Welcome to my first article in a category I would like to call Tips and Tools. Here I want to talk about some things that could make your (solo) rpg-gamer life a little easier. As I wrote here

http://solonexus.blogspot.de/2012/05/carstens-d-4th-edition-solo-tips-part-2.html

I don’t really like being drawn out of a good story because I have to look for maps and search for miniatures, so I like to keep it generic, using an erasable grid and wooden game pawns.

However, sometimes I want something nice to look at, so I was looking for some sort of compromise. I needed something that was quick to get out, could be stored easily and didn’t take up to much precious table space but still looked nice.

So I created my quick instant encounter areas. They look like this:

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What do you need:

One or more set of dungeon tiles (I got the Dungeon Tile Master Sets Dungeon, Wilderness and City).

Clear plastic document protection sheets (living in Europe mine are A4 sized).

A pair of scissors.

A color printer with copy function or a color photocopy machine (I have a Cannon Pixma color inkjet printer with copy function and am pretty happy with it).

What do you do?

First, you make a color copy of the tiles you want to use or need and cut them out with scissors. Now you have paper thin tiles.

Second, you arrange the tiles inside the clear plastic document protection sheet. You arrange them in different layers. Start with the biggest tile, usually the floor, and add details like pillars, debris, bushes etc. Because of the static of the plastic protection sheet the tiles will stay in place (if you are careful).

Third, you carefully put your custom encounter area on the copy machine and make a color copy, so that you have a fixed one sheet map.

You slip the map into the protection sheet and put it in a folder and that is all there is to it.

Now you have an erasable small little encounter area that is easy to story and looks nice. You can (and actually, that is what I did) create several different ones and put a little number in a corner. I made twelve dungeon areas. Whenever I need a random dungeon room for a battle or in a random dungeon I just roll 1d12 and get out the corresponding map.

Here is the folder I have, with all my created areas and also some blank grids.

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If you have the old Dungeons & Dragons Miniature Game starter set which used map tiles instead of poster maps, it is very easy to create quick dungeon rooms. Just put two tiles adjacent to each other on the copy machine. It will come out like this…

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So that is just one quick way to create visually appealing, easy to store erasable battlegrids that don’t take up much space.

I also created my own large erasable battlemat: I got a clear plastic desktop writing pad and a pad of squard flipchart paper with one inch squares. I just folded one sheet in half and put it underneath the writing pad. Very smooth surface, very easy to clean, almost no stain and the best part, you can also put a professional poster map underneath instead of a blank sheet.

So if any of you has some tips and tools to share I would be happy to hear from you.