Hello heroes! Of the new products coming for the Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game, I am most excited for the playmat! I conceived of this neoprene mat almost as a player-facing Gamemaster’s screen. I wanted a central location for players to find all of the reference material they needed at a glance. Things like what Hero Points and Extra Effort can be used for, a space for the new Condition Cards, somewhere to keep track of Hero Point tokens, the new Damage track, and a space to roll dice. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, one of my guiding design philosophies for this game was to make it accessible to new players.
I also wanted to take an opportunity to encourage mindfulness in gameplay. There are 4 Condition Card slots and 5 Hero Point slots on the mat, something I chose rather deliberately. I wanted GM’s to see those 5 Hero Point spots and think about filling them throughout the course of a game session. Hero Points are meant to be awarded often in this game. They play a substantial role in allowing PCs to contribute to the group storytelling at the heart of tabletop RPGs and enable PCs to pull off legendary shenanigans that will be the talk of your group for years to come. Gamemasters, please give out more during your games, I promise they will make things more fun for your players and for you.
I also wanted players to see the four Condition Card slots near the list of actions to encourage them to experiment in combat. Exchanging bruises until someone is unconscious is a perfectly great way to approach combat, but there are so many other options in Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game for standard actions and attacks. You can try to overwhelm an opponent to force them to do something you want them to, trip them to make it easier for people to attack them up close, inflict the Impaired Condition through an Affliction to make all of their rolls worse, the possibilities are endless!
There was a little bit of pushback about the mat. It’s not a traditional tabletop RPG product and conceptually it was hard to visualize. However, once people saw the final design it became a “I didn’t know I wanted that, but I definitely do now,” moment. I hope that is something many of you experienced as well and I can’t wait to see these mats in my home and con games!