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Using Arthurian legend as an example, you'd need:1. As NPCs, a green knight, a red knight, a black knight, a damsel, a child (boy or girl), two or three peasants, an old man/woman, a cleric, an angel (or white knight) and some boss threat if it isn't already one of these first ones (like a wicked king/queen/witch/wizard/dragon). Maybe throw in a wounded king/queen and a righteous king/queen. But really you could get by with less than half of these because no story ever uses more than four of these;2. As terrain, a small chapel, a swamp, a stretch of road, an isolated well, a peasant's hut, a castle gate, a bedroom, a single great tree, a stream, and a woods (maybe four or five more trees). If you're really extravagant add a throne room. But really, again, you could get by with less than half of these. You certainly wouldn't need them all to start.If your game was about challenging stereotypes or re-inventing these legends, you could change things up a bit, but you still wouldn't need more miniatures and the terrain would be the same. With faery tales, it might even be easier and require less.
Sigh. I can't believe I went quite so far afield before getting back to the bit of Eero's post you quoted just now, Hopeless_Wanderer.I completely agree with the idea of cutting down to ( roughly) just the core essentials and having those be only relevant parts represented by the toys.It's actually easier to describe what I'm thinking by way of an example with a link to product I'm actually considering buying if I ever run a fantasy geared game with minis, but a bit sandbox-y.A printable, 50" x 50"Drow City.Now, that's pretty big admittedly, but if you look at the link and think about even an adventure module using a dungeon where Drow are involved, it's really not that big of an area represented by the printed product. A module would have all kinds of other connected tunnels and mines and so on and take up even a vaster table area if all done up to use with minis at the same time.In play, I would just use that if players were visiting a Drow city. It would be a stand-in for everything else involved, possibly for the entirety of that underground Drow Kingdom. It's the relevant bit where the important action/events will take place if you go visit the Drow.
I might, maybe, have some smaller tiles/maps printed up if I wanted to represent some locations along the way to the core city. Maybe.
The link FFilz was showing with the Lego layout does something similar, but on a single large table, rather than as a series of printed and mounted maps. If you look at that thing, the lay out is pretty clearly representing much more fictional space than the area covered by the toys, if we scale it to the Lego people.
And toys do that regularly. Since I've been talking about how "toy play" ought to ( in my manifesto-y way) be a better basis for miniatures use in RPGs/SGs, here's the toy I desperately wanted as a child, but never found under the X-Mas tree ( ) : 1970s Death Star Playset.Man, look at all the selective compression going on there! They've reduced a moon sized battle station to a few stylized areas. The only thing really missing is the docking bay. As kids ( with my buddy's playset...grrr!), we'd just put his Millennium Falcon Toy next to that. Done. There's our escape to the docking bay bit taken care of!Even with all that selective compression going on, we had hours upon hours of toy play with that thing. The same concept or approach can be ported across to gaming with the use of miniatures, if we bring stuff down to the essentials, whether of locations ( like that playset or the Drow City printout) or the collection of character miniatures ( including NPCs/monsters).
It works, because in these types of tales, only the hero, villain, and maybe one other person (side-kick, rescuee, or mentor/donor) have names. Everyone else is nameless.
Well, what I meant was that in most of these kinds of stories, the hero meets people during her quest (usually three) who are just referred to as a monk, or peasant, or child, etc. These characters have something the hero needs before the end of the story, but they aren't important enough to have names. They are the most basic kind of stock-character. This is the place where you can save a lot on buying and preparing minis because they can be used in the same stories over and over. Even sub-bosses fall into this category, sometimes. Every genre has familiar types. In Aurthurian legend, the hero often meets a threat only referred to a the red knight, etc. You really only need one of those in your collection, etc. This same reduction happens in faery tales, and other mythic literature.Bob, we posted simultaneously, and I wrote a long post to you above your last one, that I hope you will read.
I've mentioned before that I use areas kind of like fate zones. Rather than focusing on boundaries, though, I instead focus on centers of gravity. In a given outdoor scene, then, I might have a pile of rocks to signify one area of combat, a cluster of trees to signify another area, and a strip of water to show a third. (In other words, I use Eero's idea of archetypes--and specifically symbolic objects--to signify an area, rather than representational terrain.)
BTW, do any of the Lego heads want to do a new thread talking about building a game with some of these concepts?Right now, I'm imagining something a bit like Lego Archipelago ( and how you'd modify that game's initial world/setting creation phase to employ Lego to create and use something like that big table display ffilz posted upthread).At this point, I'm convinced that starting from Lego fans and getting ideas solidified would really help me with the gaming minis end of things.
Stephen:Can you sketch or take a photo of that centers of gravity concept? I think I know what you mean, but I'm trying to visualize it.
The way I like to think about it is that the scale is variable - open areas of terrain are at a smaller scale, and scenery pieces are closer to the scale of the miniatures. Therefore that 24" of open ground between the shooter and the target might be a hundred yards or more, while the 12" between two minis in the same building might be less than ten yards.
One of the things about Lego that strikes me as a least slightly different from gaming minis is that building cool stuff ( scenery / terrain especially ) is more open to everyone involved, but still takes a bit of time.