Recently, I’ve found my creative side slowly waking back up since it started to hibernate after I lost my job in December. Looking back, I had about 1-2 posts after that and then, blogging, like a number of things when that unemployment depression sets in, just sort of fell to the wayside despite having more than enough time to write. But, with the advent of a new Pathfinder campaign starting up and the possible rebirth of my old 4e campaign (converted to Pathfinder – more on that later), I’ve decided to try my hand once more and see if I can’t keep the ball rolling here.
But, to start things off slow and to show I do still pay heed to the comings and goings of the blogsphere, I thought I’d chime in on a subject that has recently been making its way throughout gaming blogs: “Things Role Playing Bloggers Tend Not To Write About” as initially mentioned by Noisms over at Monsters and Manuals.
* Book binding.
The majority of my RPG book collection has actually had decent bindings and only on a few occasions have I had some serious issues. One of which was my old Cyberpunk 2020 corebook (By R. Talsorian Games) which saw an enormous amount of use about a decade ago. Apparently, it eventually fell apart after I loaned it to a friend and he went and had the book spiral bound for me. I’m not a 100% fan of spiral/ring bound books only because my brain tends to look at them more like notebooks and fears I’ll easily start tearing pages out of them with little effort.
My only other major binding issue has been with my Player’s book for 7th Sea. Most 7th Sea fans could tell you that one particular book seems to have one of the weakest bindings in existence. Though it typically falls apart in chunks. Fortunately, this was something I was warned about when I got into the game and I tend to look for a new Players Book when I hit up the used book stores.
Now my concerns are leaning towards my Pathfinder Core book’s binding…
* “Doing a voice”. How many people “do voices”? Should they? How do you get better at “doing a voice” if that’s your thing?
I’m horrible at accents and not always consistent with voices. However, I LOVE to inject them into my campaigns when I can. I feel it adds a memorable quality to certain scenes and NPCs. especially when they start impersonating them for fun. The one I recall best was the voice for a cursed intelligent sword one of the players ended up with. I added an over the top arrogant, snobbish voice that created that just-right level of irritability with the players when they started to hear that voice speak up without out-right pissing them off.
* Breaks. How often do you have breaks within sessions?
Our sessions tend to vary in length from 3-7 hours. Usually, if folks need to go, I’m not one for stopping them from taking a quick break. but typically, unless we’re pulling some kind of all day gaming marathon (which we did once and enjoyed immensely), we tend to avoid long breaks so we can get in as much game time as possible.
* Description. Exactly how florid are your descriptions?
This depends on how much time I have to prep pre-game. If I have enough time and the muse strikes just right, I tend to throw in as much detail as possible. Otherwise, if pressed for time, I do my best to condense the picture I’m painting down to a few sentences and hopefully create the image I want the players to see.
* Where do you strike the balance between “doing what your character would do” and “acting like a dickhead”?
First off, I tend to avoid evil characters. I’ve never really been fond of them as PCs since my mentality sees them more as antagonists. If I’m the player and the character I’m playing may be some kind of trouble maker, i tend to inform the group first of what kind of character he is to make sure there would be no misunderstandings or out of character conflicts. As for troublesome players in my games, I try to adhere to what I do as a player pre-game and, if things tend to head south still, I put the game on hold and try to work out the issue. I want to be sure that the player is playing their character and not taking out their frustrations on the game.
* PC-on-PC violence. Do your players tend to avoid it, or do you ban it? Or does anything go?
If this builds story, I’m fine with it so long as the players involved are as well and understand the consequences of their actions. so far, on several occasions in several campaigns, PC vs PC conflict has come up and i think it helped develop their characters immensely.
* How do you explain what a role-playing game is to a stranger who is also a non-player?
Most folks tend to have a basic understanding of what RPGs are. For those who are still somewhat in the dark, I tend to describe it more as Improvisational Acting with the players acting out the protagonists and a director playing the parts of everyone else. I try to avoid mentioning D&D when talking to total strangers as some might still conjure up the old stereotypes of D&D players and start to see it in a bad light.
* Alcohol at the table?
Never. No alcohol or any mind altering shite is allowed at my table. I had a long-running campaign come to a sudden and unfortunate death when a number of the players thought it would be fun to game while toked off their arses. It was not fun for me or the two other players who failed to find their antics funny. I’m not speaking ill of those who play things like Drunken D&D and what not. Those sort of games are typically advertised as such and folks would have an understanding of what to expect.
To each their own, but not at my table.
* What’s acceptable to do to a PC whose player is absent from the session? Is whatever happens their fault for not being there, or are there some limits?
When I start a new campaign, I tend to check with the players first what their views on that subject are. Typically, we do not play when someone is out to avoid them missing out on the story. Unfortunately, this method tends to provide us with larger than desired gaps in our gaming schedule. if we were to press on without them, I would probably just retcon their absence and press on as if they were not there for whatever reason suits the situation.