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This discontinuity in arguments about RPGs fascinates me: miniatures-based situations get in the way of RP and narrative, apparently, while games encouraging players to draw frequent maps and diagrams do not. What is it about molded plastic figures or the precision of measured spaces that clogs the gears of narrative?

I ask as someone who did not use miniatures in any RPG capacity until D&D3.x and has found plenty of fuel and clarity for both narrative and roleplay in games with and without miniatures. Why is a map okay until we set miniatures on it?