How soft your fields so green…

norfrost

I should have been writing today, but this crawled out instead…

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#RPGaDay Day 22: Which RPGs are the easiest to run?

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Day 22: Which RPGs are the easiest to run?

ggygaxThe easy answer here is RPGs that focus on character more than mechanics.

One of my favorite quotes from D&D co-creator Gary Gygax is — “The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don’t need any rules.”

For me, games live or die based on interactions, be it between DM and player, or player and player.

Games that are not bogged down by herculean rules and complex math, that allow DMs and players to breathe and concentrate on character development, are what I gravitate toward.

It’s one of the reasons I took to 5th Edition so quickly.

While rolling dice is a thrilling part of any game system, those random dice rolls are seldom what stand out when you look back fondly on sessions past. It’s those visceral story elements and defining character moments that become the fabric in the tapestry chronicling your most treasured gaming experiences.

#RPGaDay Day 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words?

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Day 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words?

I am, once more, going to take you back to Christmas 1978 when I received TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons box set for Christmas. Inside, was a module and some horribly cheap plastic dice. The rulebook, written by John Eric Holmes, was a slim 48 pages, reproducing David Sutherland’s box art on the cover in blue.

HolmesBlue

In those 4 dozen pages, I was not only introduced to the rules of the game, the combat system, monsters, and spells, but I was transported from this world into a fantastical one born through the power of imagination.

And it inspired a hobby that has sustained me for nearly 40 years.

If that doesn’t qualify for getting the most from the least, I don’t know what does.

The DM’s Oath

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You’d think that with a new year dawning and all it would be apropos to have the first post of 2017 be light and positive. Well, that was the plan until I saw this “DM’s Oath” floating around facebook.

I could ignore it. I could look away and pretend it doesn’t exist, but where’s the fun in that?

Let’s dissect this thing, shall we?

I will run the game, not the players or their characters.

On the surface, this isn’t too bad, but I suspect this entire list was written by someone with very little practical Dungeon Mastering Experience. The fact is, sometimes a DM has to prod his characters and keep them on point.

I will coordinate the game with my players in all ways.

No. Absolutely not. Never. I am more than willing to discuss your character with you, to adapt your ideas into character backstory and such. I will even listen to your aspirations for your character, but a Dungeon Master is the storyteller here. Yes, D&D is all about co-operative storytelling, but the DM is the author and the players are the characters. Your characters influence the story and the narrative, but never forget who the Shaper of Worlds is.

I will run the game fairly for all my players.

Nope. I won’t  take an oath to this either. Why? The story comes first. Sometimes rules must be fluid to accommodate the narrative. Sometimes the dice need fudged. Sometimes a monster needs nerfed or buffed. Fair is relative. The only rule I adhere to is make the game entertaining and keep everyone engaged.

I will reward role playing, not punish a lack of it.

Poppycock. If you sit down at my table, I expect you to be immersed in the world. Good role playing will most certainly be rewarded. But if you’re checking out, intent on your cell phone, television, or what have you, chances are your character is going to feel it.

I will take responsibility for the safety and comfort of all my players.

There’s no room for bullying or being disrespectful, but I can see how a rule like this could get out of hand. I consider the people who play at my table members of my family. We look out for each other. If we have a guest, they will be treated with the same courtesy all my players experience.

I will not play my own character.

Ridiculous. Non-Player Characters are a necessary part of the game. Every one of them is my character.

I will remember that this is just a game.

If you truly believe that then you’re playing it wrong   😉