Lessons improv can teach you about playing Dungeons & Dragons

Improv acting is when two or more people improvise a scene with one another rather than following a script. You’re always going to find moments in your roleplaying games where you have to make things up on the spot as it’s impossible to plan for everything and improv gives you tools to do exactly that.

I recently finished an 8-week improv course with the folk at Monkey Toast which has been an eye-opening experience. Though the course was focused on improv comedy it has taught me a metric tonne about how to run Dungeons & Dragons games and I wanted to share that golden info with you and tell you how that can translate some improv lessons to your D&D games.

Continue reading Lessons improv can teach you about playing Dungeons & Dragons

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Fudging – delicious games master treat or hazardous game breaker?

Boy is this one a hot topic. Fortunately I have the definitive answer.

Don’t fudge in your games.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to follow me on twitter @lines_panny and let me know what you think there or in the comments. Happy gaming.

…Oh okay it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

In it’s commonly understood form fudging is the act of the games masters altering a dice roll behind the scenes. In most games, we’d call a player rolling one dice and pretending it’s another cheating, however, the games master has a unique role within D&D as a neutral arbiter of the game-world, ergo it’s within the GM’s remit to alter a dice roll if they feel it’s appropriate

Continue reading Fudging – delicious games master treat or hazardous game breaker?

Stop Telling Stories.

savage

Every RPG rule book seems to have a chapter at the start that describes what a roleplaying game is and a huge number of them miss the point entirely by calling it in one way or another a ‘story telling game.’

Let’s look at some examples.

The 5E Players Guide;

“The Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game is about storytelling in worlds of swords and sorcery. “

Pathfinder’s Core Rulebook;

“Think of it as a cooperative storytelling game, where the players play the protagonists and the Game Master acts as the narrator, controlling the rest of the world.”

4e Player’s Handbook;

“A roleplaying game is a storytelling game that has elements of the games of make-believe that many of us played as children.”

It’s only when we go as far back as the AD&D 2nd Edition Rulebook that we get a definition of a roleplaying game I can actually get behind.

“This is the heart of role-playing. The player adopts the role of a character and then guides that character through an adventure. The player makes decisions, interacts with other characters and players, and, essentially, “pretends” to be his character during the course of the game. “

While I understand why the term ‘storytelling game‘ has been used and can agree that it’s not entirely inaccurate, you are sitting around with your friends and narrating out actions that when linked together will form some kind of narrative,  it is  not what playing a roleplaying game is about to me and I’m going to tell you why.

Continue reading Stop Telling Stories.