Blog

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.

D&D Princes of the Apocalypse or Temple of Elemental Evil Pre-Release Thoughts

Being someone who has never experienced the classic Temple of Elemental Evil this is something I am pretty interested in. Now I won't know much about any references to the classic and if there is any overlap it won't be a spoiler for me either which is nice. Due to word of mouth though I have heard the original ToEE is great and worth trying out. If this version lives up to my expectations by what I have heard it, will be fantastic and well worth the $49.95 retail.

When Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and Rise of Tiamat came out I will admit I was apprehensive about picking them up. I heard about typos, and some story issues with HotDQ but once I actually picked it up and thumbed through it my mind changed quickly. Since that time I have purchased it and have used it for ideas in some of my current games to great effect. It has helped provide me with some great moments in my campaigns. That is what I am expecting out of the Princes of the Apocalypse.

Princes of the Apocalypse is going to be set up for levels 1 - 15 and will have extra content for the online MMORPG which is free to play. That is also expected to be on XBox Live here soon. The book will include a new race, spells, and other great things to use with Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. Personally the digital content for the MMO doesn't do much for me but if the book is going to provide as much in the way of ideas for my games that I expect then it will be worth every penny.

Princes of the Apocalypse (D&D Accessory)
$34.33
By Wizards RPG Team

Everyone who knows me realizes that I am full on 100% behind Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. This edition of the game has really made me into a huge fan unlike any other edition of D&D. Never would I have thought that I would be so excited about a WotC game like I am about 5e. While they have had some mistakes here and there I do think that it would be hard for them to have done much better with this edition of the worlds greatest role-playing game in my opinion.

Now as I said above I am not sure what to expect from the Princes of the Apocalypse compared to Temple of Elemental Evil. I am open to hearing your thoughts on the old class Temple of Elemental Evil below but also your thoughts on the new Princes of the Apocalypse. Let me know by commenting here and when I pick this up I will be sure to share my thoughts about it.

Your FLGS is expected to be charging $49.95 for this book but you can help support my Blog, and YouTube Channel by purchasing the book through my Amazon Affiliation Link above. Purchasing this book for between $34.33 at the time of this post is as simple as clicking that link and ordering it. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Once I pick this up I will probably be running it through the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group on Facebook which can be found here

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.

House Rules for Dungeons and Dragons

Lately with the release of the new Dungeon Master's Guide it seems like the talk of house rules has come up a lot more. Personally I do try to run my games by the book but some games are more fun with some minor changes here and there. For instance Lloyd of the Tabletop RPG One Shot group on Facebook began asking about initiative the other day. This has started a whole conversation about this and how other games handle it. 5e even has some variant rules for it in the DMG.

Some things I have thought about house ruling personally are critical hits and critical fails. We have talked about creating our own tables for our games to help with this in future games. If I do this you better believe I will have them up for download here on the website too. What sort of things would be on this? Well I would probably have things like max damage is dealt on a critical hit. Other things might be disadvantage for that enemy in the next round. Obviously this is using 5e's system too. Then critical fails could be things like slipping and hurting self. Could also break your weapon on a critical fail.

Some other common things to house rule are things like downtime activities. Personally I will always allow my players to learn more skills if that is how they choose to spend their downtime. I am also only going to allow multi-classing based on backstories before a game, and downtime studies.

I try to make it possible for my players to make the concept they want. If I have to bend some rules for that then so be it sometimes. If I feel like the concept is just for power gaming reasons and them taking advantage of how flexible I am though I will not allow it. Sometimes I just won't allow things based on principle alone.

There are a lot of things that can be house ruled to make a game more fun. So with this blog post I would love to hear more about your thoughts on house rules. Leave a comment below please.

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,

Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Dungeon Master Guide PREVIEW Downtime

Wizards of the Coast supplied this preview of the Other Downtime page in the new DMG set to release on December 9, 2014.

Wizards of the Coast supplied this preview of the Other Downtime page in the new DMG set to release on December 9, 2014.

Wizards of the Coast has been giving us previews of the books before released and this time they gave us a preview of the Dungeon Master Guide with an excerpt of Downtime Activities. It is only one page but on it you can get a glimpse into building a stronghold, carousing, and the intro to crafting a magic item.

The first thing covered under Other Downtime Activities is Building a Stronghold. Personally I have never had an opportunity in a game to build a stronghold or even have players that chose to build a stronghold. It has always been interesting to me as a DM because it would open up all new types of sessions. Some of the things you can buy are extremely expensive and I am not sure how the players would come up with all of that money. Either way I am glad this was included and I am looking forward to one day either doing this as a player or having a player do this in one of my games.

Then there is the Carousing section which is actually quite favorable it seems. You have a 60% chance of making a profit from the random table. The premise behind the carousing section is your player partakes in parties, gambling, and/or heavy drinking. Once again though this section offers the DM good seeds for campaigns. Not sure if anyone in my current campaigns would be willing to try out a carousing type of character. Still though this is pretty good.

What would a Dungeon Master Guide be without Crafting a Magic Item rules? We only get a short glimpse into the intro but it does remind everyone that it is up to the DM what is and isn’t allowed. Players will need to get approval for their crafting of magic items. That is how it should be though. One problem I have always had with magic items is if everyone can craft them then they become common. What fun is it if magic items are common? Personally not a fan of magic items on every corner. It makes them not magical for me. Still glad they give us these rules even if I won’t be using these and will only let a player use them sparingly.

There you have it the Dungeon Master Guide Downtime excerpt covered in my personal opinion. Really excited to get this book. Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition is shaping up to be my favorite game to run and play. As someone who runs the game frequently this is a must have for me. If you run a lot of D&D5e then you should consider picking it up too. Remember on Amazon you can get it for a huge discount at $30 so click the Amazon link and order yours today.

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.