By the time your average Dungeons and Dragons player has failed his third death save and gone off to that great dungeon in the sky, he or she's spent nearly $800,000 on miniatures and various-sided dice. (Trust us, it adds up.) Keeping that number in mind, we'd like to turn your attention to an alternative to tangible tabletop gaming: Surfacescapes, an in-development application for the Microsoft Surface, which attempts to recreate the D&D experience on an outrageously large touch screen. As the Surface currently costs $12,500, the lifetime savings would be abundant.
Sure, there's a few kinks to work out -- the dice roll a little slow for our tastes, though this would make saving throws infinitely more dramatic. There's also the small matter of how introducing this technology into the game might diminish the whole "role-playing" element. If used just for combat encounters, it could be a powerful streamlining tool. For everything else, it would need to be fitted with an Imagination Manifestation Drive™, and those don't exist yet.
Check out a demo of Surfacescape's proof of concept in the video after the jump.