|Utgar Skullcleaver: professional barbarian|
I've taken stabs in the past at integrating miniatures into my RPG gaming. I was musing recently on what was probably the most successful outing in this regard, one of the greatest D&D campaigns I've participated in. It took place over summer break between my freshman and sophomore years of college (back when we could fill a whole day with gaming, so it probably was the equivalent of about a six-month campaign nowadays). We had had a couple would-be campaigns fizzle on the launchpad and, as we kicked around ideas on how to get back on the horse, we came up with an interesting gimmick: we would, as a group, go to the local game store and pick out miniatures. The players (myself included that time) would pick out a miniature and then make a character to match what they had gotten (my own choice is pictured above), while the DM would pick out some monster minis and design the first adventure around what he had gotten.
It worked a treat and set the campaign off to a great start. The funny thing is that we still failed to gel with the idea of using miniatures in a tactical way. After the first adventure ran its course, the tactical combats sort of petered out and our PC minis, although still present at the table, served more as mascots than as playing pieces. Nevertheless, I really think the strange alchemy produced by conceptualizing a campaign by choosing from the game store's available stock is really what produced such a successful campaign, and I'd love to give it another try. It's strange to me that we didn't really understand that at the time and never tried the same gimmick again, even though it was so successful. It's a shame, really, because I'm not currently located near any well-stocked game stores (which are rarer and rarer these days anyway) and I don't think one could really replicate the gimmick with online shopping.