DM’s Corner: Involvement & Investment

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A formidable challenge can come in the form of keeping players involved in your campaign. It’s one thing to be able to keep an audience as you tell your story, it is quite another to have your players actively involved in the telling of that story. Finding ways for your players to contribute directly to an adventure is a good way to increase their involvement, and investment, in the gaming experience.

 

To start, when your players create their characters, have them connect their backstories to your world. This could be as simple as a few sentences describing the character’s homeland or relation to the region, or as elaborate or complex as you and your party care to be. By making a players character a real part of the world, and not a mere generic Fighter that has magically teleported into the game, you add the first layer of investment for your party to experience.

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Now, as your players explore the world, allow them to aid in the descriptions of the region. While your role as storyteller and referee means you will be setting the stage for major and important locations, let your players aid in describing areas of less impact to your plot. When the party arrives at the inn, have each PC take a sentence to describe the building or the patrons. This allows the players to help create a part of the world that fits their imagination, and lets them contribute to the world building in a noninvasive way.

 

Note, however, that this is never meant to be an exploit. A player should never be able to say, “I enter the bar and see the King sitting along on a chest of gold, unguarded! How convenient!” Rather, let them describe the meals, the atmosphere, the quirks of the place. It’s okay to let these descriptions impact your story, so long as the main plot is not derailed in the process. For example, a player may describe the odor of a particular variety of tobacco in the inn, and you can choose to allow that to be a hook, or just a unique descriptor. The important point is player involvement.

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Taking this a step further, if your party is encountering a generic NPC, have the players name and describe the character. For your purposes the party has met a traveling merchant; For your party, it is irrelevant to the plot who the merchant is beyond his existence as a vendor, so let them have some fun! Let your layers give him a short description and even story for why he’s a merchant here. Then, take a few notes, and have that same merchant return later! Players will care immensely more about a region if they know the NPCs, even more so if they have an investment from having aided in their creation.

 

Lastly, allow your players to do some Extra Credit. This can take many forms, so let your players tailor their extra work to their personal talents. Perhaps one player is artistic and sketches or paints his character, reward that! Perhaps one is a writer and delved into a side story his character went on. Reward it! Perhaps your player is a musician and wrote a baric ballad, or is a businessman and designed the guilds of a city, or a math wiz and came up with the economy for a region. Encourage this, and give small kickbacks in the form of gold and experience points, or even items, based on the amount of work done. Now, you should not unbalance a game when rewarding Extra Credit, but you should encourage and reward a player’s work. A good rule of thumb is to reward an encounter’s worth of wealth or experience for an amount of work that an encounter’s worth of time to complete.

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What are some ways you have contributed to a DM’s world? In what ways have you gotten players invested, or invested in a world yourself? How much work have you put into developing a character’s backstory? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Every Wednesday is RPG Night at Pawn & Pint! Not only do DM’s and GM’s play free, anyone who spends more than $5 triggers our House Rule and earns a Token worth a dice Re-Roll! Mention this article and you’ll receive an additional Re-Roll Token to use in your game! As you play your favorite RPGs, don’t forget the golden rule of all gaming…

Have Fun!

Does consistency enrich the Role Play Experience?

One common occurrence in roleplaying games of all sorts is people completely changing their characters personality with their mood – or editing their back story to help them build the most “interesting character”. Sometimes this results in very cool characters that players are really proud of and invested in and that’s great. Other times, it creates very shallow characters which are simply small reflections of the players own perspective. The question I am thus asking is this – “Does Roleplaying a consistent character actually enrich the long standing role play experience?”

In order to discover my own answer to this question, I(Edward Schmalz) am embarking on the quest of playing a consistent roleplaying character, a Night Elf Druid on Moonguard, one of the RolePlaying Servers.

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Dungeon Master Minute: Pacing & Immersion

We shall be doing a daily feature every day this Month. Some Features will be new games revealed, some will be short write ups, others will be descriptions of games we have in our collection. This feature is a bit of content written by Donald the DM! 

The crux of any good role playing experience is to maintain immersion. Nothing will break immersion quicker in your game than pausing the climactic battle to spend ten minutes flipping through charts and rereading the exact particulars of abilities in the rule book. To minimize this, it is your job as the Dungeon Master to keep the story flowing without getting hung up on particulars.

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Let the Whiskey Win – Introducing Pawn and Pint’s Next Star Wars X-Wing League

The time is coming soon, when beer and liquor shall be available at the Pawn and Pint – and as such, the next league at P&P shall be slightly alcohol themed.

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The league will run from January 31 to March 7. [6 Weeks]

Participation in the league will be free for members at Pawn and Pint and simply cost the $5 Pay to Play for non members.

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Twitter Quest: Volume 2

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Every day on our Twitter Feed, @DonaldTheDM, our resident Dungeon Master Donald Lewis will post a One-Tweet Dungeons and Dragons Adventure! Anyone can Tweet a response, from which he will choose the best reply to continue the story. The idea is to play a communal Choose-Your-Own-Adventure RPG experience, a story that unfolds one day at a time, one tweet at a time. In the spirit of comic strips like Dick Tracy and Brenda Starr, together we see the adventure unfold one line, one decision, one epic moment at a time!

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Sex Can Sell Somewhere Else: Why the Pornification of Nerd Culture Helps No One

We’ve all seen it – a video game with a half naked girl on it. A picture of a barbarian holding her up, as she looks suggestively at the viewer, in distress. Whether it’s a chain mail bikini or a slave girl outfit, it’s a well known fact – there are a lot of books, tv shows, games and movies which seem to cater to what is perceived as the typical “gamer” – single heterosexual cisgendered Caucasian males.

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A great example – a great game, with a needlessly pornographic cover

I, the author, am one of these people, a heterosexual cisgendered caucasian male – and in the following article, I will present 3 concrete reason why it is better for EVERYONE that we ditch this almost comical sexualization of our preferred medium of enjoyment.

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The Kingdom of Cavaliers: A Red Raven Inn Campaign Setting

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There is an island in the Kara Sea that has long stood against the rising Tides of Darkness. A breakwater to stem the hordes of barbarians, raiders, pirates, brigands and even maritime Empires that would threaten the Congruity of Nations. Here a consanguinity of many nations stands firm, built of stone and risen from ashes. Here the King’s Black Flag flies, a sigil in gold leaf defining a common people’s valor, courage, heroism and stalwart resolve. Knights with armor inscribed with Mithril Runes, clad in tabards of finest samite, ride these shores ever vigilant. When the Storm comes here is the Haven. When a Need arises here is found a Duty. When the Darkness falls here is found the Dawn.

Welcome to Xenia, the Kingdom of Cavaliers.

Continue reading “The Kingdom of Cavaliers: A Red Raven Inn Campaign Setting”