Saturday, May 23, 2015

Let's talk table rules

Before kicking off our new campaign, Hoard of the dragon queen, I gathered everyone around the table in a conversation about table rules. I've played a lot of RPG:s with Ola and loads of tabletop and board games with David, but I haven't played that much with Björn, despite knowing him for a couple of years now. I guess I was inspired by office meetings since I wanted my players to know what I expected from them and what they expected from me.

These answers are probably not the solution for your group, but I thought it would benefit the community to share the topics we discussed.

1. DM screen or not?
This was a short discussion. All the players were fine with me using a DM screen. It's a bit comforting for me to knnow that I don't have to waste time hiding my things or present every die roll, which leads us right to...

2. Are hidden die rolls ok?
No problems here either. I explained that the players were likely to encounter lots of monsters at level 1, so I wanted the option to modify some of the action to keep a focused, tight game. We found out the hard way that die rolls are dicey (haha) at level 1 when playing the starter box scenario(s). Some unfortunate misses from the players and a critical from one simple monster can ruin an hour of game time. I didn't want our first combat to be that random.

3. What kind of story is this?
Do you like tragedy, drama or comedy? Or a mix? It was a really good idea from Björn to discuss the level of seriousness when it comes to role play. I don't mind the players joking around, but I don't like them acting as clowns either. Forgotten Realms is a dark place sometimes and shouldn't be dealt with lightly. It's inhabitants, however, are likely to face such a dangerous life with humour.

4. Awarding individual bonuses
I think the milestone rule is great for the episodic nature of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. It lets the players get to know their character one level at a time, and all levelling takes place at the same time - outside the game. Before settling on the rule. however, Björn wanted to know if he would be able to get extra XP by playing his character well. Although I love a player with RP ambitions, I felt that it would not benefit the group. Sometimes you have a bad day, sometimes you're just tired and I don't want to ruin a game by creating envy or allowing one character to get ahead, level-wise. The inspiration rules are great, and we use them instead.

So, there you have them, a couple of topics to discuss at your table. I'd love to hear from you if you use any of them!

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