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Going All In!

I was really proud to do a video this week on 5 Benefits of Playing A Tabletop RPG. Recording it actually put a lot of pressure on me because I wanted to do the topic proud. There are so many great benefits and I knew people out there who could discuss the specifics more in depth. This is why I want to do a future interview with someone or a few people about how they have benefited from playing Tabletop RPGs. You may know but I plan on doing an interview with someone between every video series over on Master the Game. It serves as my own little way to break up each series and give people something to look forward to. If I can do a meaningful interview that leads into the following series even better!

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The Rifts Setting and What I Love About It

It would be easy to say that I love it because you can run any game in Rifts that you can imagine. This is true but that is not why I love this setting. You will hear people say that the setting is gonzo and over the top but it doesn't have to be. The story is what you and your play group make it out to be. It can be as balanced as you want by restricting some of the more extreme OCC's at either end of the power scale. None of this is what I love about the setting though. The thing that I truly love about the setting is the Coalition!

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Tools of the YouTube RPG Gamer

What's Needed To Participate In The Tabletop RPG One Shot Group?

This question has come up a few times. I have answered it countless times. That is ok though I understand there is a lot of information out there to sift through so this is going to be my guide to what is necessary, recommended, and preferred.

Most people run games over Google + Hangouts. So you will need a G+ account. A YouTube, Roll20, and many others are recommended though. If you have a YouTube account you can broadcast your games. If you have Roll20 you can use grids and many other tools. There are many other resources out there but those are the most common.

Now it is mandatory you have some sort of microphone so the other players can hear you. I personally use a cheap Logitech Stereo Headset H110 (microphone headphones combo) that sells for about $10. Many people use Blue Snowball (do not get the ICE CONDENSOR SNOWBALL), and Blue Yeti (most recommended) because the sound quality is a lot better than built in microphones on laptops and the cheaper microphones out there. Headphones are important because without them you will pick up sound from your speakers and make the experience tough on the other people in the game. This is one of the more annoying things when playing a game. I have used my iPhone ear buds before and it does the trick just fine.

Next up is a camera and there are people out there who won't allow a player in their game without one. I am not one of them but I know of a few who require it. A built in laptop camera should be sufficient enough but if you really want to there are some quality webcams you can pick up. I recommend the Logitech HD Pro C920 because it offers up to 1080p but works just fine at 720. Anything above this I feel is certainly overkill for live plays.

So if I was just getting into everything I would focus on the microphone above all else. When playing in an online game that is the most important aspect. The Blue Yeti is going to give you the best sound quality but may not be necessary if you are just playing in a couple games a month though.

Tabletop RPG Tip For Players And DMs (Taking My Own Advice)

I have been into RPGs since 1997. When I first found my love for RPGs I didn't game very often and struggled for years to find a steady group. I tried play by post, play by chat, voice chat and webcam on Yahoo Messenger, and even in store games like D&D Encounters and Pathfinder Society. It was an endless struggle and one that made me appreciate what I have now. When I look back at the struggle it makes it even harder to say no to games today. Due to me having a hard time telling people no to games I think I get burnt out often.

Much like anything in life if you do something too much and stretch yourself too thin you can get burned out of it. It is important to take a break and recharge your batteries every now and then. This is something I am learning at this time in my life because I have never found it as easy to find a game as I do today. A year ago I was struggling to find people to game with even.

The debut of the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group led to a lot of online games happening. I've played in tons and tons of games. I believe as of January of this year I had played in about 30 online games in just a few months. The Provokers Campaign has led to a lot of people asking me to play in their games too. It is a lot to keep up with and I don't even play in a lot of online games compared to some of my friends.

In person I run two home campaigns (as I have said before), and I run D&D Encounters at GrandLan Gaming Center here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On any given night I have something going on that is gaming related or work related and it can be taxing. I have friends like Matt Click and others who have said they take breaks from gaming altogether for a couple weeks every now and then. I never thought I would want to but lately it seems like I should.

I took some time off from Encounters for Christmas but not from my home games or online games. I took time off from my home games, and Encounters when my son was born in March but not from online games. So I haven't really taken a break from gaming as a whole for any period of time since August of 2014. Gaming is a true passion of mine and I want to continue doing it for a long time but I have found myself at times just going through the motions in some games and that isn't fair to other people.

What are you saying Juce? I'm say that if I have one tip for anyone out there it is to take a break from gaming every once in awhile to give you that spark of energy and enthusiasm again. I am still excited about running and playing games but I want to give it the proper attention it deserves when I sit down to play or run a game. Plus taking time off from your hobbies is a great chance for you to focus on your family or career too.

Do you find yourself needing to take a break from RPGs every once in awhile? Maybe it is some other hobby that you need to take a break from? I would love to hear about it below. Leave a comment and if you like what you read today please share this blog post.

Also check out that sweet Skeleton Dragon Tankard! That would be awesome to have at the gaming table.

One On One, Solo, and Duet RPG Adventures and Campaigns

For many people it is very difficult to find a group that some would deem a full party of adventurers to play Tabletop RPGs. When I got into gaming this was the case for me. I struggled to find people to play Heroes Unlimited which for me this was the game that I loved when I was 12 and loved up until recently. My first RPG group was 2 players and a GM. When the GM moved it made it near impossible to game because we had it in our mind you needed multiple players to play the game properly. If we only knew about the possibility of playing with 1 player and a GM our RPG experience would have been drastically different.

The 1 player and 1 GM format I have seen called different things. I have seen it called 1 on 1, solo, and duet campaigns. What the actual correct terminology is I am not quite sure. What I do know is that this is a great way to run and play games for those of us who may struggle to find groups to play with. Some people use these types of games to help players catch up after mission a session. Some people use these types of games to teach a new player how the game is played. Either way it is a great way to game and can provide a vastly different experience than you may be used to.

A few years ago I attempted to run a Heroes Unlimited game like this for my wife. Our first session was a lot of fun. She played a Mega Hero that we rolled a lot of the stuff randomly. That character ended up being very similar to Thor which was pretty interesting. The idea of those first few sessions was that she had no idea how things worked on Earth. She broke an elevator door and beat 2 guys into a coma when they tried to kidnap her. Unfortunately the campaign didn't last very long because we ended up moving.

We tried again to do another duet campaign using Pathfinder when I was really getting into that system. The idea was that my wife would make and control a few characters. Her party was an Aasimar Sorcerer and an Oread Barbarian. We played a couple games and this was fun but we wanted enough players for a full party. This game died off but only because once again real life stepped in and we moved again.

Player's Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)
$36.03
By Wizards RPG Team

There are many ways to play a game with one player. Maybe that player controls only a single character or they control a whole party of characters similar to how they would play a video game like Baldur's Gate. Maybe they handle all of the groups social interactions with NPCs or maybe they only control their single characters social interactions while the DM controls all of the other members of the group in social environments similar to Dragon Age for example. In the latter example the players choices could lead to some members of the party leaving the group. No matter how you choose to play this can be an extremely fun way to game.

This style of play is one I wish I was able to try sometime. I would love to play both as just a single character without a party and also a campaign where I play as a single character but in combat I can control a whole party. If I had a DM who was good at improvising I think this could be one of the most enjoyable ways for me to play a game.

On YouTube there are at least 2 channels that cover this style of game. Matt Click's afistfulofdice on YouTube and has recently started running games on his channel for his fiance. He is also my DM for the Provokers campaign and is a very good DM. Andrew Armstrong known as DawnforgedCast has a couple games in this style on his channel. One is with his wife, and the other is with one of his viewers. To see how these games can be played go and check those channels out. If you are interested in running or playing a game in this style feel free to join the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group and seek it out.


The Buckler Shield in D&D5e

One of the things I have been thinking about ever since Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition came out was different types of shields. Due to standard shields being AC +2 it leaves a lot of room to use small shields like the buckler and also larger tower shields. Both of which I have come up with some ideas for how to implement them mechanically. This post is about the two common types of buckler shields.

The one handed buckler shield should be an AC +1. It also should be a shield you can use as a reaction if you aren't armed with it and using a single handed weapon. This will allow players to use long swords two handed and encourage it. Most players will still choose to use a greatsword or long sword and standard shield. 

Then there is the buckler shield that straps to the forearm or is part of the gauntlet. This one allows players to still use a greatsword, maul, spear, polearm, or any other two handed weapon. This one will be an AC +1 shield but it will also be a -1 to hit using two handed weapons. The reason for this is because without the -1 to hit everyone who uses a two handed weapon would want a buckler shield. With this rule I would even entertain the idea of a character having two of these for a AC +2 and a -2 to hit. 

I hope to start testing these out in future games ran in the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook. What do you think of these potential home brewed items or rules? Are they over powered? Do you think they are balanced enough? If you end up using them in your future games please share your results and opinions of them.

Here on my blog there will be more home brewed things like this so continue to check back for more.

Inspiration From Easter

***This is not a post about religion. ***

The story of Jesus is that he was sentenced to death on the cross and then rose from the dead 3 days later. This was to signify the forgiveness of our sins. Thinking about this has made me wonder how this could be used in an RPG today.

While thinking about this I was considering how I would implement this into an NPC for a fantasy RPG. They would need to be a polarizing figure with many very dedicated friends/followers. Maybe they are a Cleric or Priest but they could really be any class as long as they have many people who believe in their cause. 

A huge Government or Faction would need to oppose this cause. At first it shouldn't be much of an issue but as the NPC gains influence it should become more and more of a problem. Eventually this will need to blow up. The NPC will need to be caught and imprisoned or sentenced to death. 

Make the imprisonment or death sentence a huge event. This will get the importance of this NPC across in your game. His followers could try to help him escape but maybe this NPC refuses and thinks it is his destiny to carry this out.

After death he could ascend to being a diety in your campaign. Maybe he just comes back from the dead by resurrection spell which depending on your games could be a common occurrence. If it is common though this may not be as impactful as you would want. Personally I like the idea of this person becoming a diety.

Obviously you could change the story at any point however you want. The character could be battling for freeing slaves, or equal rights for a certain race for example. Maybe he wasn't sentenced to death and was murdered instead by an assassin. This story could be modified to be a really fun background story over a large campaign.

I would love to hear how you have used holidays or stories from the bible for inspiration in your Tabletop RPGs. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments below.

Ways To Deal With Too Few Players

This morning I saw a post on Facebook in the Tabletop RPG One Shot group about a DM asking if he should make a GMPC for a group of 3 PCs currently. He expressed that he wanted to play too which was part of why he wanted to do a GMPC that would cover what they don't already have in the group. Personally I think 3 players is a good enough size to not tamper with things too much. I gave some suggestions on how to handle small groups of players that may work for them but wouldn't fix the want to play along side of his PCs. In this article I will offer some of the same tips for various potential solutions to small groups.

Remember as the GM/DM you get to play more than anyone else at the table. You control every single character in the world besides the PCs. You also control the setting, weather, and everything else! 

First it is important to figure out why players chose the races and classes they did in order to figure out the type of game they want to play in. The next step is to figure out if it is important that they satisfy the typical 4 classes Fighter, Healer, Rogue, and Magic User. For example if the group as a whole wants a low magic game you may not need the Magic User. Before starting the game talking to the players about any potential ideas can be pretty important.

Next up if you decide it is important to fill all of basic party rolls there are ways around that. Below is a list of ways to do that without forcing a GMPC with the group. Some of these can be used with others too. Not all solutions will work for everyone either.

  1. You can allow all of the players to dual class. Example at 1st level they may take Fighter/Cleric. So at 2nd level they would be 2nd level of each. This would give them a lot of power as a single PC but make it easier to cover various needs.
  2. You can let each player control 2 characters. This can be a lot for newer players but just make sure they know that they don't need to RP for both of them. The GM/DM can RP the ones the players don't want to in a lesser role.
  3. Let the players recruit NPCs at times if they choose to but at a high cost. This is one of the better ways because it also allows you to sometimes make it not feasible to recruit an NPC tagalong.
  4. Substitute items to make up for things. More potions of healing to make up for the cleric. Better weapons and armor to make up for lack of a fighter. Scrolls, and Wands plus the ability for everyone to cast magic from them can fix the need for a Magic User. Some creative thinking here can create ways to fill certain roles the party doesn't have.
  5. Max HP each time they level up.
  6. The DMG for D&D5e has some good solutions for short rests and long rests to adjust the feel of your game. A lot of these can make it easier for small groups to handle things. For example adjusting short rest to 5 minutes and a long rest of 1 hour.
  7. Healing of any type from potions, short rests, or spells always do max healing.

There are many ways to cover things the party is lacking. In my opinion the worst way is adding a GMPC because it is easy to step on peoples toes that way. Players want to feel like the heroes as they can blame a GM/DM for stealing the glory when they are also the ones running the game and presenting the situations in the first place.

1 or 2 PC's are usually where you would want to use some of these alternate ways to help them without taking away their spotlight. 3 to 5 players is just the right amount of players and shouldn't need too much adjusting but occasionally you may want to try the items or other means to help your games.

If you think of any other potential solutions please let me know of them in the comments below. Hope you find some of these helpful for your games. Some of these may be useful in your groups that do cover the basics.

Thanks,

2014 Wraps Up and 2015 Begins!

2014 has been an amazing year. When this year began I never would have thought it would end the way it has. When the year started my family was in a transition phase. We had moved to the other side of the state and were staying in my wifes parents basement until we found our house. It took a little longer than expected but in the end we found a home and are very happy here.

When it comes to gaming much like the year before I made a game transition. At the start of 2014 I was getting into Pathfinder pretty heavily. Struggled for a long time to find a group to play Pathfinder but when I did the new D&D5e had come out. So I switched over to Fifth Edition and it was awesome! I couldn't be happier with where I stand on the games I enjoy. Don't think I will ever run Pathfinder again but may someday play it again. Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons is my favorite game right now and for the foreseeable future.

Currently I run two campaigns of D&D5e. I also run D&D Encounters at a local gaming store. This has given me a lot of experience in a very short time. One thing I have learned is the importance of campaign notes because trying to keep track of things happening across multiple games at the very same time is difficult. I had to drop out of a Savage Worlds Campaign due to how busy I am with work and not being able to plan far enough in advance for gaming sessions. It was unfortunate because they were awesome people. Maybe down the line I will get back to being able to play with them.

The YouTube channel had a little over 130 subscribers and I set the bar high I felt at 500 subscribers by the end of 2014. Little did I know that I would hit that goal in November and I'd hit about 750 subscribers. It is funny because it reminds me of a class I took this year where they ask you what your goals are but then make you cross it out and double it. So I would probably say my goal is 2,000 for 2015 but if I cross it out and double it you know what that makes it. No matter how many subscribers I get over there though I will always try to reply to as many comments as possible.

Content is still key with YouTube and there is a lot I want to do in 2015. Crafting is something I want to get back to. Haven't done any crafting in a few months now. It is something I enjoy doing and I think people like to watch it. I would say Flip Through Fridays but I don't buy enough books to keep up with that every week. My D&D Basics Series has been on hold for a few weeks but I plan on bringing that back until I finish it and move on to a more advanced D&D series. One of the things I enjoyed doing early on with my channel is discussing ideas for campaigns and stuff so I want to do that again. Also World Building and fleshing out my current world is on my list. The video ideas I have are many and looking forward to doing them.

When it comes to this website, blog, and podcast it is still new to me. The positive reaction it has received has been great. We have had some guest blog posts that people liked too. I want to bring you new posts at least every other day on average. I'd also like to get more downloads up on the website with monsters, characters to use, tables, and more. The podcast is going to be bi-weekly but every now and then it may be once a month. We don't have an actual release schedule for it. We are always interested in your questions, or show requests though.

The Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook began around August and already has hit 750 members. That is amazing! Right now there are 17 games scheduled in the next two weeks to be played because of the group. Again that is fantastic! When we started the group I never expected this type of success with it. I still plan on running games for mainly new members when milestones are hit. For instance when we hit 1,000 members I will run another D&D5e game.

Some things I would really like to do in 2015 is get more people making videos, playing games, and interacting with others. The Live Chats I have hosted on G+ Hangouts have led to some great friendships and helped me learn a lot as well. If I make half as many friends as I did in 2014 it will be a good year. The friends I made this year are people that I think will be life long friends. There are so many awesome people out there and I want to say thank you to all of them for their support this whole time.

As you can see there is a lot of great things going on heading into 2015 and we here are  planning for a huge year. Growing the hobby is something I have always been passionate about and I feel like I made some progress towards that in 2014. 

Your DM Feels Worn Out? Then He Is Inspired Again!

Player's Handbook (Dungeons & Dragons)
$29.95
By Wizards RPG Team

This sort of describes how I was feeling this past week. I was a little worn out and wanted a break from running and playing Tabletop RPG's. You see I run a game at home, a game for my wifes family that changes locations, D&D Encounters, and one shots online every once in awhile. Seems like getting burned out would happen frequently for me but it doesn't.

This past week at Encounters I was really not feeling it. Had one player who kept dropping being the only guy to rush into combat as a Barbarian. Seeing his frustration and the fact I was tired I know I brought the energy level of the group down. Hate feeling guilty about it but it is the reality of it. I didn't bring my "A game" this week. It didn't help that I was feeling under the weather. Luckily I have two weeks off from this and I plan on returning better than ever. 

A couple weeks before this I ran the game for family and was feeling worn out then too. That group sometimes makes me stress out a little due to their arguing over treasure, tactics, and one player who blatantly rushes in usually. Not sure how to gauge their interest level either. Feels like 1 of the players doesn't really care about the game and is only playing to hang out with the group. Another player gets really stressed out if they get hit and if anyone is low on HP. To me it is just a game and shouldn't be something that causes stress at all. Should be fun for everyone and it shouldn't at times feel like a chore. This group has gotten better with each session and I really hope it continues to get better. Just not sure if I could handle it falling back into the constant bickering and drama at the table.

Then there is the group I ran for last night which always comes out to my house to play. It consists of my friend Nate (WASD20 on YouTube), Dustin and his fiance Nicole, my wife, and we welcomes a new player last night Steven. Going into the session I was a little nervous about bringing a new player into the group. This is normal for me because you never know how it will throw off the balance of the group. Will they be a disruptive player? Will they be an awesome player? Well he came over and was very open to talking to and getting to know everyone. He handled himself well. There were times when I think he wasn't sure how I handled something but he went with it. Also coming from Pathfinder to 5e there were some questions that he had which is to be expected.

So playing with my at home group last night truly rejuvenated me! Got me excited to run games again. The new guy fit in well I think and the rest of the group has been getting along great for some time now. On top of that the players brought the game back into focus for me without me having to push them on the rails and that is a good thing because I try not to railroad anything. Going into the session I was worried my hooks were weak (they are to be honest) but now I feel like the campaign has its vision again. The players look to go after the big plot hook in the next session with the Temple of Elementals and I couldn't be happier right now.

What is this blog truly about? I think it is about the fact that when you have a good group of players they can breathe life into your gaming when you feel worn out. Good groups in general can make for good gaming. That energy will carry on to other games and sometimes can pick those games up as well. So go out and find a good group for you!

Busiest Time of Year!

It is the busiest time of the year for a lot of people right now. For me I am busy preparing for the new year in my career. Then with the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook, this website, YouTube channel, this blog, podcast, and potential merchandise for all of this on top of that I can say this is the busiest I think I have ever been! It is fantastic though. So many things for me to feel optimistic about.

The Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook is over 600 members now! I know of people who have played/ran in over 20 games since its inception back in September. That is amazing to me! There has been a lot of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition played but surprisingly the next most popular system has been Palladium Books with Rifts, Ninjas and Superspies, and Heroes Unlimited being played more than any other games. One thing I can say is that we always need more people willing to run games. Really looking forward to seeing what 2015 brings for this group.

With the launch of my website I relocated my blog from Wordpress to here. This was a really effective move because I am getting more views than I ever did over there. I enjoy posting blog posts more than I did before as well. I probably enjoy it more because I have much more interaction here since moving it. If people have learned from my YouTube Channel and this Blog I love interacting with people. Hearing others opinions and sometimes opposing views is interesting to me.

Then there is the Podcast which will be recorded later on tonight actually. I will be editing a couple things into it before posting so that should be up this week sometime. Been looking forward to doing this and couldn't be more excited about it. Andrew aka sr2joker will be my co-host which is awesome! He is an awesome guy with an excellent YouTube channel. The guy is very smart and brings a lot to the table. I trust that you will enjoy our Podcast that we will try to bring you monthly and possibly twice a month at times.

The podcast will talk about the games we currently are running or playing as well as anything else that has us excited. Right now we both are playing a lot of D&D5e and Palladium Books too. Most of our discussions will probably be about 5e in the near future but I am sure we will cover a lot more.

Planning on getting some stuff up in the store for the YouTube Channel, Tabletop RPG One Shot group, the Podcast, and so much more. If you have any suggestions feel free to let us know. 

As you can see there is a lot going on around here. All of it good! 2015 looks like it will be a crazy year from the start but that is a good thing. I love being busy and hope you will all be coming along for the ride. Again if you have any suggestions feel free to contact me with them.

Tools for Getting People Invested (Guest Post)

There is a question that burns in the minds of many gamers: How do you get so and so to role-play? Many times GMs and players alike resort to instructing someone as if with a child, bribing them with mechanical incentives, or just plain forcing role-playing situations on to a person they are just not comfortable with.

As someone who among their favorite hobbies have included improvisation and a lot of freer forms of role-playing without systems....

As someone who has been in the spot of no gamer friends and have had to introduce several people to role-playing who of all kinds: strangers,  friends, online, and offline....

As someone who has heard all the excuses of “It seems weird”, “I am not good at it”, or “That seems too nerdy”...

I want to say to you who are using social pressure. STOP!  You don’t need to these kinds of things. It is a person’s own choice if they want to role-play or be immersed into what is going on. It is a player’s or GM’s choice to be invested in a narrative, scene, or world. You need to do things that respect that person’s choice. It boggles my mind how GMs reward role-play with mechanical power and then are surprised when newer players get the idea mechanical power takes precedence. So many of these tactics of extra experience or ganging up on the person in a conversation is at worst hobby-destroying and at best belligerent. There are other ways.

There are things you can do to turn a player from being someone who eats out of your hand into someone of with their own sensibilities and proactive reasons to want to be involved. Why not have players who want, by choice, to work with everyone for the good of the experience? Why not have a GM that is equally invested in the characters as the players are? No matter what role it is, the trick is to help the person find their own reason for role-playing and their own reason for wanting the welfare of the session.  So here it is...

7 Subtle Ways to Help Someone be Invested in the Story

1.       Leave Blanks to Fill. Players and GM’s alike do have one thing in common: they will be engaged by what they helped create. Depending on what people are used to, this can seem counter to your habits. Letting a person decide a fact about the plot, the setting, or any given character is not as bad or as difficult as it sounds. They save the Tavern, so why not let them name it? The person has a previous relationship with your character’s relative, why not let them make that NPC’s appearance and personality?

Doing this does require you to trust the players. If that bothers you, I would advise gaming with people you do actually trust, since it is unhealthy not to. Regardless, you can test the waters of with a person by just letting them name something. Depending on how they respond, you know whether or not they can be a cool contributor to that part of the game. It’s simple; but one of the quickest ways to build attachment to a world is having done something to it and named something in it.

2.       Make things open to interpretation. Not every single aspect of a world or plot needs to be fully explained. If an event happens and there isn’t an immediate explanation, then there is a sense of curiosity to draw on. What eyes are looming in the dark? Was that a real conversation or a guise to mislead us? People will be motivated to by their own needed to fill in the canon. On top of that, letting others interpret an action or thing will allow you to know what assumptions their making about  the plot, characters, or setting. This will often times tell you more about what was actually communicated than they say was communicated.

3.       Play off assumptions. Once you know someone is thinking a certain a way about a situation, you can make a story out of it. Someone thinks its a trap when its not? Why not, mess with their heads and let them wander off into interesting territory? Someone interprets a character to be different than their cannon? Why not let that misunderstanding factor in the role-playing of their conversations? If you know what a person assumes, then you know what they will do. Knowing what a person will do opens up opportunities to create interesting situations. They will be invested by confronting the reality that this story, world, or character really isn’t what they thought. They were responded to.

4.       Give simple, meaningful choices. You can give someone an input that matters and break it down to 2 or 3 options. A person who is shy can be brought by asking if you should go left or right on a path. Giving choice means they’ve determined the path that is being tread upon. It was their choice and it has consequences attached to it. People are invested in things they have a choice in.

5.       Reward with Climax, not power. People have tried a “carrot-and-stick” method of manipulating GMs and Players alike. This can work but it doesn’t mean a person is interested in the world. The behavior x is a reward to y bonus to my character. That’s not what you want the table to think. The trail of bread crumbs will not work on every person and many can see through it.

The key is to reward people with their interests. What parts of the story do they want? Airship Mechanics? Flashy Moves? Large Combat? Long Slugfests? Words of grandeur? Interesting Environments? Whatever it is, let the getting to know the characters of the world and each other be the means by which they get that Climax they enjoy. Why not have a Bartender also be the organizer of a fighting ring that he can hookup things with? Why not tie in negotiation with allies into the massive combat strategy to have elements for everyone? There are plenty of ways for people of different intent to have middle ground. It turns into a positive feedback loop. The more involved everyone is, the more they get what interests them; consequently the more they are getting what interests them narratively, the more involved they are.

6.       Let them describe. A simple way to reward a really good roll is to acknowledge they succeeded and say to them, “How do you do it?” They describe their finishing blow, their massive revelation, their clever plot, their roaring speech when they choose as they choose. They have a window of agency and spotlight to properly get to display their character, plot, or setting as they wish.

7.       “In World” or “In Character” Jokes. People like to laugh and its one of the easier emotions to invoke in another. Turning an in character mishap into a slapstick mess involving the other player can lead them to realize the world has an emotion attached to it. Bring the GM’s NPC in on a gag. Make funny voices or lines within character rather than pop culture references outside of dialogue. Save the references for the what a person is doing in character and use them as simalies: “He failed his role and weeped in a deep voice like that Girl Scout from Dodgeball.” Laughing with a character attaches an emotion to them and people will be more engaged by what have an emotional value of.

There is obviously more to it than a list of simple tricks. There isn’t a one size fits all solution to get someone interested. But I can say from experience, that these ways help others at the table to get invested. Consider them tools to use rather than solutions to a problem.

As with anything this amateur writes, I hope this helps.

FaunTrodden

FaunTrodden's YouTube Channel

FaunTrodden's Blog 

Best Part About Online Gaming

Back a few months ago I decided to try and do a live chat on YouTube which led to some fantastic times talking to other gamers I had never met before. There was one chat that will go down as a life changer though. It is the one that founded the Tabletop RPG One Shot group. In that chat the forefathers of the group were FaunTrodden (Chepe), AJ Pickett, Sr2joker, Robert Ogre, Tenjou Mitchell (Grubbs), and Frank Frey. Since that day I feel privileged to call these guys friends.

On that night I never would have thought we would have came up with a group concept which now 500 people are enjoying on a daily basis. Games like Splicers, D&D5e, Cthulhutech, Heroes Unlimited, Stalker, and so many more are being played there. We still need more people running games but that will come in time I think as people get more comfortable.

Onto the best part about online gaming. Since that night I have been able to play in numerous games with these guys (and more) and I think it has only brought us closer. Every time you play in a good game with people there is a bond or connection made it seems. You have stories of these great memories that you created as a group and nobody can take that away. Isn't that what makes gaming in person so great? Really there is very little difference in my opinion between the two.

If you are interested in making YouTube videos gaming with people online leads to a lot of good video ideas as well for your channel. If you have a blog you can come up with great content for that. The positive vibes around the RPG One Shot group are fantastic and it makes me so proud to be part of such a fantastic community.

So go out and jump into a game or run a game when you can. Personally I am running a D&D5e game next Thursday for the One Shot group. Decided to bring in mostly newer members that haven't played yet. Then invited my friend sr2joker to play in it and help the others along. Should be a really fun game. Then in January I am starting a Heroes Unlimited campaign which is all because of the One Shot group as well. That game is full but should be a fun watch on YouTube for the masses.

If you feel a little nervous or apprehensive about  running or playing in a game online it is ok. We have all been there at some point but once you do it you will begin to wonder why you ever had any doubts about it. Then you will wish you got into this much sooner. It is fun and you make great friends. What more could you ask for?

When Did Gaming Become About The System?

Recently had a discussion with a guy who was citing the "rules as written" or RAW as people refer to it these days. Now luckily this kid isn't one of my players at my table but he was showing signs of a stage 3 rules lawyer. This got me thinking when did the power leave the hands of a dungeon master and become all about what is written in a book? Why can't people function if something isn't spelled out clearly in the book for them?

I have a tendency to point rules out for people running games if they seem to be unsure of something. It has got a group calling me a rules lawyer before but I am ultimately ok with whatever the person running the game says. I do have an issue when players at the table cite the incorrect ruling as how a book is written but I think they knew that. It was clearly a joke because now they have me running our campaign of Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. So what is it about people that they feel it is ok to argue with a person running the game?

Then I was speaking to my friend sr2joker about this mentality and it made me think when did players begin doing this? Is it a new concept? I've heard people blame 3.0/3.5 for putting so many rules into the game that are clearly spelled out. Is that when people became so tied to the books and what they say? Please let me know your thoughts on this?

Almost every day I see people consulting forums with questions that could easily be ruled on in game and also that are clearly written in the books. Then everyone fights over who is going to answer the question to show who is the all knowing. I have offered to help people on forums and quickly had those people jump all over it and tell me I didn't know what I was talking about unless I cited all page numbers that say it. That happened today and then finally someone cited a specific thing because my mentioning of the book saying it is up to the DM for other things not mentioned. I even ran the debate by other people and they all thought that even though the book didn't spell things out specifically that it should be up to the DM.

Sorry that this blog post sort of became me complaining but I do truly want these questions answered because I don't understand the mentality. There are a lot of great things in the gaming community but this isn't good for it. We are lucky to have amazing people in the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook because nobody acts like this from my experience. Hope we can continue to spread the joy that actual gaming does. Seems like the more people talk about games and don't play them the more drama takes place.

Thanks,

What Is The Tabletop RPG One Shot Group On Facebook?

The Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook is hands down the best place to go in order to find games to play in online. Within hours of posting what you are looking to run or play you will probably have a full group. This group has only been around a few months and is near the 500 member mark. The group could hit 600 members by the end of the year and as more people grow comfortable running online games it will only continue to grow.

Right now there are more than 8 games scheduled to be played in the near future. Some people have campaigns running because of the Tabletop RPG One Shot group. I have ran two Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition games so far. I've played in at least three Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition games,  Call of Cthulhu d20, Ninjas and Superspies, and a Heroes Unlimited game.

I am scheduled to run a Heroes Unlimited game and may run some D&D games soon. I am supposed to play in in a Heroes Unlimited game coming up soon as well. Really hoping someone runs Mutants and Masterminds soon because that is a game I have been curious about for awhile. The Dragon Age game might be fun to try out in the near future and I hear that someone may run it soon.

The amount of friends I have made from the group has been amazing! Everyone there has been great and there hasn't been any drama. Everyone is on the same page about being there to play games and just have some fun. Never before have I been part of a community that was so nice and appreciative of each other.

Looking forward to seeing how the group grows and the types of games that get ran there. Don't be afraid to try and play or run a niche game because there are a lot of people who always want to try something new. The group formed out of people wanting to try new games. You can play the same game over and over again or try that game on your shelf that your home group refuses to play. That is the true beauty of the One Shot Group. It is there for everyone and their interests!

Running a One Shot Tips

As the creator of the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook people have come to me about how to run a proper One Shot. Well first of all there is no correct way to have fun. If the One Shot is fun then you did it right. A One Shot is not much different than a normal night of gaming. With a One Shot though you do want to try and give the players a little bit of everything for the game. Let the players do a little RP, Roll some Dice, and test out the various mechanics for the game. The last thing I recommend trying to do is give the players a conclusion at the end.

Let the players RP. Personally at the start of a session I try to let the players feel each other out and RP together. This usually gets at least one of them to step up and lead the path I have noticed. Then the other players tend to follow the lead when it comes to RP and get more comfortable. If you sense that nobody is stepping up and RPing then move the show along. You just might have a group that isn't as RP heavy as another group might be.

Let the players roll some dice. Give the players some random checks or dice rolls related to the game and system. Sometimes the thing to help players come out of their shell is having them roll dice. In some instances it can refocus a player that isn't paying much attention. It can wake the group up and make them start thinking more. Making it related to the system gives the players some insight into how the mechanics work for the game being played too.

Give the players a conclusion. This one I try to do because leaving a cliff hanger on a One Shot can be agonizing for some. In the Tabletop RPG One Shot group many games have led to campaigns because they didn't have a conclusion. This isn't a bad thing at all but if your goal is to run a One Shot then I suggest giving the group a satisfying conclusion.

Hope you enjoyed these tips for running a One Shot. If you are interested in running or playing in a Tabletop RPG One Shot head on over to the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook and join today. Once you join, there are over 400 members willing to play and run almost anything. Great group of guys over there.