TTRPG Friends and Followers

Each one of you is special and if you are reading this you’ve made a positive impact in the world.

I’ve been play games for most of my life, minus my toddler years.

Over those decades, one thing I have always found is that people that play table top role playing games are some of the most accepting people on the planet.  They make space at the table for anyone who shows an interest in learning how to play.  They share their knowledge of different games and do so with passion.

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Table top role players are not the average gamer.  They have made a hobby out of it.  Constantly trying out new games with a circle of friends, often writing their own content and rules to suit the various play styles.

The earlier years of Dungeon and Dragons you saw that strange group of people at your school.  Sometimes they were the outcasts and kids who never really fit into a certain social group.  But at a game table no one was left out.  Everyone was welcome.  College was the same a few decades ago, and if you were lucky enough to find a group sitting around a table you were welcome. They were more than happy to have you join.  When the groups became large, it split into two or three group but all played together.  They shared stories and laughed about their adventures.

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Today you can see Wizards of the Coast with their pride banner saying everyone is accepted and welcome.   Game stores everywhere with Adventure League nights, and no one is turned away, and the people are amazing.

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We live in a world that still has too much distrust and hatred for my liking.  Maybe people should play more games to together and spend less time on social media, I don’t really have an answer.  I can tell you that those people I have met through social media on Twitter and Facebook are some truly awesome folks who really care about their hobby and of other people.

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I have never seen a person turned away from a table of gamers.  It doesn’t matter who you are and where you came from, there is a table ready for you. If you play a Kender you might get a few dirty looks.  No one likes those Kender things, and know that your party will kill you or you’ll be eaten by a troll.

I still have my friends from my first game and each year I have added more to the list.  These are my closet friends and nothing could every replace them.

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Thank you for following and sharing your unique worlds of adventure.

JT

Fudging Dice behind the Screen

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The DM fudging dice rolls behind the screen has always been a topic of debate.  There are a lot of reason why a dungeon Master might fudge a roll but is it right or ethical?

There are so many reason why you might be tempted to fudge a roll behind your screen.   I want to cover the most common ones from least important to the most critical reason you might be faced as a DM.  There are lot of times when you want to cheat with your dice and these are just a few examples of when and not the only reason why.

To drive the story

There are times when your story needs that player to find the thing, and without the thing your story ends and leaves the players wondering where to go.   A good example is having the hidden thing behind a magically locked door and they missed an important key to four rooms ago.  You allow the rogue to try and pick the lock or the wizard to make an arcana check to see if the figure it out.   Both of them fail the check, and you are now stuck.  You end up lowering the DC value you had put in place to allow them to succeed and continue along the way.   You may not have changed the roll but you have allowed the outcome to change.

Failure is a big part of the game and just as important as success.  If success was the only outcome the players would soon become bored.   Let them fail and provide something new.  The ability to think your feet will help you with this.   Have a plan B ready to go just in case the party fails something important.

The Power Player

You have that one power player who can bash your poor minions to bits and never gets hit due to a high Armour Class.   To combat this you change your rolls to critical and add damage to your rolls.  You are trying to make it a challenge for the power player.   There are Dungeon Masters that use the constant hits and extra damage as a punishment to players who have min/max characters designed to beat certain types of creatures and with defeating the DM’s normal array of traps and bad guys.   Changing dice rolls or having this player hit regardless of the roll is normal action for a frustrated DM.

IMG_5419Don’t change the rolls.  Adjust the encounters and perhaps add a few custom beast that have resistance to certain power player weapons and abilities.   Everyone has a weakness.

If you have an issue with a min/max player there is always a weakness to exploit without having to fudge your dice rolls.  You can always change encounters up that make one of the other players shine.   There is a difference between a DM who challenges you to your limits, and one that is actively trying to kill you.

Saving a Players life

downloadThis has to be the number one dice alternating scenario.  You have that player who is down to 2 hit points and you roll a hit doing damage enough to start making the character begin the death saving roll cycle.  It’s one of the most difficult situations to be put in.   You are about to potential kill one of you players characters.  Its heart pulling.  That player maybe very attached to the character.  You turn that hit into a miss to save the character.

Sometime characters die.  Sometime the characters are a favorite of yours and the party.  Sometimes a player made the mistake of naming his character Sean Bean setting into motion the eventful death that was sure to follow.  Character death is part of the story and it happens.  There is lots of information on how to treat character death so I won’t touch on it.  It shapes the other characters and may create a whole story that didn’t exist before.

Those little plastic poly shaped objects are not just there for show, and give the players something to play with when it’s not their turn.  They represent the random element that happens in life.

As an example:   You’re driving down an icy road after stopping off to get your morning coffee.  You decide to take the risk of trying to take a sip of that yummy and delicious wake up liquid.  You make a DEX check to balance the coffee in your hand and fail.  The coffee spills all over your lap and you need to make a CON save to handle the pain of hot coffee on your sensitive parts. You fail and lose control of the car on the icy road.  You make another DEX with disadvantage because of the icy roads.  Natural 20… yeah you are going to be fine, minus a few points of damage and your evening date plan ruined.  All of those rolls have an impact on how you are molded as a character.

Those rolls you and your players make, create the story and define the outcome of events.  When you change a roll you change the story and the possibilities of what could have been.

It’s easy to acquire the god complex as a DM but when does it stop being about how much you control and become more of the player’s story.

You already have total control without having to change rolls.   You are in control of the encounters, the NPC’s, the Land & Sea, and the gods.  What more do you need?  Remember you are more a facilitator to the player’s story that they are in control of.  They choose where they go and what they do.  You can provide some interesting hooks to draw them into a story but it is really up to them.

I have my own opinion on dice.  When designing encounters I careful think these out.  I look at the party as a whole and challenge them according to their skills and limits.  Never actively try to kill someone or teach them a lesson by changing die rolls.  Use your imagination and be clever.

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If you change one die roll you can change them all.   So why use them?  Just tell your players when they are hit and what damage they take.

Players will do stupid things, and you cannot control that.  They know it’s risky and probably not a good idea but try it anyways.  Let chance make the choice.  Poor decisions have consequences and a new story is born from it.