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Showing posts with the label D&D

Devouring "Roll for Sandwich"

Good timezone to Never Say Dice fans, adventures in Aardia, TikTok and beyond. No, I’m not the Roll for Sandwich guy (neither of us is), but if you haven’t heard of him already (or especially if you have), this week I wanted to talk about the TikTok/YouTube show Roll for Sandwich hosted by Jacob Pauwels. The premise is exactly what it sounds like: every episode, the host rolls dice to determine the various items that comprise a sandwich (except when the episode is about s’mores). He assembles the sandwich, then actually eats and critiques his random creation. If it sounds pretty niche to you... it is. You should  probably be both a bit of a foodie and a TTRPG fan in order to truly appreciate both the strange layered creations and the roleplaying references. My eldest son has been so interested in the web series that he decided he wanted to try doing it for himself. So, for the last week of summer this year, we took stock of our cupboards, made our own charts, and proceeded to consume

Doubles & Dares

Game shows were a huge family favorite when I was a kid. I’m pretty  certain that my mom still watches them.  We used to watch everything that was available: Classic Concentration , Family Feud , Jeopardy , Let’s Make a Deal , The Price is Right , Wheel of Fortune , and all the rest. And then there were the game shows for younger audiences - it isn’t any wonder that kids, including myself, would gravitate towards this media when it was targeted directly at them. Shows like Video Power , Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (which, in its various incarnations, will probably get its own post on this blog at some point) and Finders Keepers found eager viewers in  homes everywhere they were available. Of that era, the most famous was probably a little show called Double Dare . Originally running from 1986 through 1993, with revivals in 2000 and 2019, Nickelodeon’s Double Dare grabbed the attention of kids from all over, a group that expanded even further when it entered broadcast syndi

Fantasy Forward: Government and Politics

And so we come to the big one in terms of showing advancement and development in your sword-and-sorcery fantasy setting, one that touches, and is touched by, all others: government. Kings, Emperors, and other monarchs are an inevitable element of any setting based ostensibly primarily on medieval Europe, but beyond that, things tend to get… sketchy. But those sketches are a great place for imaginative creators to fill in details , and shifts in governmental structures are some of the clearest signs of change in any civilization. And, if your setting includes more than one location, you can try out different, competing approaches and see the way they interact… often with the players/protagonists in the middle. So from barony to republic, from kingdom to anarcho-syndicalist commune , let’s explore how you can use government and politics to move your fantasy forward! - B A : For deeply political tabletop campaigns, it takes a special kind of group and a special kind of game. Just the sou

Fantasy Forward: Economics

Last week, we started a new series of posts on how one might go about changing the stagnant nature of many “default” sword-and-sorcery fantasy settings by exploring how various aspects of the setting might develop over time and how the protagonists (or players, if this is in a tabletop RPG) might have an effect on these changes. While we started with one of the most obvious factors (technology), this week we thought we might go with something a little less so: economics, including the effect dungeon crawling might have on a regional economy that finds itself inundated with recovered treasure and artifacts… not to mention the adventurers who show up looking to get in on the action.  - B A :  The economy might be one of the most difficult things to consider in a game world - it's dangerous to upset the balance of your tabletop games. Just as with our technology post, a small change in the economy can have huge ripple effects. This is something we were even touched on: the city with a

Fantasy Forward: Technology

It’s come up a few times, and may be considered ironic for someone who co-founded a gaming blog, but I have trouble getting into media that gets classified as “fantasy” - in as far as the term is generally used in gaming and publishing, and the preconceptions this usage brings. In other words, sword-and-sorcery stories and games set in some variant of medieval Europe, frequently featuring a stock set of species including elves, dwarves, orcs, and Hobbits halflings. It’s taken a while to put this hesitancy into words, especially since I eagerly devoured these kinds of works when I was younger - but I think this ultimately gets to the crux of the matter: something I’m calling the Been There, Done That (BTDT) Threshold. We all have them for everything we choose to engage with, and they’ll vary based on the things we’ve consumed and the amount of variety we’d like to see. In this instance, my exposure to this kind of fantasy had hit a critical mass, so the baseline where I’d go “been ther


There's a moment in the 1977 Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit , oft-mentioned in this blog, when Bilbo Baggins is presented the map of Lonely Mountain and, incredibly, deduces the presence of a secret entrance to the Dwarves' catacombs. He passes this feat off by simply saying that he's "really quite good with maps." (The scene plays out quite differently in the original novel, where Bilbo is far more buffoonish and the secret entrance is identified by Gandalf. One advantage of the condensed adaption is that Bilbo gets to be more clever, hastening the story along at a much quicker pace.) I was quite young when I first saw The Hobbit , but I knew immediately that I, too, wanted to be "quite good with maps." There was in inherent mystique in these ancient documents, artifacts hiding away secret wisdom for those who knew where to look. Even the word sounded dusty and crinkly. (Not to mention the fantastic foley work in things like the 1977 The Hobbit . Ho

Gabbo Gabbo GABBO! Gazebo?!

Gabbo. Gabbo! GABBO! What is a "Gabbo?" I figure it's probably some guy’s name... a guy named Gabbo. Who is Gabbo? Probably someone who can do the Hully-Gully and imitate Vin Scully . But for ( relative) clarity, Gabbo was a mystery character in the Simpsons universe who turned out to be the star puppet of a new show aiming to take on Krusty's time slot. To the fictitious audience of Springfield, the ad campaign leading up to the character's first appearance was both exciting and mystifying. You might even try to add some hype to your own tabletop adventures or stories by adding a Gabbo-esque character. Before you do, though, please take a few moments with Never Say Dice this week  to discuss that form of hype, as well as the pros and cons of player confusion. (We will not, however, be handing out shiny dimes or traveling back in time…much.) Excitement, or hype, either in your game itself or just the circumstances surrounding your game can be a tricky thing. If

What Do We Do With A Murder Hobo (Early in the Session)

Have you noticed your players becoming a little more detached from your tabletop gaming world? Are they going from location to location, indiscriminately killing NPCs and looting whatever they can get their imaginary hands on? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you might have a case of…MURDER HOBOS! Now you’re probably asking yourself…is there any cure for this condition? Can I stop my players from killing and stealing everyone and everything? Won’t somebody please help me stop this insanity!?! Calm down there good fellow, all the yelling and hair pulling is uncalled for. After all, it probably isn’t as big a deal as you might think. Before we get into some helpful tips from your fine friends at Never Say Dice, let's talk a bit about why you may have Murder Hobos, and then delve into what to do about it.  - A A : So you have Murder Hobos. Nothing to be ashamed of.'s all your fault! Okay, it probably isn’t all your fault, but if these players of yours

Taking Part in Pride Through Games

This year, it felt more important than ever that we do a post for Pride Month. But we found ourselves racking our brains trying to think of something that would be respectful, personal, and worth reading. It wouldn’t be fair for us to speak on behalf of our LGBTQ+ friends and players, and it wouldn’t be fair to you, our readers, if we simply regurgitated advice we'd read elsewhere. We want to encourage people to engage with more queer content in gaming (and partaking in work by queer creators - which isn’t always one and the same), but we simply aren’t doing enough of it ourselves to speak confidently about it. So we thought we’d make that our starting point: rather than coming from a place of experience or (heaven help us) authority, we’d talk about what we’d like to do this June to celebrate Pride through our gaming, how we'd go about finding them, and why these might be a good fit for us and for our tables. And, in our own process of discovery, we can help out some other gam