We hit what basically amounted to the first big story point and some resolution of that this session. The players after spending so much time at school get into a nice fight in this session.
Tag: Dungeons and Dragons
I want to continue talking about Dungeons and Dragons and what you need to bring to the table when you play a game. I talked about a lot of the physical things, who needs what books, everyone needing dice and paper and pencil. All of those things are good, but I think there is a more important thing that people need to bring to the table but less of a physical thing.
The first thing that everyone needs to bring to the table is fun. Dungeons and Dragons is meant to be a fun experience. Even if the game is serious and the stakes are high, it shouldn’t feel like work playing it. You should leave still having a memorable experience, and a memorable experience should be something that you want to tell others about and should be fun. Now, I want to say, fun doesn’t mean it needs to be goofy, silly, light-hearted, while all of those can be fun, so can a serious or darker game. But everyone at the table needs to help everyone else have fun while having fun themselves. As The RPG Academy says: “If you’re having fun you’re doing it right.”
Now, flexibility isn’t something that people might think about. And everything, really, ties into having fun. What I mean with flexibility is that as the Dungeon Master when the players find and almost kill the big bad guy or banish them somehow to another plane before you’re ready, you can adapt and change. When the Dungeon Master adds something to a player character’s backstory or a debt or obligation, the player can adapt to that.
Now, a Dungeon Master shouldn’t make a character do something that is out of character, and players shouldn’t be intentionally trying to punch holes into the story the Dungeon Master is helping the players weave. Those things, however, happen from time to time. Even when players and the Dungeon Master keep an eye out so it doesn’t happen, it will happen. So be flexible so when it does happen you are ready to adjust and adapt and keep having fun.
Preparation matters most to the Dungeon Master, and most to some Dungeon Master. I bullet point out a few keys for a session, and that is my preparation. For other Dungeon Masters preparation means that they spend hours planning out set piece encounters and building those set pieces, NPCs, and whatever else it might be. This also includes the campaign preparation of where the Dungeon Master wants to direct the whole of the game.
For the players, preparation means they know their characters. Also, when characters need to be leveled up, that is done by the start of the next session, if they don’t do it in the session. Knowing ones character entails the skills and bonuses that you have to stats, having an understanding or your spells or where to find what they do, knowing what new spells you have, how many spell slots you have, what various attacks do, and what your default is going to be on an attack.
Preparation isn’t fun always. I like figuring out the highlights for my next session, personally, but it seems like work at times as well. The reason we prepare goes back to having fun. Down time is not that much fun, a meandering story with little focus or changing focus is not as much fun. I put fun at the top for that reason, because having fun in the most important and everything else leads into it.
The RPG Academy really has it right here. Playing a game should always be about having fun. Getting rules perfectly right is less important than having fun. And attitude at the table should always be leading into having fun. As the Dungeon Master, you help people stay engaged by preparing and following the queues of the players. As players, you grab onto storylines and see where they go and give clear signs and directions to the Dungeon Master. You also don’t hog the spotlight from other players at the table.
What is the most important attitude at the Dungeons and Dragons gaming table for you?
It’s the holidays and the holidays have tons of stories that you can borrow from or steal for a D&D one shot, in fact, Acquisitions Inc. just did a holiday special that was A Christmas Carol, just with a whole lot more blood.
So let’s set the stage, this game everyone is going to be playing as Santa’s little helpers those wonderful Christmas elves. They’re busy getting ready for Christmas when they hear coming from Santa’s office “Ho Ho… Nooooooooooo” and when they go and look Santa Claus has been kidnapped. They have just enough time to jump through a portal as they see Santa being taken.
However, they don’t end up in the same place that the person was going, but instead they end up in a little world, a tiny little forest really and there are brightly colored eggs laying around.
What I’d want to do is run through a number of different holidays quickly. This might be only a one shot, or if you have some time off and want to get a few games in, maybe you split this up over a few. If you are just do a one shot, I’d have them face off against the Easter bunny first, or maybe cupid before they get to the Lich whose heart is not 3 sizes too small, but has turned to dust. They need to find Santa Claus, beat the lich, and get him back in time for Christmas. I’d probably create an in game timer or some sort for that countdown to Christmas.
Now, if you’re doing this over multiple nights, the timer is a bit longer, but I’d still have some sort of in game timer, but one that will give them a chance to face off against a few more holidays. I’d probably say the Easter Bunny, Cupid, and a Giant Turkey for sure, but maybe pick a weird holiday to add in as well, Arbor Day comes to mind, and have them face off against a giant living tree who is trying to skewer them, or maybe New Year’s and have it be a team-up of the New Year’s baby and the old last year, or maybe have the old last year transform into the New Year’s baby when their hit points go low enough. I’d also have minions for as many of these guys as you can. Eventually they’ll win and you can have them face off against a Lich that is going to want to kill them in a world of Halloween.
I think another thing that you really should do is lean into the holiday that they are facing off against. It should be it’s own holiday world with lots of crazy things happening in it. For Easter, everything in the world, minus things like the Easter Bunny, probably some little chick minions, to be made of candy or to be a dyed Easter egg, something like that would be memorable, and the players might get distracted trying to eat as much candy as possible. You could even make the fact that everything is candy be an encounter where if they eat too much they have to make saves against being poisoned, or maybe treat it as a haste spell or something like that where maybe they take a level of exhaustion after the affect wears off. And I’d try and come up with something like that for each location.
Finally, you are going to face off against the Lich in the world of Halloween, because where else would a Lich be hanging out, Arbor Day? This is less about finding that phylactery and more about beating the lich and getting Santa. If/when they beat the Lich, that shouldn’t just get them Santa, they should then have a bit of a challenge to rescue Santa. Or maybe during the fight they also need to rescue Santa. Clearly the Lich is an evil mastermind, so they are going to have some sort of weird contraption that is dropping Santa slowly into a pit of acid or something like that, and maybe your characters aren’t actually at the level to fight a Lich, but of course Santa would be.
If you could play this with your family, I think everyone would have fun with it. Definitely this is something that you all agree to, and as the DM, you bring in a batch of prebuilt characters so that you can just sit down and get going, especially for the one shot, but even for the longer one if you have a short time around Christmas, say 3-4 nights.
Anyways, Happy Holidays for this Friday Night D&D. Would playing in a game like this be fun? Have you done any gaming over the holidays with family or anything like that before?
After a Holiday break and before another Holiday break, we are back for some more D&D. But we had the full group of Bokken, Barrai, Thrain, and Kip back for one more time in 2020. Last time, if you remember, our Bokken player was missing …
Become those who songs are sung about in the epic dungeon crawler from Steamforged Games. Pros Quick to set-up Non-standard fantasy races/classes Dungeon crawl Session Length Campaign Game Price Cons Dungeon Crawl D20 based Very much D&D inspired Price The Page I think that they …