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Showing posts with the label Players

AI TTRPG DM? OK!

There are many ways to play a TTRPG solo. There are many ways people solve this , and you can see some of them in previous posts - all with their own pros and cons. What we’re doing in this series, though, is using AI to create a solo RPG experience that's less bound by the limitations of pre-scripted offerings. While AI has been around for awhile, we’ve really only recently started to see big advancements become available to the general public. In our first post , we used Google's AI Bard to get suggestions on setting the scene, provide feedback on actions, generate random events/encounters, and give prompts to help with brainstorming. Last time , we worked with Bard and randomizers to create a new PC for the game and ended up with a tiefling bard. This week we’ll take a look at a few highlights of the remaining character creation steps and work with Bard on a starting location. Rounding Out Our Character To finish off the character, randomizers gave us a themed musical inst

Enter... the Entrance Theme!

It happens in all sorts of media that incorporates music: movies, TV, plays, audio dramas... a few notes play and, at least if you’re a fan, you know who's about to show up even before they actually enter. It even happens in other live activities such as sports - that song starts, the crowd gets pumped,  and you know exactly who's coming out onto the field or into the ring. While we’ve had posts about music in the form of Never Say Disc , and even a few posts that mention choosing music to set the scene in your tabletop games, we’ve never focused on music for a particular group or character. Something to bring you into the game, get you pumped, put you in the right mindset and/or set you up for a good gaming session. So this week, let’s do just that - discuss using music to bring you into the game and increase your immersion at the tabletop. - A A : Picking intro music for a group can be an easy task, depending upon what you’re playing. If you’re sitting down to a Star Wars se

...And Services

Twenty dollars?! I wanted a peanut! Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts. Explain how. Money can be exchanged for goods and services.   When we talk about tabletop roleplaying games, one thing often featured prominently (usually via tables) is all the things you can buy in-game. You’ve got standard adventuring gear such as rope, backpacks, and bedrooms. You have arms and armor from rapiers and plate mail to blasters and jumpsuits. You can find specialty consumables such as scrolls, potions, ammo and energy packs. You might even have magical, or mystical, items such as bags of holding or kyber crystals. There are also the purchases that almost split the difference between "good" and "service" - for example, the meal you might eat at an inn includes the not only the food itself, but also its preparation, having it served to you, and the clean up. So for all the talk about purchasing goods, you ever hear about other services far less often. (And no, we’re not talking a

AI TTRPG PCs

There are many ways to play a TTRPG solo. There are many ways people solve this , and you can see some of these ways in previous posts - all with their own pros and cons. What we’re doing in this series, though, is use AI to create a solo RPG experience that's less bound by the limitations of pre-scripted offerings. While AI has been around for awhile, we’ve really only recently started to see big advancements become available to the general public. In our last discussion, we decided that we’d begin our experimentation using Google's AI Bard . It even gave us suggestions on the ways it might help us: setting the scene and describing the environment, creating NPCs and their interactions with the player character, narrating the story and providing feedback on your actions, generating random events and encounters, and giving you prompts and questions to help you brainstorm ideas and develop your character. Though this wasn't one Bard's suggestions, in this post we’re goin

DMs, GMs, and AIs (Oh, My!)

Playing TTRPGs solo has been around almost as long as TTRPGs have been a concept. While a traditional TTRPG is a social group activity, solo roleplaying games can be more like a journaling experience or guided storytelling through a gamebook (some of which involve dice and stat-tracking, and even modified versions of rules from group-centered games). We’ve talked a bit about solo-tabletop RPGs before - the trouble with solo gaming when want to go beyond the limits of what's been written into a gamebook or published electronic RPG is the GM/DM. There are, of course, many ways people have attempted to solve this . There are the Mythic Game Master Emulator books . There are storytelling dice if all you need is a nudge in a direction. There are even systems that attempt bring in a few different approaches into a single package like RPG Solo . While these are all fine solutions, they all came out before we had AI, or at least before we had what we currently refer to as "AI"

Dual-ing Personalities

Playing in a tabletop game can be challenging, even when you have just one character to control. Your options tend to open up much further when you can add even just one more to the mix, a nearly overwhelming feeling most GMs know all too well. Almost all of us have run into the situation where we have a friend who can’t make it to your gaming table that week, and we've all had to come up with ways to mitigate that absence. You might cancel the session, have the missing character off on another mission, etc. We’ve even mentioned those options in previous posts . We could even duel over which solution is the best - the answer will change from person to person and table to table. This week, we'd like to talk about one solution: dual character playing. As we said above, one character is challenging enough, so what issues can a “second personality” cause, and what are some tips to make things run a bit smoother? Buddy up with Never Say Dice as we discuss just that. There are a lot

Partyin' with the Party

Celebrate good times. Come on. It’s a celebration. (I will.) Between birthdays (and births), deaths, adoptions, holidays, graduations, engagements and weddings, honors of all kinds, personal milestones (like a 100th blog post ), and everything in between, our regular lives are simply filled with opportunities to celebrate. Just looking at the month of November in the US we have Dios de Los Muertos, All Saint’s Day, All Soul’s Day, Daylight Savings, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving... and that's just hitting the “big” things in the US. That leaves out all sorts of official (like Native American Heritage Month) and unofficial (National Fast Food Day) recognitions. It also doesn’t recognize that Halloween just passed and holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa as well as many others are on their way. While we may have touched on adding holidays in other posts, it would be good to talk about celebrations in general. So take a moment to celebrate with your parties an

Some Great Pumpkins (We Think) For Your Games

Orange gourds and their kin are popping up all over. Halloween decorations are starting to dot the North American landscape. “Basic" people (we're told) are rushing to the shops to get themed lattes. The smell of the fall season is in the air, and the time has come to bring that fall feeling into our tabletop games. And I’m not just talking about the Risus Pumpkin Spice Edition ... no, this week we’re talking about the pumpkins themselves! From the smallest squashes to the greatest of orange fruits (yes, pumpkins are a fruit, not a vegetable!) pumpkins dominate the fall season. And what better way to bring all that autumn-ness into our games than by incorporating this old favorite. And just how will we do that? Grab yourself a slice of pumpkin pie or bread (or maybe some pumpkin soup? Roasted pumpkin? You pick!) and join Never Say Dice as we do a little picking at our pumpkin patches. - A Flavored Text The quickest and easiest way to get fall, and pumpkins, into your game is t

Small Scares for Tiny Tabletoppers

You’re watching a classic scary movie with some younglings and that one scene you think might be a little too much for them is about to come up. Do you cover their eyes? Make sure their ears are covered too? Use the remote to quickly skip past it? Or maybe you let them take in some mild horror and deal with the psychological fallout afterward? It would be so much easier if you had just a little more control of what's going on, some way to dial back the scares a tad or curtail the number of killings. Lucky for you, your spooky entertainment isn’t limited to TV specials, movies, and books. You can take the great artform of the scary ghost story and bring it to your own tabletop games, even when you have a younger audience. If fantasy gaming is more than your thing than horror (monsters like werewolves and vampires notwithstanding), there are still settings and adventures that mix the spooky with the sword-and-sorcery, such as Ravenloft and Ghosts of Saltmarsh for Dungeons and Drago

Spoiler Alert!

Access to social media (well, media in general) has only increased over the last several years. You can subscribe to (or pirate, I suppose) numerous streaming services for music, television, and movies and watch/listen to them almost anywhere. This is even true for books, comics, and games - they’ve all become increasingly accessible. And that's even before we  start considering that “social” media.  Having such a deluge of media available at our beck and call means we're likely to consume a wider variety of things, and also to have a wider variety of media “spoiled” for us. Busy watching the latest Marvel dump? Then you probably haven’t caught up on the most recent Star Trek entry. All caught up to Star Trek? Then you likely still need to see the latest Star Wars or other nerdly offering. While your tastes might not span all of these items, you get the picture…and these are just "small screen" examples, so far. Even "niche" media isn’t safe, depending on t

Fantasy Forward: Culture

This week in our ongoing “Fantasy Forward” series of posts, discussing ways to make sword-and-sorcery settings feel less pre-packaged is going to deal with something… squishy. Something touchy-feely. Something that, I feel, is rarely used to its potential in imagined settings: culture. We’re not expecting anyone to become trained sociologists or, heaven forbid, anthropologists in building out their fantasy settings (although I’m very curious if anybody with said training has incorporated that into games of their own), but there’s plenty of room to develop how people (regardless of species) live, learn, love, and do things. Real world cultures are the product of generations’ worth of history, experiences, stories, and beliefs, which can be a lot to live up to! How can we come up with original cultural elements in our fantasy settings, and how can we convey them to our players and audiences in ways that feel natural instead of forced? - B A : Music! Art! Literature! These are all amazin