Otherwise known as, ‘What You Should Be Reading To Keep Us Writing Instead of Playing More Marvel Legendary, Descent, & Pandemic.’
Mythic Party got us started off for the New Year with tips on How To Keep Your Players Focused. Whether it’s after the holidays, after a long hiatus, or merely after the usual interval between sessions, no DM can be 100% effective without ways to minimize distractions and draw everyone’s attention to the center of the table. Actual in-person Game Time comes at a premium and often in place of other things in life. Taking the steps to be as efficient and focused as possible can be the difference between an effective campaign culminating in only months versus dragging on into years.
Casey Hill gave us some much needed reminders with Multiple Motivations For Your D&D Games. The reason The Avengers movie worked so well is that the individual movies that led up to it established all the characters before they even actually met. And where we would normally see contrived alliances and convenient bickering, we already knew everyone was cynical, self-centered and lunatic, making the conflict and subsequent burying-o’-the-hatchet (or Uru hammer) believable. Demanding your characters bring their role-played personalities out is a must to add serious sincerity to the game. Adding some tangible incentives (story awards? Inherited items?) may be just the thing to make it stick.
Yours truly highlighted The Journey As The Destination, making clear that what can be accused as the most boring aspect of the role-playing game can instead become its most innovative and exciting. Since they say that getting there is half the fun, make it half the experience and treasure and you’ll turn the party around on how they see long-distance travel in no time. Or just insist the percentile rolls for teleportation follow strict familiarity. And maybe throw in an element of Stephen King’s The Jaunt.
Daniel from Deep Dark Designs asked us to try Other Group Sizes On For Size. Indeed, who wants to the bad guy that says “table’s full”? No one, that’s who. But putting the Master back in Dungeonmaster and making the hard decisions can make all the difference in the game. Imagine 17% less rolls. 17% less delays. 17% less cancelling from PTA meetings and hangover recovery. That’s what moving from six to five PCs would do. As John Bender told Claire in The Breakfast Club, “Being bad feels pretty good, huh?”
Lastly, Adam Walters recommends Giving D&D Zombies Some Bite. His breakdown of upgrades to a common encounter not only throws some freshness(?) into run-of-the mill undead turkey-shoots, it gives a structure to how to jazz up any encounter often left stale by repetition and familiarity. Like the champing assault of a speed-filled horde of the newly-revived and puckish, the unexpected and startling is going to leave the deepest impression on the minds and necks of the party that finds themselves unprepared.
Dig back into these- or the dozens of other 2015 articles- to add to your and your players experience at the table. Make a resolution to get 1% better every session, and your percentiles will be well worth their roll by years end.