What’s in a name? As said by Shakespeare’s Juliet “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And while our star-crossed lovers may still have quaffed their apothecary’s brew, I doubt audiences would be as eager to attend “Garth and Janet” as they are “Romeo and Juliet”. But what can we do to improve our characters’ names?
Whether creating the next big villain or simply adding some good back-story flair to that goblin the party just decided to interrogate, creating a name for your non-player characters (NPCs) can set the scene as well as any physical description.
I picked one of these up at Party City a few weeks back and never really did anything with it.
This past weekend I got a bit creative with some craft paint, some cardboard and some paper towels to make some mounts for my D6 Fantasy game. Horses for the humans and elves, and a wolf (made from the dog model in the pack) for some goblin and halfling NPCs.
Some horses and a dog mount for my D6 Fantasy game.
Nearly as important as what you play is where you play. As the gaming community has matured, it has left behind the days of attracting players to mom’s basement or the picnic table at the park. Instead, the modern player wants to be comfortable and have all the amenities of home, like power outlets for their electronics, snacks and comfortable furnature. It seems like every day technology is holding a stronger presence on the game table, making these comforts of home even more important. So what should game masters consider when they’re choosing a space to host their game?
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!
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.