May 072010
 

The Rules.  It happens all the time. Whether you’re a GM or a player, those rules are sometimes misinterpreted, forgotten about or just plain ignored.  And that is okay, as long as everyone is enjoying the session and it doesn’t break the game.

I remember when I first started running D&D games with my 7th grade friends. There was this really powerful 1st or 2nd level spell that all of our spell chuckers took.  Point your finger at a baddie and if they fail a save – BLAM! Dead.

You don’t remember that spell?  It was called “Feign Death”.  Yeah.  None of us knew what the hell a ‘feign’ was but whatever it was it was throwing death around like nobody’s business.  And it was an awful lot of fun for a group of 12 and 13 year old boys.

I’m always reminded of the line from Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  “Story trumps rules”.

Not everyone agrees with this I’m sure.  If you’re in a session where the rules are the be-all-end-all authority and everyone agrees this is so, that’s great.  I’ve seen a lot of tension though when there are mixed feelings about what’s more important.

Animals.  Believe it or not, rare and powerful wild animals will probably not want to flock towards your clanking, swearing, sweaty party as they tromp through the woods on some quest or another.

I dislike random woodland encounter tables that have the party meeting up with 1d6 wolves, 1d4-1 brown bear or 14d10 squirrels.  I’ve spent a little bit of time in the woods being relatively quite and sedate, with food.  Once, a bear came in to my camp to investigate and got scared off by a dog.

I understand that encounters with wild animals happen when we’re in their element, but once a day just to keep the party occupied and get some experience seems a little ridiculous to me.

Personal Hygiene.  There I said it.  I know there is the stereotype of the smelly nerd and I’m not meaning to play in to it but I have to make a confession.

I take public transportation all the time, in a big city.  I’ve also gone to a few gaming conventions.  I’ve encountered more people with crummy personal hygiene at the conventions than I do on a hot subway filled with a random selection of people from the city.

Take it from me.  People do notice if you smell and it will make a huge difference in how you are perceived if you step up the washing and deodorant a bit.  Please.

Dungeons This is more from personal experience and anecdotes from friends.  Yes, it’s called Dungeons & Dragons and yes it spawned the original RPG movement.  But seriously, I’ve played in campaigns (in many, many systems) where I’m a Knight-type character and the only thing my horse is good for is riding from one dungeon to the next.  My lance is strictly used to keep my pennant off the ground, not for mounted combat because I can’t ride my damned horse into a dungeon.

Not every adventure or campaign need be riddle with dungeons. If you’re doing a hack n slash type thing where it’s expected that the thrust of game will be hitting things as hard as you can, that’s cool.  A detailed campaign though should feature more than just the over used dungeon.

And if you do use a dungeon in something other than hack n slash, come up with a reason why 18 goblins have been hanging around 3 levels underground without food or water just waiting for you or someone like you to come along.

Accents and Sound Effects This one is for any player who’s ever been in any of my groups.  I have a natural tendency to drop in to accents for various NPCs and describe situations by saying something like “Suddenly, you hear (insert strange noise issuing from somewhere between my throat and my nasal cavity).   That’s a bad habit.

Not only do I end up having to blow my nose a lot more but inevitably my players all look at each other and then look at me and say “What. The hell. Was that?”.  Unless you are a talented actor you should probably stick with descriptive text.  I’ll try my best to adhere to my own rule.

[tags]rpg, role playing games, gamers[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

  2 Responses to “5 things gamers get wrong”

  1. You need to try playing a halfling or gnome knight. They can ride something of medium size and can can therefore be ridden into a dungeon. I’ve had good times with a Halfling Boar-Rider (Paladin).

  2. That’s a good suggestion Dan. I’m not involved in that campaign any more but next time I roll up a player who I want to have added mobility, it’ll be a small race.

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