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Why Use a Dungeon Tile Map for your Dungeon Map
Dungeons and Dragons is a game where players control fictional characters that they've designed. These character exist in a world of fantasy, and perform many different tasks, not the least of which is combat. Players are frequently presented the opportunity to test their characters' martial or magical prowess in the field of battle.
As an aid to coordinate battle, players can use a dungeon map. This map can be drawn on paper or printed from a computer, as long as it shows a scale and gives the players an idea of where their character is in relation to where the enemies and other player's characters are.
This can be done by sketching roughly on a piece of paper, and making marks on the paper like X's and O's of course, but it can get confusing when a player wants to move his character, and the mark on the paper has to be erased or crossed out.
Enter: The Dungeon Tiles!
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What is a Dungeon Tile?
The pieces of a chess set are arranged on a board with squares representing distance. The pieces move a set number of squares based on their roles. For Dungeons and Dragons, dungeon tiles can be used to represent a playing field. Each player gets a figure, like a chess piece to represent their character. These pieces are called Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures.
The tiles themselves come generally as cardboard sheets with a generic landscape depicted on them. These can be purchased at places like GatorGames.com. These are double-sided heavy card stock tiles that you can use to piece together like a puzzle to create landscapes, corridors, and dungeons.
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Do I Need Dungeon Tiles?
Although they are not required, Dungeons Tiles are a useful tool to make sure battle sequences go smoothly.
Combat depends in part on the abilities of all combatants, but distance and terrain make a big difference too. Without a graphical representation of the area, the Dungeon Master has to remember what areas are accessible, which areas obscured by shrubs, etc. This of course can be scrawled on a piece of graphic paper.
Obviously these things can be handled as they come, and in some cases the Dungeon Master can wing it, but things can be missed like when the enemy enters a square adjacent to a character, provoking an attack of opportunity.
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I'm Too Cheap to Buy Dungeon Tiles!
If a purchase of durable dungeon tiles doesn't seem right for you, or perhaps you just don't have the money right now and your gaming party is on their way over, there are utilities you can use online to create your own dungeon tile maps.
Enworld.org has a good library of pre-generated dungeon tile maps in PDF format that you can download and print yourself. Find these here.
If you're not able to create the dungeon you're looking for with the pre-generated tiles, you can create your own using online utilities. Wizards of the Coast offers this web-based dungeon tile mapper. All you need is an active internet connection and a web browser.
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Do You Use Dungeon Tiles?
Have you used Dungeon tiles in your campaigns? Do you have a favorite set? I'd love to hear about it or any other feedback you may have regarding information I provided in this article. Feel free to post in the comments below.