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Showing posts with the label Players

Traditions at the Tabletop

The holiday season is trucking right along once again with stores starting to tout their Black Friday deals weeks in advance. After all, Black Friday is a tradition ( sort of) . Americans are busy celebrating their Feast of Maximum Occupancy Thanksgiving, Canada just celebrated theirs last week, and before you know it we’ll be looking at Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, etc. etc. A time of year thick with celebrations and chock full of traditions. Although for Never Say Dice, as we mentioned in Home Media for the Holidays , our traditions mostly consist of trying to take some much needed time off and spend it consuming some of our backlogged media - be it traditional films, books, TV, or games. This year though, I thought we might dig a little deeper into some of our own traditions.- specifically, those that involve tabletop gaming. So pull up a plate of leftovers, and let's all ponder while we gorge ourselves. - A B : One of the joys of gaming with other people i

Tabletop Replay

I've recently completed all the trophies in Marvel's Spider-Man That may sound like bragging, but that's not my intent. I already know that I’m a little late to the party . While I probably should have been spending time with other obligations or going through new games and storylines, I had an ulterior motive that had nothing to do with game accomplishments: I wanted to take my kids with me through the story this time. Perhaps I’ve robbed them of completing the story on their own at some point, or maybe it was a bonding experience they won’t forget. Only time will tell. Either way, it did get me thinking about the replayability of games, and specifically of tabletop roleplaying games. Dungeons and Dragons , to use the perennially popular system, is something that's revisited over and over. However, people are typically reusing it to have new and different adventures, rather than replaying the same adventure multiple times. We’ll often come back to the same books and m

Dice, Danger, Dopamine, and Delight: Balancing the d4 of Player Experience

The battle has nearly reached its climax, but the outlook is dire. The Healer just went down... along with the Tank. You’re down to a handful of cantrips, and you send out one last firebolt. Natural 20! The Big Bad Evil Guy goes down and you save the day! The chase through the asteroid field has been dangerous and the shields can’t take any more. There's one last stretch to get through before the ship can make the jump out and you need three successes on four dice. Time to roll! Your group has snuck into the base to steal valuable intelligence in the war effort, but an important general is mere feet away from you with his back turned. One shot could change the tide in this war, you pull your side arm and… hope you get that dopamine hit once again. Our tabletop games are often about risk (no we don’t mean the board game) and the rewards aren’t just in game victories. We feel the success just as much as our imaginary characters do. So how do we balance these player experiences? -A B

I DO Wanna Be A Player!

This blog, at least the tabletop gaming entries, are mostly written from the perspective of Dungeon Masters and gamemasters. That makes sense, after all - the two writers here have spent significantly more time running games than actually playing in them. There's nothing wrong with this, but typically the people running tabletop games would like an occasional chance to be a player as well. So what happens when the stars finally align, and (after much convincing) one of your regular players or GMing friends offers to (gasp) run a session and include you as a player? If it's been a while since you were on the other side of the (literal or metaphorical) GM screen, the concept can feel a bit strange and even worrisome. Fear not! For this week on Never Say Dice, we have some tips to help you in the temporary transition from RPG Runner to RPG Player. - A A : You’ve made it to character creation and that backlog of unused ideas is practically screaming at you. If you’re anything lik

Popular Perception Check

For almost as long as we’ve had tabletop games, they’ve been depicted in various media, from movies and TV shows to news and print. Arguably, at least until the most recent gaming renaissance we’ve entered, that portrayal in mainstream media has mostly been negative. If you lived through the Satanic Panic like the two of us at Never Say Dice did, you’re likely to understand what we’re talking about. For those newer to the hobby, tabletop game fans were depicted as socially-inept, sloppy nerds at best, and Satan-worshiping murder cultists and at worst. (Can’t we just be both in peace!?!) Perhaps as the hobby, and those who partake of it, have matured, these portrayals have softened a bit. Or perhaps positive representations in streaming media have made a significant change. Maybe it's both. This week, we thought we'd talk about how we've seen these depictions change, and how has they've affected our shared hobby and the preconceptions newcomers bring to it?  - A A : C

The Weather Stone

If the rock is wet, it's raining. If the rock is swinging, the wind is blowing. If the rock casts a shadow, the sun is shining. If the rock does not cast a shadow and is not wet, the sky is cloudy. If the rock is difficult to see, it is foggy. If the rock is white, it is snowing. If the rock is coated with ice, there is a frost. If the ice is thick, it's a heavy frost. If the rock is bouncing, there is an earthquake. If the rock is under water, there is a flood. If the rock is warm, it is sunny. If the rock is missing, there was a tornado (or the Rogue stole it). If the rock is wet and swinging violently, there is a hurricane. If the rock can be felt but not seen, it is night time. If the rock has white splats on it, watch out for birds. If there are two rocks, stop drinking, you are drunk. If the rock is glowing, get to a fallout shelter. Weather Stones have been "prognosticating" the current conditions for as long as…well, probably as long as there have been rocks.

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

Hooked with a Feeling: Reaching Prospective Players through Media

“Oh man, it was so cool when…” We’ve all heard it from our friends and the people around us when talking about the media they’re engaging with, whether it be movies, books, TV, comics... you name it. For those of us who run tabletop games, words like these tend to get our GM-senses tingling. But how do you go about “making the pitch” to get them interested in joining your game? How can you take the things you know people like and build interest through them, even if your game isn’t officially attached to that media property? After all, “I heard you like explosions…” only tends to work on other GMs! - B   A: You'll probably find that there's a decent system for whatever media you overhear someone showing an interest or appreciation in. Spy movies, action flicks, fantasy shows, space operas... they all have their own systems, sometimes multiple, and often even attached to the specific property they’re interested in. It won't necessarily be what you want to run a game in, tho

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