#RPGaDay2017 Day 13: Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

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Day 13: Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

Growing up, D&D was much more of an adversarial game — DM vs Player, sometimes Player vs Player. It wasn’t necessarily how I ran my games, but there was a bit of that element to sessions I orchestrated. It was the Gygax style. The modules were designed that way. That type of thinking was fostered and encouraged.

I slowly tried to edge further and further away from that mind-set, but I recall a session in the late 80s that was a tipping point for me. I found myself punishing players, often times for performing perfectly reasonable actions, for no other reason than it was ingrained into my way of thinking.

This one particular night, eight of us were crowded around the small dining table in our basement apartment. We were in the thick of a campaign, inspired quite heavily, to be honest, by Darkwalker of Moonshea.

The adventuring party had traveled overland, on horseback, when they stumbled upon a cave. Tying their horses up, they entered, exploring the complex and battling a fair number of underdark denizens.

Upon returning to the surface, all their mounts had been killed by goblins.

There was no reason for me to have done that other than to be cruel, to punish them for… what exactly? For daring to own a horse? For going into a dangerous lair, and survive, only to be stranded without transport.

One player in particular had roleplayed her ass-off with her horse — naming it, taking time to feed it, bath it, brush it. And I killed it.

That game was the last straw for me. I felt bad for weeks afterward. that session killed the last smidgen of adversarial DM that lingered in me and I am thankful for it.

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#RPGaDay Day 8: What’s a good RPG for a 2 hour session?

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Day 8: What’s a good RPG for a 2 hour session?

Any RPG can be adapted to a two hour time frame. I’m running a two and a half hour game on Mondays and a two hour game on Saturdays. Both are Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Of course, these are also “big campaigns” and our sessions are like tiny slices of a much broader narrative.

So, wrapping my head around this question, I think a game that is sort of tailor made for a two hour session is Robert E. Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of.

Howard’s Conan tales were, for the most part, a series of short stories, written and published between 1932 and 1936. There was a single novel and three novellas among the original twenty-one yarns. The rest are all considered novelettes.

Conan’s world lends itself to lightning-paced narratives and the game mechanics in Modiphius’ adaptation is a terrific match for this, duplicating the same kind of visceral experience that Robert E. Howard wrote so well.

Two hours to kill? Conan fits the bill.

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#RPGaDay2017 Day 7: What was your most impactful RPG session?

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Day 7: What was your most impactful RPG session?

My most impactful rpg session, without a doubt, occurred during a one on one game with my son, Connor.

The year was 2013. The game was Dungeons & Dragons: 2nd Edition. I was the DM. Connor was Valeros, a human fighter.

Why was this so impactful? Because it sparked a love for the game in my son that nearly rivals my own. He has grown to become a terrific roleplayer and a brilliant dungeon master.

In addition to saddling up with us oldtimers on a weekly basis, he also runs his own games for a group of great kids.

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And to think, it all started with a human fighter befriending an ogre named Thun (“Thun rhymes with fun!”) and the sneaky little goblin murder/thief Soggybottom.

He took to the game right away, became invested in the story, his character, and, more importantly, made a real connection with his NPC compatriots.

He was heartbroken when Thun died in battle and overjoyed when he was resurrected by powerful magics later.

Yeah, that first session created a monster… and I couldn’t be happier.

#RPGaDay2017 Day 6: What would you do if you could game for a week?

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Day 6: You can game every day for a week.
Describe what you’d do.

Well, as a DM, this would be a godsend, presuming, as this is a hypothetical, that I could have all my players in a single room for an entire week of D&D.

First, I would build a massive and elaborate set, using combinations of Dwarven Forge tiles, model railroad terrain, and various other concoctions.

Something like this —

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Having a solid week to immerse ourselves in the game, I would build layers of political intrigue and Machiavellian scheming that would culminate in an epic castle siege and rollicking battle that would be heralded for ages to come.

What? A guy can dream can’t he?

#RPGaDay2017 Day 5: Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?

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Day 5: Which RPG cover best captures
the spirit of the game?

This was a tough one for me. There have been so many great covers over the years.  I thought, first, of the classic AD&D Player’s Handbook, the original Call of Cthulhu, and West End Games’ Star Wars. All good choices, all capture the essence of the game inside, as do so many others.

This has particularly improved, I think, in recent years, with more action-oriented illustrations taking center stage.

So, giving this a lot of thought, I have settled on a book cover that meets the criteria of the challenge and just so happens to be the cover that brought me into the hobby —

OLD DD BOX

The Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, written for TSR by John Eric Holmes, caught my eye in 1978. I had no idea what RPGs were. I only knew that I wanted to be a part of what was happening on that cover.

The artwork by David C. Sutherland III may be simplistic by today’s standards, but I can speak from experience — it spoke to a 12 year old kid with dreams fueled by Robert E. Howard and JRR Tolkien.

So, yes, a lot of games have prefect covers that capture the spirit of the roleplaying experience, but there’s only one game that made me covet it based on the artwork alone.

I’m happy to say I got that box set for Christmas in 1978. I still have it, tucked away in my den. The cheap plastic dice, whose recessed numbers were meticulously filled with crayon, have long since disappeared (save for one d12 that is more round than angled), but I still have the module and ads…

That’s where my journey began, and it was the artwork that lured me in.

#RPGaDay2017 Day 4: What RPG have you played the most since August 2016?

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Day 4: What RPG have you played the most since August 2016?

Well, it’s really no contest. The clear and undisputed winner of that honour falls to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

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We’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons 5e pretty much since its launch in 2014 and were playing 2nd Edition before that.

I like the streamlined nature of the game, the overall mechanics that avoid, for the most part, complicated mathematics. As a roleplaying experience, it has greatly improved the quality of our game sessions.

By tightening the mechanics, making them less math intensive, the has become much more story driven and less of a murderfest.

In the past year, Conn and I have played a bit of Conan and Occult Detective RPG, of course, and I’ve read quite a few rulebooks for non-Wizards games, but within our three ongoing campaigns, it’s been D&D5e.

And I’m more than okay with that.

Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Cover Art by Aaron Riley

critical role poster

Who wouldn’t want this hanging in their game room?

Well, now you can.

This smashing cover art from Green Ronin’s  Tal’Dorei Campaign Guide, illustrated by fan-favorite artist Aaron Riley, is available for purchase in a number of sizes and ranging in price from $15 – $80.

This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size and features a minimum one-inch border.

Visit IN PRINT to bring this brilliant work home for you and your party to be inspired by.