April 8, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of Orcus – Whiteboard Uses for RPG Gaming

In my post about the showdown in the Upper Temple of Orcus, Omote noticed a strange “map/poster” sitting on an easel in one of the pictures:


That is a piece of extra shower board/tile board/Melamine. Before I started using my massive battle map, I used two pieces of “whiteboard” purchased on the cheap from Craig’s List. The lady selling them didn’t know they weren’t real whiteboards (neither did I). Anyhow, they were cheap and these extra pieces are damn handy. Oh, the easel is my wife’s, but I long ago commandeered it for my own twisted purposes.

Various uses:

  • Mapping - I stand in front of the whiteboard and draw an overview dungeon map as the party explores. This makes me feel like some strange, Gygaxian weatherman, but it works very well. It makes the mapper’s job easier and gives all the players a sense of where their characters are. It may sound like extra work, but it actually speeds up play because the players don’t need to question me as much about dungeon details.

whiteboard (5)

  • Initiative Tracking – I often write the initiative order on the board so that everyone in the group has a clear idea of when their turn is coming up.

    whiteboard - Copy

  • Extra Battle Room – I bust out these pieces when the battle spills over the area on the large battle map. It happens more than you’d think in a dungeon the scale of Rappan Athuk [especially if the DM (uhm, me) doesn’t start drawing at a good point on the large map].

Goblin Encounter

  • Artwork – My girls love to draw on these surfaces.

whiteboard (4)

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