I’ve mentioned before that I generally do not play with miniatures, at least not for RPGs.  However, here at work our crazy boss loves to encourage our group extra-curricular activities, and recently the following showed up at my desk:

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Yes, that’s a huge pile of dwarven forge stuff, for use by the RPG players in the company.  Now our company has gotten big enough that there’s more than one RPG group comprised mostly of coworkers, but somehow I’ve ended up the sort of administrator for all things tabletop RPG around here.  So I unpacked the boxes, inventoried them, found a place to put them, and then thought to myself “Gosh, I should probably run something to christen this stuff.”  So I sent out an open invite to anyone that wanted to play an old school dungeon crawl that Friday night.  With only a week’s notice I still got 8 players.  Have I mentioned how awesome it is to work here?

Anyway, a few coworkers who couldn’t make it asked if I would please take some pictures, which I did.  Hence, this post, and the pictures below.  However, let’s talk about how the actual game ran.  I had quite a mix of players, some old hands, and at least one that had never played a tabletop RPG before in his life (though he was familiar with the conceits, being a computer RPG player).  I ran them through character creation, and my plan was then to run them through my One Page Dungeon Contest entry, which takes place below a major city and has a lot of hooks to various entries to the dungeon.  Given that this group was so large and disparate, I started them off guarding a caravan to the city and immediately attacked it with some orcs, just to get the group a chance to gel before I started giving them leads into the dungeon.

So between character creation and the opening fight, we were a little slow getting into the game.  Even so, I still think using the miniatures and the terrain slowed things down noticeably.  For the most part I left it to the players to figure out the dwarven forge.  I described the area to them, and instead of mapping they laid tiles.  I think though the simple fact of having pieces and a “board” in front of you pushes the players into a mode of thinking, similar to combat, where each person should have a turn to act.  While when there’s no map or terrain and the players simply nominate someone to draw the map, they think more like a group while exploring.  One player saying “we go this way” instead of eight players each saying “I go that way” is obviously going to be faster.

On the other hand, you can’t deny that the stuff is pretty.  And the players all had such a good time, several of them requested a continuation of the game at a later date.  Even though we did wrap up the major thread they were following (recovering the company pay box that was stolen when their caravan arrived), it was clear there was still much of the underground to explore.  While I don’t expect to turn this into a second ongoing campaign, I may run a sequel in the future, and won’t rule out future sequels on an ad-hoc basis.  For now though, enjoy the pretty pictures: