Dragon Snacks 3

It’s the last Tuesday of the month, and that means it’s time for more of those mental morsels, Dragon Snacks! This month, I’m talking about roleplaying. What follows are tips and tricks to make the roleplaying in your game smoother, better, and more consistent.

Why should you portray every NPC? Here’s the situation: two characters are talking to each other, neither are players, and you’re not the best at voices. So, these two similar sounding people are talking to each other, neither of them are using names, and you look like a crazy person. And this entire time, a group of people are idly watching you. Why not put one of them to work? Give the lines for one of those NPCs to one of your players. Let them portray the NPC. They’re going to hear this stuff anyway, why not get them more involved?

Your villain is wishy-washy and has a vague plan. This is a common problem (one I’ve had at least). Sometimes things just start to lose focus. The campaign is being changed by the actions of your players and you’re desperate for them to keep encountering your villain.  You start changing things and putting your villain in situations that just don’t fit his goals. A great exercise to avoid this is to write your villains goal down. Write down his goal, his plan, and how he’s going to get there. This will keep you on course when you’re in the game and your group starts throwing curveballs at you.

How do you make it obvious that players are dealing with members of a certain group? There’s an easy way to solve this problem. Take three adjectives that describe a typical member of your group, write them down, and whenever they meet a nameless member of the group, keep those three adjectives in mind while portraying. For example, in my current campaign, there are a group of warriors dedicated to Bane (evil god of war) called the Wyrmbreaker Knights. If I was to describe them in three words, I’d say “driven, loyal, and cocksure.” Whenever they encounter a member of this group, he’ll act accordingly, and hopefully the players will be able to tell him over an NPC that isn’t a member of the Wyrmbreaker Knights.

There you have it. Some hints to help your roleplaying. Next week, I’ll write about the start of my new campaign. You know how I love beginnings.

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Dragon Snacks #2

It’s the last Tuesday of the month and that means it’s time for more of those mighty morsels called Dragon Snacks. So let’s get right into the Dragon’s kitchen.

War, what is it good for? When was the last time you played in a campaign where war was the major focus? Sure, some settings have overtones of a coming war, or they have war going on in the background, but when was the last time it was front and center, the main event of the entire game? It’s an interesting space to play in. You can have battles as a regular occurrence, tense political intrigue, and a very active world with shifting boarders. A campaign based on war can hook players quickly and keep them actively involved for a long time.

To the death, I grapple with thee. Why do all fights usually end in the death of one or more of the groups involved? It’s like a natural instinct for any group, no matter the system. I think a part of it is players always assume their enemies are out to murder them. I know I’ve done it. Maybe try to give your players an alternative to killing their enemies or put them in a situation that they have to escape from to see what their instincts are. Maybe it’ll teach them that death isn’t always the answer.

Retro is the way to go. I’ve noticed a recent trend in games that is a step back towards their origin and I really dig it. Dungeons and Dragons was originally developed from a miniatures wargame called Chainmail. There’s a little more to the story than that, but that’s the basics of the basics. Recent games like Savage Worlds and Iron Kingdoms are closer to miniatures games than RPGs. I love minis, so this greater emphasis on them is fine by me. From what I’ve seen, this new trend has lead to faster game play and smoother game sessions (at least from what I’ve seen).

So there you have it, three more Dragon Snacks. As always, comment here if you have anything to say on these subjects.

 

Dragon Snacks #1

Welcome to Dragon Snacks, my new monthly feature here at Dragons in the Kitchen. Sometimes I get cool ideas for adventure hooks or jumping off points that just don’t merit an entire post. Sometimes I have things I want to talk about, like games, products, or things I’m working on, that also don’t deserve an entire post.  And sometimes I just have ideas to throw into the ether. This is what Dragon Snacks is going to cover. Every month I’ll give you three morsels that will hopefully help you with your gaming life.  Without further ado, here is the first installment of Dragon Snacks:

When was the last time you played a D&D adventure about ghosts? I was thinking about this the other day and I really couldn’t place an adventure I’d played, seen, or heard others talking about where ghosts were the major antagonists. Some adventures will have ghosts thrown in, but they never take a starring role. If you look at the Monster Manual, they seem like more of a pain in the ass than anything. But, if you treat it as more than number and throw in the lore ghosts become really interesting. The one thing that sticks out to me is possession. Imagine, players possessed by ghosts…

Swarms of vermin can make a viable adventure.  Why do adventurers always have to fight the wizard in his tower or the zombies that come at night? What a beleaguered village asks a group of passing adventurers to help with their rat problem? What if a city is so desperate to be rid of their plague of crows they put a bounty on the birds? The cool thing here is that it can stand as its own adventure or be a portent of something more powerful on the horizon.

I prefer minis. This might be obvious from reading my blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever put it into black and white. So here it is, given the choice between a game that uses minis and one that doesn’t, I will almost always pick the game that uses minis. I guess it just helps me visualize combat better. I always like it when players have a mini just for the character they’re currently playing (I do this). It makes me feel like they’re more invested in the game when they took the time to buy and paint something that will only ever be that one character.