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Kicking buttocks and taking names

Written by Expy - Published on August 15, 2007

Note: This is a follow-up post to the comments on the lastest Better NPCs article.

Is it politically correct to write kicking ass? I’ll err on the safe side and only say buttocks. In any case, kicking buttocks, wreaking havoc, and killing monsters is usually not an issue in my Dungeons & Dragons games. Taking names, or any kind of notes, can be an issue though. D&D is not like a movie. All the action is described and imagined. So it’s not surprising that:

  1. Players and DMs forget things.
  2. Players and DMs perceive events differently.

In my group the players usually agree that one of them is on note-taking duty. Everyone scribbles a line or two every now and then. But 75% of the note-taking is done by one player. It can obviously lead to some holes in the players notes. It’s obvious but I never really thought about it before.

The note-taking manifesto

What if everyone was responsible for their own notes? I could make it a rule that players cannot share notes. More role-playing would probably ensue from them discussing past events and situations. While the game could be slowed down a little bit I think it would gain in quality in the long run.

Taking breaks, many breaks

Breaks are great when there is a natural pause in the action. Great for note-taking. Also great for pizza, chips & salsa, and strawberry soda (we got sick of that one eventually). Why not take more breaks during the game? I know I could use more.

What do you think? How do you handle notes and continuity issues in your game?

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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 Comments

6 Responses to “Kicking buttocks and taking names”
  1. Pe0 says:

    I’ve got a better than average memory and even if I take notes I won’t be able to read them afterward. So what I do is concentrate on remembering the game instead. Usually works correctly except for names.

  2. Yax says:

    For those who don’t know, Peo is one of my players and he does have a phenomenal memory. How do you handle someone who will always remember more than you do? I just settle for the occasional meta-gaming breakdown.

    And I cry when I’m alone.

  3. niggle says:

    lol being depressed by your characters lack of enthusiasm seems to be a common characteristic of DMs. I think it’s a result of our towering, superior, intellect, or stuff… I personally try to get my players to try to remember or at least write down notes by taking a recap, to start with, of what had occurred in the last session. If the players can recall and/or can read some important adventure history i divvy out an EL of xp to those participating. It seems to work well enough. The craving of xp always seems to get the players attention, they are consistent creatures that way.

  4. Yax says:

    I don’t think the lack of note happens from lack of enthusiasm as much as human lazyness.

    That’s why the halfling writes down the notes.

  5. Stûnibu says:

    notes… I’m so much nicer than u guys!
    after each game setion i rite up the key things that happened of each game of play, like a journal. then i let the players read it wen ever they want.

    is that 2 much u think??

  6. Yax says:

    Not necessarily. I would make sure I include random facts and events that popped up during the game in that key events journal you write.

    That way they don’t know for sure what was planned and what was not.

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