Posted in EpicTable Blog on January 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm
As part of my prep for our first session, I wanted to get some important NPCs and upcoming monsters setup as NPCs. Game mechanics are mostly managed outside EpicTable (though see post on character sheets in EpicTable). I didn’t want character sheets for any of the NPCs or even any of the monsters. I just wanted character portraits so everyone would know what the NPCs and monsters looked like.
I considered fishing around for top-down tokens. EpicTable lets you specify a separate image for a map token…but I don’t always like using top-down tokens. Unless you’re very familiar with the thing(s) your fighting, it’s tough (for me at least) to get a sense for who’s who from the top-down token. I actually kind of prefer the pog-style tokens, and EpicTable will make a pog-style token automatically from the character portrait.
Abandoning my thoughts of top-down tokens, I went through the first part of the PDF, looking for character portraits. It would be incredibly helpful if Paizo provided these as PNG images, but they don’t. So, I started with a screenshot…only the portraits aren’t exactly isolated. They have the page background, and some of them have text wrapped around them. I can maybe—maybe—ignore the background, but I can’t ignore text in my character portraits. So, I started cleaning them up in an editor. It struck me that there must be a better way. There is. There are various tools out there that let you extract images from PDFs. They’re not all created equal, and the result isn’t what you’d think. They don’t all just tumble out as ready-to-use PNGs. Extracting images from a PDF is a topic unto itself, so for now, lets leave it as: I pulled images for several characters from the PDF. If you’re interested in how I did that, let me know.
While I was at it, I pulled, not just character portraits, but a full-length character image for one of the characters that seemed especially imposing or worthy of attention, an image of the caravan in the midst of the adventure’s first encounter, and some maps for the ruined monastery that I figured we may or may not get to this first session.
I made shared characters for the important NPCs, filling in nothing but their names and portraits, and made private characters for the first couple adversaries I’d spring on the group. The difference is, the shared characters were in the portrait bar, immediately visible to the players. As with the shared NPCs, I only bothered with names and portraits for the monsters and adversary NPCs.
I added handouts for the full-length character shot and for the picture of the initial encounter and left these unshared, so I could pop them up on the players’ screens at the appropriate moment.
This is one of a series of posts about the Legacy of Fire campaign I’m running for my old gaming group on EpicTable. For the background on this series, check out the original EpicTable Legacy of Fire post, or you can access the entire EpicTable Legacy of Fire series, where I’ll be discussing our game, how I prep, how I run the game, and all the interesting things we run into using EpicTable.