In development for months, our new live-streamed D&D campaign, titled Virtuous Tabletop, will premiere this Thursday, January 24th, at 9:15pm eastern (2:15 UTC, Friday).
Thanks to a heavily houseruled hybrid 4e/3e system, sessions will last 20-40 minutes and take place in a world unlike any other — because it’ll be created by you. Virtuous Tabletop will feature a collaboratively constructed campaign setting made publicly available for use in your games or fiction.
If you can’t watch the stream live, the VOD will be uploaded to YouTube later in the week. Visit our forums for details on how you can take part in the world building.
When you think of conversations in your tabletop roleplaying game, what likely comes to mind is the friendly banter amongst the players, the humorous small-talk with the barkeep, or the verbal repartées while trading sword blows with the villain.
But beneath that veneer of pleasant — but ultimately vacuous — conversation likely lies a graveyard of circular exchanges that drove themselves into the ground, then six more feet. Yes, I’m talking about conversations in which both parties have conflicting objectives, with the classic example being when one party seeks information and the other seeks to withhold it.
These social conflicts should be the most exciting and dramatic conversations in your game, and yet, too often do they drag on longer than they should and peter out on a note of frustration or boredom. These circular conversations degenerate into glorified versions of the following exchange:
What’s the solution?
Charlie White recently posted an article on intwischa.com with some brilliant advice on crafting better social conflicts, and it boils down to knowing when to call the curtain on a scene. Real-life arguments often tend to be circular and without a satisfying resolution — but that doesn’t make for compelling fiction. Once you’ve reached the climactic point of drama, let the dice decide whether the conversation ends with the PCs emerging the victor or not.
If you’ve ever run — or attempted to run — a mystery in your D&D campaign, you know it can be a challenge. Sometimes, players don’t find, recognize, or correctly interpret clues. Other times, they’ll become fixated on the first clue or suspect they find, blinding themselves to other possibilities. Often, mysteries break down during the investigative process — the players, who generally aren’t trained private detectives, don’t always know what questions to ask.
While this may seem to cast the issue as a player problem, it actually arises from a disconnect between DM and player thought processes. Something that may seem obvious to you can be obscure to a player — your thought process is biased because you’re thinking through your mystery with the solution already in mind.
Fortunately, some planning and a proper understanding of the components of a mystery can help you construct a mystery that will engage your players without frustrating them. This post written by Mike on Campaign Mastery offers some of the most comprehensive advice on running a mystery that I’ve ever seen, and it’s equally applicable to fiction writing.
In early July, an article popped up on The Douchey DM written by gamer/cosplayer Kimi about acquiring and using accents for your tabletop games. She provides a few links to resources for developing your accents, as well as simple advice that can make the difference between a terrible British accent and… a less terrible British accent. Heh.
But regardless of how poor your impression of a real-life accent is, Kimi hits the nail on the head by saying:
Remember, it’s ok if [your accent isn't] perfect at first, and you really will get better as you go. Hell, it’s an RPG! Unless you are playing a historical game, who’s to say your accent isn’t perfect? Maybe the people from that land over the mountains sound exactly like your bad Jamaican accent.
Another key point Kimi brings up is the fact that people aren’t born with accents; they’re developed based on their upbringing:
Let me say it again, accents are regional, not racial. They are determined by where you grew up and lived, not by your ethnicity or species.
This is a very important distinction that is often overlooked in gaming… and in the media. The stereotypical dwarf may have a Scottish accent, but if he was raised by elves (oh, the horror!) he will sound more like an elf than his dwarf kinsmen. Humans from different parts of the world should have different accents, and drow should not sound like surface elves… unless they were raised together!
Be sure to read her full article. And top o’ tha mornin’ to ya!
It’s been a decade since the release of The Gamers, the cult film that managed to go viral long before YouTube and has been required viewing for tabletop gamers ever since. A sequel, Dorkness Rising, released in 2008, and now Dead Gentlemen Productions are gearing up to go for a trilogy with The Gamers: Hands of Fate.
If the Kickstarter project raises $320,000 by Friday Sep 7, Hands of Fate will be a reality and will see an online release and premiere at Gen Con Indy in August 2013. With 13 days to go, Dead Gentlemen has already raised $213,334, with over 2,000 backers as of this writing.
What will Hands of Fate entail? According to Dead Gentlemen,
In Hands of Fate, the gamers must expand their horizons past pen-and-paper RPGs to explore two whole new realms of geekdom – Collectible Card Games (CCGs) and game convention life – and face off against their arch-nemesis: The Shadow!
*gasp* The Shadow?
If you want to support Dead Gentlemen and the realization of this threequel, show them some love on their Kickstarter, or just spread the word. And if you haven’t seen The Gamers, then stop what you’re doing right now and go watch it. Your life as a gamer is not complete until you’ve shared in this hilarious and quintessential experience.