5-feet unit, which is good to me because it helps the use of a grid if players want and also make the rules easier to remember.
How the movement is free but simple-ruled in this D&Dnext... Hope it will not change too much in the final version.
I especially like the fact that you can move before AND after your action. This will give players the freedom to have more dynamic combats.



I like breaking up movement as well.  Not to mention if they continue without any OA like penalty for retreating from an enemy someone could run up, attack a creature and move two or three squares away lets say.  And then maybe that squishy wizard can blast that monster before its turn with ray of frost or something to immobilize it so it can move up and attack the fighter, keeping him protected.

And honestly RedSiegfried, catering to both isn't that hard, the playtest already does it just fine.  Honestly in 4e I never considered burst attacks to just happen to explode in a perfect square.  It's a burst, spherical, but fills the general area of say a 3 x 3 cubic space.  Not really sure why people are so hung up on the cone and area effects somehow breaking the game for grid lovers.  Sure the cone is a little funny, it'll look like a pyramid of cubes but it's not that big a deal, it still amounts to the same thing really in the end.  So it really doesn't seem like there's anything to worry about in terms of Next encompassing both grid/non-grid.  Not a huge deal to do so, and the playtest doesn't really favor either side.
Not really sure why people are so hung up on the cone and area effects somehow breaking the game for grid lovers.  Sure the cone is a little funny, it'll look like a pyramid of cubes but it's not that big a deal,

More like a zig-zag thing that you have to either take the time to calculate or have an AoE template on hand for that particular size.  But yeah, that's the way it works in 3.5 and it's playable, if tedious and prone to provoking arguments.  Point taken, though.  But I happen to believe the game should try to take a step forward, or at least hold ground, not go backward in terms of mechanics.  (So am I setting myself up for disappointment?  )
it still amounts to the same thing really in the end. So it really doesn't seem like there's anything to worry about in terms of Next encompassing both grid/non-grid.

Well, I worry nonetheless.  My main concern, I think, is that when we do see a grid based combat system it will turn out to be what we got in 3.5 and not what we got in 4.0.  For a guy like me who thinks 4.0 was clearly superior, a 3.5-type implementation that makes it more compatible with gridless combat where you measure everything in feet, not squares, is not as desirable, and a step backwards, IMO.  And to be honest, I don't see how you can have a system that measures in discrete and abstract squares be compatible with a system that measures in feet using an approximation of the Pythagorean Theorem.  It's gonna have to be one or the other, or a blend that changes the efficacy of game elements based on which system you choose - which is not desirable IMO either.

I would be VERY interested to gain some insight into the developers' thoughts and ideas on this matter - I'm sure they've at least already thought about this a little.

I hate to say this but so far ... I feel like there is very little new and NOTHING revolutionary in this game.  That's the thing that scares me the most about D&D Next.  It just seems to be a blend of old game elements from prior editions with a couple of new minor mechanics (that aren't even really new at all, just named differently).  Could you say that about 4e too?  Perhaps, though I didn't get that feeling as it felt fresh and new and different enough to me to be really interesting, YMMV. Anyway, all this is not a recipe for award-winning game design.  It's a recipe for splitting the community further and disappointing most people a lot while pleasing most people only a little bit.

Sorry about the negativity though ... I'm getting OT.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

How do you determine who is being hit by a cone spell without any form of grid or map? I'm pretty sure the "imagination" of the player casting the spell will be that it hits a lot of monsters, while the "imagination" of the DM might differ with that point of view if you only have a theater of the mind.



Having played many hours over phones and sitting across rooms it wasn't as hard as you might imagineLaughing.  The DM would describe the situation. We would then ask for clarification. If someone retreated, it provoked an AoO. We didn't need a map and markers. We would use miniatures to aid in marching order and some combat.

The grid lays it all out and I do like it. No more forgeting about creatures in your way. When casting fireball you can declare where it hits instead of casting it where it will hit bad guys and not good guys.  It also makes Line of sight more interesting. It speeds things up by allowing players to see if someone is in their way before their turn occurs. Even if they did away with the grid I would probably use it.

I started playing D&D in the 80's. I've played D&D, 1e, 2e, and 3.xe (and many other RPGs). I also played Magic since it came out (except for a few years around the change of the millennium. I say this so you know a bit of my experience, not because I care about editions.
I am fine for grids if people want them, just dont build the game around that as assumption (ie dont make core mechanics that only make sense if you use the grid). I personally dont like using miniatures except for large scale battles. With very comfortable with the 2E approach



This is fine We all understand this. But I think the OP is refering more to the countless threads around right now that are flagrantly flaming gridded combat. Which is rediculous. Since I've been DMing I use both, even in 4th.
My two copper.
In my experience, mental gaming and grid gaming are mutually exclusive.

Because of perspective.

As a player, in mental gaming, I am the character in first person, looking out into the imaginative world and interacting with it.

But in grid gaming, the mini is the character in third person. Im looking down at it and manipulating it like chess pieces.

For me, these are extremely different experiences. While it is possible to switch perspectives, they dont happen simultaneously.

If all the attention, and all of the language, and all of the rules are the grid, then the mental gaming happens less often.




Hmmm. I have to admit when I DM, in both mental and grid, I probably do think in third person tracking the adventurers and the monsters. But I would probably be a better DM if I switched to a first person perspective when playing a monster. That can probably get a bit creepy, but Il experiment with that the next time I DM. Someone has to be the actor that plays the villain.
(Moved this thread to this forum because it's not specifically related to a playtest)

Here's the deal.  A lot of people on this board are talking now about how "theater of the mind" style play is awesome and is the lost ideal we've all been looking for ... the thing that is missing from 4e.  Well, it IS awesome.  But here's what I say about gridless play in D&D Next.

1.  ToTM never left D&D.  Some people just forgot about it for some reason when they looked at those cool battle mats.  This was never the fault of any edition of D&D since every edition always encouraged and facilitated this style of play.  Maybe if we all just used blank, white grids with no pictures it would stimulate the imagination somewhat.  Or maybe those cool battle mats with altars, pillars, pools of acid, rubble ... maybe THOSE stimulate the imagination somewhat. 

2.  ToTM and a battle grid are not mutually exclusive.  And in my opinion, they should be mutually INCLUSIVE.  IOW, I prefer D&D to be played with both of these elements and I think it works best with both.  If you throw out one of the other I would not be very happy.

3.  What if I happen to like battle grids and HATE not having one?  What if I just want to bash monsters in a gamist, mechanical play style and I don't particularly care for ToTM visualization or heavy roleplay and improvisation or big doses of DM fiat?  THAT'S A VALID PLAYSTYLE TOO.  Does that put me in the minority?  If so, does that mean my favored playstyle shouldn't be supported?  Will D&D Next support my playstyle in a way that's JUST AS GOOD as 4e's grid-based combat?  If not, why would I take a step backwards?

Conclusion:  D&D Next needs to support both gridless and grid-style play.  I believe we WILL see a grid based module in future revisions of the game; it's just a matter of what they will be like.  Will it be just like 4e?  More like 3e?  Something we haven't thought of yet?

What say you?

P.S.:  For a neat implementation of gridless combat, check out the latest edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (I helped playtest that).

www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/w...

Fear not Red! We played last night with a grid and it worked just fine. Also played a couple of encounters without a grid, also just fine.  I definitely think there is room for OAs if people want them (although not having them meant there was TONS more movement than what my group usually did in 4E where OAs meant it was often best to stay put). I think they could be added as part of a tactical rules package and not hurt anything. I honestly couldn't tell if their core assumption was grid or no grid, since everything is in 5 foot increments and movement is very conveniently "spent" in 5 foot blocks. I'd actually say they are assuming you WILL use a grid but they're trying to keep it simple at this point.  Have you actually played the playtest yet?
In my experience, mental gaming and grid gaming are mutually exclusive.

Because of perspective.

As a player, in mental gaming, I am the character in first person, looking out into the imaginative world and interacting with it.

But in grid gaming, the mini is the character in third person. Im looking down at it and manipulating it like chess pieces.

For me, these are extremely different experiences. While it is possible to switch perspectives, they dont happen simultaneously.

If all the attention, and all of the language, and all of the rules are the grid, then the mental gaming happens less often.




Hmmm. I have to admit when I DM, in both mental and grid, I probably do think in third person tracking the adventurers and the monsters. But I would probably be a better DM if I switched to a first person perspective when playing a monster. That can probably get a bit creepy, but Il experiment with that the next time I DM. Someone has to be the actor that plays the villain.



Completely disagree.  Our group plays with a grid, uses it for dungeon crawl(mostly), and battles.  It doesn't take away at all from imagining my character is casting spells and such, or swinging a sword just because I'm looking down at a grid.  In fact I would say personally that without a grid for those situations where it's important to know exactly where everything is in relation to each other, our group would be too focused on trying to keep straight where everything is and from what distance that all we would see is numbers, that would ruin the experience.  With a grid I can see it and I know I'm on a grassy plain facing a skeleton horde or whatever, and as a fighter I run up and swing my sword cutting into a skeleton, so on and so forth.  It doesn't ruin imagining the game at all.  Though let me be clear not trying to put down gridless players at all, to each their own.  I just completely disagree that a grid suddenly makes you so completely focused on the grid and miniatures that you can no longer imagine the fantasy realm you're playing in.
In my experience, mental gaming and grid gaming are mutually exclusive.

Because of perspective.

As a player, in mental gaming, I am the character in first person, looking out into the imaginative world and interacting with it.

But in grid gaming, the mini is the character in third person. Im looking down at it and manipulating it like chess pieces.

For me, these are extremely different experiences. While it is possible to switch perspectives, they dont happen simultaneously.

If all the attention, and all of the language, and all of the rules are the grid, then the mental gaming happens less often.




Hmmm. I have to admit when I DM, in both mental and grid, I probably do think in third person tracking the adventurers and the monsters. But I would probably be a better DM if I switched to a first person perspective when playing a monster. That can probably get a bit creepy, but Il experiment with that the next time I DM. Someone has to be the actor that plays the villain.



Completely disagree.  Our group plays with a grid, uses it for dungeon crawl(mostly), and battles.  It doesn't take away at all from imagining my character is casting spells and such, or swinging a sword just because I'm looking down at a grid.  In fact I would say personally that without a grid for those situations where it's important to know exactly where everything is in relation to each other, our group would be too focused on trying to keep straight where everything is and from what distance that all we would see is numbers, that would ruin the experience.  With a grid I can see it and I know I'm on a grassy plain facing a skeleton horde or whatever, and as a fighter I run up and swing my sword cutting into a skeleton, so on and so forth.  It doesn't ruin imagining the game at all.  Though let me be clear not trying to put down gridless players at all, to each their own.  I just completely disagree that a grid suddenly makes you so completely focused on the grid and miniatures that you can no longer imagine the fantasy realm you're playing in.

You cant disagree. Its my own experience. It just is. Im not speaking for anyone else. Looking down on a chess board differs from a vivid first person adventure.

Heh, nothing says, first person action adventure like: “I use my minor action to gain 12 temporary hitpoints, then my standard action to slide the flanked ally 3 squares, so he doesnt provoke opportunity attacks as he exits the square.” Its like Im there!


Also, in mental gaming, the very process of sorting out who is where, is what causes the players to visualize the scene in their minds - in first person - as if there.
I had a post earlier in this forum detailing different options from TotM to different types of grids to gridless play.
You cant disagree. Its my own experience. It just is. Im not speaking for anyone else.

Heh, nothing says, first person action adventure like: “I use my minor action to gain 12 temporary hitpoints, then my standard action to slide the flanked ally 3 squares, so he doesnt provoke opportunity attacks as he exits the square.” Its like Im there!



I disagreed with you making the generalization that just because the rule lingo lists squares instead of feat, and that you're characters are represented on a grid instead of only floating in your head, that you can't imagine and immerse yourself in the game.

It's a shame all you see is a grid and miniatures and not your characters, but plenty of us who play on a grid actually do imagine the game just fine and can play on the grid, it doesn't suddenly make us incapable of imagine the action, spellcasting, etc that's going on.

In one of our older games our group was fighting a grey dragon elder on a mountain.  The battle wasn't going well, the dragon's status effects were hampering.  One of our players, a crazed part demon barbarian woman flies up above the dragon by a fair distance and plummets, gaining speed.  As he got close enough he used the barbarian's crater fall power charging and slamming into the dragon at crazy speed rocketing them both into the mountain about 9 or 10 sqs(maybe more).  And then the mountain proceeded to cave in on itself...yeah...

And guess how that looked on a grid?  My friend picked up his piece, held it above the dragon piece by a foot or so then after going through what he was doing, set his piece on the dragon.  Guess what we saw?  His crazied demonic barbarian woman rocketing from the sky to hit the dragon so hard he was practically obliterated, and proceeded to drive them both deep into the mountain which caused a chain reaction that caused the mountain to start collapsing killing some of us in the cave in, and when the dust cleared we discovered that the mountain had not only collapsed, but most of that mountain range upon which it caved in and made a huge hole directly into the Underdark.  So don't tell me that using a grid makes one incapable of imagining and immersing oneself in the game.  People of both grid/gridless can imagine the game just fine.   
You cant disagree. Its my own experience. It just is. Im not speaking for anyone else.

Heh, nothing says, first person action adventure like: “I use my minor action to gain 12 temporary hitpoints, then my standard action to slide the flanked ally 3 squares, so he doesnt provoke opportunity attacks as he exits the square.” Its like Im there!



I disagreed with you making the generalization that just because the rule lingo lists squares instead of feat, and that you're characters are represented on a grid instead of only floating in your head, that you can't imagine and immerse yourself in the game.

It's a shame all you see is a grid and miniatures and not your characters, but plenty of us who play on a grid actually do imagine the game just fine and can play on the grid, it doesn't suddenly make us incapable of imagine the action, spellcasting, etc that's going on.

In one of our older games our group was fighting a grey dragon elder on a mountain.  The battle wasn't going well, the dragon's status effects were hampering.  One of our players, a crazed part demon barbarian woman flies up above the dragon by a fair distance and plummets, gaining speed.  As he got close enough he used the barbarian's crater fall power charging and slamming into the dragon at crazy speed rocketing them both into the mountain about 9 or 10 sqs(maybe more).  And then the mountain proceeded to cave in on itself...yeah...

And guess how that looked on a grid?  My friend picked up his piece, held it above the dragon piece by a foot or so then after going through what he was doing, set his piece on the dragon.  Guess what we saw?  His crazied demonic barbarian woman rocketing from the sky to hit the dragon so hard he was practically obliterated, and proceeded to drive them both deep into the mountain which caused a chain reaction that caused the mountain to start collapsing killing some of us in the cave in, and when the dust cleared we discovered that the mountain had not only collapsed, but most of that mountain range upon which it caved in and made a huge hole directly into the Underdark.  So don't tell me that using a grid makes one incapable of imagining and immersing oneself in the game.  People of both grid/gridless can imagine the game just fine.   




I know what narrative immersion is. Its similar to lucid dreaming. Its an actual thing. Im able to achieve it on occasion. It doesnt happen when Im playing “chess”. I enjoy “chess” too, dont get me wrong. But its different.


When I remember mental encounters from the past. I dont remember it as someone holding a mini one foot above another mini. I remember it, sort of like remembering a dream, as if I am there. I see it. I smell it. I hear the water dripping.



I know what narrative immersion is. Its similar to lucid dreaming. Its an actual thing. Im able to achieve it on occasion. It doesnt happen when Im playing “chess”. I enjoy “chess” too, dont get me wrong. But its different.


When I remember mental encounters from the past. I dont remember it as someone holding a mini one foot above another mini. I remember it, sort of like remembering a dream, as if I am there. I see it. I smell it. I hear the water dripping.




And when I remember our past games I don't remember miniatures, squares, and whatnot.  I remember the actions, what was done, everything else.  And I use a grid.  How I remember our games is no different than yours, and using a grid doesn't change that.
So my concluding statement is still true, so to speak. 

To please people the game is going to need to have the option to have both gridded and gridless combat SUPPORTED BY THE RULES.  "Supported by the rules" is the important part.

If you have a system like 4e and throw out the grid, you can say you're having fun playing and I'm sure that's true, but you're not really playing the game according to the rules.  So we can't have a grid system be the default and then just say "if you don't like it throw it out."  That can work fine for your games at home, but that's not how you design a published game product.  It would be sloppy as hell and result in no clear understanding between groups of people on how to play without the grid.

Conversely, you can't have no grid be the assumption and just tell people "if you like a grid just use one" without providing explicit rules on how movement, distance, occupying squares, positioning, AoEs, etc. work with a grid.  Sure, once again, you COULD just lay a grid over the map but without those explicit rules you're not playing the game according to the rules - you're just making it up as you go along and two different groups could do things completely differently.

As far as theater of the mind vs. grid combat goes ... look at the title of my thread and ask yourself why I ended it with a question mark.  That was intentional.    To me, there really is not any question ... they're not mutually exclusive and don't need to compete.  But if you think differently, I can't argue with that.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Fear not Red! We played last night with a grid and it worked just fine. Also played a couple of encounters without a grid, also just fine.  I definitely think there is room for OAs if people want them (although not having them meant there was TONS more movement than what my group usually did in 4E where OAs meant it was often best to stay put). I think they could be added as part of a tactical rules package and not hurt anything. I honestly couldn't tell if their core assumption was grid or no grid, since everything is in 5 foot increments and movement is very conveniently "spent" in 5 foot blocks. I'd actually say they are assuming you WILL use a grid but they're trying to keep it simple at this point.  Have you actually played the playtest yet?

To be honest, no, I just got the playtest yesterday so I haven't played with others yet, I just read it.  Yeah, I want to play it like you did, first without the grid and then with a grid so I can compare.  The thing that sticks out in my mind would be things like how AoE effects would be shaped with a grid when you don't have rules like 1-2-1 diagonals (yet).  I'll bet money that when we see the grid combat "module" that there will be 1-2-1 diagonals and AoE templates, because those things were in 3rd for a reason - the system got a bit silly when you measured things in feet and didn't have those elements.  Then again, silly isn't always a problem.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”