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Showing posts with the label D&D

That's Ammo-ray(gun)!

Being a fan of obscure holidays, they tend to serve as inspiration for my games from time to time. This time around, it's National Archery Day which has been celebrated on the second Saturday of May since 2015. I wouldn’t want to shaft this particular holiday, so in this post we'll take aim at an aspect of gaming that can sometimes get ignored: ammo. If you’re going to be playing a tabletop game involving combat, there's a good chance it will feature some sort of ranged weaponry. In a fantasy setting, this will likely take the form of longbows, crossbows, and slings (and perhaps even the occasional flintlock), along with their respective ammunitions: arrows, bolts, and bullets (or "ball" if you're a Flintlock Aficionado). Of course, you might have thrown weapons such as spears, axes, and knives, as well. A more modern setting might use grenades and any number of guns with a variety of projectile types. Something in a sci-fi or futuristic genre will probably

It's Dangerous to Go Alone... Take These.

Close to the start of the pandemic, we talked a little bit about playing RPGs alone . However, we all know that TTRPGs tend to be a team sport. It doesn’t matter if you like to meet in person, or at a virtual tabletop, this is typically a game played with friends. Where do you start though? If you’re a newcomer to the hobby, either as a player or someone interested in running games, the number of options can be overwhelming. What game do you start with? Who should you play it with and how do you find them? Do you need your own dice? What are you not even thinking of? Help! Hopefully we can answer a few of these questions and put you at ease, even if you’re only hopping out of your current familiar game genre and into a new one. So here are our tips for those of you just starting out, and for you veterans of the table who are trying something new.  - A A: Whatever your reason, you’ve decided to try your hand at a tabletop role playing game. Maybe you have a story you’re interested in te

Whose Labyrinthine Maze is This, Anyway: Dungeon Design and Cultural History

Dungeon . The word with significant historical connotations and some modern ones we won’t get into here, but to enthusiasts of tabletop roleplaying, it means something very specific: it’s ⅓ of the name of the most successful and influential RPG of all time, after all. (We’ll discuss the significance of the “&” another time. (and maybe the other D too - A) ) Early D&D materials refer to “the underworld mazes” (note the preposition, dungeons are considered a default part of the setting), and offer some advice on making them (somewhat) plausible, but never directly consider the societies that built them. While many pre-published adventures do include some information describing long-gone inhabitants, incorporating this kind of detail into original worlds can help create a detailed, rich setting. This week, we thought we’d talk about how to make dungeons and other ruins feel like places that lost peoples made and lived in, and how to share these details in your play sessions. - B  

Open Discussion: Conversations with NPCs

It doesn’t matter if your games are at a tabletop or one in the digital realms of consoles and PCs, at some point in your role playing adventures you'll wind up interacting with a Non-Player Character. Unless you’ve a really weird game going on, you’re probably dealing with multiple NPCs regularly.  Non-Player Characters are the denizens of our imaginary worlds that bring them to bustling life. Even the most mundane outline of a person rounds out the settings we create in ways we don’t often consider. As the blog has discussed before, a lot of storytelling can come from the environment , but we shouldn’t neglect the people that dwell within the places we present and play in. Non-Player Characters are our vendors, our adversaries, our allies, our victims and our quest givers. At times they may just be part of the background, but without them our roleplaying games simply wouldn’t work. Interactions with NPCs can range anywhere from a brief visual description to a full-out member of y

Super Cereal

Hey, It’s-a me Never Say Dice! We’ve gathered here once again to celebrate the flimsy excuse of a corporate holiday: March 10, otherwise known as Mar10 (or Mario) Day. Last year, after making a few suggestions on how you might celebrate the holiday, we discussed how details can serve as the Power-Up Mushroom for Your Narrative . We talked about what a person’s intro to Mario might have been, the story behind the "original" Super Mario Bros. on the NES, and what it could mean to us in our tabletop stories and elsewhere. Certainly, your first experience with Mario may have been a media cash grab like the one linked above. You could also have come to meet Mario later in life as part of an Olympic, Kart racing game, party game, or any number of other titles Nintendo inserted the character into. ( Mario Tennis in 3D on the Virtual Boy , maybe? Anyone? Hopefully the first time you met Mario it was at least less headache inducing.) Perhaps your first introduction to the plumber in

You Cannot Fast Travel When Plot is Nearby

You’ve probably been there. Trying to get from one part of the map to another. A sound effect cuts through the overworld music , an animation comes up, and the music switches to something a little more adrenaline-pumping. The first time it happens in a game, maybe the first few dozen times, you’re probably pretty excited. What monsters will you face? Will there be materials to upgrade your weapons? Just a little much-needed currency and experience? A surprise treasure box ? Then you get to that fourth dozen time…fifth…sixth? Somewhere in there it becomes a boring monotonous grind just to get anywhere, or maybe to find the last component you need to upgrade your ranged weapon. At best, the ritual becomes a minor annoyance while you pass through as quickly as possible. Would it be better if you could just fast travel ? Zipping between two points without subjecting your character(s) (and yourself) to yet another pointless battle? This can work well in video games, but do you use it at you

Take Heart: Health in Games

Being "Heart Healthy" is something I’ve been concerned about in the past few months. It's not just for fun and games - after my incident with emergency gallbladder surgery (see our previous post " To the Pain " for more on that), my doctors have been encouraging me to adopt a heart healthy diet. Why am I talking about this at all though? As you may have realized, this is the season where you tend to see hearts everywhere. Valentine’s Day has snuck up on us once again. (I blame Groundhog’s Day for stealing some of the attention.) We’ve written about the romance aspect of the holiday and how to include them in your games before, but all these hearts around have had me thinking a lot about how we deal with health in our games. Both electronic and our favorite tabletop games have various ways of dealing with characters' health. So for this Valentine’s Day, take heart! And also take a look at health in games with Never Say Dice. The Valentine's-style heart i

Our 100th Issue!

This week marks an auspicious occasion for the Never Say Dice blog. Although Bugsy and Andy have been having these sorts of conversations in person, in text, and even in song far longer than they should probably admit, this post marks number 100 for the comic blog. For a monthly comic, that would work out to almost 8 and a half years! While we’re just shy of our 2 year Blogaversery , we’d like to do something special. After all, 100 weeks of content without fail is a pretty nifty accomplishment, we feel. While we don’t have a special crossover event (but if you’re interested in writing for the blog, feel free to reach us by email ), or a character death planned (by Lucifer's beard, Bugsy, please stick around. I can’t edit this thing by myself), we did have a special idea in mind. So dear readers, grab a snack, get in a comfortable spot, and enjoy making fun of our predictions of what gaming might look like over the next 100 years. Assuming any number of pending worldwide disasters

Workin' d8+1 to d4+1

“Get a job!” It's a refrain we're always hearing, as well as the title of a doo-wop classic , but, as that song and anyone who has tried to join the workforce can tell you it’s rarely that easy . Tabletop roleplaying games, on the other hand, offer the freedom to give your characters any employment history you can think of (within the bounds of the setting and their character build), whether it’s the thing they did before answering the call of adventure, or what they’re still doing between your game sessions. This week, we’re going to talk about the ways characters’ former (or current) jobs can flesh out their background and present new roleplaying opportunities, no matter which side of the GM screen they're on. - B B: Of course, I start with the disclaimer that, in the game I run most ( Paranoia XP/25th Anniversary ), job assignment is part of the character creation process. Being Paranoia , of course, the player gets no say in this - it’s purely according to random chanc