Tag: Role Playing

Friday Night D&D – Waves of the Neon Seas

Friday Night D&D – Waves of the Neon Seas

The waters lap against the tranquil shores of the Neon Seas, their vibrant colors splash as each waves crests before it licks the shore. It’s feast day and the sounds of children splashing in the water and laughing can be heard as everyone around is 

Your Hero Has Done Too Much – D&D Advice

Your Hero Has Done Too Much – D&D Advice

So you’re starting out a campaign at level 1 and you’re rolling into your first session with your rogue. They’ve gotten a name for themselves, they helped steal the royal jewels of Hemenklot and the Dwarven empire. After getting that money, they went and sailed 

My First D&D Character

My First D&D Character

Now, this isn’t actually my first D&D character, I’m still waiting for a chance to roll up one, forever a DM. But I want to talk about some things to think about when creating your first D&D character and how you’re going to want to roll them up. This is going to be pretty general, I’m not going to tell you what gear to pick, what class is the easiest, anything like that. Instead, I want to give you some bigger picture things to think about when you create your first D&D character.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

What Archetype Of Character Do I Want To Be

This is pretty big, but we’re talking about a pretty big generality here, do you want to be a sneaky character, or maybe a helpful one, maybe you want to be able to rush into battle or sling spells from afar. Think about the broad terms that you can play. Bring this general idea to the table for your character creation as it’ll give you something to build off of and help you make more informed choices. Another way to do this is to think about your favorite people, normally in fiction, but could be from the real world, and think about what makes them them. If you love Yoda, what is essential Yoda, we have the age, the wisdom and the force powers, but when he was younger, slightly, also could be a nimble fighter. So look for those characters or people you really love and think about what would make them an interesting D&D character.

This Is a Chance to Play Pretend But Start Similar To Yourself

Now, I just got done saying, pick your archetype and pick whatever sounds like fun, but infuse it with your personality. Playing a role playing game is great because you get to take on other personalities and dive into a life and a world that isn’t you, but for your first character, unless you’ve done a lot of acting, it’s going to generally be you. Even if you don’t want it to be, unless your a seasoned actor or improv performer, you’re going to drop back into playing yourself or making decisions based off of what you’d actually do. So instead of pulling away from that and being frustrated when it does happen or feeling like you aren’t on the level of Critical Role, instead make your first character like you, but with a few twists on it. Give yourself a few fun things that you can interact with that are different than yourself, but keep general personality pretty close to your own, because most of the time it’ll end up there for your early player characters.

Constitution Is Your Friend

I don’t care that you want to be this wispy elf wizard who is gaunt and stares off into the distance while vowing to never eat again, constitution is your friend. It’s easy to think that it mainly matters for fighters or barbarians or anyone on the front line, and that stat is very important to them, but a -1 on constitution for a wizard who has D6 for their hit die, that means you start off with 5 health. There are a lot of monsters that can kill you at that point. At worst have a 0 in constitution, but most classes and characters, I really think having a +1 one is huge, even if your just taking the average of your hit die, that +1 is really important, and if you’re rolling for your hit points each level, that keeps you from ever doing too poorly.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Backgrounds Can Evolve

With the background you are picking some personality traits, ideals, flaws, and bonds. For your first character I’m telling you to keep a broader picture of who they are going to be, and the background can feel like it’s locking you in. Talk with your DM, and they should know this already, but backgrounds and personality are fairly fluid in the first few sessions. You might have wanted this charismatic Barbarian, but instead they are kind of a dick to everyone. Or maybe you want them to be the face, but instead they use their charisma as a quiet confidence and less of the face. Less the background will be changing, but the personality traits, flaws, bonds, and ideals might change and evolve as you go. Totally expect this to happen, especially if you are going with a bigger departure from your own personality.

Finally, Being Bad at Something Isn’t Bad, It’s Good

When playing an imaginary character there’s a strong desire to be good at everything, because who doesn’t want to be awesome at everything all the time? But that’s not going to be the most fun character. It might be pretty fun for you, but it won’t be fun for the other people at the table if you’re better at the things they’re supposed to be good at. But beyond that, you’re playing a character who is supposed to grow and evolve throughout the game. And, you are also going to be put in more fun and interesting situations if you aren’t good at everything. Maybe you’re the fighter, why should you be good at sneaking around, you’re just ready to bash stuff with a sword, so when you fail to sneak all the time, that’s something you can play into. Your deficiencies on the character sheet are not weaknesses but role playing opportunities for you to create a fun and memorable character.

Now, there’s a whole lot more I could talk about when building your first character, and I’ll probably go more into the details of it in future articles, but these are some big picture items to consider when building your first character that might be overlooked. What general advice have you given new players, if you’ve played a bunch before, for their first character? What piece of advice stands out to you from this article?

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Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 4

Friday Night D&D – Tower of the Gods Session 4

We were back after a couple of weeks off into the Tower of the Gods campaign. A quick recap, Bokken, Barrai, and Thrain took the test of the Tower and ended up with new powers, and got into Strawgoh, a school of assassination and dark 

Pillars of D&D (Part 2: Combat)

Pillars of D&D (Part 2: Combat)

Dungeons and Dragons is built upon three pillars, Combat, Social Encounters, and Exploration. Now, these pillars don’t always evenly share the load, nor should they. I talk some about why and what the basics of these pillars are in Part 1. But now I am 

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

I’ve previously posted about this (You can find it here), but that was from more of a world building aspect, if you’re playing in a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and your character is magical how does that affect how you might role play your character in the game?

Quick refresher, high magic means that magic is common and is used for common tasks or that towns will often have a healer or someone who can cast some spells. When people see you cast a spell they won’t want to either worship you or burn you as a witch. Low magic means that magic is rare. If you can do magic, you might be revered or you might be seen as an abomination that should be killed.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how it can affect how you role play in a game.

I think if you’re a magic user in a high magic world, you aren’t going to be set apart at a lower level. A spell like mend or cure wounds, your small towns are probably going to have someone who can do those things. People are just going to see that as normal and it won’t be until you start casting higher level spells that you’ll be considered special. In game, I would use that a motivation for a character, you want to be the best smartest wizard, most powerful sorcerer, or devout cleric. It gives a reason for a character to go off adventuring from their small town where they might be able to live a good life, but they want more because they’ve heard of that powerful and revered wizard who now consults for nations and can travel to other planes of existence, you want to be like that. Or maybe you have a rival who is just slightly better than you.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

You can also, since magic is common, take some role playing queues from maybe you are just common and not needed in your town. You can almost be kicked out to go find a small town where your skills are needed or maybe you’re just not as good yet, as the person in town, so they want you to take over as being the towns healer, but they send you away to get more experience first. So instead of leaving to make a name, you might be leaving to adventure so that you can come back home. I like this one because it can give you a nice hook for adventuring and gives the DM something to play with.

Let’s look at the flip side of this, what if there is very little magic in the world, how do you role play that?

Firstly, there’s always getting kicked out of your town because you’re a witch or needing to flee, especially if it isn’t a holy magic. So any class that isn’t Cleric or Paladin could be seen as being some sort of abomination. And if you’re a Warlock, maybe your pact actually is with a demon. But, how can you use that to role play. You might be out to prove that you are in fact great. Or prove that your town should have kept you around because some day they might need you. This is a very chaotic and potentially neutral or even possible for an evil character. And, again I like it for a hook as a DM, at some point in time, when you have the power to stop something to happening, I’d force you to make a decision, do you go back to your home town to save them or do you let them burn because they kicked you out? If you still have family there, did they kick you out or was it the town, do you need to still save them?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Or, on the other hand, you might be almost revered. Does that make your character pompous because they can do something else that others can’t and everyone loves them for it? Will they hold that over everyone? I can see a couple of backstory hooks, one where the town sends out the person to save them from some impending doom because you are the best person for it in the town and you must be able to save them because you have magic. But what happens if you can’t? The other would be if you’re playing more a pompous character, are you going to go out and make a name for yourself because the town you’re from is too small? If someone did that, I would then definitely have something happen to the town that you could have stopped, and how does that affect the character? Is it an acceptable loss for their fame or do they feel guilt over something having happened?

There are a ton of hooks you can choose to play around with for both low and high magic worlds and playing a spell caster in them. I didn’t even get into how it might affect party dynamics, but that’s something you’d probably need to role play out with your own adventuring group. Do any of the hooks I’ve presented interest you? Have you played a character like any of those before?

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Win with the Min in D&D

Win with the Min in D&D

Yesterday’s article was about min/maxing a character. Just a quick recap, this is where you make the ideal build for your character so that you are the best at whatever area of the game you want to be in and have the most optimized build 

D&D to the Max and the Min

D&D to the Max and the Min

If you’ve been around pen and paper RPG players or computer game RPG players, you might have heard of a term called “Min/Maxing”. This is the practice of putting together a character that is the most efficient for what you need in a given game. 

You, Me, and NPC – Building Interesting NPC’s in D&D

You, Me, and NPC – Building Interesting NPC’s in D&D

I’ve been busy with my top 100 list and Halloween for the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t written much about Dungeons and Dragons. Today I’m getting back to it and look at creating an NPC for Dungeons and Dragons.

This is a topic that I believe that I’ve touched on before, but I wanted to revisit it, because it’s been a while, and I think I wrote about it a bit more generally. Like I did with Greenfang and building out a town in Dungeons and Dragons, I want to go through the process of building out an NPC when I do it on my best days.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

So let’s start out with, what is an NPC? An NPC is a non-player character. The players at the table are playing the PCs (player characters), and the DM is controlling the rest of the characters whom they interact with, whether it’s a shop keep, a quest giver, a priestess, or the BBEG (big bad evil guy/gal) of the campaign. Anyone whom the players are going to interact with and hear what they have to say is an NPC.

What do you have NPCs in your game? I touched on this some already, but the big reason is that it helps flesh out your world. If you have interesting NPCs in your game, you are going to have a world that feels more real and it’ll make the stakes of the story seem like they have more meaningful consequences. If the BBEG kidnaps the daughter of the shop keeper who the players always shop with and have gotten to know his family, that has weight for the PC’s.

Do you need to flesh out all of your NPCs? Yes, and no. You never know who the players are going to decide to follow and make important, so it’s smart to have some idea, but it takes work to make a fully fleshed out NPC. So, no, not everyone needs to have a full backstory, only the ones who are important. And that might mean that you have to come up with some of it on the fly, but when you see who the players are interested and interacting with, you can flesh out that NPC between sessions. And if there is an NPC that is going to be important to the story, you can flesh them out ahead of time as well. It would be too much work to flesh out an NPC every time.

What do you need to plan for a fleshed out NPC in the moment? Alright, so your players decided that the shop keeper Weasel Bob was going to be important and their main spot to do business, because he seemed like he was cool. They start asking you what Weasel Bob looks like and if there’s anything interesting about him. The important things to get started in developing your fleshed out NPC in the moment are going to be something about their look and something that they do or is unique about them. And you don’t even have to do all of this.

You don’t? No, you can ask the players to help flesh out an NPC in the moment. If they make the decisions for that NPC, it’s going to create more of a connection to that NPC as well. If you even have a generic shop keep who runs a generic shop and the players ask what the NPC is named, you can ask them to give you a name and what they look like and probably end up with a pretty good Weasel Bob. That also helps you know when fleshing out the character, based off of what the players said in the session, how to create a Weasel Bob that they are going to enjoy.

This technique works well in the moment when you want to have a bar with a number of people in it or to create a few important people in the bar. Have every player at the table go around and tell you about one person or one table full in the bar. Soon you’ll have a lot of characters that you can bring back into the game later and use again to create that richer and more vibrant world. And it means that you don’t have to generate as much content on the fly, because the players are helping to populate your world with NPCs.

So, now we’ve created a bit of a character on the fly in Weasel Bob, he, like I did with Greenfang is going to be the character that I spend some time fleshing out in future articles so demonstrate how you can spend some time and build out interesting and more fulfilling NPC’s in your game. Hopefully there’s been some useful information to grab from the article thus far on why we use NPC’s in D&D and how you can start to generate more meaningful NPC’s on the fly.

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Playing Your D&D Character – 301

Playing Your D&D Character – 301

The last part of playing your D&D Character, there is no 401 for this course. To me there are three main parts that I wanted to talk about. The first was figuring out how to be in character and staying in character as much as