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Animated Dungeons & Dragons Boards Look Like The Future

Paper? Cardboard? Plastic models? That’s some 20th century D&D shit. The adventures of the future look like this.

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Dynamic Dungeons is a one-man effort to get tabletop gaming looking as good as possible through the use of animated maps. Birds fly overhead, water rolls in, that sort of thing.

Here’s a woodland scene, for example, that has wind in the trees, wandering animals and the ability to transition from day to night.

And here’s a fortress assault, again with a day/night transition, complete with fires on the battlements and flags snapping at the wind:

Perhaps most impressive, though, is this galleon board, 100% selling the look of a ship cutting through the waves, its sails rippling in the breeze:

These maps—which include ambient sounds as well—aren’t designed for a some weird custom gaming setup; they’re just animated files that you can use on a TV screen, whether you using your own main television (flipped and covered with a perspex screen to avoid scratches) or if you decide to go and buy another TV specifically for this purpose.

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Which sounds expensive, but if you play a lot of D&D (or anything, of course, since these are just grid maps, meaning you can use them in all sorts of tabletop games), the cost of an old TV looks 100% worth it for this kind of effect.

You can get them here, and they range in price from $2-$5 per map pack (the higher costs get you more effects, like the daylight transitions).

UPDATE: Reader Tom got in touch to say he also dabbles in making animated maps, and they’re awesome as well! Here’s one you can just leave running in fullscreen on YouTube while you play:

You can see more of Tom’s maps at his site.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

You know what I want? I just want a computer adaptation of the D&D ruleset where you can drag and drop map objects to create a dungeon/castle/village/city/campsite in a couple minutes. That all the stats are handled automatically. And you just play the game without the DM having to spend dozens of hours preparing for every session.

It would be great having that all rolled into a single package.

Things like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20 help somewhat, but they both struggle on implementing the rules and both fail on the map generation. Having to buy everything piecemeal prevents me from even attempting.