roleplaying – the acting out, or performance, of a particular role
What is Dungeons & Dragons without roleplaying? A video game of the mind. What do I mean by this? Well, let’s examine. Assume that no roleplaying is allowed. You play Vengeance, a dragonborn warrior by choosing his actions and guiding him through an adventure. You have a set list of things you can do (powers, feats, rituals, etc.) and you execute them and wait for the consequence. To me, this sounds like the slight upgrade of a video game. (The upgrade being that your imagination does not have a special effects budget) “Vengeance uses breath weapon and deals the orc 24 points of damage.”
What is Dungeons & Dragons with roleplaying? An immersing experience that allows you to stretch your creativity and step out of your own shoes and into the game. Vengeance’s background now affects the game. Vengeance was a tiefling general, cast out by his own people for avenging his murdered family. He contracted a fatal disease but through a ritual and the sacrifice of a friend, Vengeance’s being was placed in the body of a recently-killed dragonborn warrior. Holy-roleplaying-opportunity, Batman! (This story actually happened in our campaign…)
Now you are conflicted! Now you are angry! You’re stuck inside the body of a race you despise yet your own race cast you out! Do you take advantage of this new body and get revenge? Do you accept your punishment and live out your life the best you can? These affect your every decision! Your game now has depth. Your game now has meaning. “Channeling my inner anger, I unleash this new breath weapon in a fury! The fire burns the orc for 24 damage. I step back, amazed at what this new body can do!”
Roll With It
I hope the above example illustrates just what roleplaying can do for you and your game. Not only will it bring out the fun, it will fix a lot of gaming problems. Meta-gaming is reduced, players that are in-character waste less time, and distractions are fewer. To truly add roleplaying depth, have your players each write a background for their character and imagine they went through that. How would it affect their decisions? The way they talk? The way they act?
What are your thoughts/comments/concerns?
Hey there, readers!
First off, I would like to share this link and let everyone know that a dungeon of mine was nominated and I am up for Acerak’s Apprentice in Chris Perkins’ weekly column. The voting ends tomorrow, I believe. Check it out here and vote:
I will not tell which is mine as I hope everyone votes for the dungeon they believe to be best. Now onto my content for the week…
This past week I learned a few lessons in running a D&D campaign. My campaign “A Quest for Starfire’s Gaze” has been running since December 2010. It’s a 4th edition campaign that started at level 1 and we are currently at level 22 and in the epic tier. We have begun the final dungeon in the 4th edition Tomb of Horrors adventure. (I will not post any spoilers, I promise!) Here are some quick lessons learned from our last session:
- Keep D&D sessions to 5-6 hours at the maximum. We played for 11 hours at our last session for the first time ever. Players start to get pissy, roleplaying suffers, and as a DM…you drain yourself. More gets done and more fun is had in the shorter games.
- Be careful when adding new players mid-campaign. Adding someone is always fun. We’ve only added one person between levels 1-22. This week we added 2 new PCs. Person A clashed with a current PC (which is no fair to either) and person B was a phenomenal player and roleplayer but he was so into it that he and person A also clashed (is there a pattern here with player A?)
- Tornado warnings tend to interrupt games. As does extreme hail and funnel clouds visible from your window. Just know that.
- Have plenty of space. Cramped play space is no fun. We had two huge tables put together and the room it allowed actually made the game more fun. Have plenty of space!
- Have fun but stay focused and keep the game moving. You get more done, have more fun, and everything stays smooth when you focus on the task at hand and don’t waste time. Keep the game focused and keep it moving.
Use these to make your games better and don’t forget to go vote for Acerak’s Apprentice!!!
Hello world! A few ideas have been floating around in my mind recently so I thought I would share them with all of you. Here are a few tips that I have found really help bring a campaign to life!
Branch out. Embrace other fantasy/science fiction channels. I have recently gotten very into reading fantasy novels. I love it! It’s a great hobby that has more benefits than sitting around playing video games (although I’m not opposed to that idea either 😉 ) For example, I am currently reading R.A. Salvatore’s series The Legend of Drizzt. (Catch my upcoming review of it at www.fantasyrock.wordpress.com )If you are not familiar with it, it’s about a drow named Drizzt from the Underdark. I know 1000 times more about the drow, their culture, and the Underdark after starting to read these novels. That will make my campaign so much more real and fun when my characters encounter any of those things. It broadens your imagination which drives every game of D&D. Try it.
My other biggest tip may catch some off guard. Get away from D&D. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Even when my group plays once a week for long enough, I feel overworked and burned out. The best thing to regenerate your passion and imagination for it is to take a break. This doesn’t need to be a long time. Even a week or two spent away from it will help. Embrace another hobby. Play some video games, get outside, workout, start cooking as a hobby. Do anything but D&D. When you feel like you’ve had enough time away then start thinking about your next session. I promise, if you do this right, you will feel great when you jump back in. As with anything, you and your players can get burnt out so take a break!
Just two tips today but I felt like I needed to share them. They have really helped me and I hope they can help you. Thanks for reading!
Any questions? Comments?