True Tiles: Next Generation Terrain?

Posted by on June 6, 2017

I own a fair amount of “standard” dungeon terrain, the kind with 1″ squares and walls appropriately sized for standard D&D minis.

I break it out most days, and players “ooh” and “ahh,” and then after a little while, something happens:

They start to forget where things are.

I deploy terrain precisely so that players won’t forget where things are. What’s happening? I studied my players’ actions with all the focus of a biologist, and then I noticed something:

A mini in the middle of a hallway, with walls just on either side of the mini, is only visible if you’re standing up.

Inevitably, a player will sit down. And then he or she can only see about a quarter of the lovely dungeon I’ve spent lots of time and money on.

How to solve that? With True Tiles.

These are 3D printable files, so you can print them yourselves, or have them printed and shipped to you with services like 3D Hubs and Shapeways. Not only are they nicely designed, they have two key features:

1) They keep each wall short, only about 1/4″ tall. That means you can sit down and still see the entire map, while preserving the topography of the dungeon.

This also means you can place dungeon features literally on top of the walls: doors and hazards sit atop of the walls, held in place with tabs on either side of the walls. This also makes it easy to re-arrange the position of doors, windows, and other features while you’re laying out the dungeon.

2) All squares, even those next to a wall, are large enough to fit a 1″ mini, while each square is, well, square (2.5″ wide). So all your tiles will fit next to each other–no more “I’d like to put this here but that wall juts out enough to create a dead space”–and you can always fit a mini on each square. Very cool.

Now, granted, most of the files are in downloadable packs that cost USD $9 each. However, you get quite a few tiles in each pack, and the designer’s provided a free sample set of basic tiles for you to download and print.

I’ve been using these for some time and they work very well. My players like them, too.

(And in case you’re wondering: I wasn’t paid for this. I just like them.)

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