I enjoy the occasional online game of D&D, and while it will never really replace good old fashioned face to face gaming for me, it satisfies a need every so often. My virtual table of choice, and I’ve said it before, is Gametable. It is a no frills, easy-to-use program that gives me exactly what I am looking for, namely a literal tabletop simulator. I read online somewhere once that “I don’t need particle and lighting effects for my digital tabletop” and I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve written about Gametable before, so I’m not going to go into detail in this article, I’ll post links at the end to my previous stuff. Here, I just want to give some tips and advice on how to make DM’ing with Gametable as smooth and easy as possible just by keeping yourself organized, and by understanding the software’s structure.
With Gametable, it’s easy to do the following:
- Maintain maps and tokens for numerous adventures at once
- Organize tokens and maps into different categories
- Keep a library of NPC tokens based on faction and locations as needed.
- Keep a library of ready to go locations also arranged as needed.
All this is possible just by using Gametable’s directory structure efficiently. Here’s the root directory:
So lets start with maps, which we would place in the “underlays” folder.
As you can see, inside the folder come a series of PNG files that are included with the software, meant for creating walls, hallways and things of the sort. But I also have a folder there labeled “Cairn Winter”, with maps that I’ve created. Lets look inside that folder:
These are maps that I’ve created and scaled specifically for use in Gametable, and while I’m not going to go into that process in this article, I’ve blogged about that before here, and I’ll link at the bottom of the article. So you see, the adventure “Cairn of the Winter King” (from the Monster Vault, which I’m running online), has its own folder within my Gametable file structure. What does that look like at the “table”? Lets see:
See that the name of the folder becomes a category within the “Underlays” section of the library? And when you expand it, you’ll see your maps:
What this means is that effective use of the directory structure will allow you to have ready to go maps for any occasion. Fight breaks out in an inn or tavern? Pull a map from your “taverns” directory and get to the fight! It’s best to prepare several maps ahead of time to have in your proverbial back pocket so that the game doesn’t slow down waiting for you to draw something (which Gametable lets you do as well). Perhaps directories labeled “taverns”, “temples”, or “alleys” each with a variety of maps would be sufficient at first.
This same thinking applies to pogs, which I’ve also written about before.
As you can see, I have the pogs arranged by encounter, with a separate folder for the pc’s. The other pogs you see on there are the included ones with Gametable that I haven’t put into a folder yet. By following this example, you could easily have an “orcs” folder, or a “human bandits” folder or anything else you may need, along with your preplanned encounter pogs ready to go at a moments notice.
Online gaming can be very enjoyable, but the experience is a bit different than a home game surrounded by people you’ve gamed with face to face for a while. While you as a DM are taking the time from the game to do other stuff like prepare pogs, maps or whatever else, you need to realize that there are people sitting in front of their computers waiting for you to get going. So a good organizational workflow is essential to make the game as smooth as possible for everyone. Hope this helped you Gametable newbies a bit, and here now are some links: