In every discussion I read pertaining to Role Playing Game tips and rules, regardless of system, publisher or genre, there is a variation of the same rule that pops up again and again. This recurring theme even shows itself in the core rules of role playing books like Vampire: the Masquerade where it is called things like the Golden Rule or Rule Zero. Whatever the name or system, the theme is always the same;
The Game Master Is Always Right.
Wow, no pressure, right? In this multi-part series Thirdwalling will discuss this premise and equip game masters to navigate the treacherous waters of the Golden Rule.
Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a disorganized player to find their dice or figure out a skill roll.
Arriving at a game session with the necessary equipment is important, but being prepared to actually use it is equally important. As with most other aspects of life, organization is the key to a smooth gaming experience. So let’s take a quick moment to go over some things that you can do, as a player, to be more organized at the game table.
We interrupt our scheduled discussion on the Golden Rule to bring you this quick tip instead:
It is a peaceful day in Townsville, the birds are chirping and the trees are green. You wake and dress, kiss your wife/husband/Dead God goodbye and set out to work at THE SHOP. After polishing the counter and arranging your merchandise the bell over the door chimes to let you know you have your first customers! There are four of them and their armor and gear is impressive to behold (even if their swords are suspiciously blood-soaked and you’re pretty sure the one in the leather just stole your “OPEN” sign).
They approach, and their leader proclaims, “Merry met, shopkeep. We are the Long Shots, on a sacred mission of impressiveness from the King himself. What do you call yourself?”
A bit audacious, but you’re glad for the money. So you reply, “Why thank you, sir! I am…” but before you can answer, a voice interrupts, “Oh, crap. I don’t have a name for him, man. He’s not important. He’s just a shop keep. What do you want to buy?”
Wait… what? Who said that? Was that… was that God? Are you there, God? It’s me, the shopkeeper. Please give me a name!
In the very first tip on Thirdwalling, we covered arriving prepared. While this tip was for both Players and Game Masters, the post went into detail on what you should bring to the game as a player. Every piece of that equipment was important – or I wouldn’t have included it on the list – but if you can bring absolutely nothing else to the game, make it a pad of paper and a pen.
Many people call the game we play “pen and paper gaming” – and there’s a reason for that. As gaming moves into the age of Google, the media may change – but the premise is the same. Bring a pen and paper (real or digital) and take notes!
It is shaping up to be a busy day and an even busier weekend.
At some point, I will post a full recap of what happened during last night’s Trials of Everrun session and why – but first I wanted to take a moment to give my players a big pat on the back.
This group never ceases to amaze me and inspire me with their level of intensity in the game – and I made some joking comments that I hope weren’t incorrectly received.
Like most game masters, I like to throw hooks, setbacks and downright ambush traps at the players to watch them overcome them. It never ceases to bring me great joy when they spot those traps, identify them as traps both in- and out-of-character only to deliberately plunge headlong into them anyway! Their bravery in the face of overwhelming odds (the phrase “I expect Kaderin to have them all dead before I even manage to draw my sword” was uttered), teamwork (“You guys work on the Ogres, I’ll work on the door.”) and flat-out logical bad-assery (Ogre blood corroding your axe? Guess it’s time to choke the ogres to death instead.)
You keep me on my toes, Bad Batch – and I love you for it!
Dying in the big boss battle is heroic – sacrificing your character to save the rest of the party from a worse fate is downright epic in its scope. That is the type of death that the party will talk about for years (RIP Corporal Declan). But nobody wants to die to the easy mobs leading up to the big battle – sacrifice a well-thought-out character to the random encounter or the inept gate guard (a combination we call “crunchies”).
But sometimes, the dice just are not in your favor – and the inept guard gets a lucky shot in. Fear not, Intrepid Game Master, for killing off a player character here is not the only (or really the best) option you have!
Let’s put the Role Playing back in Role Playing Games!
As a former LARPer, I may be a bit biased about creating an immersive atmosphere for even tabletop games. This week’s Player Tip is about encouraging that in-depth feel at the game table, and building a more “realistic” character for a more fun game.