Tabletop RPG Discussion Thread

Please use this thread to discuss anything related to Tabletop RPG’s. Anything at all.

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:grey_question:





 
And you are not alone. One of the hardest things I found about being a lover of TTRPG’s was that introducing new players required a substantial investment of time on their part. Not only did they need to read X amount of pages, but they would likely struggle to comprehend what it all meant until they gained context for all they had read during a live game. This buy in , was simply too high for the vast majority of people I approached. It was a hugely limiting factor for me.

I discovered my first TTRPG back in 2007. It wouldn’t be until 2014 that I would finally figure out that playing online was a viable option. Though it wouldn’t have mattered much as I really wanted to have real life face-to-face experiences. To this day I’ve never played a long running campaign, only adventures that span 4 to 6 sessions. On the other hand I’ve DM’ed around 50 one-shot sessions and have been wildly successful.

But this drives me nuts because I yearn to be able to have a setting, story, characters, and environment that persists beyond a single session. With so much technology and other entertainment options in the world today, getting people to give pen and paper a shot feels increasingly difficult. This aspect of my favorite pass time drives me nuts.

 

 
This has been a huge motivator in my designing of the TTRPG methodology I employ nowadays. Players don’t have to learn anything. There are generally not limits on what they can do. I usually play using only Theater Of The Mind and select props for randomization. Occasionally I will use a dry erase board and marker for mapping when positioning in a scene is important, yet narratively complex enough that players may not all be on the same mental page, pertaining to positioning of different elements in a scene.

I have worked very hard to try and understand what draws people into a collaborative experience and what doesn’t. In any given story the greatest element that will increase player investment is to help them shape the world around them. When elements of the story or game world are (metaphorically) signed with a players imagination, the player will feel a greater sense of ownership. The greater their input, the deeper their sense of belonging and personal engagement.

I set out to invent basic mechanics that allow people to share collaboration of the story, without actually feeling like GM’s. They don’t have any responsibility that they don’t want, yet their input in the game is everywhere they look. This is one example of a way you can draw a player in. My “mechanics” all exist to draw players into the experience in different ways. I continue to dream them up and test them out.

I have a lot of strong opinions on what makes a story “great” and how to properly treat and interact with players during a collaborate story. I used to draw almost all of my theory from TTRPGs, but these days they make up very little of the DNA of what I do. I’ve played with people who have regularly played D&D and Pathfinder, as well as others who are story junkies in written or digital RPG form. I regularly hear that the stories I tell are some of the most memorable they’ve ever experienced.

Going into an adventure, I have zero plans. No idea of where to start or what kind of story we will tell. That is to be decided on the spot, by group consensus, and the story is generated as we go along; each person contributing their own ideas and fictional input along the way. I feel like I have a formula that works for any person, of any age, any background, and for any personality. I’ve played with so many different kinds of people and I’ve played in weird places (often “on the go”, like in a car or grocery store as we shopped).

And I think that anybody can do it, because it is so silly simple. At least it is for me. I’ve been trying to train my kids to GM and it has been hit and miss. At the end of the day I could probably be a professional writer, improv comedian, inventor, artist, musician, or several other types of creative based professionals. I do spent a lot of time schooling children, reading, researching, and exercising my mind. Given that level of creativity, the secret sauce of my method may be that I simply found something that works for me. But I’ve yet to try teaching an adult. One day I’ll give that a shot. I want to believe that what I know could be distilled into a formula that anybody could learn to recreate for themselves.

 

 
I could go on and on about how I think Collaborative Storytelling can help us learn more about ourselves, develop skills, and evolve as an individual. Since nobody is likely to want to read a dissertation on the topic, I will instead point to this video which sums up Tabletop RPG’ing and how playing almost certainly helps you become more successful in life. Note that @ 6:13 minutes the video changes topics entirely, so there is no need to watch the rest.

 

 
Aren’t D20 and 5th Edition two rather different systems? How is 5th edition helpful to your project? Are you trying to re-skin/re-theme 5th edition as Star Trek or? I’m curious to hear more.

 

 
The only thing that held me back was the money was simply not reliable enough. For every success story of an independent creator who’s Kickstarter project made tons of cash, there are dozens who invested the same time and money into their project, but never found an audience that embraced their work. I’m positive that I could make it, but I am not sure how long that would take.

I’m also fairly certain that income would be like a rollercoaster, with good times and bad times. As a single income household, I couldn’t take that risk. My wife ended up going to work instead, while I played parent, teacher, homemaker, and housewife (I use the term endearingly, as I am male). I have several children of various ages, and I was the better fit for succeeding at the sanity rolls raising a brood of kids regularly requires.

I made that decision five years ago. To this day I still fantasize about what I might have accomplished. It bothers me a great deal sometimes, as there is a special place in my heart for this type of work. If money weren’t a concern, without a shadow of a doubt, this is what I would be doing as my career. But some things are simply not meant to be… Or rather, I was faced with a difficult decision, and I chose the path I felt was best for my family and our combined future.

 

 
I found it very curious how much we seemed to think alike. We were riffing off of each other yesterday and it was awesome. This conversation has been very interesting and I admit that I checked the forum multiple times between your responses to see if you had replied. I really have enjoyed myself. I met a friend on here at the end of 2018, giving some tips during a live match. That turned into a bonafide friendship that continues to endure. I now consider him my closest friend, besides my spouse.

He lives in Bangladesh, speaks questionable English, and has a view of the world that is radically different than my own. But we share a mutual respect like no other friendship I have ever had. We find one another interesting and we try to keep in contact, even if a month goes by sometimes without a response (we are both very busy people). Talking with him and seeing the world through his eyes is one of the great joys of my life.

Yesterday I pondered whether or not I should message you privately and ask you if you wanted to try corresponding via email. I worried you might find it weird and so I haven’t reached out. But yesterday, the feeling I had when we were sharing our thoughts, reminded me of my dear friend and how conversing with him often feels. I think it is really cool you felt similarly to the way that I did :blush:.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Store incase needed for quotes

anyone know any good d&d type games online?

Nethack.
[:question:]

This question could be answered in such a multitude of ways. To better answer this, can you define the term “game”? I’m particularly interested if video games are included in your query.

If not bonafide video games, perhaps browser based programs which are thematically centered around TTRPG intellectual properties (like D&D for example). Or maybe you are talking about programs that exist purely to enable people to play TTRPGs together online? Or maybe technology that can be used to facilitate TTRPG gameplay online, but is not created specifically for this purpose (Skype, for example)?

Let me just say that I am sorry for the late reply again. I was getting back to doing my book writing last night, and before I knew it four hours had gone, and I was exhausted. Such is the price of writing I guess, but I did learn that Google docs, has a dark mode, so at least it won’t feel like my eyes are turning in to dried prunes in the foreseeable future.

Anyways, I’m gonna respond to everything you responded too, and in that order, I don’t want to quote you and make my response look messy and confusing for you.

<> It took me literally years to figure out how the mechanics of DnD worked. I remember I started playing DnD around… I’m gonna say eight years ago, give or take a year. I started playing on DnD 4E, and that system was, to put it bluntly, fucking awful. But what made it worse was that my friend, the DM< was a poor DM, and he didn’t know half the rules himself, which made combat near impossible for me to get my head around.

For me, if you are going to have a TTRPG then the rules of that specific game need to be clear and concise enough for idiots like myself to get to grips with.

However, that isn’t to say that DnD 5E is any better in terms of how complicated it is. Its easier in many ways, but there are still a lot of complications. Yes the complications need to be there for the context for the rest of the game, but as you say, its a fairly large buy-in, if you want to play the game, and far more if you want to actually understand how the game works… and times that by around two or three times, and that is how much effort I had to put in to make sure I understood the bare bones of the rules and mechanics of 5E.

But there remains the problem of modern society, getting the average person into TTRPG? It’s nigh on impossible. I have varying opinions on why this may be. But I think the most accurate assumption we can make is this… Now more than ever, there are more people playing DnD and other TTRPG’s than there have ever been, even in its inception in the '80s. Problem is… that because there are more players, that there are more people wanting to play games, but there isn’t enough to ensure that getting a group is a simple and small ordeal. That coupled with the fact that generally people these days have the attention span of a braindead pigeon. Ask anyone to sit in a group, with no access to phones and internet for more than five mins and they are bored. People have lost the ability to simply be, and to socialize, and to engage with people face to face, but then that is a debate on another topic entirely I think. Also, I’m not a sociologist or a psychologist, so there is every chance I’m totally wrong in my assumptions.

<> It sounds to me, from what you say that you are one of the most interesting DM’s/GM’s I have ever met, to be honest. A game with no structure, but is also structured by the imagination of the players, to the point that they basically invent the rules in essence. That to me sounds like writing a book together more than it does a game, which fascinates me to no end as a writer myself.

I’m not experienced as a DM at all yet, only having run about six sessions in the last year. But unlike you, I have been a part of a longer campaign. I’m currently in one that is two years old now I think. And the person running it isn’t a spectacular DM, its the whole group that makes it enjoyable. And there are times still when I want to pull my hair out. The last session, on Thursday, went, one of the players basically kept going on and on about this one thing, and was talking himself in circles. Which bothered me to no end. Not because I want to be the center of attention, I play a cleric, I’m hardly playing a character that jumps into nonsense for the put joy of it. But there were things that the DM could have done to expedite the process and make things move onward.

But regardless of that, the experience was still good. And I was happy that my fellow gamer was also happy, even if he did annoy me. I think very much it not just a matter of what game, or who is DM’ing, but who is actually at the table that makes a game worth playing.

You said you have spent years trying to learn what brings people to the table and gets them to commit? Well, aside from the things you obviously know well, it’s down to three core things I think. People, Attitude, economy.

People= simply who is going to be there, what sort of group are you going to be and how will that change depending on the part of characters you have put together.
Attitude= how do the people feel about the game? what do they want to achieve in the game? why are they choosing to play when they could be out drinking beer and partying. The attitude of a person can tell you a lot about the sort of gaming experience that they want, and have had previously I think.
Economy= Everything is trade. Really it can all be boiled down to cost vs payout at the end of the experience. What does it cost to go to a game night? what does it cost to be committed? and the other smaller costs… and the payout should always be bigger than the cost. And if that is the case, then you will have people come back to game nights loyally for years I think.

I personally love that you can set up a small adventure with basically no players handbook or anything. For me, that shows that you have great skills in improvisation, and problem-solving too. But more than that, it shows me you are super creative, flexible, and laid back to a certain extent too. I think its honestly fascinating. And what is great about it is that you can essentially start a session anywhere, any time and with whomever.

It also happens to be a great learning tool for kids too I think. Telling a story and having that back and forth with kids, creating a story as you go with them… that has to be awesome. Though I would say, that if you go about teaching kids how to GM, its best to sorta throw them a DnD player handbook and tell them to get cracking. Help them when they come to you. And the reason I give that seemingly harsh piece of advice is that people will understand different things differently. And as such to teach them any given way to do anything is essentially a curb of their own creative abilities. So advise, rather than teach and let them get experience would be the best bet I think. Though far be it from me to actually tell you how to do something, you know your kids better than I do.

<> As you rightly did, I’m going to avoid writing an essay for you, and just say that I absolutely and fundamentally agree with everything that that guy said in the video you told me to watch. But I would also like to touch briefly on the psychological benefit of the game alone. For me, with the mental health problems I have, I find a great deal of success and progress when I play in a session. And with the whole getting to be social thing… It’s amazing for me to be more social, considering I’m pathologically anti-social.

<>5E DnD uses a D20 system in that most roles are made on the D20 die. What I plan to do, is take the mechanics that work in DnD, copy them over and for the ones that don’t work, mess around with them until it feels right I guess.

I would try to do something similar to what you do, but my improvisational skills are less than great, so I personally need the structure to help me out and make sure that everything is as it should be.

<> you are right, for every success story, there are a million and one stories that tell a very different story.

Though I would ask you to consider thinking about the decisions you made in a different way. I don’t think you regret the decisions you made, not at all. But the feeling of having missed an opportunity does leave a bitter taste in the mouth. I for one know that feeling.

I would suggest you think of it like this. You have every opportunity to do what you want with your life, even with the family that you have. Consider the last several years, not as wasted and rolling the insanity dice… but as a period of time whereby you have lived, experienced, and developed your ideas through trial and error. Life experience isn’t something that can be paid for with money or with success.

And with all the time that you most certainly still have, you have any number of opportunities in front of you to do whatever you want to do… but going by what I know of you I personally would love to see you as a writer, but that may be because I am a writer, and as such am unapologetically bias.

But whatever you do, I know you will be fantastic at it. You have a brilliant mind I think. And I am eager to find out what you produce, or decide to do.

<> The world has over seven billion people on it. Many people restrict themselves to people they see every day to make friends with. I hold no such limitation on the relationships that I have people. If it helps I already consider you a friend. And I have to apologize again for the late responses. While I always return messages and correspondences I am not exactly the most organized person on the world.

I am also happy that we managed to sort of stumble on to one another. There is no greater joy to be had than making a new friend and meeting new people, especially if it is over something as strange as a conversation about TTRPG’s and GO. Which is mildly contradictory to my having social phobia.

I live in the UK, In Wales. And I have friends all around the world. America, Canada, Australia, England, and so on. My DM is American actually, a really wonderful guy named Kev.

Though I would say that if you wanted to talk to me outside of OGS, Email is a terrible idea. If there is one form of correspondence that I cannot get my head around to replying as often as I should, its E-mail. I currently have something like 20000 unopened emails in there. the best way for you to talk to me would honestly be using Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself.

If I had my way I would not be on facebook at all either, but seeing as its the proverbial center of my network of communication its the most reliable way to talk to me. If you are so inclined to use Facebook, feel free to add me on there… My name is Daniel Lord Spoon Jones… I’m the fat guy with the beautiful long hair, black thick rim glasses, and with an eyebrow raised like some cheap knockoff of Dwain the Rock Johnson.

<+> And in conclusion, this has to be one of the longer responses I have ever written, and I am known for being a wordy person at the best of times. I hope I have no bombarded you with too much here. But when you are as interesting a person as you are, you leave me with many opportunities to voice opinions and thoughts.

And as life can be measured by the interactions we have, both good and bad, I would say that our interactions have been more than good.

((Also, never thought I could write so much when I’m not having some kind of rage-fueled rant on politics or something equally as fervent))

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I would deffinatly not reccomend using Skype if you are TTRPG’ing online. Deffinalty go with Discord if that is the case. Its something I personally use myself.

But the other questions, perfectly fine. Its all well and good to ask if there are any good DnD type games online, but really, one must be mosre spesific.

too late you just did
also by game i mean like a website or something online
like online-go.com or dueling network or surviv

Uh, I dont know if what you are looking for really exists if you are going by the example of the yugioh thing. But… have you heard of Roll20? Its an online platform that allows its users to gather and play DnD, with dice rolling mechanics, character sheets, and much much more.

It also has a voice interface so you can talk with it, and a camera thing so you can webcam yourself on there… but personally both of thoise functions leave a lot to be desired, and I typically use Discord for voice chat for the actual DnD roleplay i am in.

Beyond that I really do not know what to suggest to you.

But also… if you want online information on Dnd, such as character building and other such resourses, you can use DnD beyond, but that site has some glaring problems in that you have to pay a lot of money for the extra stuff of DnD spesifically, including additional races and classes and the like. So beware of that.

Also, im unnappologetically wordy. as you can likely tell from this overly long responce to what you said :joy:

decides he will join the school DnD club when it starts instead

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I wish you the best of luck my dude. I hope you enjoy DnD in the club. You’ll have to let us know how it goes my dude.

I’ve been crazy busy and working on this reply ever since. So know that you are not alone :wink:.

 

You are writing a book? About what? Are you an author? If so, I have questions :scream:. I’m very interested, as I have an affinity for writing myself :blush:.

 

This is an issue of TTRPG’s to this day. Big things come out from big name TTRPG authors and fans go wild for the product. But spend a little time on many of these titles and you will find endless conversations on the net where people are trying to understand the rules. They’ve read them, they’ve talked to people online, they’ve run numerous sessions with the rules, and they still are unsure if they understand the system correctly. This, sadly, is a commonplace feature of the TTRPG world, that has been present since it’s inception back in 1974.

I think you are being too hard on yourself (calling yourself an idiot… stop that :weary:). D&D 4E is a Wargame/RPG hybrid, in my opinion. You are not alone in thinking it is an overcomplicated mess. Starting out with that being your first RPG experience would have been extremely difficult, unless you had a DM that was willing to drip feed you the mechanics as they came up in-game. Or who was willing to conduct some private study sessions with you, walking you through learning via gameplay based exercises; to directly illustrate how the mechanics worked.

Having someone who can coherently answer your questions is essential in learning something complicated. The fact that the person who interpreted mechanics was also confused, would have made the situation nearly impossible to traverse. You are being quite unfair to yourself, in this scenario, and that makes me deeply sad. The Player/GM relationship is a sacred contract of trust. Only when there is trust, transparency, cooperation, and a willingness to participate as equals in a shared narrative, can there be harmony :heart:.

It sounds like your friend didn’t take his role with the seriousness it deserved. Your struggle is a casualty of this fact and that situation. You are not an idiot who lacked the mental resources necessary to understand basic concepts. Concerning TTRPGs, having a mentor show you the ropes is pretty standard fare. You lacked this and to add insult to injury, your GM, the person in charge of validating your knowledge and manifesting a world and gameplay experience based on the knowledge you were trying to learn, continually misrepresented the information you were struggling desperately to understand. Seriously… give yourself a break. And a hug too :hugs:.

 

I’m curious what “learning the rules” looks like to you? For me, you start by simply reading the rulebook. Throughout this process, you write down any questions you have along the way. Any questions at all, no matter how slight your uncertainty. When you finish the book, you hop online, and you ask others about these questions. That may or may not lead to you feeling you fully understand the rules. Chances are thought that you probably don’t. At this point I read the rulebook a second time, writing down questions again.

I might try to find a video of people playing the game, if I think it might help. That depends on the system and the aspects I’m struggling to wrap my head around. After a second read through, I am either ready to try and play a game with other people, or I try to find others online to play a short session or number of sessions with.

Some systems can be understood with a single read through, though these are pretty rare in my experience. Most require a lot of information gathering, analysis, and contemplation, before I can use them. I have always found talking to others, who have played the game before, to be my greatest source of useful knowledge during the “trying to understand the system” stage. With most rulesets, reading the rules alone is not enough to understand what the game looks like during actual game play. At least not in my head prior to sitting down to run through a session for the first time.

 

No, you pretty much nailed it. And science backs this up. Tons of studies have been done on social media that prove this. One study I remember was conducted around Facebook. People have their timelines that are full of short and interesting stories or videos. There is such a large sampling of this content, that people can get lost there for hours. Many people spend multiple hours, each day, viewing their social media; not working on their pages or responding to messages. Just reading and watching.

So, this test group was given videos of different lengths. They were hooked up to measuring devices and they tested what grabbed and held their attention the most. People who did not engage in social media practices regularly, had longer attention spans. This was measured by how long they watched a video before moving onto the next one. They observed that the more often an individual engages in social media viewing behavior, the shorter their attention span becomes.

For the group that spent 1-2 hours a day, the average time invested before moving onto the next video was 1-2 minutes. For those that spent 3 to 5 hours a day, the viewing time was 45 seconds to 1 minute. Finally, for users who spent 6 to 9 hours a day, the viewing length was 15 to 30 seconds. Additional aspects of the testing showed that this change was not just related to their viewing behavior, but resulted in a genuine rewiring of their brain’s attention span, present in all area’s of their life.

The longer people spend watching viral formula videos, the more their brain expects to be wowed quickly. And when they encounter content that does not immediately draw them in, they are compelled, akin to an addict seeking a fix, to move on to the next video or textual story byte for their next “hit”. Comparing crack cocaine (a 5 minute high) and social media viral content… the human brain chemically desires the next hit in a strikingly similar and addictive way.

So yeah, you are spot on with your deduction. It is a huge problem and something that is spreading throughout the world. It is one of the issues facing humanity in the digital age, but not something we are likely to see overcome. Addictive behavior will always be a thing, as will different people having different types of addictions. For the mass majority of the population, digital age based addictions reign supreme. For others, it might be books or TTRPGs. No matter how you slice it, we all seek out pleasure in one form or another :wink:.

In the end, you just have to strive to find likeminded individuals who share your passions. If you are willing to use the internet to play TTRPGs, then you will never struggle to find a game. But if you want to do the real world thing, then you are bound to face a lot of troubles related to getting various adults to all show up at the same scheduled time; on a reoccurring basis, when they have lives, jobs, children, and other responsibilities to juggle :frowning_face:.

 

This is exactly what I am aiming for; genuine Collaborative Storytelling. I try to avoid saying “No” unless I have a very good reason. If I must refuse a player’s desire, I try to understand what they were after and why, to then help them achieve or obtain it by another path. I love when players throw a wrench in my plans, but often I find myself a little frustrated, because players simply want to find out what happens next :see_no_evil:. Which isn’t bad. That means I’ve captured their attention.

There are some systems that focus on telling a collaborative story, attempting to break away from the traditional TTRPG game formula. But I find them to be too focused on unnecessary “gamey” elements. A common focus is on trying to tell a story in a three arc structure, akin to novel or screenplay writing. Most choose to thematically deliver the game in familiar Stage, TV, or Movie tropes. There are still plenty of system mechanics to learn and a great deal of control and limitations being exerted, by those mechanics, over player imaginations.

A true collaborative story should be equal parts GM and player. There does need to be a central player, that the other players interact with, who is charged with representing reality and the game world. Who must also determine when to prompt players for rolls, challenging player actions. And unless your group is made up of people comfortable with improvising and generating their own stories, players will need someone to help move the story forward when the players aren’t pushing the narrative. This can be a tough balance to strike, given that people get passionate and will sometimes take the limelight for too long or will be hesitant to participate.

In the end you need a GM who the players respect and place their trust in. A respected GM will be able to maintain control of the player spotlight, without players ever feeling frustrated or slighted. When players trust the GM has their best interests at heart, they don’t sweat controlling behavior in the slightest. They know the GM will make sure they get a chance to manifest their cool ideas or to capitalize on opportunities, before moving the game past the point where they could no longer take action. When you have this trust and balance between participants… magic happens, because nobody is fighting for control over the story.

A good GM is plugged into their players more than the story itself. Understanding the pulse of player investment is critical to a successful experience, as well as is making sure each player is given sufficient reasons to remain invested in the story. There is a science to this, and it is one that I enjoy exploring when I play. I am far from having some sort of formula. Instead I think of it like a playground where I tend to learn multiple new things each time I play. It is my most favorite thing to do in the entire world :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:.

 

I wholeheartedly agree, especially in a TTRPG setting. Without cooperation in a TTRPG, in-fighting, rules-lawyering, players resisting or contradicting the GM’s role, and a variety of other issues tend to crop up fast. However, I very much believe that who is GM’ing will have a serious impact on the game that unfolds. A GM has incredible influence over the overall play experience. Few people seem to grasp what is possible as a GM, or to what degree they can positively influence the entire experience.

I tend to play with adults and children that are shy. They are not outgoing, outspoken, storytellers, or improve experts. They are nervous, unsure, reserved, and completely out of their element. They have no clue how anything works, because they have never experienced this exercise before. On the very first session I spend about 20 minutes explaining the basic concept of collaborative storytelling and how the dice mechanic works (mentioned in the 4th paragraph). I talk to them about imagination, creativity, and give them examples of how to speak (more on this later).

I assure them vocalizing well is a process and a skill to be learned, but as long as I can see they are trying, they will be rewarded in game. I encourage creativity. I flat out tell them that even if something doesn’t seem particularly feasible, no matter the situation, if they put a lot of effort into it, especially in terms of taking on an accent, striving to give extra detail in their descriptions, or coming up with a creative application, that I will allow it and react in a way that makes their contribution viable in the story.

In this way our relationship is symbiotic. I need them to be invested if we are all going to take part in telling a great collaborative story. They have desires, motivations, and ambitions within the story and for their character, which they can pursue much more successfully, the further they invest themselves into the process and the game world. It is a beautiful melting pot kind of experience and people buy in pretty darn quickly.

Sometimes people really struggle to figure out how to include themselves in a scene or how to develop their identity as a character. I use my NPC’s to present them with opportunities and if that fails, I flat out have NPCs or world events include them without permission; forcing them to react to what is happening to their character. This is one example of an easy fix for a common problem with non-TTRPG or non-storyteller individuals.

GM’ing is a skill, as is storytelling. But the real art of a Collaborative Storytelling GM, is to help each player at the table to feel comfortable and to help their character develop. This increases their interest, investment, and inevitably produces passion for the experience and story being told. Synergy is slowly birthed between parties, and before you know it a story is unfolding in a very organic and fulfilling way :heart:.


 

Earlier I mentioned giving players examples of how to speak. In case you are curious, here is an example:

 

My Advice To Players Before Giving A Narrative Example

Tell me what you are thinking, sensing, or doing. The other players can only imagine as far as you lead them in their mind’s eye. Detail matters. Even small and insignificant ones. Don’t worry about getting it right, just try to feel it out.

Note: I’ve separated the response into sections for the purpose of highlighting the anatomy of the response. In an actual game, the player would not point out what they are sensing, thinking/feeling, or doing separately, as I have done below.

 

GM: “After you leave the restaurant, you head home, taking a neighborhood street you’ve walked many times. In the middle of a sentence, you quickly halt your speech, reacting to the telltale noise of an aluminum trash can being knocked over behind you. A man holding a club is shambling towards you. His head is hanging low, at an impossible angle. His feet are dragging, but he is moving swiftly towards you. About 10 feet out a hint of decay and human excrement wafts your way, and in this moment, you are positive this person is already dead. What do you do?”

 

Standard TTRPG Player Response To A Threat

“It’s time for a beat down. I pick up the trash can and throw it at him.”

 

My Example Of What A Collaborative Story Player Response To A Threat Should Strive For

What Their Sensing

“The smell is revolting, and I instinctively cover my nose and mouth with my sleeve. I can see his skin glistening under the moonlight with a sheen I’ve only ever seen on meat that is spoiled. I’m straining my vision, trying to deduce more details, but I can’t make out much under this dim streetlight.”

 

What Their Thinking/Feeling

“Fear takes root in my chest. My heart is strained with a flight or fight response. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want anything to do with this guy. I’m angry, scared, and my mind is hazy as I try to process what is happening. I begin to panic, unsure what to do. I want to run, but a voice inside is telling me that this individual isn’t going to just let me get away. I’m petrified they are faster than they currently seem. I think the best option would be to try to buy myself an opportunity to get away. I have my best friend to think about as well.”

 

What They Are Doing

“A trash can is nearby (player inserted fact, no need to ask the GM), so I move over to pick it up. It is heavier than I expect. I don’t think I can lift it, so I pull the top off and a bag is sitting right on top. I grasp and pick it up by the neck, right below where the pull strings have been tied. I begin to swing it. I make one full rotation, trying to first give it some momentum, and then I release it, aiming it the best I can.”

 

I am not sure that I understand what you mean by this. It has been my experience that the people I play with are always the same, regardless of the adventure or the characters they are playing. They behave the same and interact with one another the same. Their personalities are consistent as is their play styles. Could you elaborate on this?

 

Given the undecided, unmapped, unknowable formula of my games, I find that my players are pretty immersed in what is happening. They are simply playing to find out what happens next. Players generally remain interested throughout the entire experience. I’m on a constant vigil, so I can target any person in-game who appears to have become preoccupied out of the game. The concept of getting bored in game is pretty unusual to me. Then again, I am constantly fielding feedback from my players, even mid-game. This is a [u]shared/u] narrative, and I make sure they never lose sight of that.

 

I personally do not see the value in this approach. If there were more people willing to help newcomers get started and become settled into the TTRPG world, I think the player base would be much larger. TTRPG books tend to be large tomes full of rules, that are organized in a way that is helpful to existing players who are referencing them for specific information. This style of layout rarely works in terms of teaching someone, who does not know anything about the game, how to play it. So that first read through isn’t going to be as educational or instructional as it could be.

Learning a complex game in this way is difficult and unpleasant. It certainly can feel overwhelming and be confusing. I’m experienced with these books and I still need to see a game being played, before all the rules I’ve read can be properly understood. I cannot imagine a child reading a player handbook and walking away with an understanding of how the game works, just on their own. Given enough time and dedication, sure. But how does this teach them how to GM?

Performing the role of GM in a specific game and possessing the skill set of a Game Master, are two radically different things. The role of GM requires that you be as fluent as possible with the rules, be able to help your players with the game system when they need it, and to grasp the underlying game mechanic theory. Theory being why the rules work the way they do and understanding how to use them wisely to achieve your own GM ends. It is about being prepared before the session starts. Keeping up with player needs, soliciting feedback for the purpose of fine tuning the game experience, coordinating each week to make sure everyone can show up and having a Plan B ready if some folks cannot make it.

Performing the role of Game Master requires that you develop the skill set related to the art of storytelling. A Game Master develops skills related to creativity, imagination, vocalizing their characters in unique ways, improvisation, prop creation, player aid development, and they must continually strive to hone their craft. This might include reading books, learning new information, practicing artistic pursuits, working on their comedy, socializing with other Game Masters and discussing how they operate, etc… A Game Master is a showman (or woman) :face_with_monocle:.

Nobody is going to learn how to do this well from a Player Handbook or Dungeon Master’s Guide. This is the sort of thing you either have a natural aptitude for, or that you learn from someone else; mimicking and practicing until one day you aren’t trying to be somebody you aren’t. You simply are that person.

 

You say “people will understand different things differently”, which is exactly why a teacher is needed. A teacher can provide context, which is crucial to a person understanding something. A teacher provides a foundation, a starting point. But having a teacher in no way limits a person from thinking their own thoughts, interpreting what they have learned in new ways, or from flat out rejecting what they were taught at a later time.

Think of children and their parents. Based on what my parents taught me, there are some lessons I agree with, others I’ve used as a starting point but expanded upon further, and other bits I’ve completely disregarded as nonsense. But before this could happen, I first need to wrap my head around the basic concept to begin with. I needed a framework to start with before I could begin building, modifying, and transmogrifying the idea as needed.

There is a difference between knowing a piece of information and understanding it. Self-led learning will teach you facts. However, you won’t gain context until you gain a sufficiently large enough body of supporting information. Only then will you be able to extrapolate context. Possessing information is not the same as knowing what it means, how to interpret it, or how to apply it in different situations. Another solid example of this is learning by watching Go players who are significantly more advanced than you.

Yes, you can learn how they make moves, which you can mimic successfully in your own games. However, this isn’t wise, because your knowledge is limited to what you’ve witnessed being played. Sooner or later you’ll face an opponent who will respond in a way that you have no memory of. You won’t know what to do, because when you witnessed these moves being played, you never learned why they were being made. You have no idea what the skilled Go player was thinking or what kind of logic or rationalizing was driving them to place the stones where they did.

 

I think this depends completely upon the teacher and the student. A teacher can push that there is only one right way to think about something. That things are black and white. What is, simply is, and there can be no other possibilities. Or they can show the information from multiple vantage points, explaining various vectors of a lesson topic. For example, if you wanted to teach someone what a horse looks like, you can show them a 2D picture, showing them a single side. But if six pictures were taken from all possible sides (top down, bottom up, left side, right side, front, and back), the person would have a much better idea of what a horse looks like.

Likewise, a student can choose to believe what they are being told, without question. Without any analysis or curiosity or mental pondering. Or they can ask questions, critically analyze what they are being told, compare what they are being told to other facts that they know, challenge ideas being shared, seek out and compare what they have learned to another source of information covering the same topic, etc… They can choose to be a robot that unquestioningly accepts programming and then commits it to their belief system, or they can choose to be an active participant in the process, choosing what to believe, and to know why they’ve accepted it.

 

I do play with my children a lot. But I play with many who are not my own. I’m an advocate for the power of imagination and I am passionate about learning. In social situations I am always teaching somebody, something. It is practically all I do when conversing with others. Sharing knowledge is both a joy and something I view as a social responsibility. I’m a teacher at heart. Learning is my second greatest passion in life. Using my creativity to play with the ideas I have learned is my first.

While not a direct response to the quoted snippet above I wanted to add this… I feel that people get stuck in their heads by the limiting ideas and beliefs that have been placed there by others. I feel a responsibility to educate those around me, especially in regard to challenging self-limiting behaviors and beliefs. I’ve spent a great deal of my life sad and feeling broken. I had a hard go of it growing up and when I finally got free of that situation, it took me a long time to sort out that pain and to accept responsibility for who I had allowed myself to become.

Several years ago, I began to find self-help books and it changed my life. It changed my mind too. The more I learned, the more I felt free. I am still growing and healing and learning. I hope this process never stops. I know what it is to be hurting inside and how it feels to struggle year after year in a life you wish wasn’t your own. I also know how uplifting it can be to obtain information that changes the way you view something. I try very hard to pay it forward, in terms of helping others to grow and find joy in their own lives. Most of my life is dedicated to this pursuit, albeit in my own family.

 

I recently came to the same line of thinking. I was depressed that I am 38 with no career and I’m in a point in my life where financial assets could make a big difference. I wished I had done more with my life. But my wife reminded me that most people go to school and establish a career first; then family. But I simply did it backwards, choosing to establish a family and to self-teach along the way. But now that the last little one has been born and because of where we are at in our life, right now is the beginning of the career development phase of my life.

 

I got married at 22. I just had my last child 10 months ago. My wife had my daughter, became sick in the hospital after the delivery, was ill for months, then diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery, spent months recovering, and is now on the mend with no chemo or radiation. She has a slow growing cancer and should be fine for the next 20 or so years. Plenty of time to try and attack it through naturopathic means. My wife is going back to work and I’ve been deliberating on what to do next. I’ve been in “build a family” mode for 15 years and I’m finally at a point where I can begin to think seriously about starting a career.

As a stay at home Dad, homemaker, and daily teacher to my kids, my options for career are a bit limited. I’ve wanted to write since I had my second child (that was 13 years ago). I have played with writing all of these years, on and off, but never taken it seriously. I only ever wrote for fun. Given my fractured time and existing responsibilities I think I would struggle to hold any kind of a normal work schedule. But writing just might work. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I was planning to give it a solid shot.

Unfortunately, I realized I’ve been sick a few months back. I have cancer and I don’t know what is going to happen now. I’ve been struggling a great deal with it. But at the moment, because of this, writing is on hiatus. Know that it is on my mind and is a deep rooted desire of mine though :blush:.

 

I try very hard not to talk with people through Facebook. As I learn more about big tech companies and the mining of data and social communications, I’m slowly phasing out certain online avenues. Would OGS private messages be okay with you? You seem to make it back to this site every few days, so far anyway :stuck_out_tongue:.

 

Never! I genuinely appreciate your time and I’m enjoying our communication very much. Please never worry about saying too much :hugs:.

 

You have truly made me smile. You’ve said so many nice things and paid me so many compliments in this single post, as well as others. Know that you have made my heart smile and that I find your praise uplifting. I read this post a few days ago and things you’ve spoken continue to shine light in the shadows of my mind. Thank you for your kindness and cocksure (← love this word) syrupy sentiments. They are genuinely and sincerely appreciated :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:.

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I’m not familiar with surviv. Nor am I with Dueling Network, but I am with Pokemon TCG Online (@Lord_o_o_Spoon mentioned Yugioh) and OGS. So am assuming you are talking about online venues where you can easily get involved in a game. There are several options, depending on your personal preferences.

For folks who don’t mind writing, there are several places where you can get involved in an online game where you write, instead of speak, your part in the TTRPG story. Possible options that I know of are:

  1. RPOL.net (RolePlaying Online)

  2. ObsidianPortal.com (find games in the forum)

  3. RPG.net (find games in the forum)

  4. Storium.com

  5. Pathfinder Society (visit their Discord channel for quick info about online play. They use Roll20 and Discord to play games.)

  6. Official Pathfinder Forum Play-by-Post (paizo.com)

  7. RoleGate (mobile app)

  8. TheTangledWeb PbP Community

  9. GamersPlane.com

  10. Penny-arcade.com/forums

  11. Plenty of others, ask me if you’re interested and I’ll dig up more.

 
For Tools Related To Online Play

  1. Roll20.net

  2. MapTool (can find plenty of games here)

  3. Fantasy Grounds

  4. Tabletop Simulator (custom community creations + steam forum for this software = a complete way to RPG online and plenty of people do it)

  5. Discord. You can find people on Discord, and even play games entirely there. Asking around for specific servers on RPG.net or r/lfg will go a long way in finding where the action is happening. Here’s one server: https://discord.gg/0i1aZV35xAqts4s0. There is a play style known as ‘West Marches’, or ‘Open Table’, where players schedule their own sessions, and aren’t expected to play every session. Here is another one. Adding this, here is a fat listing.

 
If you are just looking to connect with other gamers who are organizing play online, you can find people looking for games congregating in numerous places. Here are a few to get you started.

  1. Reddit/LFG (looking for group, great place to find groups online).

  2. PenAndPaperGames.com Forums (create a free account first, to gain forum access, then you can advertise as a player so groups can find you. You can scan open games in your area or you can post in the forums to see who is running online games.)

  3. RPG.net Forums

  4. RPGgeek.com

  5. Article with great information on this topic

And for general information related to RPG’s and answering all manner of questions from newcomers to the hobby (including more resources), check outr/RPG’s FAQ.

Thanks for the patience in your waiting for my response. Is all I can say to the first point XD.

  • I think we covered the writing part in the other conversation XD

  • Yeah, the DM I had was less than great. It’s only since I started to learn how to play DnD 5e, and indeed, watching others play it, (I watch Critical Roll on youtube), that I got a sense of what I was missing. It actually made me rather angry for a long time. But without trying to dig up too much of my own personal beef with this person, because it’s fucking endless, he didn’t do his job as a DM, he didn’t do his job as a friend, and to be perfectly honest he is poor at both things.

It took me literally months of watching DnD and actually playing it with a DM who was fairly competent at the 5e rules, for it to actually click in my head how the mechanics actually worked. and I’m still pretty sketchy about it all if truth be told. But I think that is more a confidence thing as opposed to my being objectively bad or whatever.

I am also trying to be kinder to myself. A difficult thing in an of itself at times I feel.

  • For me, I’m not much of a reader of rules. Sure I read the rules, but for me, how my brain works, is that it only understands certain things, given context. So, as an example here one of the things that really stumped me a lot was what all the numbers translated to in terms of stats for characters and such. I could read it over and over, but the numbers would confuse the hell out me. So I actively went on youtube to look it up.

There were other things that stumped me too, especially being a DM as opposed to a player. The experience needed to run a game well enough to be a DM is in what you know as a DM I think. I was fortunate in that I was already watching DnD being played on youtube, and was in a campaign already before I took up the role of being a DM. All of that game me the experience and context I needed to actually understand and use the rules.

There is a difference between knowing a rule, and using a rule I think. the rules in 5e, I think are actually quite elegant and allow for a lot of narratives, that 4e didn’t allow for in DnD. And the rules in 5e, even in combat, I feel do a great job of enhancing, rather than restricting the game… does that make sense?

  • As I was reading that bit in relation to the study done on people’s attention spans and addictions, I remember reading something that said the same thing. I don’t remember when I read it, but I remember that I did read it XD.

It was abolutelly true though. And I myself spend far too much time on social media. This is one of the reasons I have become active on the forums on OGS, and use social media as a debating place rather than just for that social media content. But I still use social media too much. Though, I will absolutelly say that I have no issues with putting my phone down and getting on with other things. I write, sure I check my phone when I am writing, but I can put it down, for lengthy times and continue with the work I want/have to do. As im writing this, I have yet to actually pick up my phone.

I do think that the whole attention-span thing is both a good and a bad thing. In a roundabout way, it’s teaching people how to look for information in a fast and effective way. On the other hand, it’s only being used for entertainment. When those skills would be amazing for data analysis and the like. I do wonder what will happen in the next ten years with how society and indeed people change with how involved social media is becoming in everyone’s lives. I can’t say it’s going to be a good thing that will happen, but it will be interesting either which way you look at it.

  • I think I already knew all of what you said about being a good GM… but to have it put in to words the way you did… its given me a lot to think about, especially as I have my next session coming up soon, and its about time I stopped railroading them in to the plot so much. Which is something I do to introduce the world to the players and visa-Versa.

After that is done, I hope to have a mainly player-led story. I’m there to facilitate what they want to do and to achieve. I’m in control of the world, so I will throw things in the way for sure, as well as challenge them all. But I won’t be an immovable wall to what they want to do, more like a small hurdle cunningly designed as a band of goblins or something.

But you have given me plenty to think about, especially as to the sort of experience I want to give to my players, and indeed, the kind of experience I want to create for myself as the DM too.

  • I absolutely agree with everything you said, and there are some things I have taken away from that, and I am going to absolutely try to develop on myself, for the sake of my players. I haven’t got much to say to that first bit, because it was more of a lesson to me than it was anything I could reply to other than agreeing with you. I need more experience to be able to have a further back and forth over that and talk about what works and does not work. Especially as my players are very different from your players. The majority of which have only ever had that bad DM as their DM… I hope to reshape their preconceptions of roleplaying. and indeed DnD. I’ve told them straight away that while their characters can die… I’m not actively trying to kill them, unlike the other DM. I’m here to tell and build a story with them. Not to make their experience as grueling and as uncomfortable as possible.

  • I found that deeply interesting in terms of the speech used in roleplaying. It felt a lot more like the roleplay I used to do on Gaia online, on forums as opposed to what I have done in a game of DnD or any of the other games I have played. but there are certainly elements in there that I have also used in DnD. one does not need to roll perception to smell the decay oozing from the corpse of body, animated, moving, and being forced by magic to attack you. and the same can be said for feelings and thoughts as well. I do find myself often conveying what my character is thinking through actions… I will say “Garith shows his disgust at Hadriff by finishing his ale and leaving the room, without a word, but with a cold hard gaze that could curdle milk.” Small things like that make a world of difference. And its what I’m encouraging my players to do more of as well. Because they don’t really know how to roleplay. they have been taught too many bad habits… namely, to be hyper-aggressive and kill everything before it poses a threat. Which I guess is the result of having a DM who is actively trying to kill his players.

  • what I mean by people is that everyone is different. they all want different things from the game, and that is reflected in the characters they make much of the time. Sure, there are archtypes of players out there. But I prefer to treat every person as a complete indavidual. Because even if you run two games, and there are two similar players who want the same things. How they want to go about it, and what they are willing to do to go through with those thigns could be different. I could be wrong here of course.

But also how players interact. different groups of people will have different dynamics i find. And I try to play in to that to make the experience all the more unique and special to the players. Though I am a new DM, so my opinion here may well be horribly missguided.

  • I think this is another one of those things that I dont have much to say to, but much to think on and reflect on as a DM. But i will say that generally i find myself agreeing with the concept that you are putting across.

  • Yeah, i may have misrepresented what I meant. When I said, “throw them a players handbook and let them get cracking”, what I meant was this. Much of the time, young people like to learn how to do stuff through trial and error. They like to do things on their own much of the time. Which is absolutelly great. That being said, what I meant was… give them the tools they need to do what they want, and let them get on with it… but also, be there if and when they ask for help

BUT… having read what you wrote in response, I have to retract that idea and agree with what you said. I need to reflect more on my own experiences in the past, and indeed with what you have said. but you are absolutely right in what a GM should be to his players. Especially to new players. Guiding them down the path to being good players, will allow them to be good DM’s down the line.

I quote this part because this was the part that honestly resonated with me the most. and its something that I need to work on, in relation to what you said before that point. Especially the part that says about practicing untill you are what you are as opposed to an imitation of another DM or storyteller. I wish I had more to say to be honest, but again I find mself nodding along with what you are saying, like a student to his master when convaying an important piece of information.

  • I resonate well with this too and find myself going back on what I said previously and admitting I was, of course, wrong in what I said. More food for thought for me. and indeed an opportunity to mature the way I think. I do think I was far too hasty in my ideas in my previous response I think. and I find this immensely helpful to me, to learn from that mistake, and indeed, to gain context as to why i was wrong. A big step is to always admit when you are wrong, when another person shows you you are wrong, and that is what you have done, and i deeply appreciate that. especially as you have givem me something to grow from and ideas that will help me down the line. So thank you very much for that.

  • I think what you said is actually one of the more profound things i have read recently, to be honest. In how to be a student, how to learn in the proper way as opposed to being a receptacle for information that you do not question. I stand, in essence, with what I said. “And as such to teach them any given way to do anything is essentially a curb of their own creative abilities.” is sort of right, but that only really pertains to having a student dogmatically follow you, and indeed, to be a teacher that expects that dogmatic following of instructions and lessons. But, if there is a teacher willing to be challenged, and indeed willing to challenge the student in what they have been learning, then the learning process is one entirely different from what I had previously envisioned. I do also wonder if my negative experiences in the apst have stuck in me in some ways. Again I find myself with much to think about.

  • The below quote is something again that resonated with me, in relation to the messages and conversations that we have shared but also because its what I like to do as well, teach, and pass on wisdom and knowledge to help others. Paying it forward and making the world a better place one tiny piece at a time.

I know what it’s like to self hate, and to go through all of that sort of stuff, as you know. It changes who you are, and how you see the world. So when you have something that changes a negative percetion that you have of the world, it can make all the different I think.

I am also an advocate of the power of imagination, though I’m generally not that passionate aout learning unless I am really interested in soemthing. Its a flaw of mine. i love to learn, but there are times, where I just can’t find the will power or energy to do so. I can’t tell if that is my depression or just a personal flaw in who I am. Either way, its something I try to crush out of me because learning truly interesting things is an absolute delight. And sharing what I have learned is also another Joy in life I think. Its why I try to teach my friends how to play Go, not because I’m sharing with them a game I absolutely love, but because I love passing on what I have learned the hard way, to give them a better start at the game. and the same applies to other things too, not just go. I also like to teach people how to cook as well, though I’m no Masterchef XD.

  • I agree with your wife. My mother more or less did the same thing, though she is far less into developing a career. In my opinion, the life lessons that you have now from raising your kids, will, if anything, make you more successful in your career part of your life, than had you done it the other way around. Especially is you measure success not by how much money you make, but by how happy your career makes you. Which I something that I think many people should try doing.

  • Seems to me you have had a lot on your plate for a long time I think. I won’t make any comment on your health situation, because I absolutely cannot imagine what you have, and continue to go through. And I don’t want to say anything meaningless to you if that makes sense to you? ((Though I will say, that if you ever need to talk to someone, then I am here for you my friend. even if you just want someone to shout at, im a pretty good listener/ reader.))

But what i will say is this. You are already a writer. A writer uses all of who they are, and what they have experienced and puts that in to his/her writing. So even though, right now, you are not writing anything. You are experiencing things, that will later shape your writing.

The best books are not written on paper with ink. They are written in the lives we lead every day, and the relationships that we cultivate, and indeed, the experiences we have, and share with others.

  • I think we have established that OGS messenger is working wonderfully well XD.

  • I worry about saying too little in this response having had many of my points so expertly refuted, that I much reconsider how I think on certain topics. I worry that I have not written enough in this response, which is a rare sensation and feeling for me.

-Man, I have syrupy sentiments about you that could go on for days. you are interesting, compassionate, kind, patient, motivated, intelligent, creative, wonderful, insightful, wise, and any number of other excellent words i can string together to describe you. its honestly been an absolute pleasure to have met you online, and to continue sharing conversations and thoughts and ideas with you. I feel I learn a lot from you, much in the same way an apprentice would his master. but also in the same way that friends learn and grow with each other in deep and meaningful ways.

Fast? Sure. Effective… probably not. At least compared to taking your time to properly research something. A highlight reel is a poor model for reality. As is the “marketing gimmick” that represents the average individuals Facebook page: in that the information which constitutes the page’s content is generally a poor reflector of that persons real life.

 

Have you seen the movie Ready Player One? If things continue on the current path, then I imagine that future isn’t too far off :nerd:

 

If you design your campaign in a more modular way, with bits and pieces that you can drop in and out, then you should have no problem getting them to exactly where you want them to be, without it ever appearing that you are forcing their hands. Not having a world map helps drastically. You need them to go left and they go right? Big deal, the town I want them in is now located on the right :smiley:.

Getting players to where you need them is pretty easy if you do not design worlds that are utterly static. Design all of the bits and pieces but only connect them as the world unfolds through story (like the map example). You will encounter far fewer situations where you feel like you are railroading your players to get them to encounter your designs.

The more you prepare as a GM in concepts and outlines, the more flexible you will be able to react. Rather than design a hard coded adventure, like a standard D&D module, instead design the super relevant bits and pieces only. Much like creating the bones for a novels structure before you sit down to write it, do the same for your adventures. There are tons of books for this by the way. If you are interested I can recommend many :wink:. There are also a ton of super awesome blogs, like Gnome Stew.

 

It sounds like you are in the best possible position as you could be. Due to their poor experiences you have an abnormally amount of opportunity to raise the bar higher. Smaller actions will go farther than if they were experienced and expectant. You’ve got this! :sunglasses:

If you ever need any advice, know that I am always here :hugs:

 

Character death is such a complex topic that I won’t go into it unless you ask. But treat this very cautiously. I do not believe in character death. Do I kill characters? Yes, it does happen occasionally, but only when it serves the story. If it does not serve the story, then as a GM, I find a way to prevent it. The point is fun, not adherence to the rules; much like life :wink:

 

I hear you, though I do not personally consider such things. Knowing your players as individuals is incredibly important. But their group dynamic has no bearing on how I tell my stories. I am never trying to anticipate how they will react, unless I am trying to formulate a challenge. Even then, rarely are my challenges formulated to players specifically.

I put all of my thought and all of my energy into representing the world. When the world responds to every single thing the players do, they tend to feel very responsible for their actions. They also pay attention and take great interest in what is happening around them. Humans are complicated and so are group dynamics.

My primary job is to tell a great story and to try and get everybody involved and to come out of their shell. I see each session as a chance to teach my players how to role play, get in touch with their creative side, and how to use their imaginations effectively. The rest tends to fill itself in. I don’t think there is any one right way. This is just how I personally approach the topic.

 

Learning is inherently uncomfortable. Like so many things in life we must become accustomed to it. I could write a thesis, and I’m tempted to :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:, about why people generally have an aversion to learning anything that isn’t directly beneficial, necessary, particularly interesting, or otherwise desirable to them. I can say that many of us associate learning with school and the unrelated bad experiences of those times or with the poor teachers or methods that imparted knowledge to us.

It is completely viable that if you happen to be at the Gym when you are raped, that you may have a subconscious aversion to all Gyms afterwards. At least for a time. Trauma has a way of changing our behaviors and beliefs. Sustained trauma, say sporadically throughout childhood in the house of learning, often results in adults who do not like to learn unless sufficiently motivated.

The good news is that studies show that learning tends to have a multiplying affect within the brain. The more you do it the more you are drawn to do it. The more you learn about one thing, the more likely it is that you will cultivate a natural interest in learning related subjects. So on and so forth, after a good while the learner is now voracious. Like any other habit or pursuit in life, you tend to get back what you invest :stuck_out_tongue:.

The best way to change this behavior on a grand scale is to start small, by focusing on better learning things you are already deeply passionate about. Don’t worry about where you will end up. Just put in the time and effort to learn something, anything, and make it a reoccurring part of your life :hugs:

 

I have my good days and my bad days. But I think the worst of “learning the news” is behind me. I’ve, so far, successfully adopted that having Cancer is just like my Go rank. It does not define me and I am not my cancer. I want to live too badly to succumb to this. I have too much to live for and too many people who rely on me. I cannot fail and so I will not. Should I not have a choice in the matter, it won’t be for a lack of trying on my part. I plan to fight to the very end, just like King Leonidas in the movie 300 :smirk:

 

You have responded beautifully :face_with_monocle:. It fills my heart with joy knowing that I was able to talk shop with another TTRPG enthusiast and to share some of my own viewpoints that were so well received. This conversation has been a true joy. My only lament is that it showcases how much I wish I was able to talk about this stuff more often. TTRPG’s are gaining fame, but of those who play, few are interested in talking about the craft :sob:. So this truly is a blessing. I have only gratitude and happiness for this experience :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

 

This is beautifully delivered and I share your sentiments. I am very glad that we have started corresponding privately and that I am getting a chance to know you. I am very excited to continue along that path and very grateful to have made a new friend :blush:

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